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Maximize Natural Light in Winter with These Blinds and Shades

Zebra shades in a kitchen.

During winter, it feels like light is in short supply. And that’s too bad, because we need light to stay healthy. Light keeps our internal clock in sync so we feel more energetic and our sleep stays regular. It also just feels good to have light in your life—it elevates your mood and can improve your general outlook.

Getting more light this winter starts at home. And the primary source of natural light in your home is your windows.

Every window provides sunlight, either directly or indirectly. Maximizing that light can improve the quality of your life and can be the key to enduring the gloom of the winter months. Even if your home is situated so that it never gets a direct ray of sun, there are things you can do to amplify the light that’s available.

So what stands between you and the health-giving, outlook-changing sunlight? Your window treatments. Pick the right window treatments and you can maximize your control of natural light to provide the mood-enhancing illumination you need to stay happy, healthy, and sane this winter.

The Simplicity of Shades

Shades are the simplest, easiest window treatment solution. One quick pull and you can completely shut out the light. And in an instant, you can have full sunlight again. Shades work best on windows where you want complete light at certain times of the day. When a shade is fully retracted, the entire window is available to bring in as much light as possible. When night comes, just pull down the shade for privacy.

Cordless cellular shades in a bathroom.

Cellular shades, roller shades, layered and zebra shades, and tailored Roman shades all come in fabrics that provide privacy and light control. But they also offer sheer fabrics that can provide some level of privacy while still allowing some light to come through. The magic of sheer fabrics is that they capture the light in a special way that produces a subtle glow—an effect that can brighten up the mood of the room, even as the light fades as day progresses.

Elegant Sheer Drapery

Drapery in a bedroom.

That special glow can also be found in sheer drapery. Room-darkening drapes combined with a sheer set of drapes gives you a wide range of light control options. On a clear day, sunlight will light up the folds of the sheer drapery, creating bands of bright translucence. It’s a phenomenon that can have a wonderful effect on a winter-addled brain. Sheer drapery does more than just control the light, it adds a level of elegance to a room that no other window treatment can provide.

The Versatile Sheer Shades

Motorized sheer shades in a living room.

One of the most interesting and versatile window treatments is the sheer shade. Sheer shades consist of two layers of sheer fabric and a set of fabric vanes. These vanes operate like the slats on wood, vinyl, or aluminum blinds. This combination of adjustability and elegant fabric makes sheer shades a great choice for living rooms and dining rooms. Sheer shades, like sheer drapery and sheer layered shades, let you enjoy the light of day while still providing some level of privacy. Sheer shades and layered shades are now available with the smooth and precise EasyTouch cordless lift system which lets you adjust the shade with the lightest touch.

What if Winter is Bringing Me Too Much Sun?

Winter is also prone to another problem—too much sun. Or, more specifically, too much glare from the sun reflecting off he snow as well as the general brightness that snow cover can create. Snow glare can be brutal on the eyes. Luckily, there’s a window treatment that’s made to handle that intensity of light.

Cordless solar shades in a living room.

The ultimate protection against glare is a solar shade. Many people choose solar shades for their south-facing windows. Not only does a solar shade protect against harsh light, it can also provide some view to the outdoors. If you have a window where the sun and glare is too intense during the winter—but you don’t want to completely block the view—a solar shade is your best option. And on days when the sun isn’t out and you really want to bring in as much light as you can, a solar shade can be raised in an instant for an unhindered view to the outside.

Make Light Part of Your Routine

Many people don’t get natural light in their homes because their window treatments aren’t easy to use or they find it a nuisance to raise or open their blinds, shades, shutters, or drapery. And that’s too bad because natural light can have a profound effect on mood and mental health.

Motorization solves this problem. By installing motorized blinds and shades, you can open your window treatments in an instant with a remote control. Or you can use an app to raise and lower your shades from anywhere in your home—or anywhere in the world. You can even program your shades to open and close at set times of the day to maximize light when you need it and privacy when you want it. With motorized blinds and shades, you don’t have to worry—the programming and quiet motors do it for you.

Every Window is Different

What works for one window might not for another. The location of the window, the type of room it is in, the direction the window faces—all these factors play a role in which window treatment you should choose. An important consideration is privacy. A solar shade, with its view to the outdoors, is ideal for a south-facing living room window—but the fact that you can see through it at night makes it a poor choice for many bedrooms and most bathrooms.

A north-facing window that catches the howling winter wind might be best served with thick drapery, a double-cell cellular shade, or a natural shade with a lining. And in a bedroom, which is generally used just at night, a blackout roller shade, tailored Roman shade, or cellular shade might be the best option.

Last Thoughts

Pay attention to color. Dark colors absorb light. Standing in a dark room and looking out at the bright snow might make you feel a little like you’re in a cave. Using whites and lighter colors enhances the available natural light and can make a room feel more cheerful. If you’re trying to establish a mood-elevating atmosphere in your home this winter, go with whites, off-whites, and pastels.