TAME YOUR SUNLIGHT WITH NEW SHEERS – A Guide to Using Sheers in Transitional or Contemporary Decor

When working with today’s homeowners, the mere mention of the word sheers can evoke unhappy images of grandma’s dusty old lace panels. Even worse, some clients remember that cheap shiny voile fabric that created a dizzying optical illusion within its folds.  A well designed sheer offer a number of design solutions and should not be discarded from consideration based on their past misuses and abuses.

Unlike many window treatments, sheers give daytime privacy without taking light from a space thus reducing our need for artificial lighting. Sheer panels help to soften windows without adding too much visual weight. Sheers can simplify large architectural windows by lessening the contrast of lines between multiple divisions and panes.  Sheers can reduce ultra violet light damage to your furniture by 75% or more without cutting off your view or the warmth of the winter sun on a January afternoon.  Sheers are an excellent choice if budget is a concern too. First time condo owners faced with walls of ceiling to floor windows can use sheers to get much needed coverage without blowing their budget.

Here are some points to consider when deciding how to use sheers in today’s popular decor schemes. Consider these conservative guidelines when selecting sheers and you will get a classic look that you won’t soon grow tired of. If you want to make more of a design statement with your sheers, call in a professional!

1. Choose your sheer fabric wisely.

Avoid a “synthetic look” while benefiting from the practicality of a synthetic fabric.  Since sunlight filters through a sheer all day, synthetic fibers like polyester, that are resistant to the sun, will perform better over time.  Look for modern polyesters woven to appear more like textured cottons or beautiful linen goods.

2. If in doubt, look for the right “Neutral”.

95% of our clients with contemporary, transitional and traditional decors find that off-white and cream colored sheers work best in combination with the natural light from the window.  I rarely recommend stark whites that can look too cool and at times appear blue or grey. On the flip side be careful not to go too yellow with your cream or too brown to prevent the sheer from looking old or dirty. However, used tastefully, a beautiful embroidered or woven sheer with color can create a “Wow!” statement at the window like no other custom treatment.

3. Remember that colored sheers will cast the color throughout the room.

Colored sheers can be wonderful, but you want to be sure that you won’t tire of the look over time. Go for the gusto if you have a more adventurous sense of style but make sure that the color choice, combined with sunlight, works in harmony with the other elements in the room.  The gold tones available through Hunter Douglas in their “Luminette” and “Silhouette” privacy sheer collection, when combined with sunlight, create a warm and inviting space that drips with luxury.

4. Always take your sheers to the floor.

If using side panels take those to the floor as well. Only VERY casual applications like cottages or kids rooms should use short sheers or drapery and in that case it is best to drop them 2-4” below the sill.

5. Consider the same header on your drapes and sheers.

If you are combining sheers and drapes, the header style on both should be the same.  Matching them will give you a seamless intentional look that focuses the eye on the window treatment and not just the top.  The top of the sheer should ride approximately ¼” below the top of the drapery and its hemline should ride approximately ¼” higher than the hemline of its partnering drapery if it has been held off of the floor.

6. Investigate the benefits of weighted hems.

Some of the most beautiful sheers that we have hung or embellished, 20 years after they were hung by another designer, are made of ADO fabrics.  Whenever possible, I specify an ADO sheer with a continuously weighted hem for our clients.  The hemline is much cleaner visually than a traditional double 4” hem with weighted corners and the ADO sheers are washable in a standard home machine.  Simply spin them out and hang them damp to keep them looking like new for years to come.  The weighted hem provides stability to the fabric and a gorgeous drapability that ordinary sheers do not boast.

7. Hunter Douglas Privacy Sheers Revolutionize the Window Treatment Industry.

In recent years, Hunter Douglas combined the best features of custom sheers with the best features of horizontal and vertical blinds.  The resulting “Silhouette” and “Luminette” privacy sheers are amazing treatments that provide homeowners with 3 levels of light and privacy control while adding undeniable beauty to the aesthetics of the home.  This spring Hunter Douglas refreshed these popular lines of products with new fabrics and innovations worth traveling to our gallery to see.

HunterDouglas Luminette Sheers

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