November, 2010 browsing by month


Cellular Blinds vs. Solar Shades

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Tom Vatury, from Horizon Window Treatments Company, recently sent me this interesting article he wrote regarding the comparison of cellular blinds and solar shades. I thought it had a lot of great information and he explained it so well that I wanted to share it with you.

” People often exclaim and sigh when browsing through the many window treatment choices and the overwhelming amount of fabric samples. It’s definitely not easy to settle on one with so many exciting possibilities. The best thing to do is first understand the different options and break them down by function before looking at the fabric pattern or color choices, since these can often be applied across products.

 There are many window treatments that can be compared from the different drapery, shade and shutter options, but two very practical and popular solutions are cellular blinds and solar shades. Cellular blinds are actually more like shades, since they form a single continuous panel with slats stuck together rather than as separate segments. They are commonly called honeycomb shades, because of their distinctly shaped inner pockets.

Cellular Blinds with Curtains

Cellular Blinds with Curtains

Cellular blinds are also well known for their great energy saving quality. They can help reduce energy usage during very warm or cold months by limiting the transfer of heat. These blinds form special insulating air pockets between the front and back side, resembling a honeycomb cell, hence its name. However, they need to be installed properly to really be energy efficient. If they are installed very closely to the window with both sides of the shade held close to the wall, it creates a sealed airspace that effectively limits the amount of hot or cold air from passing through either way. A double cell option is also recommended to achieve the most effective energy saving blind. Blackout cellular blinds designed for room darkening are usually lined with foil, which further improve their insulation and can additionally help reduce noise. This is a great option in a bedroom for comfortable rest any time.

Top Down Cellular

Top Down Cellular

There are a few drawbacks to cellular blinds, though. The first disadvantage being that the accordion design of the shade may not mesh well with the rest of your interior design style. The shape is a major part of how the blind saves energy, however, so there is not much room to work with this, except possibly by choosing different size cells. The other disadvantage is that honeycomb shades do not provide very much light control once installed. Unlike traditional blinds, the slats here are glued together and can’t be individually opened to let light through like horizontal blinds. The fabric can either be light filtering or room darkening, but must be raised or lowered to adjust beyond that.

Honeycomb Shades

Honeycomb Shades

Solar shades have similar attributes as cellular blinds, but offer different options as well. These shades have more in common with traditional roller shades, yet it’s the specially woven screen-like fabric here that makes the difference. This special design minimizes direct sunlight, stopping UV rays and reducing glare, without completely blocking out the window view. They are available in different degrees of openness, usually starting at 5%. The higher the openness factor is the looser the weave and the less shade that is provided, but the clearer the view will be. The way solar shades filter light prevents most visibility into the windows during the daytime, but at night, when lights are on inside and the exterior is darker, outsiders may be able to see through the shades. For full privacy solar shades are then best combined with another window treatment layer, such as a blackout curtain or roller shade. The solar shade in front will also help prevent fading of your other fabrics, furniture and floors by blocking harmful UV rays. Solar shades are available in different colors, but aren’t available with decorative trims like roller blinds. One way around this for a more stylish design is to have a border pattern printed on them.

Solar Shades

Solar Shades


Solar Screen Shade

Solar Screen Shade

Both of these window treatments can be operated with cords or pulled manually for a safer solution around children and they can also be installed as motorized solutions for even more convenience.  The clear difference between Cellular Blinds and Solar Shades is one can be very energy efficient, saving money with its distinct honeycomb design and the other is a cleaner flat roller design that will protect from UV rays while preserving the view. Which of those is the best choice will depend on the room type and product feature you find more important. From there you can decide on a color to choose, which both offer a nice variety of.”

Thank you Tom!  What would be your choice readers?  They are both so practical for keeping in the warmth (and coolness) and both have a lot of different styles to choose from.  Be sure to look through his portfolio here for ideas and inspiration.  Comments?  Any other window treatments you would like to learn more about?

If you need help making your home comfortable and happy, contact me today!

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Color Pulse 2012 from Benjamin Moore

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

At my recent Boston IRN conference, Fran Mooney, who is a color and design specialist at Benjamin Moore, presented an interesting and enlightening class. The class was called ‘Color Pulse 2012, Engaging the Past and the Future’ which outlined Benjamin Moore’s predictions on their color forecast in the future.  What I enjoyed about the Ben Moore forecast is that it was not only about the prediction of colors, but also the sense of where we will be in 2012. 


 Not surprising, the focus and title of the theme is Preservation.  To preserve and protect is the connection between human beings and their environment. Here are a few highlights of their predictions I thought you would enjoy:


  • South America and Mexico will have a big influence in their knowledge through tradition.
  • In fashion, lace will be more prevalent than today.
  • The continuum of blues such as denim and indigo, navy, inky blues and turquoise.
  • Herringbone and plaid will be more prevalent.
  • Traditional colors such as khaki, taupes and browns will be baked into golds and burnt oranges.  Reds will be more blackened and richer in color. 
  • Bronze will be the standard metal.
  • Yellows will be brighter and cleaner.


  • Consider the journey.
  • Hounds tooth fabric will be popular in fashion.
  • Advertisers will look to crowd sourcing: Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs are where the advertisers will want to be.
  • Prediction of lots of green and blue usage in 2012.
  • Black and white still strong with whites being fresh and bright.
  • The world will become even more focused on the environment.
  • Greens will be sheer and bright.


  • In the fashion world, camouflage will be strong. If you can believe it, broad shoulders may be coming back!!
  • Colors for the protection influence will be black, steel gray and bronze.
  • Purples will be blacker.
  • Feminine pink and brown are headed to mauve!!  Nooooo!

Camouflage Prom Dresses


  • Looking forward to the future. 
  • Rebirth and reawakening.
  • Instead of the ‘me’ attitude, it will become more the ‘we’ attitude.
  • We will see more vintage lights grouped together for impact.
  • Kitchens will resemble the Jetson’s- filled with organic shapes and styles.
  • Reflective surface will be prominent.
  • Shadowing and lighting will be experimented with indoors as well as outside. Light colors will become more and more abundant.
  • Predictions of combining misty tones with chrome.  Blues and purples will become more fluid.


I would love to share the actual colors with all of my devoted readers, but unfortunately for right now they are considered “top secret”! Keep reading and keep your interest fresh on these upcoming colors from Benjamin Moore–I will try to sneak a few colors to you soon! ; )


If you need help making your home beautiful and happy, please contact me!

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Thanksgiving Holiday Tablescapes

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Only a few days away from the Holiday madness!  I wanted to share some pretty tablescapes to help get you inspired and give you a few ideas to jazz up your table.

My florist friend Valerie from Floral Arranging 101, suggested to buy two or three mixed bouquets (all the same) at the grocery store.  Divide up the flowers by color and type and then color block (bunching like with like colors) an oasis wreath.  Color blocking flowers add more impact.  Then add small pumpkins on skewers, pods, millet sprays, etc. Then place candles in the middle.  This looks great on a round table.

Family Gathering Centerpiece Flowers

For a rectangular table, Val suggests using three to five short vases and color block (bunching like with like colors) them down the center of the table.  No taller than 10 inches, so your guests can converse over them.  Or use candles as below:

PS.  If you have not seen the flameless wax candles, check it out here.  Great idea.  They are made of vanilla scented wax and run on batteries.  They even have a timer on them!  They are available in 4″, 6″ & 8″ heights.

I love to run table runners side to side like this above picture instead of always down the middle.  Very pretty and creative.

 So simple.  So beautiful.

Pretty soon I can start posting about Christmas tablescapes like below: Yay!

I hope that I gave you some ideas to use for your big day.  Remember to enjoy yourself!

If you need help decorating your home, contact me today!

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Choosing The Right White

Monday, November 15th, 2010
Choosing the right white is as hard, if not more difficult, than which color to select. Don’t think you are alone with this issue!
Photo File

Photo File

Or,  I am often asked, which white should I choose for my trim and/or cabinets?

Photo File

Photo File

So I would like to share with you some designer tips I have learned over the years that you can use when you are looking for that perfect white for your home.

Look at Decorator’s White Int. Rm. for a warm white with yellow undertones; Linen White Int. Rm. has a warm beige undertone; and a cool white will have blue/gray undertones such as White Diamond OC-61.  An easy way to see the white undertones, is to use a large sample of Decorator’s White to put white samples next to help determine the underlying colors.

If you have white walls or cabinets, I suggest do not paint the trim the same shade of white.  You want the contrast between the two whites for architectural interest.  Again, sample the whites next to your existing white.  Also, I like to use different finishes for more of a contrast which I wrote about here:  Would you like that Shiny or Flat?  Flat is usually used for the ceiling, an eggshell finish on the walls and a gloss or semi-gloss on the trim.

You can use several tints of white in a room, but keep them in the same color temperature, either all warm whites or all cool whites.

If you are going to use white for your ceiling, be sure to use a ‘warm white’ if your walls are painted in a warm color, including red, yellow or orange. I recommend to use a ‘cool’ white if your room is painted in cool colors, such as blue, green or violet.

Cloud White OC-130 seems to be the top ‘white’ choice for designers.  It is also one of my favorites because it is so soft and works so well with other colors.  Other whites I love are White Dove OC-17 , Linen White,  Int. Rm, (a soft ,yellowy white) and Chantilly Lace OC-65 (a white, white).  Here is a picture below I am redesigning where we used White Dove in a semi-gloss finish for her white cabinets.  Just a beautiful white!

2010 11 08 001

 Be sure when you are painting your cabinets white, such as White Dove, your back splash and counter tops should also be white, gray or black.  If you are using a white with a yellow undertone such as Acadia White OC-38 on your cabinets, your counters and back splash should be a more of a creamy color such as browns, beiges and creams shown in photo below.

File Photo

File Photo

Comments?  Any questions? 

If you need help choosing whites for your home, contact me today.

Previous posts you may enjoy:

Sneak Peek at White Kitchen Redesign

Priority! Questions To Ask Before You Begin Redesign

More Questions To Ask Before Your Room Redesign

Top 20 Selling BM Paint Colors for 2010

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