Automated shades have really begun to hit their stride with the integrator community. As home automation systems advance and homeowners become ever more aware of the benefits of a fully connected home, smart shades are gaining popularity among homeowners, designers and integrators alike. Customized with styles, colors, fabrics, and integrations for any level of smart home, there’s a window treatment suitable for every project. 

While it’s not hard for homeowners to enjoy the benefits of smart shading –like on-demand privacy for a night in on the sofa or pre-scheduled scenes to align a home’s natural lighting with a healthy circadian rhythm – there are a ton of unique uses for smart shading solutions across the home. Here are three that you should keep top of mind for your next client consultation:

An Easier Way to Reach for the Sky 

Skylights are a popular feature across home styles that give homeowners the best of both worlds: While skylights provide the same natural light as traditionally placed windows, they offer additional privacy, making them a great feature for the intimate spaces in the home like the bathroom and bedroom. For many homeowners, however, controlling the level of sunlight entering through their skylight is a little out of reach – literally.

These windows tend to pose a bit of an accessibility barrier to some homeowners, often requiring a ladder or an arm span as long as Mo Bamba’s adjust the blinds – and when the skylight wakes you up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday when you would rather sleep in, neither of those are viable options. This is where custom smart shades come in: Allowing homeowners to maintain natural sunlight when they want to, employ room darkening features when they are needed, and still reap the privacy benefits of skylights is as easy is hitting a snooze button. Shades are controlled with just a simple voice command, in-app, or via a pre-set schedule to remove the need for manual adjustment, and wireless battery power options ensure homeowners will not have to worry about plugging in their shades or pre-wiring.

“Most people think of the role of shades in two ways: blocking light or allowing full light, but there are tons automation options that homeowners can utilize to control natural light from skylights,” said Scott Stephenson, Director of Product Management, Motorization for Hunter Douglas. “Beyond shade styles, utilizing automation schedules allows homeowners to open, close, raise, and lower window treatments without giving them a second thought.”

Suspending Disbelief, from the Cinema to the Faux Driving Range

Over the last few years home entertainment has skyrocketed: A recent report found streaming investments led by Comcast, Disney and Netflix saw the global spend on content reach $220 billion in 2021, with the pot set to exceed $230 billion in 2022. As better streaming content and variety makes their way into home theaters and living rooms, homeowners are looking for a true theater experience that suspends disbelief in the same way commercial theaters do: Cloaking the room in appropriate darkness. Sensa, a home technology integration company based in Nebraska, shared that they are including automated window treatments increasingly in their home theater projects because it adds to the overall experience, but also shared an interesting multi-use entertainment space application that smart shades tee up:

“Along with the audio, video, motorized projector screen, we also motorized the shades on the window of this basement theater so that the client can control them just like the rest of the technology in the room. The window is located near the ceiling and has two shades — a light filtering and a room darkening shade — so operation via motorization is the most functional option. This particular space is used as both a theater and a golf simulator, so having the ease of functionality with the natural lighting was important,” said Alex Bloemer, owner of Sensa.

Gaming and other home entertainment choices have come a long way. Especially with the growth of virtual reality and immersive gaming, more homeowners are embracing applications like golf simulators in their homes. When it comes to transforming multi-purpose spaces for these types of rooms, smart shades can isolate the user from reality and elevate the overall experience, without the need to rent a golf cart.  

Last But Naut Least: Shades Aren’t Bound to Land

While automated shades are a popular choice for homes, you may be surprised to learn that they are also quite common on yachts. Not only are automated shades luxurious in the context of a yacht but they are also incredibly practical. Think about it – while sailing between destinations passengers have little control over the natural shade. They are at the mercy of clouds. So, if perhaps it’s time for a nap before an elegant 5 course dinner or there’s a need to reduce the glare to binge the latest Netflix series, automated shades provide a solution that can be controlled simply and effectively.

“Just as homeowners enjoy the light filtering benefits of automated shades on land, the same goes for sea. Automated shades can also provide a level of protection for furnishings, the sun can damage fabrics, furniture, floors, and more, especially when you consider the level of sunlight yacht windows are exposed to,” adds Stephenson. 

From the family room to the home theater to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the versatility and functionality of custom smart shading know no bounds. For home technology experts, our next opportunity is spreading the word about how these shading solutions will level up an ambitious customer’s next home project. With an unlimited wealth of ways to add smart shades to a home (or boat), which will you explore first?