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Decorate with Shutters - Even In Rooms Without Windows

Aug 30, 2008
You may think that when you are decorating a room with no windows you don't need to think about window treatments. Actually, clever use of shutters and blinds can create the illusion of a window and make a dark room more inviting.

The Psychology of Windows
We are creatures of Nature and we yearn to stay connected with the natural world. The reality of weather and privacy may force us to live in our boxes, but we pierce the walls with windows so that we can see and feel the rest of the world.

Houses are designed so that as many rooms as possible have windows. Even basements usually extend slightly above ground, allowing small windows to be placed high on the wall.

However sometimes we have rooms that have to access to an outside wall. When possible these areas are used for utility closets or maybe a small bathroom, but occasionally even bedrooms are placed in an area that has no outside wall. It's no longer as simple as opening the shutters to let in the sunlight.

Fool Yourself With a Fake Window
We can trick our brains into being satisfied with windowless rooms. The idea is to create the illusion of windows. One way is to hang pictures of nature scenes. We know it's not really a window, but a certain part of our psyche is satisfied with this faux view of the outside world.

Another trick is to use a lighting fixture behind shutters or window blinds. To the casual observer, this looks just like a window as long as the shutters are closed or opened just a crack. Even when open further, it appears to be sunlight when it is outside our direct vision.

The blinds have the added advantage that the level of light can be controlled. It is like having a dimmer switch.

Electroluminescent Sheets Offer New Choices
One problem with the lighting fixtures above is the construction. If the lighting is on the surface of the wall, it sticks out. A box has to be built around it to hide the light and maintain the illusion of a window. Alternatively the light can be recessed into the wall, but this is a more difficult project and is impossible in certain types of wall. There is also a small risk of fire if a hot bulb is too close to an errant drapery.

One exciting new option is the use of electroluminescent sheets. These thin sheets glow when electricity is applied, emitting light across a large area. They lay flat against a wall and can be mounted right behind window treatments. They use little power and generate little heat so are better choices than incandescent bulbs.

With a little creativity, a "window" can be added to any room to create a more relaxing atmosphere.
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