Color, Light, and Balance in January
Date: January 10th, 2014
In January, we all get to thinking about balance and moderation. Like all good things, light is best in moderation. If you don’t have enough, an oppressive gloom can settle over a room, creating an atmosphere that makes you want to go someplace else. But, as anyone who has had to spend time in a too-bright room can tell you, too much light can be too much of a good thing, and leave you with a headache from squinting and an irritable disposition. Where’s the balance?
Window coverings offer so many ways to affect and effect the feeling of a room through light. Transparent and translucent treatments let light into the room without overpowering you, or making things uncomfortable. They have much more to offer than that, though; each delivers a very different ambience, and can change a room’s whole outlook.
The word transparent means that you can see though the material. Transparent window coverings are defined by their ability to allow view-through. How clear that view through is will depend on the color, type of material, and how much openness the material has. Transparent treatments can also diffuse light, making it softer and less focused. This effect can be very soothing- calm and airy, without being so closed in.
Now, there are some transparent window treatments that really do NOT diffuse light, and there are some transparent window treatments that do NOT allow much in the way of view-through. There are some that do both moderately well. Because you can see through them, you really can’t expect much privacy from transparents, and so they are usually paired with a second layer where privacy is needed. This can bring welcome depth and dimension to a space. Some products, like Duette® Honeycomb Shades, pair a transparent and a translucent or blackout fabric in the same shade. Shade products like Silhouette® from Hunter Douglas are designed with fabric vanes that can create both transparent and translucent effects in the same shade- when the vanes are open, the shade is transparent, when the vanes are closed, the shade is translucent. Very versatile, not to mention gorgeous!
Solar screen shades by Insolroll® are designed to be transparent, with fabrics made of individual strands that are either translucent, opaque, or somewhere in between. Dark colored solar fabrics provide excellent view-through, but not much light filtering. Light colors provide moderate view through and excellent light filtering… depending on the specific color, you can wash a room with hued light and still have some nice view through. Learn more about the energy benefits of solar shades.
“Translucent” means that light passes through. All of the transparent fabrics are also translucent, but because you can’t see through translucent treatments, they have a class of their own, and work for rooms where more privacy is needed. The beauty of translucent fabrics is the ambiance they create when sunlight passes through them. Light, neutral colors create a gentle glow that can elevate a space. Darker colors lend a dramatic, moody effect, and the more saturated the fabric’s color, the more they bring a color wash of light to the whole room. Warm colors create a cozy atmosphere, but cool colors can make a space transcendentally peaceful. The visual effects really are limitless, and translucents offer a modicum of privacy. Shadows play on the interior, from trees and plants outside. At night when the room is brightly lit, you will also see shadows on the exterior, but those shadows will be not much more than shapes unless you are very close to the window. So, for tiny rooms, translucent shades may not fit the bill, but in most situations they will provide enough privacy. Here are some great examples of translucent window coverings:
If you are looking to let the light in and bring some balance to your spaces, consider the merits of transparent or translucent window treatments. They truly can transform. Innovative window treatments that can multiple needs in a single shade, and are so worth looking in to, and enhance your quality of life.