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Which Window Coverings Are For You? How To Make The Right Choices

You’ve just moved into your gorgeous new home, and yet something feels like it’s missing. Could it be your privacy? If your home came without shutters, you may be totally without window coverings—a problem that needs to get fixed right away. But what kind of window coverings should you invest in? Here are some considerations to help you choose from among the principal options — shutters, shades, and blinds or curtains.

When to Choose Shutters

Serious weather calls for serious window coverings. If your part of the world features violent storms, high winds or pulverizing hail, then you absolutely must invest in a set of strong, practical shutters. (Shutters also make sense if your windows are threatened by the local kids’ baseballs and other such objects.) Genuine cedar is considered the gold standard for shutter material due to its strength, longevity and insulating properties. Aluminum shutters can also last a long time with proper care. Plastics have the advantage of being pre-colored and cheap, but they may not hold up under extreme heat.

Shutters provide one aesthetic element that many other window coverings don’t — namely, the ability to enhance the wall space surrounding the window. When opened, they provide an attractive “picture frame” for the window, while also contributing to the overall style and visual effect of the home’s exterior. But if the shutters that came with your house seem to be stuck in the open position, they may not be shutters at all. Some “shutters” are really just flat boards designed and painted to resemble the real thing, permanently affixed to each side of the window. Since they don’t really serve as window coverings, you’ll want to replace some or all of these frauds with functional shutters. If you do retain any of the faux shutters, make sure they weren’t installed in a way that looks hilariously fake.

When to Choose Shades

Exterior shutters can block out light and provide plenty of privacy, but since you’ll need to either go outside or open your window to manipulate them, they’re not the most practical choice for instant adjustments. The easiest installation that makes this possible is a simple window shade. A typical shade consists of a tube of rolled-up material installed across the width of the window. Pulling a cord unrolls the material to whatever extent you prefer in a matter of seconds.

There are several different types of shades to choose from. If you want to display a smooth, uninterrupted stretch of fashionable color, an ordinary fabric or vinyl shade will accomplish the task nicely. A variation known as the Roman shade features textured folds that give the material more “personality.” If you want to control your energy bill as well as your privacy, look into cellular shades. These shades are made to layers of material surrounding pockets of air that help prevent heat transfer.

When to Choose Blinds or Curtains

Many homeowners want the most precise day-to-day or moment-by-moment natural light control they can get. Adjustable shutters can provide that degree of control from the outside, but for quick, convenient indoor adjustments, equip your windows with blinds or curtains.

Blinds are a great choice when you want to alternate direct sunlight with “stripes” of shade. These attractive products can add considerable sophistication and decorative panache to your home, especially since they come a wide range of colors and styles. Hanging blinds are raised and lowered like shades, but the fact that they consist of separate slats gives you the extra option of adjusting the slats’ angle for precise light control. Vertical blinds are like giant “drapes” made of slats, hanging from a track that enables them to slide from side to side. These, too, can be angled to give you just as much light as you want.

As stylish as blinds may be, they can also be heavy, pricey, and difficult to pre-cut and install. If you’d prefer a simpler method of adjusting your light and privacy levels, you need nothing more than a set of curtains. Curtains provide a near-infinite number of fabric colors, patterns and textures, allowing you to complement your home’s decor perfectly. Simply draw the fabric open or closed and you’ve got a super-functional solution as well.

The amount of light blocked by your curtain will depend on the weight and density of the material — but that doesn’t mean you have to surround yourself with solid velvet. A blackout curtain has a special backing that blocks both light and (to some degree) heat transfer. If you already have a curtain you love, purchase a separate blackout panel and install it between the curtain and the window. The blackout side may look rather plain, however, so you may need to hide it from the street with a second, outward-facing curtain.

As you can see, different types of window coverings are ideal for different applications and needs. In the end, you may even decide to combine multiple window covering technologies to give your home that perfect look and feel. But understanding what each product can and can’t do for you will help you plan your purchases more wisely.

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Planning Your Trade Show Booth? 3 Things To Consider When You Choose A Monitor Stand

If you own a business, you might be interested in building your brand, meeting new vendors, and talking with potential investors. Although it might seem hard to do all of those things in a single day, trade shows can help you to meet your goals. With 78% of attendees traveling over 400 miles to visit exhibits, you can meet customers that may have been hard to reach otherwise. However, setting up an effective, informative booth is important for your success. Here are three things to consider when you choose a monitor stand for your booth, and why it will matter later:

1: Your Need to Display Print Media or Swag

A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why pre-recorded television presentations work so well for trade show booths. In addition to showing off your products and company in the best light possible, that television monitor might give your booth a cutting edge-vibe that sets your business apart.

However, if you really want to help people to remember your company, you might want to give them something to take home in their exhibit tote. Unfortunately, if you don’t have anywhere to stash fliers or swag, you might be left digging through boxes underneath your exhibit table. In addition to looking unprofessional, if visitors stop by when your employees have stepped away, they might leave with nothing.

Fortunately, some monitor stands have storage for paperwork, signage, and small gifts, so that you can have things on hand all day long. If you are worried about your monitor stand looking bulky, you shouldn’t be. Some monitor stands have glass trays that will look sleek and professional or clear vinyl containers to hold things like pens and lanyards.

2: The Base Size

Because the average exhibit booth size in the United States is only about 10×10 feet, you might be wondering how to fit all of your stuff into your space—especially if your monitor stand is huge. Fortunately, you don’t have to let your need for technology cramp your booth. Here are a few different monitor stands that might work for you:

  • Rolling AV Carts: If you need to have your television monitor connected to a laptop, DVD player, or other device, you might be wondering how to consolidate space. However, some monitor stands are made with a base that acts as a cart to carry all of your equipment. In addition to hiding your cables and gadgets, these carts typically have wheels, so that you can move your stuff into the aisle if you need to.  
  • Wall or Ceiling Mount: If you want to create a clean, streamlined look, you might be looking for ways to keep things off of the floor. However, by using a wall or ceiling mount for your monitor, you might be able to show your presentation without sacrificing valuable square footage.

Make sure to clear your monitor stand choice with trade show representatives before you arrive. While some shows allow people to attach equipment to booth walls or to roll carts into common areas, others might be pickier about where you place your property.

3: Height Adjustability

That fixed-height monitor stand might work great during your run-through, but how well will it work at the trade show? Because people come in all different shapes and sizes, you might want a way to adjust the height of that screen later. Here are a few reasons you should look for an adjustable monitor stand:

  • Seated Viewing: Will there be chairs in or around your booth? If some of your visitors will be seated, you might want a way to quickly move your presentation to their level.
  • Men or Women: While American men are about 5 feet 10 inches tall on average, women are only about 5 feet 4 ½ inches tall. Unfortunately, if you set up your screen for men and then women attend your booth, they might end up craning their necks to check out your product.

As you shop for a monitor stand, look for a version that is easy to adjust. Try to move the mechanism a few times to get a feel for how easy the stand is to use. It might seem like a small detail, but it will allow you to customize the experience for each guest.

Finding the right monitor stand for your trade show booth might help you to meet the needs of your target audience, so that you can look professional and detail-oriented. You can browse a selection of monitor stands at

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