Choosing the Perfect Window Covering

When it comes to choosing new window furnishings, style and look are always at the top of the list. But with energy costs on the rise, insulation performance and functionality of your window coverings are also important to consider.

When it comes to choosing the best covering for your window it comes down to asking the following questions so you can select the best one for the job. Do you like to get lots of light in during the day? Do you need a total blockout for sleeping at night? Do you want a product that provides privacy both during the day and at night?

Insulation

Window coverings can assist greatly in keeping your home cool in summer and warm in winter. The top performing choice for insulation are the full-length curtains with an attached blockout lining and a pelmet over the top.

The pelmet traps the airflow coming through the top of the window, and returning the curtains to the wall stops airflow leaking at the sides.

Insulation can be further improved by making the curtains longer than floor length and puddling them on the ground, however having them sit just one centimeter off the ground, which is the most popular choice, will still give you a great result.

Technology

Being able to operate everything from a remote control is a modern convenience when it comes to being able to open and shut your blinds from the comfort of your chair or at the office by pushing a few keys on your computer.

Motorised blinds, curtains, shutters, roman blinds and venetians are so popular, and have become more affordable in recent times.

Motorised window coverings are easily connected to your existing home automation system, or can be operated RTS (through radio transmission) if you don’t have home automation.

For those of you who cannot get electrical power run to your window, you don’t have to miss out, there is the option of battery operated systems for roller, venetian and roman blinds.

Environment

Over the past few years there has been a big move to ‘green building’, and this extends to window furnishings.

The blind industry has been particularly proactive releasing many fabrics approved by the Green Council of Australia, suitable mostly for roller, panel glide and roman blinds.

Quality

With both ready made and custom-made options available, you can furnish your windows according to your budget.

If you’re looking for plantation shutters, quality blinds and curtains it is recommended to ask a professional to measure up and offer you some advice.

Style – the finishing touch

Style is all about the finishing touch – with so many exciting fabrics, styles and textures to choose from, there is a lot to think about to make it the perfect finish.

Your curtains, blinds and shutters can really change the look of a room, and tie all of your furnishings together.

A window covering can either be the focal point of the room by choosing a fabric or colour with a huge wow factor, or you can opt for a selection that simply complements the other furnishings in your room.

Either way selecting window coverings is a fun part of decorating and styling your home.

Choosing the right window treatments to fit the frame of your window

PLANTATION SHUTTERS

Plantation shutters can be considered as more of an architectural feature than a window decoration. They are stylish and add a sense of timeless chic. They are designed to allow light and air whilst maintaining privacy and insulation. They are available in PVC for its water-resistant, fire-retardant and anti-termite properties and plantation wood, which is strong and light to suit wider spaces. Due to their strength and ease of use they are great for areas where curtains may not suit such as bathrooms or kids bedrooms or doorways. Shutters can be sliding, bi-folding, hinged or fixed and even shaped to suit a wide range of applications. The blades operate by using either a traditional timber or a concealed stainless steel rod. Shutters can let in a lot of light so are not ideal as a full blockout but rather are great light filters.

Tip:  Heavy-duty shutters are ideal for west-facing rooms or for cooler climates.

CURTAINS

There are numerous exquisite fabrics on offer for curtains and a million different ways to hang them. A great way to add visual interest to your room is to mix and play with length and textures such as sheers, cloths and cottons  – the heaviness and style of heading. Combining the right 2 fabrics can provide insulation and soundproofing. When measuring for curtains it is important to remember that more fabric is required than the window width, generally this is 1.5 to 3 times the window width depending on the volume your looking for. Aside from the look of your draperies, you’ll additionally need to consider the operation. A ‘flick stick’ is a fantastic option for a little window in a study, while motorised curtains would suit large spaning windows in living rooms or offices. For that finishing touch consider adding decorative elements such as finials for the curtain rod ends, ornate cleats to secure rods, pelmets or tie backs.

Tip: Ceiling mounts give you maximum height and a neat finish.

ROMAN BLINDS

This stylish option hangs straight and when raised concertinas up in evenly spaced folds when you pull on the cord. The cord lock allows you to secure the blind at set heights. Stiff fabrics will achieve a crisp smart look where as soft fabrics are ideal for a relaxed feel. When raised the top section of the roman blind stays in place acting as a pelmet. It is ideal to face fit these blinds over the architrave, above the window, in order to block more light and to protect the back of the blind when the window is opened and the blind raised. 

Tip:  Stylish and sophisticated, roman blinds offer great privacy and light blockage but are not suitable for wet rooms.

ROLLER BLINDS

Roller blinds are an economical approach to cover your windows and accomplish a spotless, straightforward look. Fabric choices range from light filtering to full block out which can be combined as a day/night blind. Roller blinds work well in conjunction with window curtains to offer varying levels of opacity, so you have more control over glare, privacy, insulation and outlook. Roller blinds generally roll back to provide better light control though also have the option front front roll. Roller blinds can be operated using either a traditional spring operation or a chain drive mechanism. Alternatively, roller blinds can be motorised and operated via remote control, switch or timer controls, for the ultimate in technology driven modern living.

Tip:  Many windows require two treatments to deal with the elements. Mix you roller blinds with curtains.

Technology in the Blind Industry

Despite the span of your blinds and awnings business, upgrading to the latest technology generally is the last thing you think about when trying to expand business, create more productive workflow and improve profit without contributing additional time.

IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

Ask any business associate you know who owns any business in another industry and they will let you know they couldn’t work their business without the technology they have acquired in the last 10-20 years. From accounting software, to customer relationship management systems, technology helps their business to develop and be more productive each year.

Are you as a Blinds industry business falling behind? Can you do everything faster with the trusty old pen and paper than on a PC? Most business owners can prepare quotes very quickly with high sales conversions, but it’s not about sales, it’s about maintaining the business more efficiently as a whole.

  1. Organise, automate and synchronise business processes
  2. Keep track of customer job details and business information
  3. Keep track of quotes
  4. Finalising quotes and processing final orders
  5. Sending orders directly to suppliers
  6. Tracking incoming materials
  7. Tracking progress of finished products.
  8. Preparing final installation and billing paperwork

ECONOMIC VALUE

CALCULATE THE COST OF NOT INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY

Figuring out the expense of implementing technology must start with ascertaining the expense of not investing in technology. As a business owner you must ask yourself how to best utilize the time you spend in your business.  Assess the time staff spend in handling printed material.

Where do you really create profit?

Taking care of the printed material won’t profit yet it is important to keep precise records and process exact quotes.

  1. How many hours do you spend on quoting in a week?
  2. How many hours is spent on amending quotes and writing up final estimates for the customer?
  3. How many hours is spent on ordering products, writing up work orders and installation orders plus job tracking?

INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY

BE MORE PRODUCTIVE

Utilising computer technology and software will help you to cut your printed material procedures by hours, hours that can be spent closing sales and completing jobs. Hypothetically if printed material procedures were cut down by 1 hour per day, that is 5-6 hours per week which gives an additional 24 hours for every month to work on business growth.

WHY

BLIND SOFTWARE

The blind and awning industry is not built on simple window treatments.  Utilising reliable Blind Software will cut down error rates in quoting and deliver in seconds a completed quote that can be emailed to the customer. Blind software can help sales staff with complex window treatments and with the added benefit of not wasting time manually re-estimating customer quotes,  processing vendor and workroom orders, installer procedures and billing paperwork.

Conserve energy with Window Furnishings

Conserve energy with Window Furnishings

Passive solar building design or climatic design takes best advantage of the local climate and the design of windows, walls and floors store and distribute solar energy without the aid of mechanical or electrical gadgets.

Without effective energy efficient window treatments, up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows. A simple way and effective way to reduce energy consumption and to protect internal furnishings from fading is by covering your windows from the hot Australian sun.

Stop the Sun before it hits your Windows

The most effective way to reduce the heat from the sun is to shade your windows and sliding doors to stop the sun seeping in. Stopping the sun’s heat before it penetrates through is up to 7 times more effective than using roller blinds or curtains.

External window shading options include, fixed metal or carbolite awnings, canvas or acryllic awnings, shutters and louvred awnings. The styles vary from fixed, straight­drop, folding arm, pivot arm awnings, with the control options being manual, crank, spring or motorised.

Aluminium roller shutters provide all year round thermal, light, and noise protection with the added benefits of security, storm protection and protection from the radiant heat of bush fires. They provide up to 90% reduction from the effects of UV rays.

Traditional awnings made from quality canvas, sun screen or acrylic materials are available as 100% block out or mesh light filtering fabrics.

Fixed carbolite awnings that have been treated can provide 99.9% UV protection. They are available in many shapes and sizes, from the traditional bull ­nosed, domed and the conventional flat. These awnings will last longer than traditional fabric awnings.

Window furnishings aren’t just a decoration

There are many choices of fabrics and styles of curtains to suit any style of home and many practical reasons for their installation. The effectiveness of curtains depends on the fabric choice and whether the window covering is opened, closed, raised or lowered. In order for curtains to be effective, it is recommended they reach a long way below the bottom of the window frame.

Venetians blinds allow you to control the angle of light entering the room and provide privacy allowing you to see out. Timber venetians can provide some insulating properties in a closed position though due to the slats will not be effective as other options.

Roller and roman blinds keep the heat in due to the fact they are one continuous piece of fabric and are most effective at keeping heat in when they sit up against the window frame.

Timber shutters are crafted from plantation wood or PVC and provide great insulation. Wooden shutters are selected for its long lasting elegance, consistent grain and strength. PVC shutters are fire retardant, termite resistant and mould proof making them ideal for wet areas. They provide character and real style to your home.

Australia has very diverse climates and depending on whether you’re in Victoria or QLD, more than half of your household energy use goes to heating and cooling that is wasted. The cracks and gaps in an average home equate to having a 1 x 1.5 metre windows open all of the time. Forty percent of the heat loss is through uncovered windows.

Creating a comfortable living space is as important as choosing the perfect window fashion. Contact your local awning or blind expert to get specialised advice and service. Alternatively, don’t hesitate to contact us at Fashionline Group.

The Dos and Dont’s of Hanging Curtains

A great way to give any room an instant lift is to use curtains – to add impact with colour, patterns and textures. Beautiful and textured curtains can add the finishing touch to a room or space. The list of possible options are endless. Whether they’re custom made or purchased off the rack, the trick lies in the hanging.

Below are some of our do’s and don’ts for picture-perfect drapes:
DO reach high. Windows will appear taller if the rod or track is fixed closer to the ceiling. The general rule is that they should be 10­15cm above the window frame. Consider using a qualified Installer as they have have all the tools and skills to do this for you at
a minimal cost.

DON’T stop the fabric at the window sill. Once again windows will appear taller if the fabric falls to the floor. A couple of centimeters above the floor will give the illusion of a full curtain but make cleaning easier. It’s generally not recommended that they collect on the floor.

DO consider the external light. Which rooms will have curtains installed? If it’s the bedroom, do you like to sleep in total darkness or do you like sunlight in? Make sure your curtains cover each side of the window and consider blockout linings or match and combine with a roller blind.

DON’T be exclusive. Curtains don’t necessarily need to replace the existing blinds as in some rooms different window treatments can complement each other.

DO be generous with your fabric. If you are going to be closing the curtains they will need to be 2 to 2.5 times the width of your window. Curtains fabrics such as sheer may need more to hang effectively.

Are you feeling the heat this Summer?

Are you feeling the heat this Summer?

For most people summertime means family and friends and it’s the perfect season to take advantage of your outdoor entertaining area. A popular product choice for an outdoor entertaining area is the versatile folding arm awning.

Why a Folding Arm Awning?

One of the most popular reasons for this style of awning is that people are looking to cover an area from the
unbearable summertime heat. They are looking for an alternative to a permanent structure which can be very
expensive and in winter make their deck a dark, damp cold space. The folding arm awning is the perfect solution for you to enjoy your outdoor entertaining area all year round.

Folding arm awnings come in a huge range of colourful fabrics to match your home and are available as plains and stripes. Different styles of fabric include acrylics, canvas and mesh. Should the weather turn bad, there is also a range of waterproof acrylics.

The awning extends horizontally at varying degrees, without the obstruction of posts and beams, allowing for protection from the sun and creating an instant outdoor entertaining area. They can be mounted to a wall, a pergola, high next to the guttering, or under the eave of your home and operate by extending out the folded arms as the fabric rolls outs. To complete the look you can have them within a cassette, a semi­-cassette or without a cassette.

The folding arm awnings are also popular for commercial spaces such as cafes and can achieve widths of up to 14 metres and 4 metres projection and depending on the awning can achieve a pitch of 5 degrees to 85 degrees.

Folding arm awnings can be fitted with an adjustable pitch, achieving optimal sun and rain protection. This feature allows you to change the angle of your awning to protect from the late afternoon sun or to use as a rain shelter in calm conditions. They can be operated manually via a crank handle or to take advantage of the latest technological advances, motorised with either a remote control operation, or a wall switch operation.

Make no mistake; the greatest enemy of the folding arm awning is wind. Our awnings are tested to withstand up to 50km winds. It is best to retract the awning when it’s dry and clean which will help keep to the fabric lasting many years.

Damage can be caused to your home and the awning if left extended in a storm and this may not be covered by its warranty. It is recommended when purchasing an awning to invest in motorisation and heat/wind sensors. This mechanism can be programmed to retract the awning automatically when the wind is too strong alternatively the heat sensor can automatically extend the awning when the heat is to high.

The folding arm awning is a specialised awning and should be fitted by a qualified awning fitter or carpenter as they can check where you want it installed for the best safety.  Contact your local awning or blind expert to get specialised advice and service. Alternatively, contact us at Fashionline Group on 1300 854 853 or visit our website for more information.

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