In window treatments, wood and faux wood treatments has become one of the strongest and most lasting product categories. Is that likely to continue? We asked that question of leading product manufacturers, and here are their replies.
NEVER OUT OF STYLE
Lafayette Interior Fashions
Wood finishes—real, faux or otherwise—are still the most popular finish for hard window treatments in the current marketplace due to the natural element that is brought to the home. The wood aspect of the window treatment is a natural product, which has a great deal of appeal. In terms of design, natural wood has ease of adaptability to changes in style and trend because of the many options of wood and finish.
With deep roots in our culture that date back to the 1800s, hard wood window treatments have a timeless appeal and have their place in the design world, despite the always changing trends of the industry. It even can be said that trends in design move toward wood products because of the current emphasis for an upscale casual look. Hard window treatments are like that little black dress that every woman has in her closet. It never goes out of style. It can be worn for any occasion, and it is always perfect and comfortable, just like wood hard window treatments.
Changes in design trends will always occur but these changes will more than likely continue to adapt to include the little black dress of the window treatment world.
BEYOND BLINDS, BEYOND WOOD
William O’Connor, CEO
When people talk about wood window fashions, typically they talk about shutters and hard wood blinds. How-ever, these traditional foundations are not the only wood products available in the category.
By far, the fastest growing segment is natural wood shades. To answer this demand, B&W has expanded our line of Horizons™ Natural Shades with interesting new patterns and exciting new choices of stains such as rich mahogany and beautiful cherry. In addition to woods like Arakaria and ramen, the line also includes “beyond wood” materials like bamboo, jute and rattan.
Another popular application of a real wood treatment is B&W’s Averté Natural Fold™. It’s the perfect alternative to vertical blinds, and a natural choice for patio doors, large windows or anywhere consumers want cordless simplicity and a smaller stack space than any drapery.
Wood is a tremendously popular for many reasons. Today’s interior design trends are focusing on natural beauty. Designers are committed to creating a home that’s a haven for consumers. Layering natural products, including wood window fashions, within design schemes accomplishes this.
Consumers love the look because they want the warmth and richness that natural products bring to their homes. Having real wood in your home is the mark of quality and luxury. Wood window fashions have a timeless beauty that’s always in style. That means they will always be a driving force in the hard window treatment category.
Bryan Nicklas, Director of Marketing, Custom Blinds & Shades
Kirsch Window Fashions
According to our data, wood finish blinds hold a strong market share and have replaced metal as the standard. The popularity of these treatments can be attributed to ease of coordination of other design elements within a room, ease of care, and the comfort that natural elements bring to any environment.
The continuation of this trend can be closely tied to the ease of coordination with flooring, furniture, window frames and cabinetry when creating the total room. Some consumers feel uncomfortable with color and matching to existing woods in the home makes the process easier. With the ability to customize window fashions to suit décor needs, wood continues to be a natural choice.
Over the next five years we see wood treatments as increasing in market share.
STYLE VERSATILITY, FUNCTIONAL ROBUSTNESS
Stormy Clements, Marketing Manager
Wood is an essential part of Norman Shutters’ product line-up. Many window coverings professionals and consumers alike believe that real wood shutters offer the ultimate combination of beauty, luxury, function and durability. Pragmatists also appreciate the rational advantages of real wood shutters including their ability to add value to any style of home. In part, this is because wood window treatments compliment diverse décor fashions and are slow to show signs of wearing. Prospective buyers recognize that a home with shutters will be a beautiful showcase for their own furnishings and the shutters will not need to be difficult to clean like some textile window coverings.
At Norman Shutters we feel that wood has enjoyed its enduring popularity as a window treatment because of its style versatility and functional robustness. Though interior design trends come and go, wood has long been used as a décor element from ancient times to modern. In fact, wood was probably one of the very first materials used to accent homes. Design experts tell us that the present emphasis of technology in our lives has increased homeowners’ desires to surround themselves with natural materials from granite countertops to tumbled stone, woven wood, wood floors and, of course, wood shutters!
From a practical perspective, wood window treatments can be lighter in weight than those made of synthetic materials. This permits wood to be made into shutters for larger windows and in bigger panel sizes when required. Real wood is also universally versatile for custom and specialty applications because it can be hand crafted into individual treatments as needed.
Kevin Armstrong, Vice President, General Manager Horizontal Blinds Division
Wood blinds remain an extremely popular hard window treatment. Real wood blind finishes are created through a wide range of processes. They can be painted, stained, distressed, printed and glazed to attain a variety of fashionable looks. The Hunter Douglas Country Woods® Exposé™ program demonstrates the full range of these finishing technologies.
Faux blinds are extremely popular in a wide range of neutral colors. However, a growing segment of this faux business, such as the Hunter Douglas Everwood® TruGrain® product line, now provides extremely realistic wood-grain looks in a full range of stain colors. These looks are obtained through various printing and/or embossing technologies.
Wood looks remain a major component of both the home and commercial environments. Wood exudes the warmth and character of natural elements that are both comforting and pleasing to the eye. Furniture, flooring, cabinetry, accents and artwork all appear in wood in a wide range of decorating styles.
The natural beauty and light-blocking ability of real wood, when combined with the functionality of horizontal blinds makes the product suitable for nearly every application for light control and privacy.
Wood looks will remain an appealing and consistent element in home décor. Consequently, wood window treatments will also remain an important part of the window treatment business. New wood processing technologies will create innovative looks and designs that will continue to appeal to consumers. In addition, these new wood processing technologies will also improve the performance of wood window treatments, further enhancing their future appeal.