Best Bet: Room With a View

Cherry Blossom

Along with exorbitant rents and abbreviated space, one reality of New York apartment dwelling is that they often come with dismal views — a brick wall, an overgrown lot, or a neighbor's bathroom. Designer Melissa Borrell's 36 by 60–inch woven shades serve a dual purpose, screening out UV rays and heat while providing a lovely substitute silhouette, like cherry blossoms, sprawling tree branches, or the Manhattan skyline. The shades cast faint shadows when hit by the sun, so you can envision living along a tree-lined street rather than a narrow alleyway. For those willing to dole out extra cash, Borrell also creates customized shades printed with personalized images in various colors and sizes.

$345 at, or e-mail for a price quote on custom designs.