Blinds and shades serve the same purpose- to control light when it enters a home and to ensure privacy for those living in it. Still, that does not make them interchangeable. Each has its own advantages, and what you ultimately decide to install will depend on what is most important to you and your family, whether that be design, privacy, energy efficiency, or another factor. First consider which of the factors on this list are more relevant to your specific needs, and then use it to decide whether you should install blinds or shades in your home.
We spend a great deal of time in our homes and in many ways they are an extension of our selves. For this reason, the look and feel of a room should be considered. Shades are typically chosen by those who value design because there are more style options, colors, and fabrics to choose from. A window shade serves a function, but it can also match the style or décor of a particular room. A set of carefully selected shades can fit the aesthetic of an eighteenth-century gem just as well as it can match a home created in the modern style. Because blinds are more limited in this way, they force a reliance on other design aspects like furniture and décor in order to create appeal in a space.
Any time that a homeowner makes a purchase for their home, a simple question comes up: “How long will these last?” The consensus about the durability of blinds and shades is that shades, because they are made from cloths and fabrics, are less durable. Blinds, though they feel sturdier, are made aluminum, wood, vinyl and faux wood. Still, we find that certain types of high-end blinds, especially those made from wood-based materials, do hold up well for most homeowners in the long term because they are wipeable.
The frequency with which blinds or shades must be replaced is also highly dependent on their environment. People generally lean toward blinds in heavily trafficked areas of the home like entry ways, hallways, and foyers because of contact. Pets should be considered as well, though it goes without saying that each companion is different and unique. We have heard from many homeowners who cannot agree on whether blinds or shades constitute a less appealing plaything for their animals!
Blinds and shades are just as easy for a professional or handy homeowner to install. They require similar hardware and are relatively easy to install as long as they are measured correctly. When it comes to maintenance, however, blinds receive praise because it is possible to clean them. For most styles all that is required is for each individual blade to be wiped with a cloth (preferably microfiber to avoid making tiny scratches) and a homemade or store-bought cleaning solution. This is especially helpful in dealing with mold in showers and bathrooms, as blinds can be cleaned more quickly and frequently to avoid buildup.
It is worth mentioning that blinds are more resistant to stains because they are not made from fabrics, unlike most shades. However, we feel that this comes to play mostly in kitchens and workspaces, where spills are splashes are more frequent.
While the cost of labor for the installation of blinds and shades is about the same, shades are generally pricier to buy. This is because they are made in a wider range of styles and from a more diverse range of materials, including some that are more expensive. Roman shades, for example, are more costly because of their unique appearance as well as the high-quality fabrics that they are made from.
The energy-related needs of homeowners cannot be more diverse. Some seek in their homes to retain as much heat as possible, while others are more concerned about keeping their homes cool. In some areas of the world, homeowners experience both of these needs as the seasons change every year!
Blinds can be adjusted throughout the day, which is helpful both in keeping a room cool and retaining its heat. Still, shades created from fabrics are considered more effective at doing both. If energy efficiency is important to you, it is worth considering cellular shades, which are designed specifically with insulation in mind.
Privacy is important to many families, and the right blind or shade can either let the world in or keep it at bay. Blinds can be closed just as well as a shade to create ultimate privacy, but this often means excluding any sun light from coming in through a window. Shades are considered more versatile in this category because a light-colored shade with more transparency, while creating privacy, can still allow the natural light into a home. Many homeowners install blinds specifically in areas where they are not concerned about privacy, choosing to simply leave the blinds open in these areas.
In addition, shades have a reputation for safety in homes with children because of the lack of hanging cords. Alternatively, most cords can be cut to a shorter length without any loss of function, and a trained professional can easily determine how much cord can be removed.
Ultimately, the choice between blinds and shades should come down to which of these factors are more central to the needs of each homeowner. We have many customers who use both in their homes, because their needs change from one room to the next. Imagine being that self-aware!