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Blinds or curtains? Window furnishing considerations for student accommodation projects.
Category: All,Regulations,Technical
By: John James

Blinds or curtains? Window furnishing considerations for student accommodation projects.

Student accommodation provides its own set of unique challenges when it comes to choosing the best window furnishing solution. Blinds or curtains need to be robust, easy to use, low maintenance at the same time as providing adequate room darkening and privacy. Blinds and curtains both have their pros and cons. This post sets out things to consider when deciding what is best for your project.

There are four main areas to consider when choosing blind or curtains student accommodation rooms:
– Safety
– Durability
– Performance
– Aesthetics

Safety
Any blinds or curtains installed must be compliant to BS5867 fire safety standards. Most blind fabrics from any reputable contract window blinds manufacturer will be fire retardant but take care if you are choosing curtain fabrics. Retail or online stores serving the residential market typically have the widest range of designs and patterns however the majority will not be fire retardant.

If children under the age of 42 months are likely to have access (consider the possibility of friends & family visiting) then blinds or curtain tracks with looped cords must comply with BS EN13120 child safety legislation. This means that cord loops must be retained against the wall and not finish less than 1.5m above floor level. Blinds with wand, crank rod or motorised control such as wand operated panel blinds and geared crank rod or electric roller blinds are deemed ‘safe by design’ and do not require these cord safety measures.

Durability
Curtains and curtain tracks are typically more durable than a window blind – simply because they have few moving parts and are intuitive to operate. If you curtains are your preferred choice always choose an aluminium curtain track over against plastic. The Silent Gliss range of aluminium curtain tracks are exceptionally robust and inexpensive and have been proven to last more than 20 years in student accommodation installations.

If considering blinds, then roller blinds and panel blinds are recommended. Both are simple in design and operation making them more suited to withstand student life! The Draper range of roller blinds are the most robust blinds on the market and are covered by a 25 year warranty.

 

 

 

 

 

Performance
Room darkening and privacy are usually the main performance criteria for student accommodation blinds and curtains. Curtain fabric should always be a dim-out quality and if not, be made with a blackout lining. Curtains will generally provide a better degree of blackout than a blind because they are usually mounted outside the window opening and overlap at least 150mm on either side.
Roller blinds with blackout fabric will provide both room darkening and privacy blinds are generally mounted inside the window opening as close to the glazing as possible. Be aware that there will always be light leakage around the edges. If you are trying to reach as close to 100% blackout then a dim out roller blind with cassette and side channels should be used but bear in mind this will add to the cost significantly.

If students are using their rooms for private study as well as sleeping then an additional blind with a fabric that reduces glare and heat whilst maximising natural light should be considered. This will help create a stimulating environment and minimise reliance on electric lighting thereby reducing energy costs and the negative impact on the environment. The Draper dual roller blind system incorporates two blinds within a single bracket. Concealed behind an aluminium fascia, this system enables students to have a blackout fabric for sleeping and privacy and a screen fabric to provide glare and heat control but still allow in natural light.

Aesthetics
Curtains create a soft ‘homely’ ambiance to student accommodation rooms and if the Silent Gliss Wave system is used can still look really contemporary and modern. This ‘Wave’ pleat creates a uniform fold or ‘wave’ across the curtain and has the added advantage of a narrow stack-back when the curtains are not in use. More traditional pencil pleat curtains work well with more traditional buildings.

The simple design of a roller blind means they suit any interior type. Consider roller blind fabrics that have a white or silver reflective backing such as Deltablock 30 or ThetaBlock 30. Not only will this reflect heat (helping to keep the rooms cool) it allows you to maintain a uniform appearance from the outside whilst picking different colour fabrics to suit individual room colour schemes.

The environment in which a student sleeps and relaxes has an effect on their academic performance. This ultimately reflects on the school/college/university and has an impact on their reputation. The correct choice of window furnishing for your project can help create both long-term and short-term success.

View case studies of other student accommodation projects

Find out more about performance considerations for window blind fabrics

About the author

John James Director