According to energy.gov, your home’s windows can impact your energy use by as much as 30%. That’s because windows are notoriously bad at keeping hot air in or out.
One of the most cost-effective ways to combat this is by covering your windows with blinds or other physical barriers that help keep temperatures on an even keel inside your home.
So, if you’re noticing the signs you need new blinds, keep reading to find out more about the types of window blinds available and how to make the best choice for your home.
The Basics About Blinds
Blinds and shades are similar types of window treatments. The main difference is that shades always have a single panel of material per window, while blinds come in several configurations.
Most people use the terms interchangeably, and they both do the same job.
When buying window blinds, you’ll also come across different types classified according to how you open and close them. There are three main types of operating mechanisms for home blinds, as follows:
You raise and lower these window coverings by hand using cords attached to one side of the blinds. With louvered blinds, a rod on the opposite side lets you adjust the orientation of the slats to control the flow of light into your room.
If you install these types of blinds, you must secure the cords well out of reach of small children and pets, as they pose a choking hazard.
These kinds of blinds operate on a tilt leverage system. You open and close them by pulling the bottom of the blind toward yourself to free it from the mechanism.
When you reach the desired height, you simply let go of the blind, and it stays in place.
Automated Electric Blinds
Automated blinds open and close utilizing a small motor that turns a tube attached to the bottom of the blinds. These electric devices use minimal power, and they’re silent, too.
The motor gets power from ordinary flashlight batteries, a solar panel, or your home’s main power supply.
According to home automation experts, Newblinds, you can control these blinds using a smartphone app, your voice via Alexa or Google Assistant, or by connecting them to your smart home system.
There are also varieties of electric blinds that allow you to set the mechanism to open and close at certain times of the day, whether you’re at home or not. A recent study shows these kinds of automated blinds reduce energy consumption even more than manually operated ones.
Types of Window Blinds for Your Home
You’ll discover a wealth of different designs and materials available while shopping for residential window blinds. These are your options when it comes to choosing types of blinds according to style:
These heavy-duty shades work well on patio windows and doors to prevent excessive sunlight from entering the area.
They’re often made from thick weather-resistant materials, and they’re placed outside the glass instead of inside like interior blinds.
Interior blinds affix to the inside of your windows, and you can choose from a huge variety of materials and colors according to your existing home decor and design.
These are the most popular types of blinds available today.
Vertical Blinds have a track at the top of the blind with individual slats attached to it. They either open from side to side or part in the middle when you open them.
They’re an excellent choice for large panes of glass like sliding doors, or floor-to-ceiling windows.
It’s easy to clean vertical blinds with a vacuum cleaner or a microfiber cloth. You can get rid of any marks using warm water and a soft brush.
Most vertical blinds comprise slats made from wood, faux wood, or PVC.
Venetian blinds are best for standard-sized or smaller windows and even arched windows thanks to customized designs.
They have horizontal slats attached with string or cloth tapes and each slat folds into the one above it when you close the blinds.
Venetian blinds collect dust quickly, so it’s important to run a feather duster over the blinds at least once a week, and wipe the individual slats with a damp cloth every so often.
Mini blinds are a type of Venetian blind with very narrow slats less than an inch thick and micro blinds have tiny ½ inch thick slats. It’s much harder to keep these tiny slats clean, and they don’t last as long as thicker slats.
You can choose from aluminum, wood, or PVC when you opt for Venetian blinds.
Panel blinds are a type of vertical blind, except they have much wider panels and offer a wider range of light and privacy controls. That’s because you can choose light filtering material that blocks out the sun’s rays without detracting from visibility.
Panel blinds work well for very large windows. Like vertical blinds, they move along a track when you open and close them.
These blinds are typically crafted from fabric, but you can get metal and wooden varieties, too.
Pleated shades comprise one piece of fabric or paper pleated into an accordion-like pattern. You can’t adjust these blinds from side to side, you can only move them up or down.
Roman shades are always made from fabric or other flexible materials like seagrass or jute.
When you raise the shade, it folds into itself and can create a thick wedge of fabric at the top of your window that can obstruct your views.
You can choose lined or unlined versions when you buy Roman shades and there are also some blackout and thermal versions available.
Roller shades roll around a pole when you open them. They’re most often made from fabric and mount to the window in various ways.
Some versions also feature fascias, cornices, and valances to hide the business end of the blind. Double roller blinds comprise two sets of blinds installed on the same bracket.
Cellular Shades or Honeycomb Shades
These shades look like pleated shades, except they’re made of two pieces of fabric. The front and back sections are open in the middle, creating a pocket that provides extra insulation.
They’re great for keeping out unwanted noise as well.
Solar shades work like sunglasses for your room. You can see through them, but they effectively block the sun’s UV rays and glare.
They’re an excellent choice for media rooms where light control is a priority and work well to protect your furniture from sun damage.
You can use roller, pleated or cellular blinds to cover up any skylights you have in your home. They’re exceptional insulators and operate off a single removable rod that you use to adjust the shade when needed.
Some varieties have a detachable handle that you can use to operate the shade, and you can also buy automated and smart versions.
The Best Materials for Blinds
The material you choose for your blinds affects their energy efficiency, durability, and maintenance aspects. These are the most popular materials for blinds:
Wood is highly aesthetic and is one of the most widely-used materials for blinds. You can choose different species of wood as well as painted or stained options.
it’s a durable material but unsuited to rooms with high humidity as it may warp, crack, split, and eventually break.
Faux wood comprises synthetic materials designed to look like wood. They’re cheaper than real wood and better suited to humid conditions.
Plastic is the cheapest and most versatile material for blinds, but it lacks the sophistication of other materials like wood. You should also keep the environmental impact of plastics on the environment when you buy this type of blind.
Metal blinds look similar to plastic ones, but they’re even more versatile and resistant to moisture. You can usually choose from a variety of gauges, referring to the thickness of the metal, when you buy metal blinds.
The thicker the metal, the more durable it is.
Paper shades usually come in a solid color or with lovely designs printed on them. They’re highly decorative and visually interesting, but they’re not as durable as other types of shades.
Natural and Synthetic Fabrics
Cotton, jute, and seagrass are the most common types of natural fabrics used for roller, tie-up, or Roman blinds. They’re durable and easy to maintain but can fade quicker than synthetic fabrics.
Synthetic fabrics have all the benefits of natural fabrics, but they’re fade-resistant and will look good for longer.
Make Informed Choices
Are you still feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the right types of window blinds for your home? Working with an experienced interior designer can help you find the best fit.
These experts are well-versed in the latest trends and window treatment innovations. They can also help you figure out an optimum energy-saving option for you.
Would you like to discover more sensible ways to upgrade your living spaces? Browse our blog for all the best tips on how to maximize your home, your health, and your leisure time.