Abby's Guide to Blinds
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Types of blinds

If you like the idea of two inch wide horizontal slats, you can go with fake (or in decorating-ese "faux") or real wood.

"Faux" wood (vinyl or a combination of vinyl and wood) offers

  • a price break while looking like the real thing
  • durability, good candidates for kitchen, bath and kids' rooms
  • easy cleaning and water impervious, again great for the bathroom and kitchen

    Unfortunately, they are also quite heavy, and not as sturdy as real wood. Since they are not as sturdy, more "ladders" are necessary. These are the supports that run up and down the blind. With more ladders, you get a messy look, particularly when lowered and the light shines through all the "route" holes of the ladders. Also keep in mind that when they are raised the "stack" at the top is quite deep. They are impractical for constant raising and lowering and don't have the warmth of the real thing. Also watch out for flimsy "foam" faux wood materials that are quite heavy, making their lack of structural longevity a major weakness. These products are found at your home supply store and on the internet so make sure you examine them carefully before committing.

    "Real" wood although pricier than the "faux" can give you

  • a warm, cozy feel and a nice match to your moldings, etc. in the room
  • a number of options as to stain or color to match current décor
  • an excellent light blocking capability
  • a lighter weight than the "faux" option

    Although cheaper than plantation shutters, they are still expensive and when they are pulled up to expose the window, they still show quite a bit of bulk, particularly if you are thinking 1 inch slats.

    Honeycomb shades are a great alternative to wood blinds (faux or otherwise) and if you have a room with mega sunlight, honeycomb might be your answer. The side view of these blinds indicate the name...they are made up of small cells...the more cells (max is 3) and the larger each individual cell (max is 1.5 inches) the more energy controlling. They can provide

  • privacy
  • light filtering or complete light blocking
  • small compression profile when "up"
  • high marks on insulating ability

    Not everyone likes the look of the honeycomb style, however, and it has a more contemporary look than the wooden blinds. If you go with the room darkening variety, unless it is completely raised, this type can make it difficult to adjust the light to your preference.

    Mini blinds are still a viable option for your windows. They are

  • Cheap and easy to find
  • Very sturdy when in a moist environment (think shower window)
  • Available in numbers of colors to coordinate with your décor
  • Able to block light or allow you to adjust it to your needs
  • Comparably light in weight
  • Easily cleaned and are great for kitchen applications

    Unfortunately, mini blinds can look as cheap as they are and many people do not find them attractive. They do not provide much in the way of insulation either.

    Standard two inch aluminum blinds are still available and give you

  • sturdy resilience to children and high traffic areas as they come in eight or six gauge aluminum
  • the choice of an aluminum that resists folding
  • a variety of colors

    Most people find these blinds old fashioned but they provide a great option when needed.

    Vertical blinds tend to be the blind of choice for French doors as they

  • accommodate large openings
  • can be cleaned without much fuss and as they are not horizontal, they do not collect a lot of dust
  • offer a large variety of textures, patterns and materials (fabric or pvc that helps in keeping them clean)
  • heat block when the individual slats are backed with insulating vinyl

    Again, they can be seen as very contemporary and may not fit in with a country or traditional design scheme. If you have horizontal blinds in the room on other windows, the vertical blinds may not "blend" well.

    Roller shades are still out there and offer perhaps the least expensive option for covering your windows. They block out a ton of light with a simplicity of design. Although there are shades that can be fused with fabric for a custom look, most people find them unappealing.

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