January 20, 2020

Smart Shades Are A Thing — And They’re Awesome

Of all the things to automate in your home, who would have thought your window shades would be one of the most convenient?

There’s no shortage of areas of a modern home that can be automated in some way. Panels on the wall controlling nearly every aspect are more and more common. Remotes that can control every TV in the house have become a mainstay. There’s one thing that is definitely becoming very popular in the industry of home automation — and that is the shades. We use them for all the windows in our home, and whether or not we need them for everything. Shades are the unsung hero of perfecting the smart home, and they can do so beautifully as long as they’re done the right way.

These shades are designed to hide up in the ceiling to perfect a beautiful minimalist look

Lutron is a company at the forefront of automation. They have wall panels which help link into home automation systems such as Savant, and they create any type of switch or outlet for any home related need. They also do shades — and they do them very well. One of their largest product lines is centered around various types of shades, known as the Lutron Sivoia line. Several designs and types of shades are available, and depending on your home will fit perfectly with the vision you have for your smart home.

Example of two different types of shades working together, recessed on the right for minimalist design, and roller on the left for blackout shade perfection

Without getting too technical on all the various types of shades, we’ll narrow it down to two main types. There’s the shades that operate on a roll (known as Roller Shades), and ones that are hidden in the top nook of a wall and slide across a room when they close (Recessed Shades). The uses for each depend entirely on where you’d like to put them and how you’d like them to be visible while in use and in their stored position. The type of fabric used also is a determining factor on which style is going to look more pleasing in actual usage. Beyond the style of installation, there’s another important factor in the shades. The thickness and type of shade is a very important aspect. From a sheer design which light can go through all the way to an entire blackout design which light cannot penetrate. Some homes use a combination of both on the same track. Lutron makes all these different decisions easy for the potential buyer, and it’s possible to use any combination you’d prefer in your shades.

From the outside, the recessed shades look beautiful in use or while being stored

When it comes to drapery systems (the recessed shades generally are used for these), it all comes down to the preference of your fabric. There’s two ends of the spectrum, shades that allow lots of light to come in, and blackout shades which are capable of blocking out 99% of all light, no matter their color. While drapery systems are aesthetically pleasing, it’s not as easy to place a blackout and a sheer with different light levels on the same track, thus complicating the design as its recessed into the ceiling. For this purpose, people generally would prefer the roller shades, which can operate a sheer and a blackout option independently of each other.

Control your shades with the press of a button from your Lutron wall panel

When it comes to controlling your shades, you’ll need a home automation system to do it (some drapery shades allow for manual movement, however generally it’s much easier and makes more sense to automate all of the shades). Savant links up with Lutron perfectly and allows you to control your shades from an app on your phone, along with several keypads or iPads placed on the walls of various rooms. This creates a wonderfully convenient solution for modern homes, famous for their large and plentiful amount of windows. There’s an option on Savant to create various scenes where you can control what time your shades open and close, along with certain events or parties that can be set with a single button.

There are many options when it comes to your shades. The Savant app lets you decide what and when you’d like to open and close

The larger the home, the more daunting the task of installing multiple shades in multiple locations seems. Each unique location may need its own design and type of shade, and this might seem overwhelming to someone who doesn’t have shade experience. However, with a Lutron system and a Lutron Pro Installer such as Regent5, the process becomes more simple. The main decisions when installing them is determining what type of shade you want for each window, and determine both the color of the shades and the amount of light you want to let in. There’s a lot of different factors to consider with your new shade project, but once you’ve got them finalized the rest becomes a lot simpler.