• Keeping Your Home Cool with Shutters

    With another hot summer on the horizon, you’re probably thinking about ways to keep your home cool. The cusp of summer is the perfect time to install sturdy, energy-saving shutters on your windows. They can help tremendously to keep indoor environments comfortable.

    Benefits of Shutters

    Windows and doors are responsible for much of a home’s temperature fluctuations. With the shading and insulation of window shutters, temperatures are easier to regulate. Shutters provide a thermal barrier, and they’re also one of the more attractive ways to keep your home cool. They prevent outdoor heat from penetrating glass and interior rooms, block intense sunlight, and can even let in a breeze when louvers are positioned right. Additionally, shutters are easy to open and close with coordinated slats and hinged frame sides. They give homeowners plenty of privacy, and the style options are vast.

    How Shutters Keep a Home Cool

    Insulation: Shutters provide great insulation because they enclose the window frame to encourage a sealed effect. They are created to resist heat transference more effectively than traditional styles of blinds and curtains, and any gaps or cracks can be caulked for added benefits.

    R-Value: Windows are assigned “R-Values” that are based on construction and shutter type. This measures how well material halts or slows heat movement. High R-Value figures equal hardier insulation and energy efficiency. Shutters have much higher R-Values (the 3 to 6 range) than other window coverings. Blinds fall in the 1 to 2 range.

    Air pockets: Shutters like the faux-wood variety have hollow cores in the frames and slats, creating air pockets that resist heat transfer and insulate quite well. In fact, that air pocket blocks heat. This is one of the ways to keep your home cool. They’re made with PVC or vinyl and painted to appear like stained or painted wood. This style of shutter has to be made in specific sizes and works best on small or medium windows.

    Wood cores: For larger windows, faux wood shutters can be made with wood cores in the framing. This adds stability. The insulation effect isn’t as good as air-pocket versions, but it is still much better than other options.

    Solid wood: Natural wood is slightly lower on the effectiveness scale for insulation but does still offer natural protection from the tiny air pockets in the wood. Cellular structure in wood contains natural air bubbles. Large windows do well with this option, and they hold up against direct sun exposure, too.

    East Bay Shutters for Your Home

    At Armand’s Drapery, Shutters & Upholstery, we offer a wide range of shutter styles, including café, full height, wood, composite, outdoor/indoor, and poly resin. Not sure which option is best for your home? No problem. We offer a free consultation, and we make sure your shutters are professionally installed by members of our team. Contact us at (925) 283-8717.

  • The Easiest Ways to Clean Blinds and Shutters

    “I love cleaning blinds,” said no one ever. The truth is that most people dread cleaning blinds and shutters because they are not very easy to clean. If this sounds like you, then you are in the right place.

    Keep reading to learn the easiest ways to clean blinds and dread it no more.

    1. Socks and Rulers

    This might sound funny but it is a perfect way to clean even the narrowest of blinds. It does not matter the type of blinds you own you can wrap a sock around a ruler and use it in between each blind.

    You can add some soap and water to your sock to trap extra dirt and get a cleaner result.

    2. Dryer Sheets

    You can use dryer sheets for so many things around the house besides laundry, including to keep dust on your blinds at a minimum. Make sure to rub both sides of each blind to ensure that both sides have less dust clinging to them. The dryer sheets will help create a barrier to prevent dust from accumulating, in turn, not having to clean your blinds as often.

    3. Paintbrush

    This method is perfect for blinds that are extremely dirty. Fill up a container with hot water and soap and use the paintbrush, like a broom. Clean each blind individually and use a dry towel to dry each piece as you clean it with the paintbrush.

    Pro tip: Clean the paintbrush often to avoid transferring dirt from one blind to the next.

    4. Vacuum

    If you have a brush attachment on your vacuum, use it every time you vacuum your home. The great thing about this method is that as long as your vacuum is powerful enough it will catch dust that you might have missed otherwise.

    Clean each piece individually on both sides and once you are done close the blinds and use the brush over the entire blinds. Vacuum attachments will also help you clean hard to reach places on your window treatments.

    If you happen to have fabric blinds then using the vacuum is a must. Fabric blinds are something that you do not want to let dust accumulate to avoid it becoming a nightmare.

    5. Toothbrush

    If you have super tiny blinds then a toothbrush is probably better than a paintbrush. You can soak the toothbrush in hot soapy water and scrub piece by piece, front, and back. Dry each piece with a dry cloth to prevent any water stains or marks.

    Now You Know the Easiest Ways to Clean Blinds

    After learning all of the tips above on the easiest ways to clean blinds, which method or methods will you choose to try? Why not try all of them and then choose your favorite?

    If you are not happy with your blinds or shutters after you clean them, then it might be time to replace them. If your blinds have seen their better years and you are ready for an upgrade, please contact us today, we would love to hear from you and help you choose the best blinds for your home!

  • How Shutters and Blinds Help With Energy Costs

    The cooling and heating of your home are responsible for 47% of the energy that your home uses. Your home’s windows, however, are working against your effort to keep energy loss and energy costs to a minimum.

    What can you do to keep heat or air conditioning from escaping through your windows?

    What are the best window coverings to keep heat out during the warm months?

    What are the best window coverings for winter?

    If you’re trying to lessen the energy that is literally going out the window, stick with us. Learn more about energy saving blinds and energy saving shutters here.

    Energy Saving Blinds and Shutters

    If you’re spending more money than you’d like on heating and cooling, you’ll want to equip your home with energy-efficient window treatments. With all of our amazing choices in blinds and shutters, your home will look great while being more energy-efficient.

    How Do Blinds and Shutters Help Lower Energy Costs?

    Minimal effort on your part can make a big difference in your energy costs. Let’s look at how your blinds and shutters help keep the right temperature in your home without wasting electricity.

    Opening and Closing

    Close your blinds or shutters when the sun is shining directly in your windows when you are running your air conditioner. Close them at night during the winter to keep heat from escaping. Your blinds serve as an insulator.

    On sunny winter days, open up those blinds or shutters and let the sun heat up your home. On warm summer nights, open your blinds or shutters to allow heat to escape.

    Shutters

    Shutters are installed in the window frame enclosing the frame and creating a seal. The way that shutters are constructed also enables them to resist heat transfer.

    Faux wood shutters are the most energy-efficient option. These vinyl or PVC shutters are hollow, creating an air pocket. This air pocket keeps your home from losing heat in the winter or gaining heat from outside during the summer.

    Blinds

    What are the best blinds to keep heat out? Reflective blinds are your best bet. They reflect heat and light making them more energy-efficient than other types of blinds.

    The reflective side of the blinds should always face the heat, so out in the summer and in during the winter months.

    Which Ones Fit Your Home’s Style?

    Now that you know how energy saving blinds and shutters can save you money on energy costs, you can find the right ones to fit the style of your home.

    Do you know who can help you with all your blind and shutter needs? We at Armand’s Drapery, Shutters and Upholstery have been in the business for over 60 years.

    Call us today to schedule an in-home consultation. Our interior design specialist will discuss your style and your home’s energy-saving needs to find the right products for you.

  • Different Types of Window Treatments

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    Windows are a key part of every room in the home, as well as external spaces like porches and gazebos. Each window can let in daylight and air, and offer stunning views of the scenery outside. When buying window treatments, there are few features to think about.

    Different window treatments have different purposes. Consider the purpose of your window treatments in each room. Are they there for aesthetic reasons? Do you hope to block light to make a darker bedroom or create a relaxed living room? Often, your window treatments will be a mixture of the items shown below, as each covering is specific to each room, or even each window. Use this guide to help you get clear on what is essential to you.

    Window treatments are divided into 3 different categories:

    • Hard window treatments are mostly made of hard materials like wood. For instance: shades, shutters, and blinds.
    • Soft window treatments are anything made of soft materials. For example: sheers, curtains, drapes, valances, and roman shades.
    • Layered window treatments are a mixture of both hard window treatments and soft window treatments.

     

    Blinds

    Blind covers are made of solid materials. For example, slatted blinds and wooden shutters are usually fixed to cover up the windowpane only. They will leave the window trim uncovered.

    Blinds can be very helpful for closing out the sunlight, when the blind is made with a broad and solid material. They are comprised of slats that can be accustomed to let light and airflow through.

     

    Shutters

    It can be located on the inside of the windows, or more often on the outside of the window. Shutters come in a multiple styles and colors. Some common shape that you may be recognizable with include shaker style shutters and louvered shutters.

     

    Shades

    It is alike to blinds as they roll downward over the windows to stop the light and to control the temperature. Normally, they are made of bamboo and don’t have slats like blinds. Because of this, they make outstanding insulators.

    Occasionally, it can be united with curtains to form the desired look. Because blinds are so efficient at stopping the light and they are used for their functionality. Though, fashionable and modern rooms often use shades only, to create an aerodynamic look.

     

    Curtains

    Curtains can decrease up to 80% of external noises! The most stimulating feature of curtains is their look and the way they can be used to decorate the space. Colors come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles and can be easily changed when desired.

     

    Drapes

    It is different from curtains as it is double lined, and is usually made of thick fabric. While curtains are used to add a decorative touch to space, drapes can be seen as additional convenient, though they are often attractive to look at as well. Thick drapes can be used to block the sun or chilly air.

     

    If you have questions about the different types of window treatments, talk to the experts at Armand’s Drapery.

  • Designing Window Treatments: Dos and Don’ts

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    Your window coverings are strongly influential on your home’s overall look and feel. That’s why knowing the tips and tricks of using window covering design to make your home feel just right is so important. Without guidance, you could make a room feel smaller or darker accidentally. With that in mind, here are some design basics to know:

    Don’t Mount Hardware Just Above Windows

    Mounting window coverings directly above windows misses a great opportunity to create the impression of larger windows. Mounting above the top of the window, even up to the ceiling, creates vertical lines and grand scale that give the impression of much larger windows. Conversely, low-mounted window treatments can shrink windows and give the room a crowded look.

    Hang Window Treatments Wide

    By hanging your curtains wide, you’ll make the room look bigger and better! Curtain rods can extend past the window by as much as you like, as long as you also have the appropriate amount of drapery fabric to cover from one end of the rod all the way to the other when the window dressing is closed. This can make your windows look quite large.

    Do Choose Floor Length Curtains

    Stopping curtains at window sill length is a common mistake. Cutting short the curtain length is quite a large visual mistake, though. The long lines of floor length curtains create the illusion of a larger room and larger windows. For a tailored look, they should just kiss the floor or hover over it about half of an inch.

    Layer Your Window Treatments

    The best styled windows always have multiple layers of window treatments. They might combine blinds, roman shades, drapes or valance combinations. With more window treatments, you get a more appealing aesthetic, better light management, and better insulation.

    Don’t Go Solo

    Deciding on window treatments is best done in the company of a professional designer, window treatment expert, or interior decorator. Armand’s Drapery has experts available to help you make great window covering decisions.