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What should you look for when shopping for window blinds?

Saturday, January 22nd

What Should You Look for When Shopping for Window Blinds?

Whether you are moving into a new home or redecorating your long-time home, your windows understandably require your attention. Blinds offer everything from privacy and security to light control, decorative appeal and more. Because of this, they are an important aspect of both room decor and functionality. However, the specific benefits of blinds vary by style. Styles include venetian blinds, vertical blinds, roman blinds, roller shades and many more. Adding to the complexity of your selection process is the wide range of materials used for different styles of blinds. What should you pay attention to as you make your selection?

Mounting Style

When you purchase most styles of blinds, you can choose between inside-mounted blinds and outside-mounted blinds. With inside-mounted blinds, the brackets are installed on the upper interior of the window frame. As a result, the entire set of blinds fits within the window frame. On the other hand, the brackets of outside-mounted blinds are installed on the wall outside the upper corners of the window. The blinds sit outside of the frame and cover the entire length and width of the window.

Why does mounting style matter? First, with inside-mounted blinds, there may be some visibility and light penetration on the sides of the blinds. This is not present with outside-mounted blinds. Second, inside-mounted blinds provide a flush surface across the window rather than a protruding surface. This could impact the style of window treatments you place over the windows. Generally, outside-mounted blinds are the only window covering. Otherwise, you will need mounting brackets for the drapes or curtains that protrude farther out. In addition, windows on doors often do not have a large enough frame to install inside-mounted blinds. Because of this, usually only outside-mounted blinds are an option on door windows.

Size

Before you order new blinds for your home, you must ensure that you have properly measured the windows. For inside-mounted windows, you must measure the full length and width of the windows on both sides and across the center of the window. Three measurements across the length and width are needed because not all window frames are perfectly square. Order your blinds based on the narrowest dimensions.

For outside-mounted windows, you have more leeway. Research the size of the window brackets as a first step. Generally, the brackets should be mounted approximately an inch away from the window frame, and the blinds should rest on the window sill for most styles of blinds.

Privacy and Security

You should also determine the purpose of the blinds before selecting a style. Often, people consider the need for privacy and security for lower-level windows. Some styles of blinds are better able to block visibility than others. For example, roman blinds are designed with a full piece of fabric across the entire length and width of the window. The only time people can see through the window is when the blinds are drawn open. Venetian blinds, on the other hand, run horizontally with tilting slats. Even when they are completely drawn closed, there may be some visibility through them if the slats are angled. Vertical blinds often have slats that hang loosely from a top mount. This means that they can easily move with a wind current or when you or a pet brush against them. By doing so, they offer visibility into the room.

Privacy is also important in bedrooms and bathrooms regardless of what floor they are on. For other rooms on the upper floor, privacy and security may be less important. For example, you may focus more on light control and decorative appeal when selecting blinds for a second-floor game room.

Light Control

Light control is an important aspect to consider in most areas of the home. For example, you may want to be able to moderate light in family rooms, media rooms and home offices so that you can easily see the screen or monitor. Light control may be important in bedrooms for another reason. For example, you may prefer a darker room while you are sleeping. There are some rooms, however, where light control may be less important. For example, darkening a kitchen or a bathroom is not usually desired. During daytime hours, you may enjoy ample natural sunlight streaming into these rooms as long as privacy is not a concern.

The slats on vertical blinds and venetian blinds can usually be adjusted. This means that you can easily choose the intensity of the light that you allow into the room based on preference. You may be able to adjust the slats for privacy while still allowing daytime sunshine to enter the room. However, some light may filter through the slats even when they are angled closed. Because of this, some people may not prefer to use these types of blinds in a bedroom. Light control for roman blinds, however, can only be adjusted by raising or lowering the blinds. When you raise the blinds, you will have light while potentially giving up some privacy. On the other hand, because the blinds do not have slats, they are often preferred in bedrooms.

Decorative Appeal

Blinds are available in a wide range of materials. For example, venetian blinds are offered in authentic wood, faux wood, vinyl, aluminum and other materials. Vertical blinds are usually made out of a PVC material or a sturdy, cloth-like material. Roman blinds are usually made out of a textile fabric. This means that you may be able to order custom roman blinds out of a wide range of fabric styles. In addition to choosing from different materials, you may find variations in colors and textures for all styles of blinds.

Your home's windows impact both interior decor and exterior style. They cover a large surface area, so their decorative influence is significant. Even if you intend to install drapes or curtains over the blinds, it is important to understand how the style, material and color of the blinds will impact room decor and curb appeal.

Cost

A final and important aspect to consider when you are shopping for new blinds is the cost. The cost will vary based on style, material and size. Before you start shopping, establish a budget for your project. You can then obtain quotes for different options to determine what is affordable for your budget. While you cannot save money by choosing a smaller size than necessary, you do have some flexibility to adjust the price of your new blinds based on the material and style. However, given the important functions that your blinds will serve, it is important to find blinds that fully meet all of your needs.

Keep in mind that you can order blinds with special features for an added cost. For example, cordless blinds may be ideal for homes with kids and pets. This is because the cord can be a safety concern. Motorized and remote-controlled blinds are one of several other upgrades that you can consider. On the other hand, if you are trying to save money on your purchase, you may be able to pick up ready-made blinds from a local store. With this option, however, you will have limited options for the style, size, and color of the blinds.

Ordering blinds for your home is easier than ever. In fact, if you order blinds online, you can simply choose the style and material you want as a first step. Then, you can input the dimensions and mounting preference to get a final quote. The custom ordering process for blinds designed to your specifications can extend for several weeks in some cases. With this in mind, now is a great time to start your search for new blinds.

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Window Blinds Store FAQ

Anything you'd find at a store near you is available through online retailers. From aluminum and faux wood blinds to pleated shades and more, you'll have no problem getting the right window treatment for your home or office.
That's easy: selection and value. Your local home improvement store only carries a small range of brands and types of blinds. And, if you call a specialty store, you'll probably get an in-person demonstration with a pushy salesperson directing you towards high-end options. You'll get the most for your money with online retailers, with plenty of colors and styles to choose from and without the overhead of a brick-and-mortar retailer.
It's easy to find blinds on every part of the price spectrum. Whether you want some basic faux-wood blinds to give you more privacy in a street-facing room, or you need the most on-trend window coverings for a luxury home build, you can get it done hassle-free by shopping online.
Many retailers offer free shipping in the lower 48 United States, as long as your blinds are under 96" wide. Otherwise, expect to pay fees around $30 for delivery on larger dimensions of window blinds.
Be sure to look for measuring instructions on the website. They will walk you through each step of taking the proper measurements for the window blinds you want. Make sure you know whether your windows will require an inside mount or an outside mount: that's probably one of the most common mistakes in measuring for blinds.
That depends on the retailer. While there are a few that will let you exchange your blinds if the mistake is on your end (or even let you donate them to a local charity instead of returning them!), many either offer no refund or exchange at all, or will only give you a discount on a reorder. If you're not 100% confident in your measurements, choose a retailer with a generous return policy.
Stores that sell window blinds know that it can be a tricky process to get the right product in the correct size. You can usually reach a knowledgeable customer service representative via phone or live chat during regular business hours. Some retailers can also refer you to a professional installer in your area.
If you're concerned about a store's reputation, look for an "A" rating or higher from the Better Business Bureau. Finding plenty of positive customer reviews is another good sign that the company is trustworthy. Beyond that, buy your window blinds from the retailer that has what you want in stock and that offers the most customer-friendly return policies.

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