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Home Style: Blind ambition; Swags, tails and lavish drapes may still have their place in traditional settings, but the trend today is for a cleaner look in line with the trend for pared-down living. Gabrielle Fagan looks at the way forward for window dressing.

Byline: Gabrielle Fagan

Windows will be getting a dressing down this season thanks to a new range of styles. Swags, tails and lavish drapes may still have their place in traditional settings, but the trend today is for a cleaner look in line with the trend for pared-down living.

Blinds, screens and shutters are far more suited to this, and there are a growing variety on the market. The current strong retro feel to home fashion is reflected in the enthusiasm for Venetian blinds which have a 1950s feel.

Richard Goss, head buyer at John Lewis, says: 'Metal Venetian blinds which suit a more modern, urban look are enjoying a big revival, particularly in the aluminium finish.

'But ready-made blinds, especially in neutral colours which are easy to live with and blend with any decor, are also extremely popular. I think many people with busy working lives want furnishings which are easy to care for and unfussy.'

John Lewis's metal Venetian blinds are priced from pounds 29.50 for white and pounds 33 for the aluminium finish. Its ready-made range starts from pounds 25.

It also has the Eclectics range of made-to-measure blinds which are available via mail order or at its stores. The range offers colourways, styles and fabrics to suit most tastes.

Denim needn't be confined to teenagers, but they would love the Eclectics Denim Roman blind which would also suit that urban chic interior. It starts at pounds 179 for a 100cm by 100cm drop. These could also be mixed with denim Roman blinds.

Also attractive are Fiesta blinds in brighter shades which are perfect to introduce a splash of colour into your home. These also have an attractive perspex trim. They are priced from pounds 63 for a 60cm by 100cm drop. And for a fun, slightly 60s feel you could opt for a Eclectics Roman blind in Peluche, which starts at pounds 179 for a 100cm by 100cm drop.

Tired parents might also be interested to know that John Lewis has a good selection of blackout blinds, priced from pounds 35, which could be the answer to small children waking at the first hint of daylight.

The latest trend is also for using materials you would not normally expect to find near a window, such as leather, suede or felt. Kelly Hoppen has a range available from Silent Gliss, Eclectics or Alison White.

Don't automatically think brown or black if you think of leather, because the Eclectics range includes faux leather blinds in vibrant colours like sunshine yellow and lilac. It just proves you don't have to be traditional to get tactile texture. (0870 010 2211/www.eclectics.co.uk).

It's taken a while but finally there is a solution to letting the light in but keeping out the prying eyes of passers-by. Manufacturers have come up with clever solutions like blinds that fit from the windowsill and pull upwards, allowing clear light from just above eye level. Eclectics is among the companies who sell these.

Floaty organza or sheer fabric panels are a stylish alternative to net curtains, and sliding panels of different colours means they can be combined in layers to create different effects of tone. Silent Gliss has panel glide systems from pounds 230 for 2m lengths.

Ocean is renowned for a range that is well designed and easy to live with, and always at the cutting edge of trends. It's roller blind, from pounds 84 to pounds 125 is patterned with tiny cut out squares which allows light in while offering privacy. It comes in natural and white.

It also has sheer curtain panels in lustrous golden cream or silver grey with a hint of a shimmer. These have hidden tab tops so can slip on to a curtain pole, and would give a subtle but exotic feel to a room. One panel costs pounds 49 (109cm by 218cm drop). Call 0870 2426 283.

Luxaflex has a different take on Venetian blinds. The Ondulette made to measure collection has individually arranged slats to create a stunning graphic and light effect. There are seven shapes including Fishbone, Wave, and Ocean and the blinds come in eight colours and finishes.

Prices begin at pounds 93 a blind, and the blinds can be found at Bentalls, Allders and at other independent furnishing stores nationwide. (Call 0800 652 7799/www.luxaflex.com).

There's no need to feel left out in the cold if you don't favour a sleek, minimalist look. There are plenty of fabrics and designs in blinds to suit a more period, classic interior.

New House Textiles' roller blind collection has designs to suit the conventional or the innovative. Josephine - a new floral fabric design inspired by traditional 17th century fabrics, is available in five colourways and is perfect for a traditional setting. Prices start at pounds 48.

It also produces a collection of decorative pulls and trims including whimsical woolie pullie, caterpillar braid, and wooden balls. (For stockists call: 01989 740684/ www.newhousetextiles.co.uk).

Shutters are another alternative but obviously more expensive, as they usually have to be made to measure. Fashionable, and with a colonial feel, are louvred shutters. A standard Victorian three section bay window costs around pounds 1,500 from Plantation Shutters. (Call 020 8871 9333).

CAPTION(S):

Main, pure and simple, this roller blind is available from the Ocean catalogue Above, the denim roller blind from Eclectics is a made-to-measure range available through mail order or from John Lewis stores Above, Luxafelx's new range of Venetian blinds - the Ondulette collection creates a stunning graphic and light effect; right, the Fiesta range from Eclectics
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 20, 2002
Words:936
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