By Kirstin Sundgaard, B.A., CID

Today’s consumers have many options when it comes to choosing a similar commodity; such as a Lexus or Kia in the automotive industry, Nike or New Balance for running shoes, or Levi’s or Guess for jeans.  Your window coverings, such as blinds, shades, drapes and shutters, are much the same, whether it be Hunter Douglas, Maxxmar or Graber Blinds. They may seem similar at first glance, but there are significant differences in features, selection and price.

Just as a clothing boutique provides a certain style or branding, so does a window covering specialist. However, we do not purchase window coverings as often as a favourite seasonal blouse. So, when we do make this purchase, it is important to understand or work with someone who can properly advise you of your best options for your window coverings.

As a local Cochrane & Calgary window covering dealer, I have specifically chosen several manufacturers with whom I work closely. This provides my clientele with the right product and features for their shades and blinds.  Your custom window coverings are an investment and it is important to me, as a dealer and consultant, to help you make your purchase with confidence and trust. Providing this approach is crucial for me, so I can best understand your needs and price point. This allows me to guide you in the right direction for your needs.

Hunter Douglas, Graber & Maxxmar

I have several manufacturers at my fingertips – Hunter Douglas, Graber and Maxxmar – all of which provide you with excellent quality, warranty and variety of products.  Although they have similar products such as cellular, roller shades and shutters, what are the differences and how do you, as a consumer know which brand or mixture of brands to install in your home?

Let’s consider some of our options.

Hunter Douglas Silhouette® & Alternatives

You are interested in a Hunter Douglas Silhouette®; however, you are unsure of the differences and if your budget allows for this gorgeous product.  You love their beautiful S-curves and the sheer option that diffuses the light so beautifully and understand that many other manufacturers have look-a-likes.silhouette duolite blinds in Calgary

The Hunter Douglas Silhouette has a gorgeous fabric with a large 4” vane.  This is your first home and not sure what other expenses may arise, so we discuss considering your other options.  Maxxmar and Graber also have a similar product line and you find that Graber has a vane size very close to Hunter Douglas’s and a fabric that is acceptable.

However, we have compared the fabric gaps on the side for this manufacturer and you are hesitant given the large bay window streetside and possibility of lack of coverage at a sharp angle to the street. Maxxmar now comes into play as there is a tighter fabric gap on the side but the larger vane size is not an option.

After comparing sample pricing for one window, you decide to have the gorgeous Hunter Douglas Silhouette® in the large Bay window and then ponder which manufacturer – either Graber or Maxxmar to install in the other rooms.  You now have met your budget and have exactly what you were wanting in the room that you use the most!  It is a perfect compromise for your first home.

Roller Shades

Perhaps your style is more modern; very streamlined and contemporary. Furthermore, you are looking to achieve a clean product that is virtually maintenance free. Roller Shades seem to suit what you are looking for perfectly.

You find that roller shades are available everywhere, so what are the differences?

You have found a fabric that you love in the Graber Roller Shades collection, however you were hoping for a very square cassette to house the roller and this one is slightly rounded.  You could live with it as the fabric is perfect, but you are curious about other options.

All the manufactures have the flat fascia, but you want something fabric covered. In this case, we look at Hunter Douglas Designer Roller Shades and you find their square cassette more appealing.  The wide selection of fabrics allows you to find one that is suitable. However, one large window needs to be split into two rollers at the screen because the fabric is not wide enough and Graber’s fabric will work as one unit.

designer roller square cassette

PowerView® & UltraGlide® Motorizationpowerview automated blinds

You also love the idea that Graber has a motorized wand for the windows that are a bit too high to reach for the cordless option.  Hunter Douglas’ selection would have to be fully motorized with PowerView® or with the UltraGlide®. You want to make sure to keep it simple for the various users raising the shades.   You opt for the slightly rounded cassette with the smart motorized wand in the Graber collection.

Honeycomb & Cellular Shadeshoneycomb duette shades

Do you prefer a more insulative product like the Honeycomb / cellular style?  Once again, these are a very popular product line due to their insulative values, room darkening capabilities and cordless options.   We discuss the differences in all three manufacturers and find that they are very similar.

Hunter Douglas has the UltraGlide® Retractable Blinds system, which solves the issue of the higher windows without motorization. But Graber and Maxxmar both have motorized wand options. You are looking for consistency in your home and wanting the same fabric and manufacturer. However, you are willing to mix up the operating systems according to the best function in each particular room.  You decide to go with the fabric that you like the best. This makes your decision easy, since you found one that you like and everything else falls into place!

Prefer Unique Look & Function?

There are a few products that do not have look-a-likes. So, if you love the look and function of this product then the decision is made for you. For example, three products like this are the Hunter Douglas Pirouette®, the Hunter Douglas Sonnette® and the Hunter Douglas Solera®.

pirouette blinds Calgary

The Pirouette® is a modern take on the traditional roman shade on a roller tube. It has a sheer option when the pirouettes are in their open position.  The Pirouette is a popular choice to make a bolder statement in a contemporary or transitional space.solera carousel soft shades

The Solera® is a larger pleated honeycomb style shade that stacks at the top of the window. It has layered folds that creates a valance look for your window.

sonnette cellular roller shades

The Sonnette® is an insulating roller shade that offers an excellent price point for an insulating product line. It also offers lots of operating mechanism options. These are proprietary products from Hunter Douglas. So, if this is the function and style you are looking for, the option just comes down to which fabric you love the best!

In Summary

Your Cochrane and Calgary area home is an extension of your personal style; we want our homes to be peaceful and beautiful spaces for our hectic lives to unwind in.  Window coverings certainly play a role in personalizing our windows.

With so many different products, styles and manufacturers, it is important to understand what the differences are. But the best part is that you do not need to do all this research – it is overwhelming and daunting.  Call in a window covering professional whose job it is to know these differences. They can help provide all of the insight needed for your window coverings project.

Contact Kirstin at Blind Infusion today for all of your custom window covering needs in the Cochrane and Calgary area. From initial consultation, product selection and professional installation, we are dedicated to providing outstanding selection and value.