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“Blind” Meanings and History

“Blind” Meanings and History

The word “blind” as in curtain obviously comes from same term meaning “unable to see.” When a window is covered up with a curtain who becomes blind? The outsiders are blind to what is happening inside, the insiders are blind to what is happening outside, or maybe the people inside can no longer see because of lack of sunlight.

Let us look at history to see what was most likely meant when the word was first used to refer to curtains.

Firstly note that use of “blind” as in “unable to see” was first used in Old English in year 1535 (wiki dictionary). It was probably only until much later that the word was used to mean a curtain.

Black-out blinds during Wartime

The first use of enforced blackouts was in the beginning of World War One. Right at the beginning of the war Germany planned the first ever strategic air bombing campaign on England. Before the war Winston Churchill, lord of the Admiralty, planned to blackout the coastal towns to confuse German submarines as well aircraft. Eight days after England declared war on August 12 1914 the blackout was issued on several towns. Germany started air-raids on England on England first with Zeppelins then with Gothas bomber planes. In response the whole England was put under nightly blackouts by February 1916.

By World War Two it was common term to use blackout-blinds with black-outs laws issued in many countries around the globe. For as many as five years people grew accustomed to living under blackout conditions. Of course everyone was greatly relieved at the end of war when the blackout was finally lifted. During the black many people were injured from automobile accidents as well as suffering high street crime rates.

Black-out blinds available at Royal Window Treatments

Blackout Window Treatment Options


Blackout Roller Shades

Blind Safety for Children and Pets

Blind Safety for Children and Pets

Royal Window Treatments is now offering a guide on blind safety. Most people are unaware that there have been 600 reported cases of death in the US due to window cord strangulation since 1986.

Of those deaths 59% were when Safety Tassel, breakaway cord consolidators were used, 24 percent were with soft window coverings such as roll up shades and drapery, 17 percent were with vertical blinds when safety devices were not installed or broken. These facts and statistics are from the organisation, Parents For Window Blinds Safety found on

The solution is if you have children or pets are around you can use most types of Roller Shades such as our UltroGlide single retractable cord system or Lite-rise system. If you are going to use regular vertical blinds make sure they’re installed properly and have no loose strings longer then 5 inches.

Learn more about blinds>>

Window treatment trends 2014

Window treatment trends 2014

Trends come and go – especially in the interiors world – but we can’t help fixating on the latest home ‘must-haves.’ In the world of shades, blinds and fabrics it appears that heavily textured woven fabrics are a big hit this side of 2014 while for later on in the year (ie autumn and winter), the odds are that mis-matched blinds is going to be a big style trend. We don’t mean contrasting in terms of textures, but rather colors eg a black blind on one wall and a red version on the other.

Woven fabrics add character

But, back to those woven fabrics. What are we talking about here? Vertical fabric blinds or drapes with thick, heavily woven textured fabric can add elegance to a room, as well as a design element and a feeling of warmth. And the best thing about this trend is that it fits with contemporary and traditional design.

Radiant Orchid emerges as Pantone’s Color 2014

Other trends for 2014 indulge color and pattern. With regard to the former as you’ll no doubt have heard by now, Pantone have announced Radiant Orchid their Colour of the Year. This vibrant and bright pink is pretty bold and is a great color for a feature wall or as an accent color.

We’re actually quite pleased about this here at Royal Window Treatments since it’s a personal favorite of ours and it certainly brightens up any room. Radiant Orchid is also easier to match with furniture and other fabrics than last year’s Emerald Green. Having said that, keep an eye out for indigo blue as well; which we’re convinced you are definitely going to be seeing a lot more of this year.

Neutrals that are more than nice

You’ll find neutrals – such as beige and white – still enjoy a very high profile in shades, blind and drapery design. It may seem a tad impractical because of their tendency to get grubbier quicker than a darker shade, but having non-descript blinds/drapes means you can splash out on colors on other items in your room such as a sofa or carpet (both of which will get far more foot traffic than shades anyhow).

A flourish of florals – shades NYC

Actually it’s not just in NYC that floral shades are bursting out all over, but in the rest of America as a whole. However, we did start to notice it here in NYC first. And not that we’re complaining. It’s been a while since our interiors were allowed the bright, fun and frolicking patterns that floral patterns undoubtedly introduce.

Scandinavian design has been popular for a while but it’s recently been enjoying resurgence thanks to the emergence of hit Scandinavian TV shows such as Borgen and The Killing in Europe, as well as the plethora of new books hitting our bookshelves from some high-profile Swedish and Norwegian crime authors. We’re glad since it’s a fun and clean look which is particularly good for children’s rooms or those which are vintage, minimalist or eco-inspired.

Multi-layered windows

And why not? Ok, this may prove a bit more expensive than buying one item for your windows, but the layering effect can look so dramatic and luxurious that it’s definitely worth it. And anyhow, buying a thin organza curtain isn’t too expensive if that’s the particular window treatment you go for..

We prefer window treatments where the colors are blended rather than contrasting ie the shades and curtains being as close as possible in color, making the whole window space seem larger and more of an exhibit or focal point for the room.

What’s your favorite shade and blind trend for 2014? Do share with us here at Royal Window Treatments.

Meanwhile, you can see more of our work on Google Plus and find us here.

Would you choose wood blinds for a window treatment?

Would you choose wood blinds for a window treatment?

The natural look of genuine varnished or stained wood or even faux wood blinds is a great way to add charm and an ‘eco’ feel to any room in your house or apartment. It’s also a lot more interesting design-wise than simply hanging up white or beige blinds.

You’ll find the majority of wood blinds these days are produced from a particularly lightweight timber (usually paulownias or basswood). That’s because this type of wood has a light grain and is easy to sand and stain. It’s also reasonably sturdy and looks good – to the extent it’s not necessary to put up drapes with it too.

When it comes to the maintenance of wood blinds though it’s worth remembering that wood can stain easily. Because of this it’s perhaps not ideal to have wood blinds in the kitchen or bathroom, unless the blinds are away from sinks or ‘messy’ areas. Wood blinds can also warp if they get wet or damp which would ruin their appearance, not to mention their effectiveness (after all, the main reason they’re there is to shield your fabrics and the rest of the room from the strong rays of the sun – and for privacy, of course).

Wood Blinds New York, Los Angeles, Florida

It seems that regardless of which side of the States you’re heading for this spring or summer, you’ll find wood blinds. The practical nature of faux wood blinds in keeping out the sun is obvious (great for Los Angeles and Florida) while the real wood blinds create beautiful rustic looking interiors for those of us on the for colder east side of the country.

How to clean wood blinds

Genuine wood blinds obviously require special care when it comes to cleaning. Initially you should dust each individual slat either by hand with a microfiber cloth or using a portable vacuum cleaner for speed.

Next, get special wood cleaning fluid and squirt a small amount on the cloth (make sure it doesn’t contain wax or strong chemicals) then again, wipe each individual slat. If the blinds are especially dirty then you can use a damp paintbrush dipped in fabric softener and wipe it along the slat to pick up dust. Next use oil soap on a clean cloth. To apply more pressure to the blinds for a better clean you could always dismantle them and clean them on the floor

Grab a fabric softener sheet. Rub it between your hands while wearing a pair of cotton mittens or gloves. This will limit static while cleaning the wood blinds. Carefully rub your hands along each slat until the wood blinds are clean.

How to clean faux wood blinds

Because faux wood blinds are made of a combination of wood and vinyl they actually feel like plastic.  Obviously like other types of blinds, the dust will gravitate to them over time so they’ll need the odd wipe down and clean.

The first thing to do is dust each individual slat with a dry cloth, making sure you cover both sides. It’s also possible to use a small portable vacuum for quicker work. To clean them just wipe them over with a damp cloth which has been dipped in a solution of detergent and warm water.

Clean both sides of the slat and remember the cords too then rinse with clean water. If the blinds are really grimy you could always unhook them and soak them in the bath in warm water for an hour or two. Dry them either by hand or using a small portable fan. Opening the window, if it’s windy, helps too.

Find out more about the endless possibilities of wood blinds at Royal Window Treatments or see what else we’ve been up to at Google Plus. Looking to come and see us at the store? Then find us here.

Don’t be blind when it comes to investing in solar shades

Don’t be blind when it comes to investing in solar shades

Solar shades are a window treatment option which has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is due to their eco credentials (they work by absorbing heat from the sun, blocking UV rays). Such is their strength that solar shades are effective in blocking up 90 per cent of UV rays – not bad for a piece of fabric!

Another benefit of solar blinds is that they allow the room in which they are installed to maintain a constant temperature. As a result there is less dependency on air conditioning and hence utility costs are lower. The blinds also provide plenty of privacy but at the same time don’t distort the view – effectively giving the homeowner the best of both worlds.

Solar shades these days tend to be of the roller blind variety so are simple to install and don’t take up much room if they’re put up inside the window recess. They are particularly effective for windows on your porch or sun room and can also be useful for blocking out glare from a skylight. However, before you rush out and purchase some of these fabulous new blinds, there are a few things to consider first such as:

Where you’ll put your new solar shades

Check out where your home gets the sun strongest. Usually it’s on an east facing window at the start of the day then west towards late afternoon and evening. This means you’ll need a stronger fabric for these windows (ie the weave will have to be denser so that the shades can block out more light). This is referred to within the industry as ‘an openness value’ and where the weave can vary to provide anything from an 80 per cent UV blockage all the way up to a dense 99 per cent.

Colours of solar shades range from a light stone to fawn and chocolate brown. Getting a dark coloured blind will help block out more light. However, conversely it doesn’t help when it comes to privacy. Lighter colours are, in fact, better in this respect since they absorb infrared heat and warm up the room. Dark blinds will also mean you’ll need to use more artificial light since they’ll cast a darker shadow on the room.

What size of solar shade to get

If you’re intent on blocking out all UVs rays (or at least not allowing any to filter through into the room) then it’s actually best to get a shade that you can put up on the moulding (ie not inside the window frame). That way you can be sure no light will get through. It does make the blind more noticeable in the room however. Then again, that needn’t be a bad thing, particularly if your window isn’t that attractive to look at in the first place.

Different types of solar shades on the market today

The blinds come in both manually operated (with cords) and motorised versions (obviously the latter will be more expensive and involve installation costs). They can also be fixed with a valance in place to add decoration or simply installed as they are.

How regularly do solar blinds need to be replaced?

The good news is that because they are so sturdy, your typical solar shade should last for a couple of decades at least. So, not only will they save you money on an on-going basis in terms of lower electricity costs for air conditioning, but you won’t need to replace them any time soon either. A bit of a win/win situation wouldn’t you say?

Find out more about solar shades at our website Royal Window Treatments or take a look at our work on Google Plus. Meanwhile, find us here.

Get clever choosing custom curtains

Get clever choosing custom curtains

When it comes to choosing drapes for the windows in your home, all the choice out there can initially seem pretty overwhelming. There are so many different styles, fabrics and accessories for custom curtains these days that it’s easy to simply switch off and opt for blinds instead. But don’t be hasty. You’d be missing out on so much décor enhancement if you did – not to mention warmth and lovely texture to stroke.

We’d advise you flick through a selection of magazines and start cutting out the styles you really like and even making a mood board of fabrics. Alternatively, of course, you can come and ask our experts here at Royal Window Treatments for some professional advice.

Fabric suggestions for custom curtains NYC

How to display custom curtains

Royal Window Treatments is easy to find here in New York and easier still if you check out our Google Maps link right here.