Natural light has become a big selling point when it comes to homes these days. However, sometimes it's nice to not have sunshine pouring in or be able to temper how much light you need. While drapes can provide a variety of looks -- from dramatic and imposing to light and breezy -- good quality blinds can make a big difference also. Automated window treatments are also changing the game -- a 2016 Houzz survey reported that 2% of homes that were newly renovated included "smart" blinds or curtains as features. There's a variety of blinds on the market these days though, so you'll want to do some research and pick the right ones for your home's style and the function you're looking for.
Why Choose Blinds?
Blinds can add a nice dimension and depth to a window and a room. Practically speaking, they can also help filter light -- or block it out completely -- and help increase your privacy. Most people want one of these three elements, if not all. They can also range from being a fairly inexpensive window treatment to being something extremely high end and classy, and all can be automated.
Blinds are often simpler to clean (or spot clean, as the case may be) than drapes. They’re also often easier to adjust than drapes, depending on how much light you want in the room. Say, for example, you’re looking to just lower them enough to keep the setting sun out of your eyes – that’s easy to do with blinds, but not so much with curtains or drapes.
What Kind of Blinds are Out There?
There are around fourteen main types of blinds -- which covers shades as well. However, we'll focus on the kinds that have individual slats that can be moved up and down and side to side. The majority of blinds are controlled by a cord on one side that lets you raise and lower them. On the other side is a rod that tilts the blinds, letting you adjust how much light is let into the room or shut out. Of these types of blinds, there are five main types -- vertical, Venetian, mini, micro and automated.
Vertical blinds run along a track at the top and can either be opened from a side or part in the middle. These tend to be best for larger windows -- say floor-to-ceiling windows or a sliding patio door.
The Venetian style is perhaps the one that you're most familiar with. These feature horizontal slats that are bound together with string or tapes. When they're raised, they fold into the slat above it, accordion style, making them very compact when fully raised.
Mini and micro
Mini blinds are a kind of Venetian blind, but with smaller slats -- usually about an inch wide. Micro blinds feature slats that are only a half inch wide.
This type is controlled by an app on your phone or a smart controller. Blinds -- either individually or together -- can be opened or closed using the app or controller.
Most blinds are made out of either wood, fabric, synthetic materials, or plastic.
How Do I Pick the Right Ones for My Home?
What kind you choose will ultimately be guided by what kind of window you're looking to cover. For example, if you're looking to shade a smaller window, vertical blinds wouldn't be your first choice. You'll also have to decide what kind of slat you want -- they can range anywhere from a half inch to two and a half inches.
Material will matter in terms of what you want the room's style to look like -- wooden blinds are definitely elegant, but can also make a room feel heavy and darker. Plastic blinds are often easy to install and come in a variety of colors, but might be more flimsy.
When choosing blinds, it's important to do your research and invest in good-quality blinds that will be durable -- remember, you get what you pay for!