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  • Writer's pictureEileen Kupperman

How to Select The Best Blinds For Your Windows

Upgrading the blinds in your home might seem like an unimportant task, but in reality, installing the right set of blinds can add visual appeal and increased privacy to your home.

Swapping out your dated window coverings for a more modern option allows you to control the amount of light that streams in, maximizes your home's energy savings, and reinvigorates a room's decor. Whether you have custom windows that require specially cut treatments or you're simply in need of a refresh, there are many stylish yet affordable blinds for you to choose from that'll elevate your living space.

Signs Your Blinds Need Replacing

If you're wondering whether or not it's time to replace the blinds in your home, you can usually make that determination through a quick examination. While blinds are typically made to last seven to eight years, outside factors such as humidity, malfunctioning parts, and the purchase of new windows could force your existing blinds into early retirement.

If you've had the same set of blinds for close to a decade, you'll probably notice natural wear and tear caused by age, such as warped or bent slats and frayed cords.

Blinds that are difficult to raise and lower could indicate that internal pieces are damaged. Replacing them at this stage reduces the risk of injury to you or your family if the blinds break or fall.

Types of Blinds

When choosing a style of blinds to install in your home, there's a lot to consider. For highly functional rooms like your kitchen, opt for a resilient window treatment, such as Venetian blinds. For smaller rooms, lightweight window treatments that don't draw too much focus, like mini blinds, work well. Blinds can be outside-mounted (attached to the wall or window trim, or above the frame) or inside-mounted (nestled within the window frame).

Deciding between inside-mount and outside-mount blinds depends on the depth of your windows and your design preference. Since outside-mount blinds are installed on or above your window frame, this can be a great solution for windows with a shallow depth. They also give the appearance of larger windows and can cover an outdated or unsightly window frame. For a more minimalist design that blends with your window frames, choose inside-mount blinds.

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds are one of the most popular styles and feature adjustable horizontal slats made from wood, aluminum, or plastic. These blinds fit in seamlessly with many interior design styles because they come in a variety of sizes and colors. You can further customize Venetian blinds with cloth tape, cordless or motorized lifting mechanisms, and light-blocking materials.

Mini Blinds

One of the most affordable and versatile options is mini blinds, which have slats that are less than half the width of standard-size blinds. They're typically made of synthetic materials, meaning they're lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. Though not as customizable as Venetian blinds, mini blinds are available in different colors and sizes (depending on the manufacturer), so you can find a set that fits your windowsill.

Vertical Blinds

If you're looking for a simple yet sleek appearance, vertical blinds are a great option. According to Barash, these types of blinds are ideal for commercial spaces and sliding glass doors since they're highly durable and can easily be moved out of the way when necessary. Because vertical blinds move side to side across your windows, they're easy to adjust depending on how much natural light you want to bring in. Some homeowners choose to install a decorative valance above their vertical blinds to cover the track where the blinds attach.

Blind Sizes

Because there are so many different styles of windows and dimensions, blinds are not one size fits all. If you have custom windows or live in an older home, it's likely standard-size blinds won't work. However, you can set up consultations with major retailers to get your windows measured and receive expert recommendations about the type of window treatments you should purchase. Because blinds installation requires precise measurements, it's always best to involve a professional before you order any products.

Materials for Blinds

Blinds can be purchased in a variety of colors and materials to match your design aesthetic. When selecting these features, keep in mind what room you're decorating, your budget, and the size of the window you're dressing.

Wood Blinds

Wood blinds are the most durable and long-lasting type available, creating a polished, natural look in most rooms. Many manufacturers offer wood blinds in multiple stains, so you can match your set to window frames, flooring, or other wood accents in your home. Wood blinds are great for high-traffic, low-humidity rooms since they hold up under frequent use but will warp if exposed to too much moisture. Although they tend to be a bigger investment upfront, wood blinds increase a home's value more than less expensive options.

Faux Wood Blinds

If you like the look of wood blinds but they're out of your price range, faux wood blinds are a more affordable alternative. Made from either composite wood or PVC, faux wood blinds tolerate moisture better than wood blinds, so you can install them in high-humidity areas like bathrooms. Because it tends to be heavier than other materials, faux wood shouldn't be adjusted frequently, making it less ideal for commonly used spaces.

Vinyl Blinds

Most common in mini blinds and vertical blinds, vinyl is a lightweight synthetic material that can easily blend into just about any interior design style. Vinyl blinds are incredibly versatile because moisture and household cleaning products won't damage them. Not only are they one of the most affordable options on the market, but they also offer similar levels of energy efficiency as more expensive materials. Plus, they're designed to be raised and lowered frequently without fear of breaking.

Aluminum Blinds

While less likely to visually blend into your windowsill than wood or vinyl, aluminum blinds are great for spots in your home that are more functional than decorative (think a garage or home office). Most aluminum blinds are rust-proof, so they're capable of withstanding high levels of moisture. They also tend to last longer than vinyl blinds.

How to Install Blinds

While it is possible to measure and install blinds on your own, the process is tricky, and a single incorrect measurement can result in accidentally purchasing the wrong window treatment. If you do opt to install blinds on your own, it's best to measure your window frames in multiple places along the length and width to ensure you have the correct dimensions. If your windows don't fit within standard blind sizes, we suggest working with a retailer that offers in-house blind cutting.

When choosing blinds, consider three measurements: your window's width, length, and depth. For inside-mount blinds, measure from one side of the window casing to the other in the top, middle, and bottom. If the measurements are inconsistent throughout, use the smallest measurement. Then measure the length of the window frame in three places and use the longest measurement if they aren't the same. Finally, measure the depth of your window casing at the top since this is where your blinds will attach. These measurements will help you determine which size and style of blinds to buy.

For outside-mount blinds, measure the exact width you'd like the blinds to cover (this might be slightly wider than the window casing itself). You also need to determine where you want the headrail of the blinds to attach, and should measure from this point to the very bottom of the windowsill. When in doubt, it's better to go longer because you can always make the blinds shorter.

Best Places to Buy Blinds

When it's time to purchase new blinds for your home, working with the right retailer can make all the difference. Many companies offer free consultations to help you find the best blinds for your aesthetic and budget. If you have windows that don't meet the standard dimensions, a technician can ensure you order the correct size blinds for any space. Plus, big retailers often provide installation services for an additional fee, so you don't have to worry about putting the blinds up by yourself.

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