Looking to buy new blinds? Check out our article on how to find the right type of blinds for your windows and learn more about installing blinds.
Blinds and shades control the amount of light that enters your home, and they can enhance your family’s privacy by blocking the view inside. But the days of hanging up simple white mini-blinds in every room are over. These days, homeowners can choose from a plethora of different blinds and shades made in a range of different materials to fit every decorating style. They can serve a variety of purposes, including insulating windows and darkening or brightening a room.
Learn about some of the most common types of blinds and shades and how to find the right one for you.
Blinds or Shades – What’s the Difference?
Blinds and shades are both considered types of hard window dressing, but there are some key differences between them. Blinds use either vertical or horizontal slats that can be turned to adjust the amount of light they let in. They are usually made of wood, vinyl, metal or a composite. You can close the slats completely for maximum privacy, but because blinds cover the entire length of the window, they will maintain some privacy, even if the slats are opened all the way.
Shades are window coverings that are fabric-based, so they lend a softer look to rooms in which they are used. Shades may also be made of woven wood, typically bamboo. Instead of tilting slats to open or close shades, you pull them up and let them down in order to adjust the amount of light in a room. They offer less privacy than blinds because they do not cover the entire window when opened even partially.
What to Consider When Shopping for Blinds
When you’re shopping for blinds or shades, you should consider the following questions:
- How much light or privacy do you want in each room?
- Will the window coverings will be exposed to moisture?
- Do you have kids?
- Are you willing to have window coverings professionally cleaned?
- How much are you looking to spend?
- What’s your decorating style?
- Do you need blinds for a glass door?
Blinds may be the best choice for rooms in which privacy is a priority but where you may still want some natural light. If you have kids, cords on blinds and shades can present a strangulation risk, so choose cordless models instead. You can clean blinds yourself, but shades will need to be professionally cleaned. And you may want to spend more on window coverings in high-traffic areas, like the family room or dining room, or for a specific window treatment that complements a prized decorative theme in your home.
If you’re looking to save a bit on your energy bills, you might also consider smart blinds, which can automatically open or close on a programmed schedule or via a command from a smartphone.
Choosing Styles and Materials for Your Home
Choose blinds or shades that complement the décor of the room they’re in and meet the needs of that space. For example, blinds are ideal in a bathroom, where you may want maximum privacy but may also want some natural light occasionally. Vinyl blinds would hold up best in a moist environment, whereas wood blinds would warp, split or otherwise respond poorly to moisture in the air.
Blinds can either be horizontal or vertical. Window blinds are typically horizontal, while door blinds are vertical. Vertical blinds can also be a great choice for picture windows or any window that is wide but relatively short. Choose wider horizontal slats to make small windows feel bigger or insulating blinds to keep your heating and cooling costs low.
Wood blinds come in a range of colors and finishes, and they may look best in formal areas like dens, sitting rooms and offices. However, if you want a softer look for a living room or bedroom, shades may be the better option. Popular styles of shades include Roman shades, which have wide pleats that fold up when the shade is raised; cellular shades, which use rows of air pockets to keep heat out during hotter months and in during the colder months; and blackout shades, which can darken a bedroom or media room by blocking all external light. Conversely, you could choose solar shades for a playroom, sun room, office or dining area. These sheer shades let in lots of light but block harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer and can fade upholstery, carpet and wood surfaces inside your home.
Blinds and shades can keep your home comfortable and completely revamp the look of a room, and if you’re wondering how to install blinds, it usually only requires a few screws. Choose them carefully to complement your décor, insulate your windows, and meet your needs for privacy and light. You’ll find that your investment will make your house feel cozy for as long as you call it home.