Home Office Window Blinds and Shades
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Last updated: Friday, May 9, 2008 | 12350 Views
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If you work at home then you know how important it is to have a comfortable workspace!

When it comes to window blinds or shades for the home office, function is the first thing to be considered; glare and visual distractions outside can make it hard to focus on work at home.

And yet, you want as much ambient light as possible. Natural window light can be the best source of ambient light in your home office, making it a productive workspace for those long hours you spend building your own business.

Read on for tips and ideas on how to design the best window treatment for your home office, whether you are converting a spare bedroom to a working office or want to give your posh, high budget home office a touch of luxury and functional control over light and privacy.

Venetian or Horizontal Blinds provide great light control and flexibility in the home offfice.

Home Office Location and Sun Exposure

A common mistake people make when selecting home office window coverings is neglecting to use something versatile enough to provide various degrees of light filtration and control as the angle and direction of sunlight changes throughout the seasons and time of day.

Direct sunlight can make it nearly impossible to work on a computer screen, leading to severe eyestrain and a significant loss of productivity. On the other hand, a dark room is depressing and working in a room without adequate natural light can also inhibit productivity. An effective window treatment is in order to give you versatility and complete control over how much and how direct natural window light enters your home office.

Most people think about furniture, storage space, flooring and equipment needs when creating their home office environment, but window blinds, shades or other window coverings are too often left as an afterthought. Later, after working in their office at home for weeks or months, they realize that the lighting and ambient light conditions just aren’t optimal.

You are much better off to consider the ambient and window lighting up front as you initially plan your home office workspace. First, when considering the best location for your home office, you will want to think about the exposure it gets from direct sunlight.

For instance, if your home office space has North facing windows, they will not receive much direct light, so window coverings could be a less critical factor, but you will also need to plan for adequate ambient lighting in this case.

However, many people will prefer spending long hours in a home office with a more Southerly window exposure, providing a good source of ambient lighting throughout the day, even as the seasons change.

Natural light from your windows, if filtered correctly will lighten the mood and ambiance of your home office, allowing you to work productively throughout the day. You may also need to keep window coverings shut on hot days to keep your home office cool. And on days when the outside temperature is mild, you will want to be able to open them and let in the fresh air!

So, selecting window coverings for your home office requires something versatile and easy to operate. If budget is not a problem, then automated controls with remote push button operation or even sensors that automatically adjust light filtration are worth considering. And for those of us on a budget, window coverings with pull cords or wands within easy reach will be a necessity.

How you place home office furniture and equipment makes a signficant difference in what type of window coverings work best.

Placing Office Furniture and Computer Monitors for Optimum Productivity

Once you have selected the room in your home to set up your office space, you will want to consider furniture and a floor plan that gives you easy access to office supplies, your computer, printer and other office equipment.

Also important in setting up a home office is the placement of your computer monitor and office seating. If you work alone, then you might want to place your desk and chair so that you have a view out the window. A modular office furniture system can help optimize your office space, with desks, cabinets and storage shelves facing the walls.

On the other hand, if you have partners or associates in your home office frequently, then a partner’s desk or other standalone desk placed in the middle of the room allows people to sit facing each other on either side of the desk for a floor plan that is more conducive to collaboration.

The center desk arrangement works best in a larger home office space and you have three options for your own seating; you can set up your desk so that you face windows, have your back to the windows or, if the windows are on only one wall of your home office, you can place it so that the windows are to one side or the other.

Each of these configurations has pluses and minuses to consider. If your back is to the window you will not have a view outside, in which case neighborhood kids playing in the street or other distractions are less likely to be a problem, but you also have to be more concerned with glare on your computer display.

Many people prefer to face the windows, so that they can enjoy the view outdoors. With this configuration, glare in your eyes can be a problem when direct sunlight pours in through the windows unless you have window coverings that can be easily adjusted to filter the sunlight.

Regardless how you configure office furniture, plan for optimum productivity by placing storage cabinets, shelving and office equipment such as the fax machine, printer and copier within easy reach.

Make several sketches of your home office floor plan and consider all your options before settling too quickly on a final configuration and purchasing furnishings. You’ll be glad you spent this time later down the road!

Affordable white curtain panels give this home office interior a light and airy feel.

Choosing Window Coverings for Your Home Office

With your floor plan settled, you can begin to consider the best window covering options for your home office. Following are the most effective window blinds and shades to consider for your home office space:

Vertical Blinds

While vertical blinds can be noisy if you have your home office windows open on a breezy day, they are quite flexible in that you can open and close them to the left or right as needed to block direct sunlight, as well as being able to change the angle of the vertical slats to filter light.

Vertical blinds can work quite well with windows that slide open or shut or if you have full length sliding glass doors in your home office.

Horizontal Venetian or Mini Blinds

Versatile and stylish, Venetian blinds with wide slats or mini blinds with the narrower slats, offer good versatility and a wide choice of styles, colors and materials.

You can select Venetian blinds with slats made of metal, real wood or faux wood with natural or painted finishes to match your home office furniture and decor. Or, select the newer “privacy sheer” window blinds, with slats that are covered with a light weight fabric material to soften the look and help deaden ambient noise.

And since you can open and lower the slats as desired, in addition to angling them, you have great flexibility in filtering and controlling natural light as the angle of the sun changes. You can darken your home office when computer monitor glare becomes a problem or open the blinds and let the sunshine stream into your work space when you are on the phone, spending some time on creative thoughts or otherwise not working on the computer.

If budget constraints are tight, the mini blinds will provide the same functionality as the more stylish Venetians, but are a much cheaper alternative!

Pleated Shades or Cellular Honeycomb Shades

Window shades come in so many materials and styles that you can be sure to find something that meets your home office needs. The only disadvantage with some shades is that they are either open or closed, so you will want to consider options such as dual top down, bottom up openers for added flexibility.

Shades are generally available in blackout, semi sheer/opaque or sheer materials, each of which can have pros and cons depending on how much light your home office generally receives. Pleat sizes vary from as small as 3/8 inch to about 3 inches, depending on what look you want to achieve. Most designers consider the larger pleat shades to be more elegant than the smaller pleated shades.

Roller Blinds or Roll Up Shades

With a decorative valance, plain solid colored roller shades can also be a good option for your home office window coverings. Bamboo or woven wood roll up shades are available in a variety of decorative patterns and will add texture and warmth to your home office decor.

Draperies and Curtains

If you want a more formal look, you could use curtains or draperies in your home office. Ready made curtain panels are an affordable option and come in a range of materials and sizes to fit standard window openings.

For a custom look, you can have custom curtains or draperies installed, with curtain rods, rings, toppers, tiebacks and other options that run the gamut from plain, simple curtain panels to ornate draperies with liners to suit any decorating taste.

Window Glass Treatments

Window films and tinting are worth considering, especially if your home office windows have a predominately Southerly exposure and you live in a hot climate. They can lower your air conditioning costs and help protect furniture and office equipment from the harsh effects of UV ultraviolet rays and the glare of direct sunlight.

Combination Window Treatments

For the ultimate in style and versatility, you can combine window coverings to create a completely custom window treatment in your home office. Examples include using a semi sheer window shade with sheer curtain panels over it, so that you can open or close both layers to filter and block sunlight as needed. Or, you could install interior shutters made of either real wood or vinyl for a more decorative style in your home office.

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