Blinds vs Shades: Which Window Treatment is Best for Your Home?

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Blinds and shades, just like drapery and curtains, serve as window treatments with so many functionalities. They elevate the interior décor of your kitchen and home. They also offer much-needed privacy and light control.

But is there any difference between these window coverings, especially since a lot of people use them interchangeably?

Yes! Let’s find out the differences between shades and blinds.

What is The Difference Between Blinds and Shades?

Basically, blinds are window treatments featuring individual slats. Blinds have horizontal or vertical slats with vanes that can be adjusted open or close to limit the amount of sunlight coming into your rooms.

Source: Source: Blinds Galore

And if you like, you could completely raise or lower the blind to allow light in or block it out, respectively. You can say blinds are very versatile.

Shades, on the contrary, are window coverings without slats between vanes. Instead, shades are soft single fabric panels. And as such, they can only be raised or lowered to serve their privacy and light-diffusing functions.

You don’t get the convenience and light control as to when compared with blinds but they’re spectacular treatments for your windows.

Source: Blind Galore

There are different types of blinds but they are typically available in wood, faux wood, woven wood, aluminum, bamboo, and vinyl.

Shades, on the other hand, comes in a variety of styles and designs; from roman shades to cellular shades and roller shades.

With all these said, does it mean blinds are better than shades? Read on.

Blinds vs Shades: Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Window Treatments

Before buying your next window treatment, you’ll want to put a checkmark behind some (or all) of these factors to know which window treatment will suit your home plus amplify its beauty.

Light Control

How much natural light is too much or good for you?

Do you prefer being in a dark and enclosed space with the only light being the ones from the TV or light bulbs? Or maybe you prefer allowing in more sunlight to brighten your room and make it look spacious and airy.

Whichever your preference is, you’re on your way to choosing the best window covering and decoration for your rooms.

With blinds, you have more control over the amount of sun rays entering your space because of their slat-like design. You can determine the right amount of sunlight that will enter your room and where rays land by tilting the slats open.

You can also raise the blinds to get a better view of your environment. Plus blinds also allow you to completely block out light.

The soft piece of fabric of shades makes them good for diffusing light or making a room darker. So you can still get some amount of sun without sacrificing your privacy.

Privacy

Different blinds or shades can give you varying degrees of privacy depending on your needs.

Source: Blinds Galore

You can angle blinds to block out the view from outside while allowing a decent amount of sunlight. And for shades, the level of privacy you’ll get depends on the material and its color used in making the shade.

Sheer fabric materials generally tend to hamper external view, but onlookers can still see the designs on the covering. While room-darkening shades made from vinyl or opaque fabric can totally block out light.

Durability

This also depends on the material you choose.

Aluminum and vinyl blinds are not as durable as the ones made from wood and similar materials. They can easily bend and break when pulled.

As for shades, they tend to be more durable since they’re made from fabric. However, cellular shades made from thin fabric can be easily damaged.

Although, blinds can better resist wear and tear than shades because they’re made of hard materials.

Safety

One of the biggest concerns when choosing blinds is the safety implication of using one as your interior décor.

Source: Hunter Douglas

When you’ve got kids and/or pets at home, it’s advisable you opt for cordless blinds as the corded options can harm your child or pet. Cordless blinds have no pull cord; this makes them safe for homes with kids.

And even when you’re picking cordless window treatments, cordless shades are much safer than cordless window blinds.

Secondly, if you’ve got allergies, blinds might not be a great choice as dust and dirt easily accumulate on the slats.

Cleaning and Maintenance

If you’ve got kids or pets, or maybe you’re planning on installing your window treatment in a high traffic area, blinds would make a better option because of their non-absorbent materials.

Blinds are easy to clean as they can be dusted with a soft cloth. Occasionally, they may need a quick vacuuming. And in the case of a buildup of grime, you can take them down and scrub them with soap and water.

But shades are made from absorbent fabric that can easily collect stains, dust, and scent in the home. Nonetheless, they can be easily cleaned with the brush attachment of your vacuum or spot-cleaned with warm water.

But if there’s a buildup of grime, you’ll need professional help.

Insulation

Blinds are not the best when it comes to energy efficiency and keeping the home cool.

Open blind slats can make the home warmer by allowing sun rays to shine through. And during summer, blinds can help keep your rooms cooler since you can limit the amount of sun entering your home.

Shades fabric, conversely, helps them block out heat during summer and also keeps the wintry cold out during winter.  So they’re more energy-efficient, and they do a better job of keeping your rooms warm or cool in any season.

Cellular honeycomb shades are specially crafted with fabric air pockets to trap air and insulate the house; thus keeping out hot summer air.

Styles

Blinds and shades come in styles that can be used to elevate the decorations in a living room.

However, white blinds tend to be popular in a lot of homes. This is because they’re budget-friendly and blend into the environment.

But if you desire a more formal look for your dining room or living room, roman shades or stained wood blinds are fantastic options.

And if you want something that adds color or a bit of natural element to your space, shade styles like cellular or woven grass shades are perfect!

Installation

Both blinds and shades are easy to install and require similar installation processes.

Shades also have more custom options.

Cost

The cost of labor, materials, and installation determines the price of installing your blinds or shades.

But blinds tend to be more budget-friendly. And because there are fewer custom options for blinds, the high-end ones usually cost less.

While shades are more expensive; sometimes costing almost double the amount to install the same quantity of blinds.

You can expect to spend around $350 and $750 to install aluminum blinds for eight window ranges. And it could cost between $690 and $1,300 to install the same eight window ranges for roman shades.

Blinds vs Shades; Best Use

Window blinds are made for rooms where you’d like a reduced amount of light. Such rooms don’t necessarily have privacy concerns.

Window shades are great for rooms where you desire your privacy and where there are no kids.

Vertical blinds are also a good option for wide and tall windows while shades will make a better choice for windows that are tall and slender.

Now we know the difference between blinds and shades, they do best in these rooms;

1. Living room

If you’ve got a small living room, illuminating the space can make it look bigger. Plus you’ll need materials that exude comfort.

So wood blinds or faux wood blinds (made of composite material) are great options here because they’re natural and easy to clean and maintain.

2. Bedroom

If there’s one place you have the most privacy needs, it’s likely the bedroom.

Roller, cellular, and solar shades come in a variety of fabrics that can block out the morning sun and give your bedroom a dark ambiance in the evenings.

3. Bathroom

For your bathroom, you need a material that’s moisture resistant and also ensures your privacy. So cellular blinds and cellular shades are great here.

4. Kitchen

Roman shades have many appealing styles and designs to accent your kitchen and make it look lovely.

This is particularly good because you’ll most likely want your kitchen to look airy while blocking out sunlight as you waltz around the cooking area.

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