This guide identifies the difference between blinds and shades. Blinds are hard window treatments, whereas shades are soft window treatments. Secondly it discusses a number of different types of blinds and shades identifying their best uses, merits, the different variations that are available and buying tips that will help consumers make the correct decisions as to which blinds or shades they should buy and save money in the process. Blinds and shades that are discussed in this article include venetian blinds, vertical blinds, roller blinds, bottom up blinds, 50:50 blinds, as well as roman blinds
Blinds are considered "hard" window treatments. They have slats, or vanes, that tilt or angle to control the amount of light entering a room. They can also be fully opened, or pulled up, for an unobstructed view. Today, most blinds come with a rod that twists to tilt the vanes and a pull cord that lifts them. Blinds can have horizontal or vertical vanes (narrow ones are often called mini-blinds).
Venetian Blinds: This type of blind consists of horizontal slats, and is available in a range of materials including wood, faux wood, aluminium and PVC in a variety of slat width. These blinds are best suited to windows that do not need to have the blind completely out of the way. They can be raised into a neat stack at the top of the widow and lowered down to cover the window fully. Their main feature however is the tilting rod that allows you to tilt the slats whilst the blind is in the closed position. This enables you to limit the exact amount of light and privacy created.
Aluminium and PVC venetian blinds are best suited for bathrooms and wet rooms as they will not be affected by moist conditions that can damage wooden venetian blinds. They are widely available in a huge array of colours, finishes and textures. These include wooden effect finishes which allows the consumer the ability to create the wooden look without having to worry about the wood on their blind rotting or warping.
Venetian blinds offer some security benefits as well as the user can see out of the property whilst obscuring the view of people outside. Furthermore they will present a physical barrier against potential intruders.
Vertical Blinds: Blinds that hang vertically offer a fantastic level of light control as the blind can be both traversed across the window and tilted open and closed in order to limit the exact amount of light allowed into the room.
Verticals blinds consist of vains that hang vertically from a headrail each attached to their individual pivot point. Vertical blind vains are available in three different slat widths - 89mm and 127mm which have linking chains at the bottom to keep each vain in its correct position. Vertical blinds are also available in a wider width vain of 250mm. These blinds do not have linking chains at the bottom because they would drag on the floor when the blind was tilted closed due to the larger distance between each vain.
The 89mm and 127mm width vains have traditionally lent themselves to the office environment, French windows and large patio windows. 250mm vertical blinds have created another solution as the vains are large enough to create a panelled effect offering themselves as room dividers, full wall coverings and to windows with very deep recesses.
As room dividers 250mm vertical blinds create a distinct look in open plan rooms enabling the consumer to temporarily separate off different living areas whilst maintaining the open space through their versatility as they can be stacked neatly out of the way.
Vertical blinds are available in a range of different materials most commonly polyester amongst other fabric compositions which are available in a wide range of colours and designs. Wooden vertical blinds have become available in recent years. Made from a finger jointed bass wood to avoid the warping and twisting problems whilst ensuring a light weight and stable composition. The wooden grain effect is created by wrapping the bass wood in a paper laminate similar to one used for laminate flooring. This means that the colour and grains can be reliably manufactured within very close batch tolerances A feature that is not possible when using real wood as no two trees are the same.
Shades are considered "soft" window treatments. They can be raised or lowered for privacy and light control without sacrificing the view outside. They may be opened from the top down or from the bottom up providing complete light control whilst not sacrificing the view outside.
Roller Blinds - A simple roller blind is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to cover a window and are ideal if intended for use solely as a black out in a bedroom. They can be rolled out of the way quickly and discretely when not in use and require relatively little effort to install. Given the current rate at which people currently redecorate houses, these cheap blinds, which can be bought and cut to size in the home, are a very popular choice.
Roller blinds are available in a wide range of fabric compositions that create sheer fabrics that will just take the glare away all the way through to complete blackout fabrics for 100% light reduction. All of these fabrics have been created in a complete colour spectrum of colours, stripes, checks and designs.
Top Tip - Some suppliers such as OrderBlinds.co.uk will trim a readymade roller blind for you. This offers you the chance to buy a made to measure blind at a readymade blind price.
Bottom up Blinds As the name indicates, roller blinds are also available as a blind that pull up from the bottom of the window. This type of blind consists of a cassette which is fixed to the window sill from which the roller fabric pulls out via discreet cords to the top of the window which then feed through pulleys to finally tie off on a cleat at the desired height.
These are a great solution for bathrooms, street level rooms and indeed any room that is overlooked. They provide privacy on the bottom part of the window whilst still allowing the light through the top part of the window.
50:50 Roller Blinds As a less costly alternative to bottom up blinds, 50:50 blinds have been designed with a white mesh at the top of the window with an opaque fabric at the bottom. These are a great solution if your window sill isn't large enough to accommodate the cassette of a bottom up blind or if you don't want cords and pulleys up and around your window.
Roman Shades Folded panels of fabric that can be raised and lowered to let in natural light. Roman shades come in a wide variety of materials, including woven wood, natural grasses and almost every composition of fabric. Roman shades are an ideal modern alternative to curtains. Choosing a roman shade consists of a number of factors depending on what you want to achieve. The fabric or material used as the face fabric is available in a huge range of plain colours, patterns, stripes and checks offering a huge array of options to compliment your decor. Once you have chosen your face fabric one of the most important decisions you need to consider is the lining.
You can leave the shade unlined which is an ideal solution if you have chosen a sheer or a voile fabric allowing a greater amount of light into the room compared to the other options. Next are white and cream standard linings that will limit some of the light and provide a level of thermal insulation. This is the most common choice for roman blinds as this type of blind has been traditionally used to compliment curtains meaning the blind doesn't need to block out all of the light as it is there primarily for decoration. Finally blackout linings will block out all of the light and provide a greater level of thermal insulation compared to standard lining. This application is widely considered as the alternative to using curtains as we mentioned before saving hundreds of pounds as you no longer need to buy both. Other options to consider when buying roman shades include interlining the blind for a more luxurious feel as well as creating better thermal insulation and the opera tional mechanism you decide to use. The most common options are a cord and cleat mechanism or a chain operation.
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