Motorized window treatments that can open and close on command, on a schedule, or even based on room occupancy are the ultimate finishing touch for any smart home. Like smart lighting, smart window treatments offer a host of benefits in terms of convenience, security, and energy conservation. There’s a safety angle, too: There are no pull cords that pose a strangulation risk to children and pets. But the wow factor they deliver also renders them a luxury item—even deploying them one room at a time can cost thousands of dollars if each room has a lot of windows.
We’re using the term “shades” in the headline above, but we’ll cover blinds here, too. What’s the difference? Shades are a soft window covering, typically made of fabric. They roll or pull up to allow light in, and they roll or drop down to block light and provide privacy. Blinds are a hard window treatment consisting of vertical or horizontal slats, typically made of wood, metal, plastic, or a composite material. The angle of these slats can be varied to admit or restrict light, or the slats can be closed tightly to block light and provide privacy. The slats in horizontal blinds can be pulled up in a stack to fully expose the window, while the slats in vertical blinds are pulled and gathered to the left or right for the same purpose.