The Ultimate Buyers Guide to Window Blinds
Which Types of Blinds Work Best?
Blinds are one of the more popular types of window treatments. Made up of rotating slats, window-blind styles can be adjusted to let light in, even in the closed position. Blinds are made of different materials including wood, metal and fabric. But which types of blinds should you purchase?
The Different Styles of Window Blinds
When choosing between window-blind styles, there are a few factors you should take into consideration: what kind of windows are you covering—wide windows? Patio doors? Smaller windows? Are they rectangular, square or odd-shaped? What do you use the room for—sleeping? Entertaining? Cooking? What kind of climate do you live in—is insulation and energy efficiency a concern?
The ideal type of blinds for large windows and patio doors, vertical blinds feature slats that hang vertically, opening either to one side or by parting down the middle. Vertical blinds come in a wide range of styles and materials, ranging from fabric and vinyl to aluminum.
For a modern look, you might want to consider panel track blinds like Skyline® Gliding Window Panels. The sleek, wide panels offer a contemporary feel and minimal stackback to optimize your views. With a stunning choice of textures, opacities and 600+ colors in roller- and screen-style fabrics, Skyline panels can complement almost any décor.
Custom Vertical Blinds
If options are your first priority, our Somner® Custom Vertical Blinds offer the largest selection of colors, treatments and textures. Choose from smooth metal finishes, statement fabrics and more.
Soft Vertical Blinds
With curved vanes reminiscent of drapery folds, soft vertical blinds combine the functionality of vertical blinds with the classic elegance of traditional drapery. Cadence® Soft Vertical Blinds come in a wide variety of gorgeous fabrics, each with its own distinctive personality. Every Cadence vertical blind includes a DualFold™ double-tiered valance for the perfect final touch.
A classic window-blind style, wood blinds have been popular for years and not just because they effortlessly blend with almost any décor, from traditional and rustic to contemporary, but these types of blinds are quite practical when it comes to light control and privacy. Plus, they really add a feeling of warmth and comfort to a room. There are two types of wood blinds you can choose from:
• Real wood blinds: crafted from genuine hardwood, such as basswood, oak or cherry.
• Alternative wood blinds: have the appearance or real wood but are made with long-lasting wood alternatives.
Real Wood Blinds
Made from genuine hardwood, real wood blinds have a natural fine grain and unique look all their own. Parkland® Wood Blinds are made from 100% basswood. With many gorgeous stains and colors to choose from, you can match them with your interior window casings and moldings, so they’ll feel like part of the room’s architecture. You can customize your blinds with a wide selection of finishes, slat sizes, upgrades, decorative tapes and wood cornices.
Compared to alternative wood blinds, real wood blinds provide better insulation and work great on larger windows. They also require more delicate care—so make sure not to use harsh chemicals when cleaning them. While you wouldn’t want to use real wood blinds in high humidity spaces like bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms, they’re excellent at shielding your furnishings from direct sunlight—which makes them ideal for living and dining rooms, bedrooms and family rooms.
Alternative Wood Blinds
If you live in a hot, humid climate or you want blinds for a room like a kitchen or bathroom, alternative wood blinds are the way to go because they’re designed to withstand sun exposure and high humidity. EverWood® Alternative Wood Blinds have the luxurious look of wood blinds with realistic grain patterns. They’re guaranteed never to fade, yellow, warp or bow, even in extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
They come in realistic TruGrain® finishes and a huge selection of colors, all made to resist discoloration. Compared to real wood blinds, EverWood blinds are more affordable and easier to clean with a damp cloth, since moisture won’t damage them.
One of the more versatile types of blinds, metal blinds are durable and available in numerous colors and designs. Modern Precious Metals® Aluminum Blinds are perfect for high-traffic areas and feature numerous hues with special finishes and textures, from metallic and pearlescent to matte. Besides their durability, Modern Precious Metals are easy to clean with a simple dusting or once-over with a soft cloth.
Light Control and View-Through
Unlike shades that offer a clear view only when raised, window-blind styles offer varying degrees of light control and view-through in the closed position—just rotate the slats to create just the right amount of incoming light and privacy.
A decision you’ll want to make is what size slats to get. Keep in mind, if you go with smaller slats, it will take more of them to cover the windows and may make larger windows look too busy. As a rule, larger slats look better with bigger windows.
Covering Windows with Different Types of Blinds
When considering blinds, here are some of our favorite recommendation:
• Patio & Sliding-Glass Doors: Skyline Gliding Window Panels, Cadence Soft Vertical Blinds, Parkland Wood Blinds, Somner Custom Vertical Blinds
• Odd-Shaped Windows (Arches, Angles, Circles, etc.): Parkland Wood Blinds or EverWood Alternative Wood Blinds
• Bay, Corner and Bow Windows: Parkland Wood Blinds, EverWood Alternative Wood Blinds, Modern Precious Metals Aluminum Blinds, Somner Custom Vertical Blinds
• French Doors/Cut-Outs for Door Handles: Parkland Wood Blinds, EverWood Alternative Wood Blinds, Modern Precious Metals Aluminum Blinds, Somner Custom Vertical Blinds
• Sidelights: Modern Precious Metals Aluminum Blinds or Somner Custom Vertical Blinds
As a general rule, tall, narrow windows work best with horizontal blinds. Windows that are wider than they are tall and slide from side-to-side work better with vertical blinds. Another thing to keep in mind is what direction your windows are facing. Vertical blinds will give you better light control on east- and west-facing windows, due to the angle of the sun coming into your home, while horizontal blinds are easier to control on north- and south-facing windows.
Window Blind Styles: A Recap
To help you decide between all the different types of blinds, here’s a recap of some of the main features of each:
• Ideal for large windows and patio doors
• Wider slats for better view-through
• Made from a wide range of materials
• Numerous style options
• Contemporary look and feel
Real Wood Blinds
• Crafted from 100% real wood
• Lighter in weight than alternative wood blinds
• Not recommend for use in high humidity
Alternative Wood Blinds
• The luxurious look of real blinds, yet more durable
• Can withstand high heat and humidity
• Resistant to fading, yellowing, warping and bowing
• Available in numerous colors, special finishes and textures
• Perfect for high-traffic areas
• MagnaView® option offers excellent view-through
• Easy to clean
Recommended Blind Styles
Vertical blinds are the obvious choice for patio or large windows. Our large selection includes fabric, vinyl, genuine wood and aluminum finishes with a variety of styles, colors, textures and patterns to enhance any décor.
Wood & Metal Blinds
Rustic. Traditional. Classic. The combination of natural materials and glistening metal is a timeless favorite. At Hunter Douglas we provide only the finest wood, faux wood and aluminum horizontal blinds, all available in numerous colors, textures and slat sizes.
From selecting materials and colors to expert measurement and installation, our window treatment specialists can help you create the perfect window treatments for your home. Find a specialist near you to get started today.