How to Choose the Right Blinds for Your Windows
Consider this your guide to selecting blinds — including information on sizes, styles, materials and where to buy.
While upgrading your home with blinds may not seem like the most important thing to do, it’s actually quite exciting. Not only can blinds add visual appeal to a room, they can increase privacy and allow you to control the amount of light. The latter helps maximize energy savings, which is really exciting. No matter what your situation, there are a wide range of stylish and affordable window treatment options for you to pick from to refresh your living space.
Before deciding on blinds, always take certain factors into consideration, such as materials, color, cost, and what is required for installation. This guide covers all of that.
Do Your Blinds Need Replaced?
If you’re unsure whether your blinds need replacing, a quick examination typically tells you all you need to know. For the most part, blinds are made to last seven or eight years. However, factors like broken parts, humidity, and new windows are all capable of cutting down their lifespan. Blinds that are hard to pull up or down may have damaged pieces internally. It’s a good idea to replace them at this stage to reduce the risk of injury to members of your household from broken or fallen blinds.
How long blinds last largely depends on the type of material they’re made from and much they’re used. That being said, any blinds that have been part of your home for close to a decade probably show signs of natural wear-and-tear from age, like frayed cords and bent or warped slats.
When choosing new blinds, custom products typically last quite a bit longer than standard hardware store blinds because they’re crafted from materials that are of a higher quality, and constructed to be more durable. Custom blinds can be expected to last 10 years or more.
Types of Blinds
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking a style of blinds for your home. In rooms that are highly functional (think kitchen), consider a window treatment that is tough, like Venetian blinds. Mini blinds work well in smaller rooms, as they’re lightweight and don’t attract too much attention.
When installing blinds, they can be outside-mounted (attached above the frame or to the window trim or wall) or inside-mounted (attached to the inside of the window frame). To determine whether your blinds should be inside-mounted or outside-mounted, look to the depth of your windows and your personal preference. Windows with a shallow depth benefit from outside-mounting since the blinds are attached on or above the window frame. Outside-mount blinds also can hide an unsightly window frame and create the illusion of larger windows. Choose inside-mount blinds if you’re looking for a more minimalist look where the blinds merge with your window frames.
• Venetian Blinds: As one of the most popular styles, Venetian blinds fit in well with a variety of interior design styles. They feature adjustable horizontal slats made from plastic, wood or aluminum, and come in a range of colors and sizes. They can be customized further with light-blocking materials, motorized lifting features, and cloth tape.
• Mini Blinds: With small slats less than half the width of standard blinds, mini blinds are one of the most versatile and affordable blind options. Due to their being made from synthetic materials, they are durable, lightweight and easy to clean. They’re not as customizable as their Venetian blinds cousin, but do come in different sizes and colors depending on the manufacturer.
• Vertical Blinds: Simple and sleek in appearance, highly durable, and easily moved out of the way when necessary, vertical blinds make a great choice for commercial spaces and sliding glass doors. They’re also easy to adjust since they move side-to-side across windows. A decorative valance is often used above vertical blinds to hide the track where the blinds fasten.
Due to the amount of different window styles and dimensions, blinds are not a “one size fits all” type of product. If you live in an older home or have custom windows, there’s a good chance that standard blind sizes won’t work for you. You’ll most likely have to set up a consultation with a retailer to get your windows measured so that they can recommend window treatments. Since installing blinds requires very accurate measurements, consulting a professional is always a good idea before ordering any products.
Materials for Blinds
Blinds are available in an array of colors and materials so you’re bound to find something to match your design style. The size of the window, your budget, and the room itself all should be considered when choosing these features.
• Wood: As the toughest and most long-lasting type, wood blinds provide a natural, sophisticated look to a room. They come in several different stains, so homeowners can match them to their window frames, flooring or other wood features. Since wood blinds hold up well under repeated use, they are a good fit for low-humidity rooms that see a lot of traffic. Just keep in mind that they will warp in high moisture environments. Wood blinds tend to be more expensive, which requires a larger investment up front. However, they provide a larger increase to home value than less expensive options. Price: Above average.
• Faux Wood: If you fancy the appearance of wood blinds but can’t afford them, faux wood blinds are a less expensive option. They’re made from either PVC or composite wood so are able to tolerate moisture better than wood blinds, which means they can be used in spots with high humidity like bathrooms. One drawback about faux wood blinds is that they tend to be heavier than those made from other materials. This means they should not be adjusted very often and may not be as well-suited for common spaces. Price: Medium.
• Vinyl: Lightweight and incredibly versatile, vinyl is most commonly used in vertical blinds and mini blinds. It has the ability to blend into pretty much any interior design style. Moisture and typical household cleaning agents won’t damage vinyl blinds. In addition, they’re affordable and offer energy efficiency levels similar to the more expensive materials. They’re also quite durable, having been designed to raise and lower frequently without breaking. Price: Budget-friendly.
• Aluminum: A great option for more functional areas of your home (think office or garage), aluminum blinds are not as likely to blend in with your windowsill as other options. They are rust-proof, so are able to withstand high levels of moisture, and are more likely to last longer than vinyl blinds. Price: Budget-friendly.
Where to Buy
When it comes to buying new blinds, finding the right retailer is essential. Free consultations are a common offering and provide a great way to find the best blinds for your budget and style. If your windows don’t have standard dimensions, a professional can make certain that you order the right size blinds. In addition, large retailers frequently offer installation services for an added fee, so you don’t have to stress out about putting up the blinds by yourself.