How to Buy Blinds and Shades

There are countless styles of window blinds and shades on the market in a wide variety of materials and colors. There’s something for everyone, but it’s enough to make you dizzy just thinking about the myriad of options. Some provide greater privacy, while others offer flexibility and the benefits of modern design and technology. Consequently, it’s helpful to have a little professional advice on how to choose the right window treatment.

How to Buy Blinds and Shades

Ask yourself some important questions

Don’t invest in window treatments without considering and prioritizing a few key factors. Making a spur of the moment purchase can be expensive and still fall short of your expectations. Answering the following questions will help you make an informed decision.

What’s your budget?

Let’s face it – budgets are important. They provide a financial framework that ensures you don’t extend yourself beyond what you can afford. A secondary benefit is that they simplify your options, so you don’t have to go crazy evaluating a million and one variations. Carefully plan your budget ahead of time and evaluate not-so-obvious costs like the heating bill. The right window treatment can help you save money by keeping heat inside during the cold winter and outside during the hot summer.

What kind of style complements your decor?

Most people want window treatments to match the interior design of their house. Look at your room’s architecture and the type of furniture and lighting in it. Is the style ornate and traditional, minimalist modern or something in between? Do you prefer blinds that blend in seamlessly or do you want custom blinds and shades that really draw attention and make a bold statement?

Do you have any safety requirements?

If you have children or pets in your home, you might be concerned that they could injure themselves. Some animals tend to hang on shades and blinds, while children often grab slats or put cords in their mouth. If that’s the case, you may need to limit your selections to those that have a simpler design with controls that are out of reach or secured from curious paws and hands.

What special features do you want?

The main purpose of a window treatment is to shield the inside of your home. People typically want them for privacy, warmth and light control. Once you’ve determined the primary purpose for your shades or blinds, you can prioritize options by how well they fulfill that particular need (anything to make the decision easier, right).

Window Blinds

Blinds

If you just want window coverage that can be adjusted to let in varying amounts of the sunshine, blinds are often the best choice. Modern binds offer innovative technology and controls, as well as interesting textures and materials.

Advantages of window blinds

Blinds are typically pretty easy to adjust and you don’t have to roll them up to let in the light. Their design allows them to be exceptional at filtering precise amounts of light. They’re also handy in bathrooms and bedrooms – where privacy is often desired. Just close them when needed and quickly open them up to let the sunshine in (cue The Fifth Dimension song Aquarius). Typically, they’re made from fade resistant materials, so you won’t have to continually change them out due to degrading color.

Disadvantages of blinds

Blinds can be costly alternatives to curtains or shades. They require a lot of time and dedication to clean. The horizontal and vertical slats allow you to control the light, but boy are they a pain to dust and wash. You’ll need a feather duster and a light touch with a rag to rid these delicate strips of dust and dirt. You might also have to remove blinds from the wall to really get them clean. Also, depending on the material and thickness, individual slats may easily bend or break – making a huge impact on the aesthetic appeal of the window treatment.

Window Shades

Shades

If you’re interested in keeping it simple yet versatile, shades might be your best bet. There are enough options to give you choices, without getting overwhelmed by too many bells and whistles.

Advantages of installing shades

Window shades can be very inexpensive, are easy to install and offer great insulation. They help improve home energy efficiency and come in a variety of fabrics, textures and materials, including bamboo. They can give you the softness of curtains with the control of blinds. Automatic versions can open and close at specific times in the day.

Disadvantages of window shades

They typically come in standard sizes, so they don’t work well with odd shaped windows. Both manual and motorized versions can frequently fall into disrepair. Shades require hand-washing and should be vacuumed on a regular basis.

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