This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds.
During any makeover, I always claim this part to be my favorite part. For example, if we’ve just painted the walls, I’ll say, Gah! Don’t you LOVE how paint changes everything? But then we’ll unroll the rug, and I’ll say, Eek! Unrolling the rug is the BEST! And then we’ll add texture – like tossing in pillows, hanging curtains, installing a Roman shade – and I’ll exclaim, Wow! Well, that changed everything.
Today, I want to talk about the latter. The texture. Subtle pattern. Fabric. Window treatments! We recently called our two Tree House nooks – the dining nook and sleeping loft – done. The last step? Hanging window treatments in each space, each with their own purpose and style.
Choosing the Right Fabric for the Application
For this final step in our room makeovers, we turned to Bali Blinds. We’ve used them for every window in our Chicago home and Tree House (to this point), and we continue to be impressed by the quality and selection of fabrics. The first thing we do before any window makeover is consider which style of shade we’re after, and then we order a batch of free fabric samples within those styles. Being able to see and touch the fabrics up close is invaluable when making this investment in your home.
Note: You can also view the video on YouTube right here!
The Dining Nook Window
Let’s start with the dining nook! We wanted to filter the harsh afternoon sun, but we didn’t want to block our view. If we wanted to watch a movie, we wanted to be able to prevent the glare on our television, and in the evenings, we wanted privacy. Our list of wishes made our decision easy – we needed solar shades!
Why We Chose a Solar Shade
Solar shades offer UV protection without completely blocking your view to the outside, and with opacities (or ‘openness’) that range from 1% – 14%, we had even more freedom to choose our level of privacy. Think of it this way: A higher opacity (like 14%) means a more clear view of the outside, even if the shade is pulled shut. A smaller opacity (like 1%) will be more opaque, affording you more privacy in the evenings.
Note: If you’re interested, we speak more to solar shade opacity in this article.
In the end, we chose the fabric Ballad Suit, a handsome, medium heather-gray. It has an openness of 4%, which we found to be a happy medium for privacy in the evenings, preventing glare in the afternoons and all while providing us a view of our backyard.
Our solar shade has a small valance, wrapped in the same fabric as the shade, and we opted for a cordless lift with an inside mount. (Look, ma, no strings!! Because our window frames are black, we like how it doesn’t attract attention to itself; rather, it plays a supporting role to our DIY banquette.
The Sleeping Loft Window
Next up? The sleeping loft! No matter what, light will make its way up into the loft, due to the open air ceiling of our main living space. Even still, we wanted to have the option to block light through the window in this nook, especially since children will be sleeping (in?!) up here. We also wanted to bring in soft texture with fabric, but we didn’t want to obscure the view of the trees outside.
The solution for us was simple – a tailored Roman shade. Initially we thought we might go bold with a navy fabric, but once we brought our samples into the space, we quickly realized how well the Tazewell Sidewalk fabric (below) matched the tree trunks in our wallpaper!
Why We Chose a Roman Shade
We absolutely love a Roman shade for the casual, cool comfort they lend to any room. In this case, we knew we could line the shade for additional shade, and we opted for a thermal liner. A thermal liner is thicker than the standard, but it’s one step down from a blackout. If you’re wondering why we didn’t go with a full blackout liner, it’s because in this case, we chose design (slightly) over function. A blackout liner would have added a lot more bulk, which would have resulted in the fabric laying a bit more stiff when drawn.
There isn’t much depth to the window jamb in our loft, so we chose an outside mount, a cordless lift and no valance. The Tazewell Sidewalk fabric is a soft putty color, and the similarity to the color in the wallpaper is eerie – as if they were meant for each other! Psst: If you’re wondering why the fabric looks familiar, it’s because we recently used it in our Chicago living room, too.
Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount
Inside Mount | We wanted to minimize the look of the dining nook shade, and we knew we could achieve that with an inside mount. With an inside mount, the shade is mounted on the inside of the window frame. Keep in mind that if you’re choosing a bulkier style (such as a Roman shade) and you opt for an inside mount, part of the shade will obscure your window.
The Outside Mount | An outside mount is one that sits on the outside of the window frame. It can get mounted to the trim or wall, and in our case, we chose to mount it to the top trim. When measuring, we recorded the exact measurement for our desired width. When the Roman shade is open, it barely hangs over the window, allowing in as much natural light as possible!
We’re so pleased with how each shade enhanced the design and functionality of our spaces, and I’m gonna call it – I love how they complete the room! Ha.
This post is sponsored by Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Our dining nook is outfitted with a solar shade in Ballad Suit fabric, and our sleeping loft has a tailored Roman shade in Tazewell Sidewalk fabric. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly. (PS: Did you know that Bali Blinds has a selection of custom Roman Shades available at West Elm? Check those out here!)
I’ve been looking for ideas to tame the light coming through a (west facing) French door, and what you did with the dining nook shade seems perfect! I’m ordering samples today :)
One question – how do you decide on a style of shade, and when to mix and match? You have both Romans and rollers in your tree house. I’ve been working with the idea that they should match throughout the house, so I’m curious about your decision to use both.
I don’t think they have to be the same throughout the whole home! In this case, we wanted the roller to blend away, whereas we wanted to add texture in the sleeping loft. However, we’re careful to keep a cohesive color palette throughout the home (i.e., warm whites, leather, black for contrast, touches of blue), and the same applies for our shades.
Have you used the cordless systems, before? We’ve had really bad luck with them. We ordered a bunch for our apartment and they all failed within two months. They were Levelor (not Bali), and the manufacturer replaced them for us (with corded shades), but the whole experience made us leery of the cordless shades.
We have cordless Bali all throughout our Chicago home and LOVE THEM. Bali’s quality is top notch. We continue to be impressed!
I used to sell both Bali and Levelor blinds for JCP. Bali all the way!
Love hearing this!
If you get a chance to answer – did you all choose the contour or cassette valence for the dining nook? They are on sale right now through Lowe’s – 40% off! (Which you might already know, lol.)
Cassette!! And 40% is a STEAL! Do it!
Love this!!! The answer may be in the article, so I apologize if it is, but what type of tailored Roman Shades did you go with? You did say outside mount, no valance, and cordless….but the Bali website also lists these choices: “Roman window shades are available in 4 styles: looped with folds down the shade, flat with horizontal panels, seamless with no folds or panels, or relaxed without folds or panels and a gentle curve on the bottom”. Thank you!!
Flat with panels ????
Oops, can you erase my previous comment.
I love the Treehouse shades! One question that boggles my mind as I am picking out shades, if it’s outside mount and no valence, then don’t you see the mechanism from the side? I have been trying to find side view pictures without a valence, but have not been successful. It’s for a tween boys room and I think no valence is less fussy but I would not like to see the side roller. Thank you!!
You can’t see the mechanism from the side. :)
Love the Roman shades! Is the kids room, outside mount shade have a valence? If not, is the mechanism covered from the side? Beautiful home. Thank you!
We got it without a valance, but you can definitely add one!
All the spaced look amazing, but the sleeping loft Romans look is exactly what I’m going for… from the inside. I’m wondering what they look like from the outside? In other words, would you want them hanging in your front window, where everyone could see the lining as they walked up? Or are they more a back/side of the house kind of look? :) Thanks!
Good question! You can’t see the underside from the front of the house because it’s an outside mount, so it doesn’t hang below the window when drawn all the way up. But if you’re doing an inside mount, you’d be able to see, and while it’s nice and tidy, you can still tell it’s the backside of a window treatment… so keep that in mind!
Thanks! I think solar shades it is, then — nice clean lines from the outside!
Beautiful! How deep was your window casing with the inside mount solar shade? We only have 1 inch but I still want to do it even though the Bali website says the inside mount cordless solar shade needs 1 1/2″. Maybe it’s still possible with 1 inch depending on where the screws are on the bracket.
I think we had about 2.5”. It miiiight still work, but I’d double check with Bali Customer Service to triple check.
The window treatments looks terrific! Would you be able to share your source for the throw pillows on the banquet?
The pillows are all Walmart.