You’re in the kitchen; you hear a gentle swoosh. It must be around sunset, you think, that time of day where the evening sun bursts through your living room windows, hitting the light sensors and prompting your blinds to close so you and your family can easily watch TV without the glare of the sun.

Often part of a total home automation system, automated drapes and blinds offer numerous features and benefits. For example, open draperies and blinds let bright sunlight in which can fade furniture, artwork and carpeting. Automatically closing window coverings during the times of the day when the sunlight is streaming in can save the expensive furnishings in your home. The movement of your window coverings can be programmed to be triggered by time of day or by light sensors, making this one less chore you have to worry about.

Great for heights
While adding motorizing window coverings adds convenience to any window, it is even more beneficial with high windows, where it is often difficult to manually open and close coverings. There are even motorized products for skylights. So if you have high windows or skylights in your home, automated window coverings are almost a “must.”

Change the mood
Aesthetically, drapes and blinds can totally change the look of a room. With motorized coverings you can have one covering retract and another lowered to cover the same window. The second one can be a different color and fabric. Almost instantly the room has morphed into a different style, allowing you to create a variety of moods and ambiances to best suit your needs, whether it’s family game night or a dinner party with friends.

Improve security
While these features are fantastic reasons for considering automated window coverings, there are others that extend beyond just comfort and convenience. Consider this: automation of your window coverings can help increase the security of your home. For instance, many automation systems have an ‘away’ setting. All the drapes and blinds would close when this is selected. This curbs the ability of others to see inside your home. It’s an added layer of security—whether you have a home security system or not—adding to your peace of mind that your home is secure when you’re away.

Energy savings
You can also save money on your energy bill. In the winter, opening drapes and blinds on the south side of your home can take advantage of the radiant heat gain of the sun streaming in. In the summer, it can block this light from warming your home, reducing the amount of time your furnace and air conditioning units are actually running. An additional benefit is that many window covers are insulated, providing another layer of “energy saving” material to help lower your heating and cooling bills.

Putting it all together
Motorized blinds and shades can also be integrated with and operate as part of a larger, total lighting solution. This kind of system allows your motorized blinds and drapes to be combined with networked dimmers and light switches which lets you control the light level in every room of your home.

Take it a step further and consider what happens when you combine lighting control with your audio/video system: you can take your living room or family room and turn it into a media room or home theater. You press a button on a remote, the lights dim, the drapes or blinds close—sealing out light—a projector screen is lowered from the ceiling and the projector turns on, or a television rises from a cabinet and your A/V receiver turns on. In a matter of moments the room is transformed from a normal room to a place that is perfect for gaming, movies, sports or watching your favorite program.