Archive for September, 2015

A Guide To Buying Window Shutters

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The interior trend for plantation shutters continues to gather pace. It’s now one of the top four best-selling products from Apollo Blinds, quickly catching up ever-popular roller blinds, verticals and venetians.

Although quite uniform in appearance: not all shutters are the same and there are quite a few considerations when it comes to buying shutters; when it comes to cost, style, materials and finish.

Here’s the Apollo Blinds’ buyer’s guide to shutters, for helping homeowners to make the right choice for their requirements and budget.

“The Rolls Royce of Shutters” – Real Wood Shutters

There is undoubtedly something special about top quality hard wood. Homeowners looking for top of the range made-to-measure shutters will enjoy the benefits of real wood plantation shutters – a luxurious investment for the home; they exude sophistication and are incredibly hardwearing.

A buyers guide to window blinds

Hard wood options such as Apollo’s Custom West Phoenix shutter (£365 pm2) made from a light, eco-friendly timber are ideal for tier on tier shutter installations.

Or the Carolina, made with a robust Forestry Stewardship Certified Paulinia wood, starts from £398 pm2 and is available in a wide range of painted, stained or custom colour finishes (at an additional charge).

While the affordable Boston range is crafted from mixed hardwood panels and MDF frames.  Available in a choice of five white finishes, prices start from £331pm2.

For more choice on colour, homeowners can’t go wrong with the Boston Premium range, which comes in a range of neutral colours including grey, black, white and cream.  Custom colours can be created at an extra charge.

Added bonuses: Modern and period homes often come with unusual shaped windows that can be awkward to dress. Real wood shutters can be customised to fit almost any shape and size of window, no matter how quirky. So for those looking to make their windows a centre piece – shutters will do just that.

Natural wood shutter frames can be made to fit inside the recess of a window or on the outside.

Is there a drawback? Typically hard wood shutters need time to be made-to-measure, so allow a three-month lead time. So hard wood shutter need to be ordered by mid-October for delivery before Christmas.

Although it has many benefits, timber is not best suited to rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms that are prone to damp so a UPVC shutter may be a better option here.

Plastic Fantastic – The numerous benefits of UPVC: water resistant, durable, won’t warp or fade

While top quality wood can justify its price tag, homeowners have got the option of a most ‘cost effective’ wood and can get the look for less with faux wood/MDF shutters, to the untrained eye, it’s not easy to spot the difference!

Apollo’s Seattle MDF shutters are polymer coated making them tough and durable; ideal for high traffic areas around the home such as children’s bedrooms.  Available in five shades of white, they come with the added bonus that they will never need repainting.

Alternatively, and available in a wide range of stunning painted colours, the Georgia range is hybrid construction of MDF panels combined with plastic louvres to enhance their durability.

A buyers guide to shutters for windows

Prices start from £250pmfor MDF / Faux Wood shutters from Apollo Blinds.

Plastic Fantastic – The numerous benefits of UPVC: water resistant, durable, won’t warp or fade  

While top quality wood can justify its price tag, homeowners have the option of a more ‘cost effective’ wood and can get the look for less with UPVC shutters; to the untrained eye, it’s not easy to spot the difference!

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UPVC shutters are by far the best option for kitchens and bathrooms alike, the plastic won’t warp, fade or split in damp areas and they are water resistant and easy to dry on the exterior, therefore making them less likely to develop issues with mildew or mould.

Prices start from £386pm² for UPVC Lifestyle vinyl shutters and they’re available in six shades of white – cotton, pearl and vanilla. They can be installed within just four weeks following an in home design consultation and measuring service.

Apollo’s Lifestyle shutter range is water and fade resistant and products come with a 25 year guarantee.  These shutters are all still made-to-measure.

Alternatively the ABS Hollywood collection is created from closed cell composite technology and is completely waterproof. Hollywood shutters are also fitted with a stainless steel hinge which will not rust. Prices start at £365pm².

Drawbacks: The waterproof material comes in fours shades of white but cannot be custom coloured.

So what about style? A buyer’s guide to shutter terminology!

Louvered panels vs. Solid Panels

Louvered panels have horizontal slats that are angled to admit light and air, but to keep out direct sunshine and noise.

Best for: versatile louvered panels are suited to all rooms.

Louvres are available in a choice of five different slat sizes.

Design tip: the width of louvre should always reflect the proportions of both the window and the room.

Tilt options: the tilt rod can run down the centre of the shutter or be offset to one side to give it a cleaner look. For a completely uninterrupted view of the shutter opt for ‘Easy Tilt’ – simply lift or lower one of the louvres and the rest will follow suit.
Solid panels cover the window with a panel but can be opened or folded back to allow light in.

Best for: drafty period properties.

Tier on tier vs. Café style

Tier on Tier: Two panels operate independently of each other to offer full control over light and privacy.  Best for: bedrooms and bathrooms.

Café Style – Panels are fitted to offer privacy at the lower half of the window only enabling light to flood through the top. Best for: providing privacy in urban areas.

Other shutter options

Full height – panels cover the full height of the window.  Best for: French or patio doors.

Tracked – slide on a track to concertina back. Best for: larger windows and sliding doors.

Shaped – Bespoke panels for awkward shaped windows.  Best for: unusual shaped windows.

For your nearest stockist, more information and to make an appointment for a no obligation FREE Quote & Measure, visit www.apollo-blinds.co.uk or call 01924 413 048.

Top 5 Online Interior Design Planning Tools

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

If you’re looking to redecorate at home the Internet will become your new best friend. From creating mood boards to researching for inspiration, we show you exactly how to get the most from the web.

You no longer need to hire a professional interior designer or architect to create your dream room design, you can do it yourself. If you have a passion for home interiors and design these online tools are just what you need to bring together your dream room or home.

It’s great fun putting together a room and using these online interior design tools you can design any room in your home very, very quickly. Here are our top five online design tools:

1. Pinterest
Put simply Pinterest is a virtual pin board where you can save all your ideas in one place and discover new ones. Creating mood boards is no longer the secret art of the creative few, it is mainstream with over 3 million pins a day being added from the UK! Pinterest is free to get started, simply sign up and have a look around, follow the boards and pinners you like. (Warning – you may lose hours of time inexplicably!)

Apollo Blinds Pinterest

The next step is to create your own boards adding pins from websites as well as re-pinning content from others boards. Once you’ve got to grips with the technical elements of Pinterest, you can focus on what you actually want to do with your room. Create a fresh board and get pinning – pin images of fabric swatches, the vintage lamp you’re desperately hoping to find at an auction, the painting you’ve found on an artists website. If you like it, put a pin on it!

Be sure you follow us on Pinterest too @apolloblindsuk we’ve created a number of boards already, these boards are meant to inspire and to be shared—you might even spy a few pins from Apollo Blinds along the way!

2. Houzz 
Houzz is a leading online platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals (like us) across the country. Houzz is a go-to website and app when you need inspiration as it has the largest database of interior design ideas as well as being beautifully designed and fun to use. Design different rooms to your liking, browse Houzz’s Ideabooks for creative ideas, and more. If you need some home design inspiration, the possibilities are endless with Houzz.

houzz online tool review

3. Design Space 
Design Space is our very own free online visualisation tool that can unleash the creativity of would-be interior designers, whilst taking the uncertainty out of what type of blinds would look best in a room’s new colour scheme. We’ve all been there. When the promising idea of a freshly updated interior looks nothing like the finished reality. And by the time we realise, it’s usually way too late. Apollo Blinds’ Design Space offers a ‘try before you buy’ service, that allows you to:

– decide which window blinds and colour combinations work before making a purchase

– view venetian blinds, roller blinds, vertical blinds and pleated blinds in a range of colours and patterns

– visualise within a choice of room settings – from kitchens and modern bathrooms to traditional dining

Design Space

4. Floorplanner 
Floorplanner is a web-based floor planning application to help you design the layout of any room in your home. Floorplanner runs in Flash and uses a simple drag-and-drop approach to customise virtually anything you can imagine, making it fairly easy to replicate any room (to scale, even) and try out different layouts. Using Floorplanner is one of the easiest and best-looking ways to create and share interactive floorplans online. With just a few clicks you can also furnish your plans with their large library of objects. There is a free and a paid account option, but we think a free Floorplanner account is more than enough for most aspiring home interior designers.

Floor planner online design review

5. Autodesk Homestyler
Homestyler is a web application that’s completely online, accessed through your web browser, there’s nothing to download onto your PC. There are mobile and tablet apps that are also free to download. Autodesk Homestyler is an easy to use free drag and drop room planner tool that allows you to easily create floor plans, plus add decorating ideas too. There is also a library of other designs for you to go through and get inspiration from. Autodesk Homestyler is a popular free tool to inspire, allowing your to trial, experiment and visualize different design options.

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What tools do you use to collate and create your dream rooms? Share your design creations with us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Cosy Home Inspiration To Welcome Winter

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Like it or not, Winter is here, which means it’s the ideal time to create a warm and welcoming ambience at home as the nights draw in. Style expert at Apollo Blinds, Mike Stephen, has selected Apollo Blinds’ favourite products to update home interiors for Winter.

Cosy up with faux fur
There’s nothing as cosy as an imitation fur coat in winter and now the same effect can be created in the home with faux fur blinds. These sumptuous blinds will keep homes snug by retaining heat and create a sensuous boudoir, perfect when mixed with metallic animal print wallpaper and deep purple tones. Prices start at £158 for a 600mm x 600mm made-to-measure Roman blind from Apollo Blinds.

Apollo Faux Fur Roman blind - resized

Walk on the wild side
Wildlife is a trend that returns year on year and can be easily updated with an festive twist. These seasonal stag designs are proving very popular as we head towards Christmas and with Apollo’s digital printing service, which allows customers to print any design or image onto a blind, we can turn any animal, from cute creatures to creepy critters into a fantastic statement window blind. Prices start at £65 for a 610mm x 610mm made-to-measure Roller blind from Apollo Blinds.

Wildlife inspired interior trend

Warm up for winter
There are many ways to insulate your home but none quite as stylish as Duette® energy-saving blinds from Apollo. Helping to save up to 25% on heating bills and available in a range of Autumnal shades such as deep plum and berry red, Duette® blinds are an elegant and efficient home improvement for the colder seasons. Prices start at £100 for a 400mm x 600mm made-to-measure standard free hanging Duette® from Apollo Blinds.

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Winners Announced

Monday, September 7th, 2015

 

We know you’re all desperate to get dusting so here are the winners of our five fantastic ostrich feather dusters.

Congratulations to Brenda Heads, Keith Scrivener, Renee Armstrong, Saran Benjamin and Jennifer Hull.

28-inch-feather-dusterYour dusters are winging their way to you as we speak.

Please join us on Facebook and Twitter for future opportunities to win.