Blinds or Shades

What is the Difference Between Blinds and Shades?

If you’re just starting to look for window treatments for your house or apartment, finding a place to start can be difficult. Between measuring your windows, figuring out the dimensions of the blinds you want, and installing them, can be overwhelming enough to make you want to just hire someone to do it all for you. But hiring a window treatment company to install your blinds is expensive when you consider the mark-up they will charge for their window treatments and labor.

So, we have created this article as a starting point to help explain what the difference between blinds and shades are. Sometimes people use the terms blinds and shades interchangeably, however they are very distinctly different.

What Are Blinds?

It is very likely that while you’ve seen window blinds before, you have never stopped to think about what they actually are. Window blinds, quite simply, are window coverings made of horizontal or vertical slats. Typically window blinds are made of a few select, time-tested materials like aluminium (like aluminium mini blinds), wood (like real wood blinds), or a pvc-based material (like faux wood blinds).

What are Shades?

Window shades on the other hand are window coverings made of fabric. Because of the materials used, shades operate differently than window blinds and can feature a number of different aesthetic designs unlike typically much more neutral window blinds. Additionally, because shades are made of fabric, they can only be open or closed, unlike window blinds which allow you to adjust the level of light coming from the window.

Choosing Between Blinds or Shades

Choosing the right window treatment depends on a number of factors and personal preferences that have to be considered. Ask yourself the following questions before deciding on blinds or shades:

  • How do I want to control light flow and privacy?

Privacy and light control are the main difference between blinds and shades for windows. Because shades are made with fabric, they cannot be adjusted like blinds can. However, by using light filtering shades, you can choose the level of opacity that your window treatments have, allowing you to have varying levels of light and privacy even when the shades are closed.

  • How frequently are people going to be adjusting the window treatment?

In areas with high volumes of traffic, like doors, it is often advantageous to opt for the most durable window treatments you can find. Because blinds are made from stronger, more rigid materials (like pvc or wood), they tend to last longer than shades which are made of fabric. For offices that share windows or doors, we tend to recommend using blinds as opposed to shades.

  • Do I need more insulation?

One of the advantages that shades have over blinds is their ability to add insulation to your window. For improved energy efficiency in heating or cooling your home, cellular shades can be an excellent option. This is particularly helpful if you live in a place with extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures like the South West or the North East.

  • Do I need to worry about child safety?

Child safety and window treatments are an important thing to consider when you have children. It is estimated that every two weeks a child will be strangled by window treatments that are not set up properly or do not have the cord retrained. If you have children, or children visiting your home, choosing a cordless window treatment is an important choice to keep your family safe.

  • How much money do I have budgeted for window treatments?

If your funding to re-do your window treatments are unlimited, then there is no point in comparison shopping or installing yourself. But if you’re like most people, saving money on your window treatments is a priority. That’s why keeps our prices at wholesale levels for everyone. Getting the right window treatments at the right price is possible without having to pay a premium to big box retailers.

The difference between blinds and shades is subtle to people who are new to shopping for blinds online. This guide hopefully clarifies the question of blinds or shades and points you in the right direction for which window treatments are best for your needs. For answers to additional questions, contact us!

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