Window Blinds vs Shades

Shades versus Blinds and Which is the Better Window Treatment

By Mark J. Donovan

Choosing the right window treatment is a major concern when completing the interior design of your home. The shades versus blinds window treatment decision can be a tough one and it depends upon the function of each room, your particular tastes, and even the natural lighting that each room is exposed to. This said there are advantages and disadvantages for both window blinds and shades. Summarized below are the pros and cons of each to help you make your window blinds versus shades decision.

Window Shades

Soft window treatments, such as window shades, are normally made out of fabric. Window shade fabric is typically either cloth or vinyl.

Some offer insulating material that can help to keep a room warmer during winter months and cooler during summer months. If you prefer to let in a lot of natural light into a room, but want some privacy, you may want to consider using sheer shades.

Window shade fabric can be fully opaque or partially translucent to allow some light to penetrate through them. Window shades are ideal for providing home privacy at an affordable price. Typically they have a string to pull them up or down. They are designed so that they can be raised or lowered to any height within the window. There are many types of shades to choose from, including roman shades and simple flat shades. Window shades are also available in a wide range of prices, with low end ones typically cheaper than window blinds.

Unlike window blinds, shades can be difficult to clean, particularly if they are made of cloth.

The best way to clean cloth shades is to simply vacuum them while they hang on the windows. With vinyl shades, it is best to take them down, roll them out and use a cleaning solution and rag to clean them.

Window shades vs window blinds are typically easier to install.

Window Blinds

Window blinds have adjustable vanes or slats and are consider hard window treatments. Vanes typically run vertical, whereas slats normally run horizontal. The angles associated with the vanes or slats are adjustable to increase or decrease natural light into the home. Window blinds can also be fully opened or closed to provide unobstructed outdoor views. In addition, they can be adjusted to provide privacy and prevent interior lighting from penetrating outside the home.

Window slats and vanes are commonly made out of vinyl and wood. New energy efficient vane based window blinds are also hollow to circulate air through them.

Window blinds vs window shades.

Window blinds are controlled by either a couple of rods or strings. The rods and strings are used to control the angle of the vanes or slats and for fully opening or closing the window blinds.

When choosing blinds, it is important to consider the rest of the room interior. For example, if the room uses wood finished trim or wainscoting you may want to consider using wood blinds.

Window blinds, vs shades, are typically easier to clean, however blinds typically take a little more effort to install.

So to conclude, when it comes to making the window blinds vs shades decision, consider the room’s purpose, the amount of natural lighting and privacy desired, cleaning and maintenance, and your budget.

For more information on Installing Replacement Windows and Interior Window Trim

  • See the Installing a New Window Ebook from  The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
  • See the Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook from  The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

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