The illusion of occupancy: automated blinds - New Zealand

With the rise in home automation and smart technology, prices have lowered and this sort of technology has become available to a much larger percentage of the market, especially in relation to automated blinds and curtains, which are becoming a must-have in New Zealand homes.

“Blinds and curtains are one of the most popular things to have automated in a home,” Lahood Window Furnishings’ Clayton Sceats says. “What we’re finding is that people are specifying these predominantly for the convenience of being able to operate them either from a remote control, or remotely from an app.”

Lahood Window Furnishings uses the French-made Somfy automation system for all its blinds, curtains and operable outdoor awnings, which is the largest manufacturer of motorised blinds in the world and provides a five-year warranty on every product.

“The main benefit of the Somfy system, other than its quality and state-of-the-art technology is the quietness when the blinds or curtains are in operation,” Clayton says. “They’re extremely reliable and very quiet to the point where you can hardly tell the system is operating.”

Each year, hundreds more residential dwellings and business are having these sorts of automated systems installed. “It’s just so convenient to be able to, for example, have the blinds or curtains in a home set on a timer so when you’re out of the house at work you can have the blinds set to drop down to a certain level during the day to protect furniture.”

But with the latest technology, the options are endless, and it’s now common place for homeowners to be able to go away on holiday and have their blinds or curtains open and close at appropriate times of day by way of setting them to do so on the Somfy app, and knowing they will work on certain settings to give the illusion of someone being home.

“Because the system is operated via either a remote control or an app, it also means there never needs to be any physical contact with the blinds or curtains, which extends their lifetime significantly.”

The motor is completely concealed within the system, and takes away the need for chains and any other unnecessary componentry, which is a particularly popular aspect of automated systems for those with young children or pets.

“Automated blinds in particular provide a really contemporary aesthetic with clean lines and hidden motors,” Clayton says. “People love the minimalism and simplicity of the system and how they look.”

Generally, for blinds, two main types of fabric are used – either a sunscreen fabric that is good for sun protection and filtering of light while simultaneously allowing views to still be appreciated when the blinds are down, or a block-out fabric that is used more commonly in bedrooms for privacy.

“In many situations, though, people use both. For example, in bedrooms, people look at having a twin or dual roller with both a sunscreen blind and a block out blind. The sunscreen blind would be dropped down during the day as a light filter, and then at night the block out blind would be used.”

In regards to fabric choice and aesthetics, the options are almost endless, with anything from very plain materials right through to complex textured options that can create a more traditional look within the realm of modern blinds.

Custom printing is also an option, and one that is often favoured by commercial clients, Clayton says. “Lots of businesses opt to have their logos on blinds, or a company name, or high-definition photography put onto them in restaurant or hospitality settings.”

If you’re looking at modernising your home or office space, make sure you get in touch with Lahood Window Furnishings on ArchiPro here to peruse the possibilities.