How to Choose the Best Window Blinds and Shades?

Want to say yes to privacy and no to sun glare? Then start using these window blinds and shades. All you have to do is to choose the solution that works best for you.

Here, in this buying guide, we are providing all the necessary information to let you know how to choose (parameters, types & features) the best blinds and shades for your windows and doors.  

What is the Difference Between Blinds and Shades?

The main difference between these two is the material. The window blind is a type of window covering that made up of several long horizontal or vertical slats of various types of hard material (metal, plastic, wood or a composite which have a harder look) that are used widely for privacy or to keep out light (controls the amount of light entering the room). 

Whereas the window shade is a piece of stiff cloth (fabric based) or heavy paper in which you can pull down over the window as a covering (curtain) that gives your room a softer feel. 

Things to Consider When Buying Window Blinds and Shades:

Before buying the window blinds and shades, you must keep these factors in mind, so that you can buy the best and most suited one. 

1. Light and privacy 

Firstly, decide how to keep your room either bright and airy or light inhibited and cozy. The blinds tilt to let the sun in or keep it out, when they closed.

The window shades have fabric options that are light filtering or room darkening, which gives you more control over brightness. The only thing is that you have to pull up to let the light in or down to deter nosy neighbours. 

2. Safety

It is another important aspect to consider while buying the window blinds and shades. Simply opt for cordless styles, if you have kids to prevent any accidental strangulation. 

3. Decorating Style

How do you want to decorate your window blinds and shades for your house? Is it casual or formal, comfortable or stylish, bold colors or subtle hues, corded styles or sleeker, streamlined cordless ones? So, choose the style to decorate your room windows. 

4. Operating Method

The blinds and shades are available in both traditional (manual) and automatic versions. So, choose before investing on these window coverings. 

  • For manual operation, a cord located on one side of the shades or blinds to control the height of the shades and pulling this cord will raise or lower the blinds to control the heat or light entering into the room. 
  • For Automatic, a hidden motor is placed at the top of the shades or blinds and can be operated by using a remote control. It simplifies the procedure with a single touch that raise or lower the blinds or shades of your window. This is more expensive when compared with traditional operating method. 

5. Cleaning

These blinds can be dust magnets and they don’t need any professional cleaning. If you want to make dusting them easier then you can use Swiffer’s 360⁰ duster. Shades in textured fabrics and weaves hide soil better but you can clean the shades by lightly vacuum and spot clean. 

6. Budget

Decide whether to outfit just one window or for the entire house or you may consider spending more on certain windows and scaling back on others. We know that window treatments are priced by size. Custom sizes, its operating system (manual or automatic), and special fabrics or patterns or features will also add to the cost. 

7. Measurement

It is another factor to consider before buying, you have to take proper measurements of your window for installing blinds and shades. So, measure accurately whether you’re buying readymade blinds or custom size blinds or ordering online to achieve a perfect fit and well finished look to your window after installation. 

  • For outside mounted styles, include measuring the window frame
  • For inside mounted styles, the measurement will be stopped at the frame.

If you don’t have an idea of doing the measurements, then simply consult a custom window covering shop. Their trained staff with come with you to handle the measurements and complete the process. 

8. Types of Blinds

Do you know that blinds are most popular window covering out of all window treatment options? They look great with high functionality, in which the functionality depends on the types of blinds. This tiltable slats will not let the sun shine in or not but they offer a clean looking custom fit, handsome and a lot of privacy. So, here we are going to know about the different types of blinds.

  • Vertical Blinds

These vertical blinds suits best for patio doors and floor to ceiling windows but you can also use over small windows. The individual slats of this blinds run along a track at the top of the blind, in which you can open it either from side to side or parting in the middle. 

  • Venetian Blinds

This venetian blinds are most popular style of blinds. The horizontal slats will attach with either string or strips of cloth (tapes). You can either twist the horizontal slats or move it up and down for controlling the amount of light and air entering into the room. 

  • Mini Blinds

The mini blinds functions quite similar like venetian blinds (same functionality) but the only difference is that the feature slats of mini blinds are smaller width (usually about 1 inch thick) than venetian blinds. 

  • Micro Blinds

As the name suggests, micro blinds are even tinier than mini blinds with same functionality. Its feature slats are 1/2 inch thick.

  • Panel Blinds

This panel blinds are also widely used for patio doors and large windows. These blinds feature sections will move along a track by allowing you to open and close it. 

  • Roller Blinds

Roller blinds keeps the sunlight out and insulate against the cold by simply allowing enough light into allay and maintain privacy. They are made of stiffer fabrics which make it fall better when shut. You can install a second block out blind for night time privacy.

They roll up around a rod at the top of window in which you can open it with a pulley or remote controller. Suitable for kid’s room or living rooms or kitchen.

  • Holland Blinds

This Holland blinds are available in a wide range of fabrics and colors and they are chain operated. This will resist rot and mildew making them ideal for bathrooms, living rooms and kitchen. 

  • Sliding Panels

This blinds work similar to vertical blinds but the only difference is the panels are broader and can slide over each other. It suits best for bigger windows and doors due to its light weight and easy to move property.

The texture of the sliding panels looks like bamboo or wood that blocks sunlight and heat along with giving a modern design to your room.

  • Woven Blinds

The woven blinds (or chic curtains or bamboo blinds) are one of the trendiest blind in the Indian market. The bamboo blinds or matted blinds are manually rolled up and tied with a lace.

Although, it is not suitable for kid’s room but you can use it in the living room or master bedroom, which will give rustic charm to your house. 

  • Sheer Blinds

Sheer blinds or shades look similar like curtains and ideal for using in living rooms or bedrooms due to its lightweight and delicate fabrics (silks, non-woven polyester or lace) with single colored pastel shades.

These are used behind heavy drapes in which when this drapes are drawn the window is not completely bare. This will allow sufficient light with a clear view of outside along with enough privacy. 

  • Plantation Shutters

It is a classic blind that has wider blades to fit into an existing window frame. It is widely used for privacy, insulation and security and can be made from aluminium, timber or a combination of both. You can use this shutters in sliding windows, bifold, French doors, casement, and folding

  • Smart Blinds

The smart blinds are increasing its popularity now due to smart home technology. You can get these smart blinds and shades in many traditional or new styles. This blinds sync with a smartphone application and can be easily controlled. 

The inbuilt program system will open and close the blinds at certain points during the day and also help you save on energy costs. You can also make use of smart controllers which allows you to outfit your existing blinds with the same type of smart technology and use it effectively. 

Note: Wider horizontal slats create illusion of bigger windows and more space in the apartments and small rooms with its range from 1 inch to 2 3/8 inches. Vertical blinds work for windows that are wider than they are tall which make it ideal for picture windows with a sweeping view or across sliding glass doors. 

9. Types of Shades

Shades will come to mind when someone looking for tremendous versatility and style why because they provide more ways to create different looks with their texture, patterns and fabric weight.

The shades will easily refresh your room and can lend a warmer, softer look than blinds.  Let’s have a look on some types of shades.

  • Pleated Shades

Pleated shades is a piece of material (either fabric or paper) that is pleated to form an accordion-like pattern in which you can raise or lower it. It resembles like venetian blinds but can’t be adjusted from side to side. It softens the look of the window by controlling the intensity of air and light into the room. 

  • Cellular Shades

The cellular shades (also called as Honeycomb or cell shades) look similar to pleated shades but the only difference is that the cellular shades are made of two different piece of material. The front and back sections of cellular shades are open in the middle to create a pocket for insulation (for heat and sound).

These shades are available in different cell sizes that are designed to fit for different windows. This perfect shades will help to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Perfect to fit all around the house.

  • Roman Shades

Roman shades are a traditional window covering which is made from fabric or material (either jute or seagrass. Although, there are several different styles of roman shades available in the market but they are same in the functionality (operating) which resembles like venetian blinds. 

The roman shade fabric continues to fold into itself and creates a large stack of fabric at the top of the window when it raised completely. You can get either lined or unlined roman shades as per your need but the lining offer features like thermal linings and blackout to make your window look beautiful.

  • Roller Shades

Roller shades are made from natural or synthetic fabrics in which you can roll up or down to suit your needs. These are available in different styles (with additional features like thermal or blackout linings) that mount to the window in a variety of ways.

There are more stylish options available that features cornices, fascia’s or valances which hide all of the components of the shade and thus provide a polished look. 

  • Tie – Up Shades

Tie up shades looks like a cross between a shade and a curtain. These are available in a wide range of materials. They are constructed from a piece of fabric that ties beyond the bottom of the shade. You can easily raise the shade by rolling it up and then simply tie it to get a country or casual look.

  • Woven Wood (or bamboo shades)

This offers full and natural looking coverage that works well in breakfast nooks or garden rooms and other places where you need to filter out the sun to read the newspaper or play with your kids. 

  • Tight Weaves

This shades are like microsuede or twill that offer optimal privacy due to their opaque nature. Suits best to fit in the bedrooms and bathrooms.  

  • Solar Shades

Solar shades (made from a sheer weave) look like roller shades that work for a purpose of reducing the amount of sunlight, UV rays, glare and heat entering into the room from outside without disturbing the window’s view.

In simple words, solar shades are like sunglasses for your windows that suits for sunrooms, dining areas, light-drenched offices.

  • Outdoor Shades

As the name suggest outdoor shades which we place them outdoors to reduce the amount of sun exposure, light and heat entering into the room. These are made from heavy duty, weather resistant materials that works well on patios and decks. 

  • Skylight Shades

Skylight window treatments are specially designed to give those hard to reach windows to grab the benefits of light blockage and extra insulation. These are available in many different styles like cellular, roller, pleated, etc. In general, they come with a large removable rod which is used to lower, raise or adjust the shade. While some come with handle (instead of rod) or automatic versions. 

Materials used for making Blinds and Shades

The blinds and shades are constructed with a wide range of materials. You should decide the material by depending on the room in which you’re installing this window coverings. Have a look on some material that are used to make blinds and shades.

Wood – The wood blinds are most popularly used blinds due to their strength and durability. It offers the natural beauty (different types of wood with different colors) and warmth of the wood to your room. They come in light and dark hues and polished or painted finishes. It is not suitable for the area where humidity and moisture exists. Also, the wood can expand or contract over time, which makes it susceptible to wrap, crack, break or split. 

Faux Wood – Made from synthetic material that looks similar like wood and economical than wood blinds. This faux wood blinds is suitable to use in areas and rooms with higher humidity. This material blinds are durable and affordable which makes it as a popular choice for many applications. 

Plastic – It is the most economical of all materials used for making blinds and can be available in different colors and sizes. Although, these won’t provide the benefits or look that you get from wood. These blinds are made from thin plastics in which they can be damaged over time. 

Metal – The metal blinds look similar to plastic blinds and are available in an even variety of finishes. It provides moisture resistance that make it a good choice to use in humid environments. Also, these are available in different gauges like the smaller the gauge, the thicker and more durable the slats. The only drawback is that the metal may cause some noise while using this type of blinds. 

Paper – The most popular and economical choice for different decor styles and are commonly available in pleated shades. They usually a solid color but may feature beautiful decorative motifs, paintings or pictures which makes a beautiful and unique look to the room. 

Natural Fabrics – We generally see common fabrics used are cotton, jute and seagrass and this is widely used to produce shades in which these fabrics are available as roller, roman or tie – up shades. These are easy to clean and durable but they are not resistant to fading. 

Synthetic Fabrics – It is used to produce certain types of shades like roller, tie – up or roman. They are durable and easy to clean but are highly resistant to fading which makes it easy to maintain their beauty for longer when compared with natural fabric shades. 

Features to know before buying a window blinds and shades?

We know that all these blinds and shades will provide privacy and limit the amount of light and heat that enters into a room. But there are some additional features which add value to these window coverings and make it more useful. Have a look on some features of window blinds and shades.

Blackout – The blackout fabric is an added feature of different shades in which the external light is almost blocked completely by the shade. This feature are used in bedrooms, home theaters, media rooms and other rooms to get privacy.

Thermal – Thermal fabric or thermal insulating pockets is another feature that you will find in many shades. There is a thermal lining or a foam like material inside the blinds in which this layer helps to insulate the window to keep the room cool in summer and warmth in winter season. 

Sheer – Sheer fabric when added to shades will enhance its functionality and soft look. Although, they serve the same purpose just like other shades but they feature slats will work like blinds in which they can be adjusted to raise or lower the amount of light or heat entering into the room.

Cordless – This cordless blinds and shades are especially useful in the homes where there are small children why because it prevent the child to break or hurt themselves with the cord. You can easily operate this cordless blinds and shades.

Top Down Bottom Up – This add some visual interest and increase the versatility of the shades, as the systems can be lowered or raised from the top and bottom as well. This works well in rooms with many windows to get control over heat or light and privacy. Although, it is a complicated design but it is easy to install and maintain.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does window blinds last?

The longevity of this window blinds will depend on how well you take care of them. The expensive blinds will generally made with better quality materials and lasts longer than cheaper window blinds. Also, remember if they are dusted and cleaned regularly with an occasional professional cleaning. In general, they can last for 10 years or longer.

2. How to get these blinds and shades?

To make a perfect window covering, you have to know how a shade or blind is produced before using them. In general, there are two main production methods – readymade and made to measure. Readymade As its name says that the blinds and shades are made in popular window sizes in which they can be installed and adjusted easily by the customer to provide a custom fit for their windows. These type of blinds and shades are cheaper and can be delivered on the same day. Made to Measure These are custom made in which the customer can choose every single aspect of their window covering that includes finish, color, material, hardware configuration, etc. This suits best for customers those who are not compromises to decorate their home and also works best for odd shaped windows which won’t have readymade sizes. It may take a week or more for the manufacturer to produce and install these blinds. These are more expensive than readymade one.

3. What type of blinds are best for households with children?

Cordless and remote controlled blinds works best for households with kids why because this cordless blinds will eliminate the possibility of choking and strangling hazards. But make sure to check whether the blind brand is having the label as best for kids.

4. Is these blinds helps to keep the room cool?

The blinds will definitely help to keep a room cool by controlling (or reducing) the temperature, especially in summertime, where the sunrays are high. It prevent the room from heating up and thereby keeps the cool air feeling nice and cool. Other side of using this blinds are it controls the heat in the winter by simply opening the window to let the sunshine in and thereby adds heat to the room. But make sure to keep these drafty windows closed to prevent cool breeze.

5. What is the difference between inside mount and outside mount?

In simple words, the inside mount is a window covering that fits inside the window, outlining the frame whereas the outside mount extends beyond the frames that covers the window completely. Also, the inside mount require accurate measurements for a clean, snug fit. There is freedom without any precision measurements of length, width and design.

6. Can these window blinds be repaired?

Yes, of course, you can fix these window blinds. In general, there are usually extra slats that comes with the blinds (in case one breaks) that can be weaved back into place. Also, some professional services that repair these window blinds.

7. Can we cut the blinds to fit in the window?

We will find the window blinds exactly the width of the window that you have to cover. The length will depend on the type of the blind which we have. So, both the length and the width of the blinds can be cut to fit it to an exact size of the window.

8. Shall we wash the blinds (or) how to wash these blinds?

Yes, you can wash them just as you wash other surface of the home. You have to follow different cleaning methods by depending on the material that these blinds are made of (or) else simply call a professional for a deep clean. Coming to how often it has to be cleaned, the blinds should be cleaned at least twice a year along with occasional dusting or light vacuuming in every time you clean your home. This will help to prevent the dust or dirt build up (that trapped between the slats) and to maintain them for longer run.

 

9. Where to buy these window blinds and shades?

Now you have an idea on how to select or choose the perfect blinds or shades for your home. Then you have to know where to buy these window coverings. You can purchase the readymade blinds and shades from any home improvement stores or big retailers or simply from online stores in which you can choose the best from a wider range available in the stores. For made to measure (custom sizes), you have to choose where to shop more carefully with proper measurements. So, you have to go to the place where the manufacturer will allow you to walk and select the color, model, design or pattern for your window coverings.

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