EVEN WITH THE BEST, most intricately designed and programmed dimmable lighting control system installed in your house, the effectiveness of your intended ambiance will often be at the mercy of sunlight. For this reason, it’s wise to complement your smart lighting products and systems with motorized window treatments. Sure, it’s possible to manually open and close window shades and drapes to create the visual environment you want but, as it is with the lights, it’s easier, quicker and more elegant to move them all via a tap of a button. “Motorized shading is the epitome of fashion meets technology,” says David Weinstein, vice president, residential sales, at Lutron Electronics. “The shade or drapery itself can make a fashion statement when it’s paired with a lighting control system. The entire visual environment can be easily managed from a single keypad.”
When attached to a motorized roller or track, window shades and draperies can position themselves in a way that allows the lights in the room to do their magic without any interference from the conditions outside. Conversely, the window coverings can adjust to allow sunlight to contribute to the look and feel of the interior and to weave the outdoor scenery into the room environment. No matter what their objective, the shades themselves can function as a decorative element. “One of the trends has been the introduction of pattern and color and texture to shades,” Weinstein continues. “We can even screen print an image onto the shading material. It’s all about making an impression.”
The type of window treatment fabric can also have an aesthetic impact. Sheer and opaque materials, for example, diffuse harsh sunlight to wash soft, natural illumination across flooring and furnishings. You can choose a fabric that provides privacy and a view of the outdoors and contemporary styles that can cover a huge expanse of glass common in modern homes. And it’s not just about windows. Motorized drapes and shades can also be used to conceal TVs and projection screens in media rooms and to create a visual separation between a kitchen and dining room.
Motorized shading systems can be operated via a handheld remote, mobile device (through a downloaded app) or from the same keypad that controls the lights. Keypad buttons can be programmed by a home systems integrator to command the lights and shades individually or in concert. Individual shades—like those covering a huge expanse of glass—can be programmed to move perfectly in synch and to stop at predetermined positions to complement the room’s aesthetic.
- Consider color, texture, style and opacity when selecting motorized window treatments
- Use a system that can be easily integrated with the lights for a pleasing blend of natural and artificial illumination
- Have the drapes and shades position themselves automatically based on the position of the sun, the time of day or the intensity of the room lights
- Incorporate controls that provide precise positioning of the window treatments
- Use motorized drapes to conceal a projection screen in a home theater
Finally, motorized shading can protect upholstery, artwork and other decorative elements from sun damage. During sunny days, the shades can roll down automatically, based on the time and/or the position of the sun. This goes for other styles of window treatments too, including Venetian blinds, horizontal blinds and skylight shades.