Using Natural Light in Your Design

One of the greatest gifts a designer can leverage is natural light sources.  Understanding the natural light opportunities in a room can guide material selections and what types of artificial lighting is added.  Here in Arizona, S Interior Design likes to incorporate SolaTubes and strategically placed clerestory windows in homes and offices so our clients can enjoy the abundant natural sun shine without loosing heat and privacy controls.    Below is  a guest post about windows, natural light and window covering options to consider.

Using your window space to the best effect


While the structural architecture and design of a room can have an effect on its atmosphere and mood, it is the lighting that truly brings it to life, enhancing the room’s design and décor, as well as creating the mood. Lighting patterns, colors and targeted illumination can create a variety of moods, from cool, restful and relaxing, to warm, active and cheerful. Both artificial and natural lighting can be used creatively to bring out the best features of a room and distract attention away from more negative areas.


Artificial lighting is an part of interior design, but natural lighting, courtesy of windows, is often overlooked or seen as something to work around. Natural lighting, however, is not only better for the eyes; it is also the best light to see accurately, see colors and tones and is a natural mood-enhancer. Choosing the right window coverings and treatments to allow natural light in to the best effect is an important step in truly finishing a room.

Window decorating and natural lighting


There are a variety of different types of window coverings and treatments to choose from. Selecting exactly which to use depends on the room that the windows are in and the lighting effect required.


Window treatments in the bedroom need to be functional in some way, whether it is blinds that can be adjusted or shades that can be easily raised or lowered. Drapes and curtains are also frequently used in bedrooms; many being made from the same fabrics and trims as the bed linens. Room darkening and heat and sound insulating, these types of window coverings have the added benefit of creating a romantic and relaxing mood, particularly when made from luxurious fabrics and materials, such as sheers, brocades or velvet.


In the main living areas of the home, letting in natural light while maintaining a measure of privacy is the key. Covering only a portion of the window is an ideal way of admitting natural sunlight while maintaining privacy. Plantation shutters, along with other styles of window shutter, are a great way to accomplish this lighting effect. Covering only the lower pane or portion of the window, plantation shutters may be opened as desired to let in even more light. Even when closed they allow plenty to come through while keeping the room’s occupants screened from the outside world. Shutters fit in with almost any interior design, in particular country styles and Victorian design, as well as modern and eclectic looks.

Kitchens frequently do not have large windows or have windows with unusual shapes, so finding suitable coverings and treatments that are stylish, yet functional, may prove difficult. In addition to shutters, which also work well here, café curtains are a very popular window covering. Functioning in a similar way to the shutters, café curtains leave the upper part of the window nearly bare, allowing plenty of natural light to come through, while also ensuring a degree of privacy. Café curtains are available in a variety of styles and fabrics.


Patio and Sliding Doors and Functional Window Treatments

Here in Arizona every home seems to have at least one set of sliding glass doors.  Unless you are blessed with a large wide patio overhang, having light and heat control is necessary.  Gone are the old days of vertical blinds.  Why choose this outdated option when there are so many others?

S Interior Design was asked to post this guest blog on the subject of some of those alternatives.  At the end of the guest post, we discuss an additional option that we do for  our clients on a regular basis—layers of drapery.

Guest Post

Choosing window treatments for sliding glass or patio doors can be a bit more involved than picking out a treatment for your bathroom window. In bathrooms

usually the main concerns are privacy and moisture resistance. On sliders privacy and light control can be issues but also how if functions is important.

You may use the door quite a bit and you might want something that’s easy to operate.  Or maybe you don’t use it that offend and just want something to block

out the sun a little.   As far as esthetics the sliding glass door is a bigger treatment and is going to make a statement. You want a treatment that is going

to go along with your style and decor. What’s out there if I want a soft elegant look, more rustic, contemporary or traditional?

Hopefully this article will provide you with the knowledge to choose a treatment that not only looks great but functions great as


Before we get into the different types of treatments lets first go over some basic measuring specific to sliders.

 Few Tips on Measuring

When discussing measuring I am only referring to outside mounts since the majority of this application is outside mounted. Whenever you’re measuring for

sliding glass doors for the width you want to measure from trim to trim and add about 8 inches. The 8 inches is for 4 inches of overlap on each side. The

overlap is for privacy and light blocking.

The more overlap you will have more privacy and less light. There are a few exceptions to the rule. You may have obstructions that won’t allow that much

overlap like a counter top coming right up to your woodwork or an adjacent wall.   But you get the idea if you have the room add the 4 inches to each side.

Measure from the floor to 3 inches above the top trim for height. The 3 inches is to give you enough room to get the bracket above the trim (don’t mount on the

trim). Look for other obstructions such as cabinet doors. When open will they hit the new treatment? Will the treatment prevent the cabinet door from opening

all the way?

Now on to the treatment options for sliding glass doors.

First up is a Vertical cellular shade.

This is a cellular shade in a vertical position that slides back and forth on a rod that is similar to drapery rod but on steroids. Many companies make these

each one having a little variance. Most popular is the Vertiglide made by Hunter Douglas and The Ovation made by Comfortex.

I find that there is little different between the two except for price and Hunter Douglas puts their name on the handle. Spring Window Fashions, which is

the parent company to Bali and Graber, make Slide-vue and Verticell.

The  distinctive feature for these brands is you can slide either way, left to right or right to left.

Pros: Very energy efficient, thin stack usually about 6 inches so doesn’t cover

up much of your view.  No cords

Cons: Material at bottom can get dirty. Pets can or will damage material trying to move material out of their way to see squirrels.

Second up is Vertical Sheers:

This is a vertical blind with a sheer material attached over it. Most companies have their own version and operate just as a vertical blind.  The sheer is one piece that is fabricated so it attaches onto each vane.

Pros: The sheer material can be removed for cleaning. Offers a soft look with the function of a vertical blind.

Cons:  Because of added thickness of sheer material over vanes, the vanes won’t close as tight. This is true for most brands except for Levelor.
Levelors’  design allows the vanes to close the tightest.

Third is Sliding Woven Woods:

This is one of my favorites though not many companies make one. It is a woven wood material in a vertical position that is attached at the top to a rail that allows it to easily slide back and forth. Sometime you will find it with grommets at the top in which it will slide on a wood pole.

Pros:  No cords, safer for children. It can be lined for more privacy and light control

Cons: There are either open or closed, cannot control light like a vertical blind. Forth is Panel Tracks:

Referred to as sliding panels and valance. Panel tracks are strips of material about 18 to 35 inches wide that hang from a rod and slide like a drapery. The number of panels depends on the width of your patio door. When you slide them to one side they stack over one another. The material these are available in range from woven wood to sun screen. You can find them to fit any decorating scheme. Most companies make their own version and the difference is usually in how the rod is constructed and how the panels attach to the rod (mostly with Velcro).

Pros: Creates a dramatic look on a larger window like sliding glass doors. More pet friendly since they can easily move to panels out of the way to see outside. Safer for children

Cons: Panel width can cover a good portion of your glass. If you have the wall space you can have the treatment wider so the panels hang over your wall and not your glass door.

Fourth is the Luminette:

Only made by Hunter Douglas. It’s like a very fancy and pricey vertical sheer. It’s kind of hard to describe but I’ll give it a try. Picture this vertical blind with the vanes made out of a firm but softer material and each vane is connected by sheer to create a continuous treatment the width of your slider. It has two controls, one to draw it to one side and the second to rotate the vanes to control light and privacy.

Pros: Very soft look of a sheer with the functionally of a vertical blind.  Sleek design

Cons: Hard to install, Expensive, Keep the cats away.

Last but not least are Roller Shades:

I mention these because I see more people putting them on their sliding glass doors. There’re not using the more traditional solid material over there sliders but sun screen fabric. They want to filter out the sun but still want to see out and this offers a good solution.

Pros: Not too expensive Don’t have to tug on it to make it work. It raises and lowers by a beaded chain control.

Cons: They’re either up or down, so every time you want to use the door you have to raise them. Drawing them up will take two hands since they will have some weight to them.

Do You Have These Concerns

These are good questions and real concerns that you should take a minute and  think about when choosing a treatment.

Is energy efficient important to you?

Do you have young children?

Which are the safest?

Which stand up best to pets?

Do you have an extra wide slider with 3 or 4 panes of glass, or maybe a transom above, do you cover it or leave it open?

Which won’t take away from my beautiful view?

Most Popular

Well there you have it, treatments you can use on patio or sliding glass  doors. All of them will work on either two, three or four panes of glass. The only exception is roller shades. They have limitations on how wide they can be made. They can be made to fit over standard sliders (2 panes of glass). As far as popularity I would rate them in this order with the most popular being vertical cellular’s, then panel tracks, followed by roller shades, vertical sheers, laminates and finally sliding woven woods only because they aren’t as available and not too many people know about them yet. Choosing something that is going to make a big statement can be a bit scary. At least now you have some knowledge to make a more informed choice.

 About The Author: Robert is a window treatment installer who blogs about all things window treatments at There you will find helpful information about various types of window treatments as well as tips & advice. Visit Him today at

By S Interior Design

Don’t forget about the option of custom fabric window treatments.  Options include Roman Shades and Drapery.  A favored option is to have a bottom layer of sheers to filter light, but not block views, with a second layer of heavier weight fabric that coordinates with the other furnishings, bedding and upholstery in a room.
S Interior Design has eleven years experience in design of custom window treatments for all windows including the sliding glass patio door.

Eco-Friendly Window Treatments

S Interior Design is always interested in design concepts that are eco-aware.  So, when we were asked to share this blog post about how to ‘ think green’  when it comes to your interior window coverings, we were happy to oblige.

Go Green with your Window Blinds!

Never has Mankind been more aware of the environment than in 2012. Recycling is now a given rather than a choice, eco-friendly products are more and more common on supermarket shelves and reducing our carbon footprint is no longer the reserve of global airlines.

As energy prices hit an all-time high, the task of reducing the cost of lighting and heating our businesses and homes became a critical issue for everyone. No longer are lights left on over night, appliances like washing machines and dish washers are only turned on in off-peak hours and now there’s even a little discussion before switching the heating on outside of a couple of hours in the morning and a few more late at night.

One significant way of saving energy and money is to invest in the right style of window treatment. While Curtains have long been heralded as great draft excluders, the reality is that material curtains are also unforgiving when it comes to keeping natural light out – instead, it’s time to consider window Blinds.


There has rarely been a greater selection of Blinds available on the market and some are better than others when it comes to making a contribution to the environment. Wooden Blinds, for example, will block heat or cold from leaving or entering a room and are very practical when it comes to increase (or decreasing) the amount of natural light in a room.


By retaining heat inside a room, Blinds reduce the need for home owners to have their heating on. Likewise, by keeping excess heat out during the summer months, Blinds lessen the need for air conditioning within a building. Being able to increase the amount of light in a room, without switching on a light, in a moment’s notice will also has positive effects on your lighting costs.

Thick-fabric Roman Blinds work in a similar fashion, while allowing complete control over privacy and a room’s natural light. Both Wooden and Roman Blinds can be made from eco-friendly and sustainable materials – check with your retailer for more details – and both produce very few nasty by-products during their manufacturing processes.


Other benefits of having Blinds installed include the fact they reduce the amount of direct sunlight exposure on furnishings (UV rays cause some fabrics and materials to fade and even discolour), while also being able to eliminate glare on sunny afternoons! For a more a natural-looking Blinds to align with your eco principles, you might also consider selected a Bamboo-based Blind from the ever popular Woodweave line.

Perhaps the most important factor in choosing eco-friendly Blinds, however, is the simple fact that in doing so, you don’t have to compromise on design or luxury! Conscious that customers are now thinking of the environment more than ever, manufacturers are now making real efforts to produce sustainable, durable and ‘green’ products in a wide variety of colors and styles, which will fit into any budget.

Niamh is writing on behalf of (Link:, a company with over 25 years experience in the Blinds and window Shutters industry.Image

Dramatic Window Treatments

We try to avoid drama in our day to day lives but love it when it comes to decorating ideas, especially window treatments. Dramatic window treatments are like the perfect accessory… the room works without them, but it is missing something; it feels incomplete. Fabric, pattern, color, trim and design all work in conjunction with one another to create dramatic window treatments that make a statement. The statement may be elegant, modern, playful or sophisticated depending on the design elements selected. No matter the style, there is a way to add drama to a space with the right window treatment.

Decorating IdeasPinterest (via)

Floor to ceiling curtains add drama to the living room designs. A matching monogrammed valance adds additional elegance.

Decorating IdeasElements of Style (via)

A pelmet creates a canopy like feeling for these colorful yellow and pink paisley curtains and coordinating pink roman shades. The dramatic curtains frame not only the window but the bed too.

Decorating IdeasPinterest (via)

Voluminous pink drapes in striped silk add drama to this feminine space. Height, fabric and volume are all key to dramatic drapes.

Decorating IdeasPinterest (via)

Heavily draped Roman shades can add drama to a space even if they are in a neutral linen. The gorgeous ballooning of the fabric makes this nook feel special.

Decorating IdeasLonny Mag (via)

A suzani inspired pattern in reds, white and black adds drama to this neutral bedroom. Limiting the pattern to the window treatments intensifies their impact in bedroom designs.

Decorating IdeasBHG (via)

Bold pattern in black and white adds drama to the curtains and this modern bedroom. A great decorating idea would be coordinating pillows help tie the curtains into the rest of the room.

Decorating IdeasPinterest (via)

This home office design by Mary McDonald has dramatic black and white striped curtains that stand up to the bold carpet. The two patterns offset one another and create a strong statement.

Decorating IdeasPinterest (via)

Green and white awning stripe roman shade add drama to this colorful, playful room. The green and white stripes stand out against the warm brown of the wall and bamboo shades.

This post comes courtesy of Design Shuffle, where you can find top tier interior designs from around the world – from New York interior designers, Los Angeles interior designers, and more, check out the latest at Design Shuffle.

Custom Window Treatment Design

When creating custom window treatments, taking the right measurements of the windows and doors is crucial.  Take a look at a professional site measure that was done for an S Interior Design client today .  Can’t wait to share the finished room !!

Here are some of the ‘naked’ windows that are being measured to make sure that their ‘clothing’ or drapes and hardware will fit properly.