Inspiration & Information

Motorized Window Coverings

Almost every window covering can be motorized, no electrician required!

The beauty of Silhouette shades combines with the room darkening properties of a roller shade all at the touch of a button.

Have you ever wished you could open your bedroom drapes to see a beautiful morning unfold without getting out of bed? Or perhaps you find the drapes covering your large sliding doors really heavy and wish you could just pick up a remote control to open and close them. Or maybe what’s making you crazy is the ten shades in your family room and kitchen that seem to take 20 minutes to open up each morning when you have better things to do.

Why not just automate all of it?

Post Construction Automation

If you are already living in your home and want to automate your window coverings, chances are you do not want to hire an electrician to bring power to each area. It will be messy, disruptive and expensive, not to mention, completely unnecessary.

Fortunately, motorizing window coverings without the need of an electrician is easy. For draperies, all you need is a new motorized drapery rod. The plug-and-play style allows you to select which side the motor is located on. In most cases there will be an outlet nearby and the power cord can be made the appropriate length to reach it. The installer simply plugs it in, hangs the drapes and programs the remote. The motor and the power cord are hidden behind the drapery panel so there is rarely any visible evidence, just a clean look and an easy to use remote control that can be hand held, wall mounted, or both. There is a beautiful range of motorized hardware available that can be designed to suit any style or situation.

Motorized shades are a different story, but still straight forward and electrician free since they are usually light enough to operate with just a battery powered motor. Most blinds cannot be retrofit, so you’ll want to select new shades that come with motors. The variety available is amazing and it’s worth exploring all the options. The good news about battery operated blinds is that many manufacturers now offer rechargeable batteries. This is great for both the environment and your pocket book since the old style battery wands required 8 – 12 AA batteries per shade. Now, you can simply pop a battery wand into the charger, and two hours later your blind is good to go for another year. The slide below shows some of our favorite Hunter Douglas shades, all of which can be motorized and controlled through your smart phone, tablet or a hand held remote.

Pre Construction

If you are in the middle of a construction project, whether it is a remodel or a new build, you should definitely start considering your window covering options sooner than later. The opportunity to “hardwire” your window coverings allows you to automate your shades with the power in your house instead of batteries. You’ll want to work with a window covering specialist during the planning phase to ensure you know what kind of window covering you will need for each area. Then they can guide your contractor on the correct wire to use as well as the correct placement of that wire at each window, as both of these are critical to a successful installation once the walls are buttoned up.

Aside from getting the motorization portion of your project done right, your window covering designer should be able to review floor plans and make suggestions or tweaks to ensure your window coverings have the best opportunity to fit and function properly. The planning stage is a perfect time to consider things like recessed pockets for shades to disappear into when not in use or having drapery hardware installed flush with the ceiling for a very modern look. Adjustments can easily be made during the planning stage, but if you wait until everything is finished you may have to compromise on style or functionality.

This rendering was sent to me by a designer prior to construction and is a good example of how planning for window coverings before construction starts can create opportunities to make adjustments for a better installation. In this case, the designer wanted to have draperies on the sliding glass door but didn’t think about how it would impact the book case and ability to access the cabinet at the bottom. The addition of a recessed area on the left side of the built-in would allow the drapery panel to tuck in beside it rather than in front of it. There are many other options that could be considered as well, but the key is planning ahead to avoid compromising style or function once construction is complete.


Myrna Everett is the founder of Home Vogue Interiors where we specialize in custom window fashions and other soft home goods. If you have enjoyed this blog post, please share it with others. If you are ready to start a conversation about your next project click on the “Your Project” button above and tell us what you’re working on and we’ll reach out to you and help you get started.

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Meet Myrna

Myrna Everett is the founder and lead designer of San Diego-based Home Vogue Interiors, a provider of custom window fashions and designer soft goods. She is known for her fresh yet timeless design perspective and her commitment to opening her clients’ eyes to the endless possibilities available for window fashions and other finishing touches in their homes.

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