Blinds vs. Shades

Blinds vs. Shades: What’s the Difference?

When you need a new window treatment for your home, a lot of people assume it’ll be an easy task where the hardest part is picking out a color for new curtains or blinds. What many people don’t realize is there are integral differences between all of window treatments available on the market, so the process of deciding on window treatments goes a little further than color scheme. One of the main things you’ll need to choose is what’s better for you — blinds vs shades. Blinds are made using individual slats that are connected through a woven string from the top or bottom and occasionally horizontally. This gives them the flexibility to move in different ways to better adjust privacy, sun exposure, and the ambiance in your home. You can also draw your blinds completely, and in some instances from both the top and bottom. Blinds give you more control overall and are considered “hard” window treatments—they’re made from durable, solid material. There are a number of different kinds of blinds, each with their own benefits. You can install vertical blinds, panel blinds, venetian blinds, mini blinds, micro blinds, perfect fit blinds, and even smart blinds. Read more about the different blinds to consider for your home here. Blinds can be made out of a number of different types of materials like wood, faux wood, aluminum, and plastic.

Wood BlindsWindow Blinds

As the name suggests, these blinds are made out of wood and give your home an elegant feel. There are many different options for the type of wood you can choose and each type comes in different colors or finishes. Since wood is naturally porous, areas with high humidity might experience warped wood blinds.

Faux Wood Blinds

If you want to avoid warping blinds, you can opt for faux wood instead. Faux wood gives you the same look and feel as real wood, but they’re made of synthetic material. This increases durability while simultaneously lowering costs.

Aluminum Blinds

Aluminum or metal, blinds are a good option if you’re looking for low costs, durability, and resilience. However, as you can imagine, aluminum blinds can be a bit noisy, so be prepared.

Plastic Blinds

Plastic is the most budget-friendly option for blinds, but they’re also the least aesthetically appealing. Plastic damages faster than aluminum, so we only recommend plastic blinds for economical situations. As we said, a key difference of blinds vs. shades is how they’re made. Shades are made using a solid piece of material. Because of this, shades are considered “soft” window treatments—they’re made from fabrics or other soft materials. When You can still draw them at varying heights to allow different amounts of light in, but you usually aren’t able to tilt them like you are blinds. When you draw your shades, the mechanism at the top tends to roll the fabric into a tube-like structure and create a seamless look. They tend to fit well inside of windowpanes and soften the look of a room more than blinds do. Shades are often considered the more budget-friendly option for window treatments when looking at blinds vs. shades, but it depends on the type and material you get. There are plenty of stylish, budget-friendly options of shades that can give you versatile functionality. Or, you can opt for more expensive choices to compliment the elegance of your favorite room. Whatever your needs are, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Cellular Window Shades

Cellular window shades, also called honeycomb shades, actually filter light and sound from entering your home—which is great for both energy efficiency and comfort.

Layered Window Shades

Layered window shades give you the opportunity for a little more lighting control than other types of shades. They are dual layered between opaque and solid materials, allowing you to control the lighting and privacy. When open, it creates a horizontally striped pattern. Layered window shades are different from layering multiple window treatments.

Natural Window Shades

Natural window shades are made from natural materials like wood, bamboo, or grasses and reeds. They’re a good option for those looking for a natural, economical option.

Pleated Window Shades

Pleated window shades are a more traditional type of shades that are made using a single piece of fabric. Instead of rolling up, they stack on top of each other as you open the shades.

Roller ShadesWindow Shades

Roller shades are shades that roll into a tube when you raise the window treatment. They simple, elegant, and come in a variety of models.

Roman Shades

Roman shades are very popular due to the look and feel that they bring to a room. They’re made from a number of different types of fabrics and can be raised or lowered to different degrees. There are many customizable options with roman shades.

Sheer Shades

If you were to look at blinds vs. shades and try to find something that met in the middle, they’d be sheer shades. Sheer shades combine elements from both blinds and shades. They use inner vanes that are then encased by fabric on both sides of a tilting mechanism. At the end of the day, when it’s time to consider blinds vs. shades, you have to look at your specific wants and needs. Everyone is different, so what works for one home—or even one room—might not work for the next.

Benefits of Blinds

The benefits of blinds vs shades are pretty different. For one, blinds give you much more control over the levels of privacy in your home. You’re able to tilt your blinds enough to let in light, but not so much that anyone can see inside your home. This is great for those who want sunlight, but don’t want to completely open their window treatments. The level of lighting control you get with blinds is absolute. You can have them completely drawn, completely closed, or anywhere in between. Plus, blinds are extremely durable, low maintenance, and come in a variety of materials for you to choose from. For more advantages of window blinds, check out this article.

Benefits of Shades

While it seems like blinds win in the big blinds vs shades debate, there are also a number of benefits of shades. One of the biggest benefits to people looking for a home update is the wide variety of stylish options available for shades. You can get shade in any color, style, pattern, fabric, or opaqueness. They’re perfect for those looking for a very specific compliment to a room. Shades are also efficiently at keeping temperatures low and energy efficiency high. Plus, shades offer more affordable options.

Replacing Your Window Treatments

There are many reasons you might need to replace your window treatments, yet most people don’t realize the signs that suggest you need to replace them. To get a better idea of your needs, take some time to make regular inspections of your window treatments. Regular wear and tear happens gradually over time, so the telltale signs often go missed during regular cleanings or everyday use. Replacing your window treatments doesn’t have to be expensive. Try doing one room at a time and see how much of a difference it makes. You’ll likely get more lighting control, lower energy costs, and even better sound insulation when you replace your window treatments—all features that you may not have realized you weren’t getting. A few common signs that it’s about time to replace your window treatments include any evidence of a draft, a noticeably higher energy bill as the months pass, warped or damaged slats, discoloration, difficulty raising or lowering the blinds vs. shades, frayed cords or edges, slats that don’t close, any safety issues, or any changes in home style. If you spend the money to update the look of a room, keeping your old blinds vs. shades will make it feel unfinished. It’s amazing what updated window treatments can do for a room! Both blinds versus shades have their own advantages; which ones you choose is up to you. For some help in deciding whether blinds vs. shades would compliment your home, or a specific room, give the professionals at Blinds by Design a call. We have a full staff of specialists who are trained and ready to help you make the decision of blinds vs. shades when updating your home, increasing your privacy, customizing a look, and making sure that your living space is as safe as can be. We’re here to help you find the perfect window treatments for your home and are happy to help you get rid of the old ones in the process. To learn more about our options of blinds vs. shades, or any other window treatments, contact us today! You can call us at (479) 318-1223 or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule a free in-home consolation.