Blinds are an important part of a home for many reasons. They provide homeowners with privacy and can help to fully bring out a room’s design. The problem though is finding the right blinds to use in one’s home due to the vast amount of options available. For those who are on the search for finding the perfect blinds for their home, this article will help to guide you in your journey. You’ll discover more behind what they are, some important things to keep in mind before investing in one, and some of the most common types on the market.
What is the Difference Between Blinds and Shades?
Many might be surprised to find that blinds are quite different from shades. Blinds usually feature numerous panels connected together that can be pulled up or down with a cord. Shades, on the other hand, tend to be a flat surface that you can push up or down with a cord or your hand if they have a special spring design.
While the two differ in their aesthetics, they also differ in how they provide light to a room. Because shades are a flat sheet, you can only lift it up or down to get a certain amount of light. However, with blinds, you can open the slats slightly or all the way giving you the ability to adjust the lighting amount in the room to your preferences.
Parts of Blinds
While it might not look like it, blinds are composed of many different parts, all of which work to help ensure the model performs perfectly.
Every blind requires you to have mounting brackets. These items are placed either on the outer or inner edge of the window frame and are what keep the blinds secure in place. Mounting brackets come in various materials and styles, like metal, gold, and plastic, which can help them to better blend into the frame and blinds.
The headrail rests on the top of the blind structure and is what holds it together. The headrail is secured in the mounting brackets and keeps the product hanging up when you pull the blinds to open or close them. One can keep the headrail exposed as it is or have a headrail cover to hide it.
The cord lock rests beneath the headrail and keeps any cords on the blinds in place. It will lock the cord when you pull it up so it stays at the desired level.
Also commonly referred to as cords, the lift strings are what allow you to pull the blinds up or down if you decide to invest in traditional blinds.
Tassels are located on the ends of the lift strings and help you to better secure your grip when pulling them up or down. They also add a nice aesthetic look to the blind rather than just having strings randomly hanging from it.
The Blind Material
The main part of the blind is the blind material which can range anywhere from wooden slats to solid fabric.
What are the Benefits of Using Blinds?
Some of the best benefits of blinds are that they are easy to use and come in numerous styles, but this isn’t all. Below are some of the top benefits of these items.
They Help to Control Sunlight
Having warm sunbeams shine into a room can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can get to be too much. This is why blinds are great to have in the home as they’ll help to filter the sunlight to your desired intensity. You can invest in various blind slat thicknesses to give you small sunlight amounts or choose blackout blinds to help completely block out the sun.
They Can Help to Save You Money
In addition to helping to control the intensity of sunlight, blinds can help to save you money in the long run. This is because they will prevent cold or hot temperatures from entering a room which can prevent your air conditioning or heater from overworking.
They Add Beauty to a Room
These products come in numerous styles which means you can find one that matches your décor perfectly. Blinds can even help to intensify colors in the room and make the space boldly stand out. You’ll discover a vast amount of blind colors, textures, and styles that will help to fit the aesthetic needs of a room.
They are Durable
Blinds are extremely durable which makes them a worthwhile investment. On average, blinds tend to last anywhere from five to ten years.
They Can Protect Furniture and Curtains
Because blinds filter sunlight, they can help to protect fabric on your curtains or furniture from fading or getting a slightly yellow look. This will not only keep the materials durable but prevent you from having to do extensive cleaning.
They Can Help with Headaches
Surprisingly, blinds can actually help with relieving headaches. This is because they can reduce the brightness of the sun in a room which is known for increasing headache pain. Blackout blinds, in particular, are ideal because they can completely darken a room to help with reliving the intensity of light.
How to Install Blinds
When it comes to installing blinds, the process can be a little difficult. This is due to measurements needing to be accurate and the brackets were put in correctly. However, there are a few ways one can make this process a bit easier.
Step One: Measure the Area Out
The first step to install blinds is to measure the window. You’ll need to make sure to get an accurate measurement of both the width and length of the window so that the blind fits snuggly in it. Ideally, a steel tape measurer should be used as it is sturdier and can help to better project what the correct measurements are. Make sure to also mark the area where any interior or exterior brackets will be so you can better see how the blind will fit into the window. Pencil marks can be used to help with this as you can easily erase them once the blinds are installed.
Step Two: Gather Your Supplies
Once you measure out the area, you’ll need to make sure to get the right supplies. For most blinds, this includes a ladder, hammer, screwdriver, drill, and level. This equipment will help to make sure the blinds are secure and even once installed.
Step Three: Install the Blinds
After gathering the supplies, the installation process can begin. First, install the mounts according to whether they are exterior or interior one. These mounts should be placed on the top edges of the window which will keep the blinds secure when they’re hanging.
Once the mounts are installed, the headrail needs to be placed. The headrail, which holds the blinds, can fit into the mounts. Usually, it will snap into place or can be softly pushed into the mounts and then locked into them.
While most blinds follow this installation process, it’s still a good idea to check with the instructions that come with the type of blinds you plan to install.
Manual vs. Automatic Blinds
Another choice shoppers will come across is manual and automatic blinds. While these work similarly, they have their own specifications to consider.
Manual blinds are a traditional option that requires you to lift them up or down with your hands or a string. This type also usually has a cord on the side which you can use you open the slats of the blind so it can release some sunlight into the room. However, manual blinds can be a little tricky to use as the strings can sometimes get stuck in the slats and could eventually snap if tugged on too much.
Automatic blinds, also called motorized blinds, allow you to lift blinds up or down with a remote. The remote gives you the ability to easily move the blinds so they open or close to a certain level without having to physically go over and do so yourself.
However, automatic blinds are the more expensive option as they have motors built into them. Sometimes their installation process is more intricate as well which might mean you need to hire a professional to install it for you.
If you decide to invest in automatic blinds, you’ll find they are very simple to use. However, for this type, you’ll want to look at a few things.
How Quiet the Motor Is
It’s important to look at the motor and find out how loudly it runs. If a motor is too loud, it could become a hassle to use and can ruin the serenity of a room.
The Battery Life
Automatic blinds run on motors which need batteries. The battery life for these motors should last at least a year if not more. It’s a good idea to check the battery type to make sure you don’t need to keep replacing it.
The Remote Signal Length
These blinds use a remote in order to run which can help to save you from having to adjust them yourself. However, sometimes remotes can reach only a short distance and require you to be directly in front of the blinds in order for the signal to connect. Because of this, it’s important to make sure the remote has a long signal to prevent you from constantly having to get up and be near it.
Pre-Made vs. Custom Blinds
The choice between pre-made and custom blinds are yet another crucial thing one needs to consider.
Pre-made blinds are the type you find already packaged in the store and are ready to install once you buy them. They come with measurements printed on their packaging so you all you need to do is measure the window and find a pre-made blind model that matches it.
Custom blinds, on the other hand, have a more intricate process. Custom blinds require you to measure the area you want to install them in, pick out the material you want the blinds to be made of, and any other features you desire the blinds to have. Because of this, you can’t immediately buy blinds for a certain window treatment because you’ll need to wait for them to be made to your specifications. This type of blind is ideal for those who have unique window shapes in their home and can’t find blinds that fit them well.
Custom blinds are more expensive compared to pre-made blinds because they are being customized to your taste and handcrafted, unlike pre-made blinds which are a generic option.
Blind Extension Brackets
When installing blinds it’s common to find that an extension is needed due to the model not being cut correctly or the window having special treatments (like moldings) on it. This will help to keep the blinds secure in the window without ruining the window treatment or other decorative elements near it.
Many windows have noticeable brackets on the side which can be unsightly and make the window look clunky. Hidden brackets help to prevent this as they hide behind the blinds themselves or are flat and rest on the top of the window frame.
Blind Extension Bracket Materials
These brackets come in a few different materials so you can be sure you’ll find one that blends into the décor theme of the room well.
Most brackets are made out of metal which helps to add to the durability of the product. However, metal brackets sometimes can rust which can be unsightly.
If metal brackets aren’t something that would work well for your window, plastic brackets are also an option. Keep in mind though that plastic brackets aren’t the most durable and sturdy.
Installing brackets depends on the type of blinds you’ll be using and the window itself. For most, you’ll need to install the bracket either on the interior sides of the window frame or on the top interior part. To secure the brackets, there are usually two holes in it which you can drill screws into.
Common Blinds Materials
Blinds come in a variety of different materials and each material has its own unique benefits.
Plastic blinds are some of the commonly used types of blinds and are one of the most affordable options. Most plastic blinds are made out of PVC which is known for its durability and protection against strange fading due to extreme sunlight levels.
Wood blinds tend to be expensive, but they are one of the most durable options. This type has unique textures and grains in each slat and is lightweight. This type of blind collects dust quickly though which can ruin the aesthetic look of the wooden panels if not removed often.
This type is perfect for those who are on a budget as they tend to come at affordable prices. The downside of paper blinds is that they aren’t the most durable. They can rip easily and if something accidentally rubs against it, a color can be left behind on the paper.
Vinyl blinds are not only a good option for those on a budget, but for those who want something that will block out sunlight well and are easy to clean. Vinyl blinds also don’t rust as metal blinds might do.
The one downside about vinyl blinds is that they yellow easily. While you can usually remove this yellow tint with some bleach, sometimes this process can be a bit daunting. If you use vinyl blinds, it’s a good idea to install them in a room that won’t get much sunlight.
Metal, usually in the form of aluminum, is a unique material to use for blinds. While not one of the most used options, it’s a good type for those who want something trendy and modern. However, this type sometimes can rust so it’s ideal to keep them out of places where moisture is often seen, like in bathrooms.
Things to Look for When Buying Blinds
Shopping for blinds comes with a few aspects you need to keep an eye out for. Below are some important things to consider before investing in one.
Corded vs. Cordless Blinds
Cords can be a helpful addition to blinds and make it easier for you to pull them up. However, sometimes cords might not fit the aesthetic look you’re looking for and can sometimes get stuck in the blind panels. This is why it’s important to consider whether a corded or cordless blind option is right for a certain space.
Blackout or Light Filtering
A unique and important thing to consider about blinds is whether you want them to have a blackout or light filtering feature. A blackout feature does exactly what its name implies – it completely stops light from coming into a room.
A light filtering blind allows some light to come in, but you can adjust how intense it is. This is part of the three different opacities that blinds come in. You’ll find that light filtering comes in light, medium, and heavy types.
A light filter will allow quite a bit of light into the room and doesn’t give the most privacy. Medium filters will allow sunlight into the room but not as much as the lighter option. On the other hand, a heavy filter will completely block out lighting and provides more privacy compared to the other two.
How Easy it is to Lift
Blinds can sometimes be heavy which makes them difficult to lift, especially if a cord is needed to do so. When searching for the right type of blinds, it’s good for a shopper to consider the weight of a model which can help to make sure it fits one’s needs.
Inside vs. Outside Mounts
Inside or outside mounts will affect how your blinds look once installed. Inside mounts will keep the blinds inside the window frame. Outside mounts will be on the outer edge of the window frame and won’t have a snug fit like inside mounts will give. While both serve the same purpose, they do give the blinds a different look which is why it’s important to fully consider which style works best for the room.
For those who have small children, or even pets, safety features are something worth looking into. Blinds can be a hazard to children and pets as the cords can easily strangle them or can cause them to get their fingers or paws stuck. Some good safety features to look for are the ability to hide the cord and protective coverings for any small pieces that might be on the blinds.
Types of Blinds
While most blinds run horizontally, vertical blinds run vertically making them a unique style to use. Most vertical blinds are constructed out of a polyester fabric which contains natural fibers like cotton and wool that help to keep it durable. The fabric covers slats which are hung from the top of the headrail with chains inside it. Usually, vertical blinds come with a cord on the side which allows you to open the slats softly to expose sunlight into the room. This type of blind is ideal for square bay windows or windows that are curved as they can adjust to the shape of them well.
Venetian blinds feature horizontal panels which can be opened with a cord to adjust the sunlight levels in a room. This adjustment cord is usually located on the edge of the model so it’s hidden from view. The slats of these blinds are very thick and can have a width of anywhere from 1-2 inches. Venetian blinds are perfect for those who want privacy in their home and the panels tightly together so there’s no need to worry about window spaces being left open. This type is also very easy to clean and can safely be washed off with water.
This type of blind is perfect to help cover sliding door windows. Panel blinds are large enough to cover the doors to provide privacy while also insulating the area which can help to save you money. This type can be pulled opened and closed by hand or installed on a track so it slides to cover the door windows. Many panel blinds also can completely fold together when opened which can keep a space open making them a compact option. Despite being on a track and not the most secure compared to other blind types, they’re very quiet when being used.
Pleated blinds are made out of pleated fabric and designed to be thin so that when you pull it up the fabric completely disappears. Once you lift it up, the fabric will fold over so it looks as if there’s no blind in the window at all. This type of blind does tend to be slightly see-through and comes in both corded and cordless options. You’ll also find it’s an energy-efficient option so it can help you cut back on your electric bill. However, you need to be careful when cleaning them as water and soap can destroy the finish.
Roman blinds are similar to pleated blinds in that when pulled up the fabric folds together. However, unlike pleated blinds, the design is made with a completely solid look and comes in blackout options so no light can sneak through. Roman blinds use two mounting brackets to help keep it supported in the window and has a cord on the back so the fabric evenly pulls up which helps to make operating it easy. This type of blind is ideal to use in bedrooms as it will block out the sunlight which can help with giving you a better sleep.
This type of blind is also known as a honeycomb blind because the edges form together to create a honeycomb shape which helps to trap air. These edges vary in their width so each cellular blind is unique from the other. Cellular blinds come in single, double, and triple layers which work to block certain amounts of sunlight and provide insulation to the room as well. The different layers are usually made of a tough fabric, like cotton, or thick paper so there are numerous options to choose from. In addition to corded varieties, cellular blinds come in motorized types as well.
Designed specifically for skylights, skylight blinds work to help completely block out lighting. They come in cellular, pleated, and mini options and also provide insulation for the room. This type of blind comes in many different styles and fabrics and is made to be sturdy enough to keep its form when pulled up or down. Because of this, one won’t have to worry about the blind hanging strangely, especially if it’s installed on a window that has an awkward angle. Skylight blinds come in every style and size, so you can find one that fits even the smallest window in your home well.
Faux Wood Blinds
Faux Wood blinds are designed to look like an imitation of wood blinds. They are constructed out of PVC or vinyl and have a solid wood core which is coated with a tough polymer. Faux Wood blinds are often attractive to people because they are a little cheaper than regular wood blinds and don’t warp or fade compared to vinyl blinds. This makes them ideal for rooms where it’s warm and humid. Faux Wood blinds are also very easy to clean and can be used with soap and water without fear of them ruining the finish or causing crackles in the slats.
Perfect Fit Blinds
Perfect fit blinds do exactly what their name implies – they fit perfectly into the window which makes them appear as if they are part of it. This type of blind is one of the newest types on the market and is typically used for uPVC windows and doors. Perfect Fit blinds do not need cords as you can pull them up or down with your hands or you can try an automatic model. This type does need clips to hang but they hide behind the sheet. They also help to provide complete privacy as there are no gaps in them and the fabric is solid.
Wood blinds are some of the pricier options on the market, but they have a stunning organic look. Each slat features unique textures which make each blind model distinct from the other. Most wood blinds are made from oak or basswood as they are durable options. These blinds are very lightweight so they can easily be hung up and lifted without problems. Wood blinds additionally help with insulating areas well because they can absorb extreme heat or cold temperatures. However, wood blinds do have an intricate cleaning process you need to follow as using certain chemicals, soaps, and water can destroy the finish.
Thermal blinds are an eco-friendly option that helps to filter out sunlight while also insulating a room. In fact, thermal blinds are the best choice when it comes to insulating a room because its slats help to absorb the heat or cool air that escapes through the window. While it does help with reducing cool temperatures, it works especially well with heat. This feature can help you to cut back on your energy bill due to their heavy insulation. In addition to this, thermal blinds can reduce sound which means loud noises outside can be blocked out so as not to disturb you.
Lisa has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Arts. She is an experienced blogger who enjoys researching interesting facts, ideas, products, and other compelling concepts. In addition to writing, she likes photography and Photoshop.