BLINDS VS. SHADES: WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOUR SPACE?
Shopping for window treatments is exciting but the choice overload can also make it feel overwhelming. There are countless options available, each with its own unique pros and cons, trade vocabulary and price points. In this post, we’d like to quickly discuss two of the most popular options: blinds and shades. If you are faced with the window blinds vs. shades question for your home and trying to figure out what’s the difference between them, learn everything you need to know to decide which is right for your space.
If you’d like to dive right in to shop new roman shades, Spiffy Spools is here to serve you!
Order custom roman shades from Spiffy Spools online in any size. Pick from over 3,000 fabrics and patterns!
What’s the Difference Between Window Blinds & Shades?
Aren’t they the same thing? Nope! While the terms are often used interchangeably, window blinds and shades are different types of window treatments. Specifically, window blinds are made up of an arrangement of slats that can be opened and closed as desired. They may be made of PVC, vinyl, fabric, synthetic fabric, wood, bamboo, compressed wood, plastic, aluminum, and so on. The slats may be arranged either horizontally or vertically, making the blinds operational accordingly either in an up/down or left/right direction.
On the other hand, a window shade is a continuous piece of material that folds or rolls up but does not have slats that can be opened and closed. Shades that roll up on a roller are referred to as roller shades. Depending on the material used for the shade, they are available in various subtypes. For example, shades made of a sheer fabric specially equipped to resist UV rays are called solar shades.
Shades that fold up in accordion style are called roman shades. They may be made of fabric or woven wood/faux wood. However, typically, the fabric ones are referred to as roman shades, and the others as woven wood shades.
Both blinds and shades are usually operated with the help of a cord and pulley system, though they can also be motorized and cordless for ease. Both are sleek and made to fit the exact dimensions of the window.
While window blinds and shades are somewhat similar in their operation, their making is different. Understanding the differences and the benefits they offer for your space will help you decide which one is right for you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors to consider when deciding between blinds and shades.
Both homeowners and home stylists look for window treatments that have the potential to introduce colors, textures and patterns to a space. As far as industrially produced blinds and shades are concerned, both have very restricted palettes and limited ability to host patterns.
Most of them are usually produced in solid neutral hues like white, gray, brown, black or beige. These will blend into the room interiors rather than stand out and make a difference. Of the patterned shades and blinds that are available in readymade stores, there aren’t many options with regard to their material.
But, if you are interested in bringing in vibrant colors and vivacious patterns through your shades or blinds, and also have control over the type of material, we highly recommend roman shades. You will have as many options as drapery fabrics – whimsical sheers, luxe velvets and silks, refined cottons, and homely linens in any color or pattern you envisage. Besides, these fabrics are soft and textured as compared to most of the industrially produced shades and blinds that are ultra-sleek.
Another bonus point of fabric roman shades is their versatility in design. Here at Spiffy Spools, you can order your roman shades in three different fold styles for example.
Furthermore, our roman shades can be zhuzhed up with beautiful trims to meet a truly creative home designer’s deepest aspirations. No other blinds or shades can give you the luxury or liberty to add decorative tassels, ribbons, pompoms, or gimp braids. These delicate add-ons bring color, whimsy, and character and are yet another element in your window decor which is the fruit of an intense labor of love.
And to add to that impressive lot, they are also handmade – a true labor of love. They also bring warmth and personality to a space, where blinds tend to look a little cold and mechanical.
Thus, the scope for design is vaster with roman shades because of the sheer number of aesthetic choices and variations they offer.
If your main priority is to control the amount of light entering the room, blinds will be the right selection for you. The key feature of blinds is that they allow you to rotate the slats so you can position them according to the direction of the sunlight. By opening the slats partially or completely, you can dial in the right amount of light for your space.
While shades also allow you to control light, you will have lesser flexibility. With shades, you can only move the shade up or down the window. When closed, they will block out light completely, and when open, they will let light in. If you want to regulate the inflow of light, the only option is to keep the shade partially open. You won’t have the precision control that the slats in blinds provide.
But while blinds offer higher flexibility to control the amount of light flowing into a room, what they don’t provide is total light blocking. Some light leakage is inevitable through the slats. Shades, on the other hand, with their continuous frontage, do not let light pass through as long as the material chosen is light-blocking and non-sheer.
If you desire total light blocking, blackout roller shades are an option. They are made of blackout fabrics that are chemically treated to block light, heat, and sound. A more effective alternative, though, is fabric roman shades. This is because they can be stitched from thick and tight-woven fabrics and lined with a blackout lining. The dual fabric layering makes this treatment doubly capable of efficient light-blocking.
One of the most important factors to be considered for window treatments in places that face extreme climates is their insulation capacity. Especially in bedrooms, this can be a big concern since uncontrolled heat or cold can disturb sleep. Even if you have the best heaters and coolers, what use are they if the window treatments do not support this function?
As regards blinds, it is obvious that a lot of thermal energy may be lost from the room between the numerous slats, which leave your window panes to do the bulk of work in maintaining temperature. Unless they are supported by overtreatments like heavy curtains, blinds standalone are not going to offer the same level of insulation that a continuous-cover window treatment will.
Therefore, as regards shades, the prospects are better. Solar shades have been designed to combat heat effectively, but fail miserably in cold seasons. Besides, being made of sheer fabric, they fail to provide privacy during the night, making them not the best option for bedrooms. Honeycomb shades are double-layered in their construct and strategically designed to contain cold and heat.
But the shades that you can trust better are none other than fabric roman shades. No other shade can beat roman shades that are made with thick face fabrics and backed with blackout lining. Hence, roman shades are our top recommendation for bedrooms and nurseries.
In addition to managing the light in the room, another purpose for blinds and shades is to provide privacy. Both blinds and shades can offer the privacy you desire, although you’ll need to pick the material carefully. Those that feature a semi-transparent material like sheer fabric or woven wood won’t provide much privacy during the night.
In some cases, covering large windows with certain types of blinds such as venetian blinds can create a logistical challenge. Because of the many slats used to create a set of blinds, the product as a whole can become rather noisy and look messy.
There are no such issues with roman shades. Made from various kinds of fabrics, shades can be cut to size — so you should have no trouble covering up large windows.
For extra large windows, the overall weight of the blinds as well as shades can become too much to span the opening, so two sets of smaller blinds or shades may need to be used.
Not just the overall appeal and functionality, but also the maintenance aspect deserves ample consideration. Especially, if you’re dust allergic and have a busy schedule, it is important to pre-calculate the amount of time you can set aside for the maintenance of your window treatments.
Blinds, being made up of slats, make cleaning that much more difficult as each slat has to be reached individually. Some blinds need professional help for deep cleaning. Consider whether such services are available readily and affordably in your locality.
When it comes to shades, cleaning is a lot easier. They can be vacuum cleaned easily as there is a single flowing surface. Most shades can be removed from the headrail and washed with mild liquid detergents or sent into drycleaning.
You likely have a budget in mind for this purchase. The good news is that both blinds and shades can be found at multiple price points, with both cheap and more expensive options. When comparing them against each other, however, pricing is generally the same. You can find low-cost options in either style, or you can break the bank on top-of-the-line products. Make your choice independent of your budget and then find a blind or shade that falls in your price range.
How to Make the Choice?
Now that you know what blinds and shades are and how they differ, it must be easier to make the decision. We have laid out some points in a checklist for you to determine which one will work for you best.
OVERALL DECOR STYLE
Generally speaking, most industrially produced blinds and shades aren’t going to add much to the décor of your room. They will blend into the space smoothly and can be helped out with a stylish valance to make up for their austerity.
Fabric roman shades can create a visually engaging window covering as stand-alone treatments with beautiful colors, patterns, textures, and softness. In traditional and transitional designs, roman shades are the go-to while modern minimalist designs profit from the sleek and modish looks of other shades and blinds.
PURPOSE OF ROOM
In living rooms, dining rooms, sunrooms, patios, and other areas of the home where foolproof privacy and high insulation are not a concern, both blinds and shades can fare well. But roman shades are the best solution in nurseries, bedrooms, and other rooms where these have to be factored without compromise.
SOUND ABSORPTION AND ROOM DARKENING
Being made of very thin fabrics, most industrially produced blinds & shades don’t fare well in bedrooms and media rooms as a stand-alone window treatment. Roman shades made of thick and tight-knit fabrics are the respite because they absorb sound and darken the room for a good sleep and a great media experience.
Shop Custom Roman Shades at Spiffy Spools
Depending on the specific needs of your rooms and your overall decor style, you may now make your choice with confidence. Indeed, in our opinion, it is roman shades that put you in a win-win situation. They are charming decor accessories, comparatively more insulative and sound absorbent, have a soft appeal, and can be customized to your preferences. Spiffy Spools offers custom roman shades at affordable prices with over 3,000 unique color and pattern selections. And, we are excited to walk the journey with you as you design your very own roman shades for your windows.
READ MORE: WHAT ARE ROMAN SHADES: A COMPLETE GUIDE