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When needing new window coverings – are blinds or shades right for you?

In the window covering industry, the terms blind and shades are used and actually often used incorrectly. Most people are not even aware that there is a difference between the two of them. So, what are the differences and which one is right for you and your window covering needs?



Window Blinds actually offer a dual functionality. They are usually made of slats or vanes, which can be made of PVC, wood, composite materials or even fabrics. Blinds are often horizontal products, like the wood blinds, faux wood blinds, mini blinds but can also be Verticals, most common ones being fabric or PVC verticals often used for patio doors. One function on blinds is to lower and raise (for horizontal blinds) or draw to the side(s) (for vertical blinds). This means the entire product is pulled up or to the side to provide an unobstructed view to the outside. The lowering or raising is usually done with a pull cord. In today’s window covering market there is also the cordless lift system, providing a child safety advantage, eliminating dangling cords that can be a hazard. The second function on a window blind is the tilting function. This allows for the blind to be open and closed when in the lowered position. The slats or vanes stay in its place, but are rotated for an open view out, slanted at an angle or closed for complete privacy. Tilting is usually done with a wand, a cord tilt or on vertical blinds with a chain. The very upscale product can even be tilted with a “click of a button” using a motorized tilt for your convenience. Most blinds provide excellent light control.



Window Shades are products that are usually made of a “fabric” or material that can be lowered or raised, using different hardware systems. Most popular shades are cellular shades, pleated shades, roller shades or the very decorative roman shades. The woven wood shades also belong into the shade category, consisting of natural products like bamboos, woods or reeds which can be paired with a privacy lining. Yet again, the product will be lowered or raised. Most shades use a standard or continuous cord. Upscale products use retractable cords to avoid pooling of long cords on the floor, or can be paired with a handle, even a motorized lift for a cordless shade. Cordless is always a great option when thinking of child and pet safety. In today’s market most of these products also offer a top down / bottom up version, for added functionality. Window shades come in all different kind of opacity levels, from sheer to semi-sheer for a screened view out, to light-filtering or room darkening, giving privacy and blocking light where needed.


So, which one is right for you, window blinds – or shades?

At the end of the day it’s always about your taste, what you like and what your needs in regards to insulation, UV protection, light control and privacy are. When trying to find the right window treatment, you should always ask yourself:


  • How much light control am I looking for?
  • Is privacy and issue?
  • What is my decorating style? (Contemporary, casual or traditional? Does that translate into a soft treatment / clean lines etc?)
  • Do I want to use color or stick to neutrals and whites?


After looking at these questions, you should be able to narrow your options down. Then, just go with your gut. If a product stirs you up and you get excited about “seeing it in your home”, go with it. Your new blind or shade will certainly transform your room and give it character, your character 😉  Lastly… Enjoy!


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