Best Blinds - Blinds 101

by Joseph Mehm of BestBlinds.com, June, 2005

Choosing the Right Window Treatments

So, it's time to cover your windows and not sure where to start? Well, we will try to address some of those concerns when shopping for window blinds or window shades.

Some things to consider are:

1. Is price a factor in your decision?
2. What's the décor / style of the room/home?
3. How much of a factor is energy efficiency?
4. Do you have neighbors that live real close? Privacy concerns?
5. Too much light? Glare on your tv? Too sunny on days you normally sleep in?
6. Great views of the outdoors? How do I maximize my view while minimizing glare or loss of privacy?
7. Too much humidity in the room?
8. Looking for a treatment that stands up best in a harsh sunlit environment?

1. Is price a factor in your decision?
Price sometimes leads you to a window treatment that causes more misery than what you may have saved. Let’s take a look at some options. First, one of the least expensive blinds is 1” aluminum mini blinds. Aluminum mini blinds offer decent light and view control, at a value pricing but lack the energy efficiency most shade products offer, which could more than offset the initial cost savings. But, if you’re looking for an inexpensive blind for a guest room or rental then this could be just the thing. But, if you plan on staying in the home for let’s say 5 plus years then you may want to consider more than the initial cost of the blind.

Here's a list of product categories from the least expensive to most.
• Aluminum Mini Blinds – 1” mini blinds cost less than our 2” Macro Aluminum blinds.
• 2” Vinyl Blinds – Smooth is the best value, then Embossed and Textured Styles.
• Roller Shades – The Vinyl Roller Shades cost a little less than Fabric Roller Shades.
• Vertical Blinds – Smooth Vinyl, then Embossed Vinyl, Fabric, and Fabric with PVC Backing coming soon.
• Faux Wood Blinds – 2" Smooth Fauxwood and Embossed Faux Wood Blind cost less than the 2 1/2" slats.
• Wood Blinds – Painted colors generally cost less than our stains.
• Pleated Shades – Standard lift costs less than the top-down /bottom-up style.
• Bamboo Shades – Light Filtering then Privacy Backed, then cordless and TD/BU.
• Cellular Honeycomb Shades – Single Cell, then Double Cell, Light Filtering, then Blackout.
• Horizontal Shadings – Zebra Shades, then Horizontal Window Shadings.
• Plantation Shutters (most expensive) – Vinyl Shutters then Wood Shutters. (not avail at moment)

2. What's the décor / style of the room/home?
That's a good question! It wouldn't install Vertical Blinds in an old Victorian home. You should also consider what the window blinds will look like from the exterior of your home. If it has horizontal siding, you may not want to use something like Verticals. Another consideration is where you live. If you're in a condo or a development with strict rules you should check the guidelines first. They may require blinds & shades to be neutral to the road.

Some suggestions:
• Contemporary Homes - Verticals, Mini Blinds, Wood & Faux Wood Blinds, Illusions Shadings
• Traditional Homes - Cellular Shades, Fabric Roman Shades, Roll Shades, Sheer Shadings
• Older Homes - Roller Shades, Wood Blinds, Fauxwood Blinds, Wood Shutters
• Country Homes - Roman Shades, Roller Shades, Cellular Shades or Pleated Shades
• Vacation Homes or Rentals - Roller Shades or Vertical Blinds

3. How much of a factor is energy efficiency?
If you live up North, then you will probably want to keep the cold out. Down South, it's the dreaded summer heat. Most new homes have well-insulated windows & walls, but older homes, like one's with single-pane windows, are not well insulators. Windows that have exposure to the east and west have to deal with sun blockage.

If you're trying to keep the cold out, try this:
• Cell Shades are one of the most energy-efficient Shades we carry. The double Cell product works better than Single Cellular too.
• Privacy Lined Bamboo Blinds, also known as Woven Wood Shades are a very popular product with consumers today. Most are available with the cordless option too.

Want to keep the heat out? Try this:< br> • Solar Sheer Shades - When the view is important but the sun is a bit much, you'll want to try one of these popular products for sun control while offering a view outside while in the lowered position.
• Honeycomb Shades - These are the most energy-efficient products. They are a continuous layer of fabric with no route holes so it blocks out all of the direct sunlight. Use Room Darkening or Blackout Cell Shades to block even more heat.
• Privacy Lined & Blackout Lined Woven Wood Shades are a great choice too.

4. Do you have neighbors that live real close? Privacy concerns?
Do you live super close to the home next door? Near a busy road? May we suggest you try one of the products below:

• Privacy Bamboo Shades with the Bottom-Up/Top-Down feature.
• 2" Wood & 2" Faux Wood Blinds with Cloth Tapes - Great privacy when our optional Cloth Tapes.
• PVC & Faux Wood Vertical Blinds - Great privacy & control of light.
• Honeycomb Cell Shades - These offer total privacy but limit the view by only being able to see outdoors when in the raised position. However, if you choose the bottom-up/top-down feature you can lower the shade from the top enough to get that view while keeping the privacy you desire.

5. Too much light? Glare on your tv? Too sunny on days you normally sleep in?
An abundance of lighting is a great thing. But if you want to sleep in on the weekend or watch a game on TV, you would want to find a window shade that solves that issue.

Here are my suggestions:
• Bamboo Blinds with the privacy liner, room-darkening liner offering substantial sun blockage.
• Wood Blinds or Fauxwood Blinds with the optional Cloth Tapes - When Cloth Tapes are used, these blinds can help keep most of the sunlight out.
• Blackout Honeycomb or Room Darkening Cell Shades - Absolutely the best product for blocking sunlight. When lowered, these shades can offer total darkness. Great for a baby's room or any bedroom if you like to sleep in.
• Blackout Vinyl or Room Darkening Fabric Roller Shades - Does an excellent job blocking the sunlight. Great for the budget-conscious too. If you want a value-priced shade for light blocking, this is the best choice.

6. Great views of the outdoors? How do I maximize my view while minimizing glare or loss of privacy?
I'll assume you didn't put a large picture window or large sliding glass door in your home to cover it up, right? Here are some great options.

• Solar Window Shades - One of the best choices when trying to maximize the view and minimize the glare.
• Light Filtering Woven Blinds - Some Bamboo Blinds have larger openings in the horizontal reeds, allowing for a silhouette-like view of the outdoors.
• Zebra Shades - Offers opaque & sheer alternating bands that when overlapped offer awesome views, while minimizing glare. However, privacy is minimal if the horizontal vanes are left open at night. But you can close them for total privacy by overlapping the vanes by pulling the continuous loop control chain.

7. Too much humidity in the room?
Bathrooms can sometimes have an issue with humidity. Especially if there's a shower but no exhaust fan. Or maybe a damp garage or basement. Whichever it may be, we have a solution.

Here are our recommendations.
• Vinyl Roller Shades - They're actually the best choice for budget price-conscious consumers, but you'll need to know that the vinyl roller shades tend to have large gaps at both ends. The reason is they sometimes track from one side to the other when being lifted and lowered and need that spacing to keep the material from rubbing on the sides.
• PVC & Faux Verticals - These come in Smooth, Ribbed, Embossed, and thicker Faux Wood styles. Smooth is the best price. The Smooth PVC Verticals are easier to maintain. The Ribbed, Faux, and Embossed PVC styles are a little more of a challenge.
• 2" & 2 1/2" FauxWood Blinds - The 2" Fauxwood and the 2 1/2" Fauxwood Blinds are extremely popular. Offering great moisture resistance without sacrificing beauty.
• Solar Shades - Our Solar Shades are made with a PVC-coated polyester material that does an excellent job repelling moisture. When privacy is a concern, we suggest you try one of the above options.

8. Looking for a treatment that stands up best in a harsh sunlit environment?
See below.

• Vertical Blinds with PVC or Faux Slats - Our Vertical Blinds are a great choice to block the harsh sun. You will feel the temp drop almost as soon as they are lowered if the sun is shining in the room. Our Vertical Blinds come with a limited lifetime warranty against warping, cracking, curling or splitting.
• Vinyl Window Shades - Works better than most window treatments but after a period of years, the material may start to deteriorate if exposed to intense direct sunlight.
• Sun Control Window Shades - For areas with harsh sunlight, these can't be beaten. They are called Sun Control Shades for a reason, right? If you have a great view and hate to block it then this is the right product for you! Our Sun Shades come in a great variety of patterns and colors, with different degrees of openness and view. Everything from a blackout and 1% openness, up to a 14% openness factor. My fav is the 10-14% fabrics, which allow plenty of view to the outdoors while blocking most of the sunlight.

Product Suggestions:
• All Roller Shades - Get the continuous loop clutch! Clutch-operated shades work better than the spring assist lift roller shades. Much easier to care for and maintain. Some mild detergent keeps vinyl shades clean.
• Varying Opacity Solar Shades are pretty much like the Vinyl Roller Shades. It's priced a little higher but the ability to maintain your view outdoors while the shade is down is well worth it.
• 2" Faux Blinds and 2 1/2" Fauxwood Blinds - One of the most popular products on the market.
• ALL Vinyl Vertical Blinds - As mentioned above, Smooth PVC Verticals are usually easier to clean than Embossed Vinyl Vertical Blinds but both last just as long as the other.

Hope this information was helpful. If you ever have a question as to what may work best in your particular application don't hesitate to call one of the window treatment professionals at BestBlinds.com - 1(844)252-4200.

Article by Joseph Mehm
Joseph Mehm has been selling window coverings for over 35 years, since 1985, and is one of the founders of the Internet retail giant BestBlinds.com, 1-844-252-4200. Reprint is allowed as long as footer text and links remain intact.

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