Window Shades Vs. Blinds

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Whether decorating a new home or remodeling an existing one, determining what window treatments to use presents an intricate part of home decorating. Many different varieties of blinds and shades exist that can transform the look of a home as well as offer many functional benefits. Both window shades and blinds have pros and cons when compared to each other. Deciding which is best for a home, blinds or shades, greatly depends on the wants and needs of the consumer.

Types

  • Blinds come in many different shapes and forms. Vinyl blinds, considered the most utilitarian blind because of the inexpensive pricing, offer a good off-the-shelf product. Many home improvement stores and specialty blind stores offer in-stock aluminum blinds in a minimal amount of colors and more color variety through special orders. Special-order aluminum mini-blinds provide many color and finish choices as well as specific options. Wood blinds and faux wood blinds are two more blind types that can drastically change the appearance of a room and provide both style and functionality.

    Shades come in just as many styles as blinds. Roller shades have been a household favorite for many years, providing light blockage and privacy. Homeowners may also choose from the decorative fabric shade styles of Roman shades and pleated shades, which work well alone or with complementary colored draperies for a completely finished look. Cellular shades offer many good features and remain one of the most innovative blinds on the market when considering both the look of the shade and the functionality.

Privacy

  • Closing the slats or louvers of a blind allows an individual to block off any view into the interior of a room. This feature also blocks light from entering the home. With a twist of the tilt wand or a pull of the tilt cords, the slats open, allowing light into the room and allowing a view of the outside.

    While shades block out light and visibility, they cannot offer partial light or visibility control because of the solid construction. To see outside, the homeowner must pull the shade up into the complete open position instead of simply twisting slats or louvers to offer a partial view.

Appearance

  • Most consumers consider the overall appearance of a blind very important. Blind manufacturers offer many different colors and finishes for their blinds. Metal blinds come in both glossy and flat finishes and even offer some metallic finishes. Wood blind manufacturers offer natural wood colors, wood stains and painted finishes. The colors available with faux wood blinds differs based on whether the blind is completely comprised of PVC or if it is a composite of PVC, wood particles and vinyl. The more wood present in the blind, the more color options available.

    Because pleated shades, cellular shades and Roman shades are made of fabric, an endless amount of design and color options exist. Roller blind materials consist of vinyl or heavy fabric. Basic vinyl roller shades come in simple colors, with fabric roller shades offering more color options.

Options

  • Available options depend on the specific window covering and manufacturer and not necessarily on whether the product is a blind or a shade. Aluminum mini blinds, wood blinds, Roman shades, cellular shades and pleated shades all can be manufactured as a top-down, bottom-up window covering. With this option, not only does the bottom of the blind rise to the top of the head rail, but pulling a cord on the opposite side of the blind will lower the blind from the top, allowing privacy from the bottom of the window and a partial view from the top. Wood blinds, faux wood blinds and aluminum mini blinds are available with the no-holes option. With this option, the route holes in the blinds are cut near the back of the slat instead of in the middle. This feature cuts out more light when the blind’s slats are closed. The availability of these options depends on the manufacturer of the blind, as some companies offer each option for some blinds but not others. Many blinds and shades also offer features such as cordless lift, in which the blind raises by pushing on the bottom rail of the blind, or motorized control, in which the blinds open and close by using a remote.

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