Sunday, June 14, 2009

Decorating with Bamboo Shades

A Natural Alternative to Traditional Window Treatments
Bamboo shades refer to window shades made from lightweight materials such as bamboo, reed, rattan, jutes, faux wood and woven woods. These are typically woven together to create a textured, natural look. They are also a very affordable option, and require little maintenance. Dusting with a feathered or lambs wool duster will often to the trick, as will careful vacuuming with the duster attachment.

Because they are lightweight, they are not as durable as some other options. They are available in a range of styles, and often use pull cords for moving them up and down. These two issues make them not a good choice for a children's room, but other than that, they can be used to compliment a number of decorating styles. Many also come with valance options for a complete window treatment.

Bamboo shades have been used for a long time. Originally, they were made by drying bamboo reeds, and weaving them together using rope. If you want an 'old style' bamboo shade, it is possible to find handmade shades for a reasonable price. Advances in technology also make a number of other styles available, many of which are similar to the original hand crafted versions.

The natural appearance of bamboo window shades makes them a perfect option for those who like a simple look.

If you already have elements of the outdoors in your design style, bamboo blinds may be a perfect choice. In addition, with the popularity of rattan throw rugs and other nature-inspired bamboo flooring options.

These shades match the decor in overall style, color, and texture.

Depending on your tastes and needs, bamboo shades can be found with just the natural elements, allowing some light to filter through when closed.

For additional privacy and some insulating benefits, some bamboo shades are available with a liner. For those that roll up for opening, remember that the liner will show when open.

If you do not like this look, consider a shade that opens differently, or adding an additional window treatment. A sheer curtain in a natural color can add a nice visual to your bamboo shades as well as add a bit of additional privacy when needed.

Bamboo Shade Styles
There are a number of bamboo shade styles available. You can find shades with small bamboo pieces woven together (matchstick style) or with wider, flat pieces mimicking a blind. Bamboo roll up shades are a popular style, and just as the name suggests, they roll up to allow light in. Roll up shades quite literally roll up the window, much like your roll a sleeping bag.

This style uses a pull cord method, which can be dangerous for children (or enticing for cats), but they are easy to operate and add an interesting look.

If you don't like the roll up style, consider bamboo roman shades. These lift in folds, creating an open look with a nice visual style. When opened, these shades look like pleats. This style is also designed better for a lining, as the lining will not show when the shades are open.

Shopping for shades

Different methods for lifting the shades are available, so be sure to carefully inspect the hanging framework and pull mechanisms. A quality hanging frame and lift is essential, as these help extend the life of your shades.

Choose a manufacturer that offers a warranty on the shades, particularly the frame and lifting mechanisms, as these parts are more likely to be defective than the woven shades (and more difficult to replace).

If you are treating multiple windows, look for shades that are similar in color. Because they are made from natural materials, color variances are a given; however, you can find some that have fewer variances than others do, which will give continuity to your design.

Most indoor bamboo window shades hang from the inside of the window frame. Be sure to measure carefully and work with a salesperson or read instructions carefully on how to measure to order the correct size for your windows. If you are installing the shades yourself, inquire about the hardware necessary for installation. Look for shades that come with all the hardware to save yourself time and trouble, and to ensure that you hang the shades properly. Also, make sure that the warranty on your shades stays in effect if you hang them yourself.

Outdoor Decorating With Bamboo Shades

Bamboo outdoor window shades are another wonderful decorating idea to bring design and an indoor feeling to your outdoor spaces. In addition to looking nice, they offer a shade option for your outdoor living spaces such as sunrooms, patios, and decks.

Because they are lightweight, bamboo outdoor shades can be hung from a variety of places, such as from lattice coverings, without causing any damage by adding too much weight. In addition, the natural look of bamboo and lightweight woods is perfect for outdoor areas. If you are looking for a cost-effective option to shade yourself from the hot sun or if your outdoor area happens to face west, consider using bamboo shades to block the setting sun while maintaining an open feel.

Buying bamboo shades
Many home decorating stores offer bamboo shades, as do a variety of online retailers. Even though bamboo shades are more affordable than many alternatives, it is still worth the time to look for discount bamboo shades, particularly if you will be using many of them throughout your home.

Cutting Bamboo Shades

Keep in mind that, while some manufacturers may offer some custom options (such as a shade for a specialty-width window), cheap bamboo shades from discount stores or through a clearance option will be pre-cut. However, comparison-shopping in this way can significantly cut your costs if you have standard sized windows.

When shopping for discounted bamboo blinds in store, or cheap bamboo shades, inquire about the warranty options. Some will offer the standard warranty, which is what you want. If you find cheap shades at a discount store, they may be returns or defects, and you want to know this before purchasing.

In addition, remember that low-cost, affordable bamboo blinds or shades may be of a much lower quality. In some instances, the savings cost may not be worth the reduced quality. Again, as with all purchases, shopping around can save you both money and frustration.

If you like a natural look, want a window covering in a natural color, or are simply looking for an affordable and attractive window treatment, bamboo shades may be a good option for you.