Last week in this window covering series we reviewed Roman Shades. This week we examine various types of blinds. Sometimes people use the words shades and blinds interchangeably – but there is a difference. Shades are created by a panel of material that either blocks the sun or lets it in. Blinds are created by slats that provide sun control and a view.
Blinds are defined by their slats: whether they are vertical or horizontal; and the type of material comprising them.
Selecting Vertical or Horizontal
Vertical Blinds- Individual vanes hang vertically from a top rail. The vanes move two ways: they move from side-to-side, exposing or covering the window; or they swivel open and closed, varying the amount of light admitted into the room. Vertical blinds are easy to maintain as their vertical structure reduces dust build-up as compared to horizontal slats. Vertical blinds work best in more modern settings and for covering large expanses.
Horizontal Blinds – Horizontal blinds operate 2 ways. First, you can adjust the horizontal slats to expose the room to direct sunlight, or direct the sunlight in an upward or downward direction. You can pull all the slats up to stack and expose the window or lower them all to cover it. The wider the slats then the wider the view is to the outside when the slats are in the open position. The downside of this, however, is the wider and heavier the slats, the thicker they stack across the window when the blinds are raised. Slats that are 2” are very popular and larger 3” slats are great for a bold effect and open feel, while 1” slats work well on smaller windows. Horizontal blinds work well on their own or layered with curtains or drapes or decorated with toppers.
Vertical and horizontal blinds come in a variety of finishes and colors to suit your decorating needs. When selecting blinds consider your functional needs, your personal preferences, your budget, the style of your room and your short and long term color needs. You may be surprised to learn that verticals are available in sheer, woven and room darkening fabrics and both verticals and horizontals come in wood, faux wood, vinyl and aluminium.
Wood makes a room look warm and inviting and it offers a natural insulating quality. Most wooden blinds are stained and offer a variety of color options, although many styles come painted or with a sandblasted or rustic appearance. They can be dusted with a damp cloth, dusting mitt or vacuumed. Although they are lighter weight than faux wood blinds of comparable size, when the blinds are raised the stack height might obstruct the view on large windows.
Faux Wood Blinds
Faux wood blinds provide the look of stained or painted wood but they are less expensive than the real thing. Usually made from PVC and wood pulp, they are more heavy, flexible, and resilient than wood blinds. Their synthetic material stays beautiful longer, resistant water, humidity, sun damage, and cracking or warping. They are a great solution for humid bathrooms, kitchens and children’s rooms. Plus, they are easy to maintain and insulate a room as well as wooden blinds. On the downside, they are the heaviest horizontal blind and can be cumbersome if you want to raise and lower the blinds often.
Vinyl blinds have become very popular because they are inexpensive compared to most other blinds and they resist moisture extremely well. They do not, however, provide the warmth and richness of wood blinds because they cannot be stained to look like woor and the ir color choices are limited. Additionally, compared to other blinds vinyl slats are flimsy.
Aluminum blinds are a moderate step up in price from vinyl blinds but they are not as flimsy. Available in ½”, 1”, and 2” slats and an extensive color selection, some manufacturers also offer a variety of finishes including metallic, hammered, brushed, and a leather-like soft suede. Aluminum is not a good insulator but since the slats are lightweight they raise and lower easily and the stack on the window is slim.
Horizontal fabric blinds incorporate a slat between two layers of fabric – open they filter light and closed they provide privacy. Vertical blinds offer fabric covers on vinyl vanes – with the fabric showing into the room when the blinds are closed.
If you’re not sure how to decorate your windows – don’t feel blindsided by the multitude of options and decisions. Start with blinds – they provide both light, privacy as well as a variety of colors, finishes, an price points. They may be all you need but if you decide downline that you’d like to soften the look of your windows you can easily pair blinds with curtains and/or valances for a lovely layered look.
Are you using blinds in your home? Are you happy with them? What advise can you share with someone who’s considering them? Chime in – click the Comment link at the very bottom of this post or email email@example.com. We always appreciate hearing from you.