Never before have cord control options been so plentiful – and so necessary. Recent awareness of the hazards that blind cords present to children & pets have led the window coverings industry to innovate blinds that keep children safe from strangulation. Finally, cord controls can make a blind work more effectively, eliminating frustration and look more attractive when in the raised position. Here are some of the options:
Standard Controls: The name says it all – this is basic. When your blind is raised, the cord will become long, especially so on long windows. If you wish to have some measure of safety with a standard control, wind the cord around a cleat each and every time that you raise the shade.
Cordless blinds & shades: most manufacturers offer this option commonly found on cellular/honeycomb shades & roller shades. Cordless shades are a great option in a room where there are multiple side-by-side windows where repeated hanging cords would look unattractive. The goal with cordless shades is to choose a manufacturer whose shades won’t sag once they are put into place. Moving the blind up and down is accomplished by merely grasping the bottom rail and putting the blind at the desired position. This feature can be combined with a top-down/bottom-up feature. Keep in mind that a cordless shade will have size limitations – especially on blackout or room-darkening fabrics because these are heavier and place more stress on the locking system. Also, the top of the window must be easily within reach for ease of lowering.
Continuous Loop: You’ll find this type of control under many names: continuous cord loop, easyrise, beaded chain, etc. but they all mean the same thing: the cord is running in one continuous loop. This type of blind must be anchored at the bottom of the window and made taut in order to keep a child from inserting their head into the loop. The advantage to this type of control is that it will keep your cord from pudding on the ground (remaining a consistent length). Also, this system can handle a heavier load – so it is the preferred cord control for large size blinds.
Top-down, Bottom-up: This feature is a favorite for creating versatility with your window covering. It allows for the shade to be either lowered from the top (keeping the bottom part of the window covered) or raised from the bottom and stacked at the top of the window and anywhere in-between. Good application of this feature is an upstairs bedroom window where some natural light is desired but at the same time privacy from the neighbor walking his dog on the sidewalk below.
Spring Tension: You may think of grandma’s old roller shades when it comes to spring tension – sometimes the shades went up, other times not so much. I’m happy to report that this feature has improved vastly. One gentle tug and the shade quietly rolls up – no problem. Just make certain the top of your window is within reach.
Retracting Cords: Just a short time ago this was a feature only offered by Hunter Douglas but the patent must have expired because Graber has recently released a retracting cord system as well. The beauty of the retracting cord is that it never changes length. Unlike a standard cord where you must often back up from a window to get a large blind to raise or else pull fist-over-fist, retracting cord systems operate with just a few gentle tugs, allowing the cord to retract into the headrail between each pull. This feature is very useful on windows where cordless would be preferred (such as as several windows side-by-side in a room) but is impractical because the windows are too tall to reach the top.
Motorization: This really isn't a cord control, but merits mentioning since it is a way of operating blinds & shades. This is a lengthy topic so for more information on motorization options, visit that link on the Home Page.
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