I try to be as open-minded about products as possible – to ensure that on each client project we’re recommending the best possible product, application or hardware for the job.
But there are certain products that I’ve always been a bit sceptical about – like spring loaded roller blinds for example.
So it’s really nice when manufacturers introduce new product innovations that completely challenge our opinions on a product. In this case, these innovations go hand in hand with recent safety scares to make a truly compelling case for spring loaded roller blinds.
So why the scepticism? Well, spring loaded roller blinds have traditionally been a bit tricky to operate. Take the bay window example below. We specified spring loaded roller blinds because there was limited space for them to operate in, behind the curtains on this lath and fascia application, but also because client didn’t want chains ruining the look, and crucially, client was used to putting up with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the system.
Client feedback on completion of the job was that they were “a bit tricky to set in the right position, but he was sure he would get used to it”, and as we haven’t heard back, I’m sure he did. But I don’t feel comfortable installing a system that has such obvious shortcomings. But two important developments have changed all this:
Infant fatalities: recent high profile cases involving young children choking on blind cords and chains have introduced a compelling reason for spring loaded roller blinds, as worried parents seek to remove any potential hazards from their homes (particularly childrens’ bedrooms).
Spring loaded roller blinds are operated by one central cord pull which carries negligible risk as a choking hazard – and this can be completely dispensed with if the blind can be raised and lowered within arms reach and you’re not worried about the bottom of the blind being soiled over time by hand prints. Whereas a couple of years ago we would struggle to install one spring loaded roller blind in a year, we’re now including them on almost every installation.
Improved functionality: a recent product launch (pictured below) from one of our suppliers has heralded two exciting innovations, the first of which is improved functionality.
Previously, spring loaded roller blinds have been awkward to fix in position. You found yourself hesitantly hovering the blind at a certain height, hoping against hope that it would lock into place.
But those problems are now a thing of the past, with improved systems that lock effortlessly at the desired height, and with in-built slow rise mechanisms that prevent those comedy moments we remember from our childhood – when a roller blind would zoom back to the top at great speed and make a couple of orbits of the blind tube before coming to rest!
Improved aesthetics: I’m sometimes a bit hesitant about recommending blind boxes, as they’re typically rather clunky, naff structures that detract from the look rather than improving it, but again, the new spring loaded roller blind pictured above (from one of our recent West London installations) is encased in a discrete, low profile box that is covered in the same fabric as the blind.
It seemlessly hides the roller blind from view, allowing your eyes to instead be drawn to the main focal point of the room – whether this is the curtains, an accent wall or otherwise.