Many different categories fall under the broad umbrella of window treatments, and the difference between each isn’t always straightforward. Blinds, shades, drapes, curtains-it can get overwhelming if you’re not already familiar with the terminology.
In most cases, you just want to keep the sun out of your eyes, not learn an entirely new lexicon. That’s why we’re making it easy for you by offering this definitive guide to blinds versus shades and which one you should choose for your home.
Types of Shades and Blinds
Various options are available when it comes to window treatments. If you’re interested in shades, your list will look something like this:
- Roller shades.
- Silhouette shades.
- Honeycomb shades.
- Roman shades.
- Wood shades.
- Poly shades.
- Cordless shades.
- Motorized shades.
Each of the above options offers unique benefits and drawbacks. The one that works best for you will depend on at least one but likely more of the following factors we’re going to discuss.
The primary purpose of window treatments is to control the amount of light from the sun entering a room. Maybe that’s because you don’t want it shining directly in your eyes when you’re trying to sleep in on a Saturday. It could also be because nearly 75 percent of the heat from the sun can transfer through the average window, increasing cooling costs and making your home uncomfortably warm.
Shades are made from a single panel, usually fabric but occasionally woven wood. Although some materials allow natural light to filter through while limiting the brightness, they’re either open or closed.
On the other hand, blinds are comprised of individual slats that are rotated to control how much light comes through. Blinds offer more flexibility than shades do, but adjusting them can be a pain, and you generally have to do it multiple times a day.
If you live in an apartment building or a town or city, you might also use your blinds or shades to protect your privacy. If that’s the case, blinds are probably your best choice. You can obscure the view into your home without sacrificing most of the natural lighting you would otherwise be able to take advantage of.
Shades made from a fabric that allows light to filter through are also good options if you’re concerned about privacy but don’t want to sacrifice the sunlight for it.
Privacy and the amount of light you want to let through are the first things most people think of when debating window treatments. You probably already had some idea of what you wanted coming into this article, and hopefully, now that idea is clearer. However, there are other aspects to consider.
Appearance and Design
Many people start with plain white blinds made of plastic, vinyl, or aluminum. Some are horizontal. Others are vertical. They’re sturdy, affordable, generally inoffensive from a stylistic standpoint, and they do what you need them to do.
They’re classics for a reason, and no one will look twice at them. Sometimes, that’s what you want in a window treatment. Other times, you want something a bit more high-end and exciting. Luckily, if you can imagine it, it probably exists as a window treatment.
A wide range of colors and materials are available, whether you’re interested in shades or blinds. Consider a set made from woven paper or bamboo if you’re looking for stylish shades that complement your interior design style. Various luxurious fabrics in rich or neutral colors are also great options, particularly if you’re looking for a pattern rather than a solid color.
If you’re thinking of adding blinds to your home, consider ones made of wood. They can be painted or stained any color and are highly durable.
Ease of Cleaning
It’s incredible how much dust blinds and shades manage to collect, and with the sun shining on them, it’s usually clearly visible. That’s why it’s so important to have window treatments that are easy to clean.
Vertical blinds made from plastic are probably the easiest to clean, which is one of the reasons they’re so popular in rental properties. A quick pass with a duster ought to be enough to have them looking new again. Gravity isn’t working with you in the same way if you have horizontal blinds, but the principle is the same.
Shades are a bit trickier. Your best bet is to carefully vacuum each side of your shades with the brush attachment to remove any dust in most cases. If there are any stains, you should be able to spot clean them. Be sure the fabric has dried completely before you roll the shades back up to prevent mold or mildew.
If you have honeycomb or cellular shades, consider a can of compressed air to blow dust or dead insects out of the cells. Professional cleaning services are also available if you’d rather not deal with cleaning your blinds or shades yourself.
Do you have young children or pets? If so, we would recommend avoiding shades or blinds that have cords that are easy to reach. In the past, that would have eliminated most blinds and shades from your list of options, but that’s no longer the case.
Cordless blinds exist, so you’re not limited in your choices. Instead of relying on a cord to adjust your window treatments, you use a rod that doesn’t risk entangling a curious cat or toddler. Roller shades are cord-free as well.
Of course, there are also digital versions of cordless blinds. Electric, battery-powered, and even blinds controlled by a remote or an app on your phone are all potential options depending on your budget and needs. With some motorized blinds, you can even program when they’re open and closed, allowing you to save money on heating and cooling by controlling the amount of sunlight your home receives.
If you’re looking for new window treatments for your home, contact Starwood Distributors today for a free consultation.