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Window Blinds and Shades

If you’re looking for a simple way to dress your windows, that is both easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing, then blinds and shades may be for you. Depending on your style preference and budget, a range of window shade and blind options are available — just be sure to pay attention to durability, weight and quality while shopping. Read on for advice on how to choose the perfect window shades and blinds for your home.

Are window blinds right for me?

Often one of the least expensive options in terms of window treatments, blinds are easy to maintain, have a clean appearance and don’t take up extra room. They allow you ultimate control over privacy and sunlight — depending on the style you go with, you can pull up shades to expose a window entirely, angle slats to control the direction of the light, or close them tightly to block out any sun. Consider where the light comes in from each window and at what times of the day, as well as any privacy concerns (close neighbors, busy streets, etc.) to help you decide on the design that’s right for you. Remember, if you can’t seem to find ready-made options to your liking, you can always go with custom blinds to get the exact look and function you desire.

What types of window shades are available?

Lot’s of specialty features are available, such as solar blackout shades, motorized blinds, and cordless blinds; but the main differences between types of shades are in the material used to make the slats and the size of the slats. See below to learn about each style:

Vinyl blinds: Generally the least expensive option, vinyl units are lightweight but can be flimsy, bend easily and are usually available only in smaller slat sizes.

Aluminum blinds: These are slightly more expensive than vinyl, however they’re of better quality while still being lightweight. They’re available in a large range of sizes, colors, and finishes, including metallic or soft suede.

Faux wood blinds: Available in one and two-inch sized slats, faux wood imitates the real thing without warping, fading, or cracking. They are easy to clean and are moisture resistant, but also more expensive and the heaviest horizontal blind option.

Real wood blinds: These are actually lighter in weight than faux wood and will give a room a natural, organic feeling. While this window shade option will block a considerable amount of light, they’re likely going to be the most expensive.

Vertical blinds: Like the name suggests, this type of blind has vertical slats instead of horizontal slats, which swivel open or closed, and pull to the side of your window.

What’s the difference between inside mount and outside mount blinds?

Inside and outside represent the two ways you can mount your shades, which is essentially an aesthetic preference. Inside mount designs sit within the recessed window frame so that the shades are flush with the wall, while outside mount units are hung outside of the frame on the wall and cover a larger area. For inside mount, carefully measure the inside of the window frame from top to bottom and from left to right, as well as the depth of the window; this will give you the overall dimension of your shades. For outside mount, measure from where you plan to hang the shade to where you'd like it to drop, and then measure from side to side. Add 2 inches at the top to allow for mounting brackets, and 2 inches to the sides if you want extra coverage from the light sneaking through the cracks.
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