Choosing window blinds can be an extensive process, but we're here to help make it more simple. We spoke with designers who outline nine of the most popular types of window blinds and share their pros and cons, best uses, and other helpful hints to keep in mind before making a purchase.
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These blinds "bring the beauty of nature indoors and add elegance to a space," notes Barrie Barash, design consultant at Stoneside Blinds and Shades. "Depending on the finish chosen, wood blinds can create a warm, cozy aesthetic or bring an energetic vibe to a room." Spacejoy Senior Designer Micaela Farley finds wood blinds to be best for mid-century or boho style spaces. "They exude a natural, light feel and are able to be painted in order to be ideal for any style of home!"
And in addition to adding natural touches to a home, they can be environmentally friendly, too—Barash says that PVC and composite material options are available.
Wood blinds' slatted design also offers benefits. "They are excellent at creating privacy and controlling light throughout the day," Barash adds. "Their slats are easily titled, and the entire blind can be lifted up and down for a better view outside. With the rise of technology, wood blinds also come with motorization options."
02 of 09
Vertical blinds, Barash says, "are a smart choice for larger spaces, such as a floor-to-ceiling windows in a living room or a sliding glass door overlooking a patio." She adds, "While wood blinds are oriented parallel to the floor, vertical blinds are elongated, making a room feel larger and giving a sophisticated feel. They tend to be more affordable and easy to repair, making them a smart choice for new homeowners." And don't worry about this style appearing too dated. "Although they hit their peak in popularity in the 80s and 90s, innovations such as S-louvers and new materials have rejuvenated the interest in vertical blinds," Barash explains.
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Top Down Bottom Up Blinds
Otherwise known as TDBU blinds, these "are great when you want privacy but want to allow light to come in from the street," designer Kirsten Conner explains. "They offer flexibility: They can go all the way up and function as a normal blind during the day and be down in the evening to maintain privacy," she adds. Conner recommends this style of blinds for windows located directly in front of a sidewalk. "Natural light can come into the space with a one-third opening at the top," she comments.
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"They filter light and keep inside temperature down," Conner shares. She recommends using solar shades on windows or french doors in the kitchen. "Manufactured materials are heat, water, and mold resistant," Conner notes. "Magnets keep them securely attached to the doors."Continue to 5 of 9 below.
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Designer Mary Beth Christopher enjoys using these in many of her projects. "They are delicate and airy, and work well with a beach house look," she states. Christopher prefers to leave woven shades unlined—"you can really appreciate the texture that way, but only when light or privacy are not issues," she shares. If they are, woven shades can certainly be lined, but we might also consider using a heavier weight fabric shade with black-out lining, especially in a bedroom.
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These area favorite of designer Lauren DeBello. "Roman shades effortlessly add softness to a space, especially when made in a linen fabric," she notes. "These window treatments can be expensive, but they are the most luxurious aesthetically." DeBello recently used roman shades when seeking to recreate a luxury hotel feeling in a client's bedroom. "Choose a relaxed roman shade with a curved bottom for an easy, romantic feel or a flat shade for a more tailored, clean look," she suggests.
Caroline Moore, designer/interiors specialist at Case Architects & Remodelers shares another piece of advice. "Fabrics are a bit riskier in kitchens and bathrooms, so maybe consider a fabric that can handle a good dry cleaning at least once a year to remove all the extra moisture and to prevent mildew, grease, and food smells from absorbing into the fabric," she comments. "But they are a great choice if you want to tie into the rest of the home, such has where roman pleats in the breakfast area match the drapes on adjacent patio doors."
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This budget-friendly option is available in a wide variety of colors and materials, designer Tracy Morris says. "This type of shade is a simple, thin vinyl shade on a roll that raises and lowers," she explains. "The shade can either allow light through or block it completely." That said, roller shades aren't overly ornate. "The main issue with this shade is that it can be pretty plain," Morris notes.
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Designer Gray Walker states, “I like to use matchstick blinds with standing panels if a client wants complete privacy." She adds, "The use of a natural material with an opulent fabric like silk creates a mix of textures that dress a window with a cozy style." When working with this style of blinds, shown in the accompanying photo, "I am always sure to mount the top of the blind with the top of the rod so there isn’t a visual gap and the finished treatment is seamless," Walker explains.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
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This decorative option is an alternative to your standard set of shades. "If you want a hint of bold color or texture, but you don’t need to cover an entire window, consider a valance just on top of a window where you don’t have to worry about food, grease, or water splashing up there," Moore advises.