Types of Blinds & Where They Are Best Used in the Home
Privacy is a good thing, no matter where you live. The easiest way to keep out unwanted attention or light is through window treatments like blinds. Here’s a list of the most popular styles of blinds, and where they’re best suited.
TYPES OF BLINDS
A series of stacked, horizontal slats connected by cords or strips of fabric, Venetian blinds were thought to have been brought to Europe from Persia in the 18th Century. They quickly emerged as one of the most popular types of window treatments, and are still very popular today. The blinds are adjusted by pulling the cords to either rotate the slats or force them together and up. Available in a variety of materials, they are most often made of wood. They tend to look best on narrow windows, and work well in kitchens, bedrooms, and home offices.
Cordless versions of Venetian blinds are also offered, which are a great option for parents of young children. There are potential safety issues with blinds when it comes to children getting tangled in the cords, as well as being cut by the slats (mainly those made out of metal).
Much like Venetian blinds in form and function, mini blinds have thinner slats, usually about one inch-thick rather than two inches-thick. They’re normally made out of metal, which makes them a tad more affordable than regular Venetian blinds, as well as easier to clean. Micro blinds, which feature slats that are just a half-inch thick, are also an option.
Vertical blinds are simply a series of slats that hang vertically from a track. The slats can be manipulated — rotated or pulled together to the side — much like Venetian blinds, to adjust the amount of light allowed into the room. Vertical blinds are a great option for controlling privacy and light on sliding glass doors leading outside.
Panel Track Blinds
Panel track blinds are a variation of vertical blinds made out of wide cloth slats that are essentially a hybrid of blinds and shades. While the slats do hang from a track like vertical blinds, they are different because they can be moved independently of one another. In other words, vertical blinds only allow the slats to be pulled to one side, while panel track blinds allow the slats to be moved in either direction — even letting you split them down the middle.
Much like smartphones, smart TVs, and smart thermostats, there is also such a thing as smart blinds. What this basically means is that traditional blinds (which can be adjusted by hand or automatically, thanks to tiny motors) can be controlled through an app or by voice (think Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa). You can put them on a timer to self-adjust at a particular time of day, or program them to adjust depending on the amount of sunlight hitting them, or if they detect motion. Keep in mind that these features come with a much higher price than standard blinds.
Wood — Blinds can be made from just about any type of wood, and with a variety of finishing color options. While wood blinds tend to be favored because of their warm appearance, they can be hard to work with in humid climates, or in rooms with a lot of moisture, like bathrooms. While wood blinds work for any size windows, they are especially well-suited for larger windows, as the wooden slats are more lightweight than faux wood slats. As you might expect, wood blinds are typically more costly than synthetic or metal blinds. They also require a bit more thoughtfulness when it comes to maintenance — harsh cleansers are a strict “no,” as they could damage the wood.
Faux Wood — Faux wood blinds are either made of synthetic slats with real-wood veneers, or the slats are synthetic all the way through. Since they are moisture-resistant and very durable, faux wood blinds are great choices for bathrooms and kitchens. They not only carry the look of real wood, but have a budget-friendly price. Maintenance is very easy — they can be cleaned with all sorts of products.
Metal — Typically made of aluminum, metal blinds are the best choice for reflecting light and heat — take note homeowners in tropical or desert climates. They’re also extremely durable, easy to maintain, and generally more affordable than other blind types. The only potential issues are that they have sharp edges and can be a bit noisy.
Plastic — Usually made out of vinyl, like PVC, plastic blinds are often the most affordable of the materials. The downside is that they don’t possess a look as refined as wood or faux wood blinds. Despite not being the sturdiest material for blinds, they are flexible and less likely to dent. Plus, they are available in many different colors and textures — even ones that mimic the look of wood.