Faceoff: Blinds vs Shades vs Curtains vs Drapes

Have you spent time over the COVID-19 lockdown tending to the home improvement projects around your house?

You’re not alone. In fact, research from Bank of America has found that 70 percent of Americans have embraced home improvement since the beginning of the pandemic.

Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, general repairs, a little indoor greenery, or some new light fixtures, there’s a myriad of ways to make a home feel a little more welcoming, but none quite as simple or impactful as new window coverings.

Updating window coverings is one of the most efficient ways to completely change the look and feel of a room. Think of these coverings as a jacket: they can dress a room up or down, depending on the aim, with the ability to turn a stark, bare window into a beautiful feature, regardless of what is on the other side of the glass.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect window covering, and these factors go beyond just material or color; Do you want an elegant drape? Would you prefer minimalist efficiency? What activities are happening in the room? Does the room require light blockout? Does this window need to be functional or just beautiful? Regardless of the question, all types of window coverings have their own pros and cons, and finding the most suitable option for a house is a matter of personal preference.

As such, it’s important to start from the ground up - or in this case, the window outwards - when selecting a window covering, and the best starting point is determining the form of window covering for each room. The four basic types of window coverings are blinds, shades, curtains and drapes, and below, we’ll explore each in more detail.  We sat down with Kyle Cox, the founder of Blindster.com, one of the top sites on the Internet for DIY blinds and window coverings, for an explanation of each type of window covering, and which one people should choose for which situation.

Blinds

Blinds are one of the most common traditional window coverings in both homes and businesses. Built with a headrail, bottom rail, individual slats and adjustable slats, blinds can be closed to block light and enhance privacy, or opened to let light in and create a view of the outside world.

Being one of the least expensive window coverings, blinds are a perfect option for those on a budget. Just because they’re cheap, however, doesn’t mean they have to be unattractive. Faux wood and aluminum blinds are priced to fit all budgets across the spectrum, without sacrificing on quality or beauty. Blinds also have longevity, as their multiple component construction means they’re not only easy to repair, but they’re also easy to clean and maintain. This means they’re less likely to become stained or faded over time than other types of window covering.

Perfect for: Those with budget constraints looking for a simple and stylish window covering, landlords and those with rental properties looking for a long-lasting window covering that is easy to repair, clean, and maintain.

Shades

Less common than blinds, shades are a popular and effective window covering for those looking to block or reduce light levels and maximize privacy. Built to pull down from one fixed point at the top of a window, shades are a versatile window covering that can be left open to let light in, made with sheer fabric to reduce the amount of light and enhance privacy, or made with blockout fabric to provide the perfect sleeping environment.

Perfect for minimalists, shades create an inbuilt, low-profile look for homeowners who prefer to keep their interior design focus elsewhere. Their simplistic design and uniform presence mean that when lowered, depending on the material used, can be either a background piece or focal point for a room. Shades are also versatile in terms of the amount of light they let into a room. A shade made from a sheer fabric or material can offer privacy and reduce glare in a room, while the addition of a blackout liner can turn a room into the perfect place to watch a movie or sleep. As such, shades are the perfect option for those looking to create the perfect media room, home office, bedroom, or home theatre.

Perfect for: Those looking to enhance privacy and reduce or block light entirely, minimalist homeowners who prefer simple, low-profile window coverings.

Curtains

Made from lightweight fabrics and used to add a decorative flair, curtains are the window covering everyone knows and loves. Unlike blinds or shades, curtains are generally installed completely outside of windows, and in some cases, may only cover a small part of a window. Because of this, they’re used more for design than function.

While curtains tend to be purely decorative, by using the right fabric - either sheer or blackout - they can combine design with function to complete a room. They’re also versatile and inexpensive, with a range of fabrics that can create interesting and beautiful contrasts to colors, shades. patterns and textures used in a room. They can also be used in conjunction of shades or blinds to complement a design and function aesthetic.

If used in conjunction with blinds or shades, curtains not only add an extra layer of design, but also add a layer of protection. This is because, when closed, curtains will deter dust and other factors that can damage or prematurely age shades and blinds. One drawback to this, however, is that curtains tend to attract dust, and require regular cleaning and dusting.

Perfect for: Those who want an inexpensive, versatile window covering with a focus on design.

Drapes

While often categorized together, curtains and drapes are two unique types of window covering. Made exclusively with thick and heavy fabrics, drapes tend to be floor length and aim to add a dash of drama or sophistication to a room.

While curtains are used to diffuse light and incorporate design elements to a room, drapes are used for their soundproofing and insulating properties. Thick, thermal drapes can reduce heat loss in winter and keep cold drafts at bay, while the texture and thickness also dampens outside noises and reduces echo within a home. This makes them perfect for those who live in noisy environments.

Design-wise, drapes are often used to give a room a formal appearance. This, however, doesn’t mean they can only be used in rooms where formal events take place. On their own, drapes and their dramatic flair are perfect for adding a touch of elegance to any room.

Perfect for: Those who want to add a touch of design flair and elegance to their home, homeowners who require extra insulation or sound proofing in their homes.

Kyle Cox: Kyle Cox, CEO of Blindster, started the first custom ecommerce window treatment business in 1999. After growing the company to well over $30MM in annual revenue, he sold it to a Home Depot company. Five years later he ventured back into the industry and started Blindster.com which has grown to become one of the largest ecommerce companies in the industry. Blindster is a family-owned business offering high quality custom blinds, shades, and shutters, with a dedication to customer satisfaction.

For more information, please visit https://www.blindster.com

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