Today we’re sharing how and why we added natural shades with motorized lift from our friends at Bali Blinds to put the finishing touches on our second floor family room.
The second story of our Chicago home has served many purposes over the years. It has sort of become our de facto ‘flex space’ that meets our needs as they change. It’s been an under-utilized living space, our WFH office, a painting studio and now serves as our combination family room/playroom. Think of it as a ‘second-floor basement’ where the kids can play while the adults have ‘boring’ conversations in the main living/dining room space on the first floor.
This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Try out the Bali Visualizer to see how products look in your home, in real-time, and be sure to snag your free fabric samples! Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can click here to find a retailer near you.
As with all of the Bali Blinds we’ve installed over the years, our new Divan Natural Shades in Wet Sand (33383) installed quickly and simply! They replaced more sheer white roller shades that were right for the space in previous incarnations. But we were ready to mix it up and add some natural texture and dimension to our windows to complement the space. Natural shades have a lot of appealing uniquenesses that made our decision easy:
- Natural shades are unique and beautiful. No two shades are the exactly alike!
- Bali Natural Shades are crafted from bamboo reed, slit bamboo, sisal, grass, and jute materials.
- Each shade is handwoven and they’re tested to be durable – even in hot and humid environments.
We also opted for a thermal liner that will help retain indoor heat during our chilly Chicago winters. These two windows are among a small handful that we’ve yet to replace since we moved in, so they’re not the most airtight. Every little bit helps!
Motorization + Control
We’ve once again opted for plug-in motorized shades for one-touch convenience. Since the windows are located behind the couch, there’s no longer a need to climb up onto the cushions to adjust the level of the shades. A simple touch of the included remote puts them at the exact level we’re looking for. We used the included mounts to locate the remotes on the outside edges of each window so that they’re incredibly easy to access.
The wires that connect the shades to the ac adapter are minimal and easy to conceal. We hid them inside a short length of stick-on cable cover along the frame of the window and they’re almost invisible! We opted for the motor controls to be located on the inside of each window, since the electrical plug is located behind the couch and between them. A little bit of extra cable management was worth the effort to avoid battery changes down the road.
Additional Changes to the Room
In addition to the new natural shades, we also made a few more impactful changes to the space. A huge White Oak coffee table now anchors the formerly open space in front of the long sofa. The large surface has also proven handy as a staging area for a big pile of clean laundry fresh out of the dryer! Everything should serve multiple purposes, right?
We also replaced the former art work between the windows with framed family watercolors that we created together over holiday break. Each piece was passed around in circles for a few rounds, with each of us adding layers each round. We did our best to utilize a palette that would work nicely in the space and the crisp white frames ground the area nicely. A brass picture light provides another way to add an ambient glow to the room and we’ve found ourselves using it as the only light source in the evening.
We’ve filled the two-tier table with a playful mix of decor, books and a few of our favorite family games. It provides and incredible amount of open storage and brings a lot of function to the space. The middle area of this room has been the trickiest to figure out, but we think we’ve finally nailed it!
Instead of storing Lucy’s big tub of LEGO inside a cabinet or cupboard, we’ve opted for a textural basket to contain them within reach. We love how the texture of the basket plays off of the rug and natural shades. The brown leather handles also nod subtly to the chair in the corner of the playroom.
On the rear wall of the room, things have remained largely the same. The 9 photo grid of found photos has been a constant since almost the very beginning. It’s one of those rare design details that we got exactly right on the first go-round! On the left, our propagation station is still going strong! We clip our fastest growing plants frequently, then re-pot the cuttings once they’ve rooted. It helps our plants look full and happy and we’ll keep going until we run out of room!
We’re finally feeling like this space aligns with our needs and our design sensibility and we’ve already found ourselves spending more time upstairs in the evenings and on weekends. The natural shades were the final piece of the puzzle and the room feels unified and connected. Have you considered natural shades for your home?
Thank you to Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly.
I love the look of your home. If asked I would say our taste are very different and yet I love everything you guys do! Love all the new things in your upstairs, it appears warmer but still modern.
Beautiful! Can you tell us more about that delicious sofa?
Thank you! It was from Interior Define from a few years ago. We initially bought it for the Two Flat but when we decided to lease it long term, we brought it back to our home.
This room feels like a warm hug!
We feel the same way! Thank you!
Hi!! I love this space so much – just the right amount of fun and comfy all mixed together. Age old question – what’s the paint color on the walls? Thanks!
Hi Libby! It’s Ben Moore Coastal Cottage.
Is this the same paint color as your entryway? Looks great!
It’s not, but it’s VERY similar. In hindsight, we should have just continued the entryway color! The one in here is a touch more vibrant.
Can you share what it is? I love it. On your house info page it says Behr Pale Bud but this doesn’t look like that…
ahhh we changed it! It’s BM Coastal Cottage.
Really nice! Can you tell us more about that ceiling lamp?
It’s linked in the post, and it’s from Rejuvenation.
Hi! I love your picture light. Where does the on/off switch on the cord fall in relation to your artwork? Is it below that and behind your couch?
We actually eliminated the in-line switch in favor of a smart plug, but it fell around 24″ below the lamp. Hope this helps!
It does help, thank you!