Choosing the right window blinds

GET the privacy, light filtering and look you want with this breakdown of blind options. Choice and variety are fundamental expectations in the 21st-century world of today. When I was a kid, coffee came either black or with cream and sugar. Nowadays I could fill a small dictionary with the list of coffee choices at my nearest coffee shop, in fact, I need a dictionary to explain all the different choices.

When it comes to window treatments, the choices have proliferated in a similar way. Having this kind of selection should be a blessing, not bewildering, so I have sorted out and defined some of the options to make the process easier for you. Let us start with some basics.

Blinds

These generally refer to a hard treatment constructed from slats or vanes, which are adjusted by a manual pull cord, wand or remote control (Just what we need: another remote control).

Blinds are wonderfully adjustable; the slats are able to stay tightly closed for privacy and light control or tilt open to allow just the amount of light you choose. When they are pulled up and stacked at the top of the window, they leave an unobstructed view.

Vertical blinds are designed for wide window expanses and sliding glass doors, because they stack off to the side, rather than at the top of the window. But bear in mind that an aluminum vertical blind makes quite a commercial statement. It works very well in more modern environments, while not so well in your basic cottage. One of the first questions my clients would ask after choosing their style of blinds was, “Shall I colour my blind to match my room?” My answer was quick and unequivocal. If you plan to never change the colour scheme of your room, and if you are okay with the blinds being more visually prominent than the window, then by all means, pick a colour.

On the other hand, if you want a long-term, classic blind that will neither become dated nor offend a potential buyer, choose a neutral colour closest to the colour of the window trim. You can never go wrong with that approach. Your blind should rarely (I am just barely avoiding the word “never”) be the determining factor in your room’s palette.

Another choice you will have to make is how your blind raises and lowers. Will it be top-down? Bottom-up? Or a combination of both? Privacy and light issues will be the determining factors in this decision.

Wood blinds

Wood blinds – even faux wood ones – are another popular option. Wood brings a softer, more organic feel to windows than an aluminum blind does. If you go this route, realise that faux wood has a couple of advantages over the real thing: It can be substantially less expensive, and it is not as susceptible to moisture issues, which makes it a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens and clammy climates. If you are going to use a painted wood blind, you might as well go faux. Nobody will be able to tell the difference.

Then there are woven woods. Now, strictly speaking, woven woods are shades, not blinds. What is the difference? Whereas blinds are hard and slatted or vanned, shades are soft and are usually constructed from materials on a continuous roll, with no adjustment for light.

But because woven woods are made with a hard material, I am going to lump them in with blinds. Woven woods come in multiple styles, including grasses, reeds, jute and bamboo. Bamboo is a relatively sustainable product, which makes it one of my favourite choices.

Woven woods bring a distinctly organic texture to a room. Their nubby, slubby feel makes them relaxed and comfortable looking. They enhance and warm almost any decor, from modern to country. houzz.com

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