motorized shades

The ups and downs, ins and outs of motorized shades and drapes.

When homeowners design their new residence, one area that cannot be overlooked is the window treatments.

Whether you’re a fan of luxurious drapes or lean towards light filtering motorized shades, there are so many options to choose from and the process can be overwhelming. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the hardware!

We like to meet with designers and clients to help with the decision making process, share fabric samples and explain how it all works. There are key questions to work through, whether we’re looking at a home under construction or an aesthetic upgrade and here are the things to think about before making your investment.

1. What do you want your window treatments to do?

Are you looking for privacy or room darkening? Do you like to be able to see out or is there a neighbor who looks directly into a particular location? There are obvious spaces where some owners want blackout shades, such as kids rooms and possibly a master bedroom. For those who don’t like this level of darkness there’s the option of a light, transparent sheers of perhaps 3% opacity with heavier drapes to pull across to create a dark, calm ambience when bedtime rolls around.

2. Size matters – what heights are we dealing with?

Motorized drapery tracks or shades are a great option for very high windows. Manual shade operation is clearly going to be an issue in such spaces and often shade vendors will not produce a fabric long enough. Drapery tracks from manufacturers such as Lutron provide many stunning fabrics to select from for shades or the drapery tracks for you to then have fabric attached to my your preferred upholstery company.

3. Do you have an existing home automation control system?

Wherever possible we want to be able to work with whatever technology you’ve already invested in. So, if you have a Crestron or Lutron control solution already we can add touch panels or keypads, a processor and some power to bring the motorized windows treatments into the existing system. We can also add more control components such as remotes or bedside touch pads to open or close the shades with a simple swipe.

4. Is the property prewired for shades?

If a home is under construction we recommend the owners consider where they might want motorized shades in the future and have those windows prewired accordingly. If they decide not to go ahead with automated window treatments in a particular room then the wires can simply be pushed into the sheetrock but it’s much more expensive to try to run any wires retrospectively.

Window treatment vendors are aware of this hence the reason the best ones offer battery operated shades and drapery tracks. While these are sometimes a little more costly than wired solutions, they offer the ability to bring more windows into a “scene”. This is ideal for french doors where a shade will offer some privacy and light filtering.

5. What can you expect to pay?

Your windows are the biggest spaces to decorate after the floors and the walls so are understandably a sizable investment. Think about your priority areas in the home such as bedrooms or a windowed game room. A breakfast nook is often a great space to welcome in the sunshine, particularly if you have a calming vista, whereas the dining room or study benefit from privacy and freedom from outdoor distraction. Motorized roller shades range anywhere from around $300 to $1500 per shade and the weight of the fabric, the hardware selections and the fascia finish all play a part in the cost. Manual shades can bring the cost down considerably without having to compromise on fabric quality so a mix and match approach is often popular and the best vendors offer both options to ensure fabric consistency.

We work with Lutron, Crestron and Hunter Douglas so give us a call to arrange to see samples and let us take some rough measurements to provide you with a free quote to help you finish your home.



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