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Blinds (or Curtains? or Shades?) Discussion

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Can we discuss blinds vs. curtains (or other window treatments, such as shades) - benefits and drawbacks of each, what people think and why, whether it's about cleaning them, or their costs, or their durability, or their safety, or attractiveness?  Energy efficiency (I know curtains can insulate windows, don't know about blinds)? 

Dh and I disagree about window coverings. 


When we bought our home, it came with vinyl blinds on all the windows, and we have just left them there.  We replaced the windows themselves, but haven't completed the interior remodel part yet.  Once we do that, we need to decide what to do with the window coverings.  During the day, our windows are opaque from the outside (a glaze on them?) and people can't see in, but obviously at night, people would see right into the house if we didn't have window coverings of some sort.  I am inclined toward simple curtains which could be closed in the late afternoon/evening (I could make them) -- dh is interested in the blinds that raise from the bottom up, and are "double blinds."  (?) 

He loves blinds - I prefer curtains.  His style is very minimalist/modern, and I think that's where his blind preference comes in.  Simple curtains (think like a shower curtain almost) seem as minimalist to me, but far easier to clean.  Since he's not cleaning the blinds, he doesn't notice that part of it. 

This is what he wants (some version of these) - his Dad just got some last year, they look and act like blinds to me although the sites call them "shades."  Also curious whether people have experience with them and how they are for cleaning:


I suppose we should throw Roman Shades into the discussion too - perhaps those would be a compromise that would work in our home.  Thoughts on cleaning, purchasing, installing Roman shades? 

I *hate* cleaning blinds!  I haven't tried taking these down and washing them in the tub, maybe that would be easier - but I've read on some sites that it's not recommended, on other sites that the metal/vinyl blinds can be washed that way.  I hate taking my damp cleaning rag (vinegar water) and rubbing down both sides of the blind slat, and there's always a little collection of dust along the threads of the blinds no matter what I do.  Perhaps, if I dusted more frequently, this wouldn't be such a chore.  But frankly, I know my cleaning style - I have a sister whose hobby is house-cleaning, and that's not me.  I have other priorities, and while I try to keep my house clean, dusting my blinds weekly is just never going to make it on the to-do list.  Taking curtains down and washing them every 3 months seems much, much more manageable! 

Also, it seems to me that blinds are flimsy and easily bent; or the strings for pulling them up 'knot,' and only one side will draw up for awhile, or the strings that control the slats will break/snap.  It's not that I'm rough with them or that the kids are rough with them - for whatever reason, many of our blinds have something blocking much direct access to them (other than turning them open/closed) - whether that's a desk or a low dresser or the kids' play table or etc.  BUT, we have several blinds where some of the slats are bent and/or strings have busted so that there are lapses in whether the blinds fully close at night.....  I remember an old roman shade at my Grandma's house which was also very temperamental, that said, it was OLD back then and I am nearly 40 so I'm sure that the mechanisms have improved since then. 

Soooo - what are peoples' thoughts on blinds/curtains/roman shades/OTHER?  Let's discuss! 

post #2 of 12

I had lightblocking cellular shades in the old house and absolutely loved them. They are very easy to clean, you just vacuum them off - I don't think the insides got dirty, or at least I never noticed in 5 years. I also like plantation shutters if they are already installed, very easy to vacuum or wipe down. In our current house we have all kinds of odd window treatments. I dislike valances, roman shades and pull down shades. I like light curtains for sliding doors and relatively private windows - like you have to stand in the overgrown bush to look through the window and get a distorted view through the curtain. I get most of those at Ikea since they are inexpensive. I hate metal blinds and vetical blinds. I actually really like lookind at window treatments and wish I had some disposable cash to spruce up our house. It looks like an old lady decorated the windows.

post #3 of 12

I despise blinds. They're hard to clean, always seem to break & are generally ineffective at blocking light (pull down room darkening shades the exception). I don't find them particularly nice to look at either.


I make very simple curtains for our windows - they're always the right size, the material I want & I find it cheaper than store bought. Plus I have a particular dh who needs all window coverings to completely block the light so even with a blind we would need curtains which seems redundant.

post #4 of 12

We have different combinations throughout the house. There are some blinds that came with the house and they are not in good shape or easy to clean. In our bedrooms we have a combination of curtains and shades. On our main level we just have curtains.


I prefer curtains or a fabric shade.

post #5 of 12
My house came with several types. I hate basic blind cause they are so hard to clean.
I really like this mesh type blind. There is no solid part and you can make it light blocking or so you can see through them, but still provide privacy(during the day, not when you have lights on at night)

Old house had honeycomb blind/shades? Nice for energy efficiency, but I didn't like how if you wanted privacy you got no lights

I like the concept of curtains, my current ones are more decorative and don't shut easily or well
post #6 of 12

subbing. back to up date later!

post #7 of 12
We had white wooden Hunter Douglas blinds installed throughout the house and I love them. They don't seem to get nearly as dusty as vinyl ones, they should last forever and weren't that expensive on sale. I like curtains but just the amount of fabric you need for proper fullness and length is SO expensive before you even get the lining and rods.
post #8 of 12

We had wood blinds installed throughout all the house - matches our woodwork and hardwoods. They are cordless, so you just need to pull or push from the bottom to lower/raise. We generally leave them down all the time and adjust the slats - open for day/closed for night. They don't have the holes that older blinds have, so they are *relatively* good at blocking light.


We really went back and forth between these and light blocking cellular, because I *really* like to sleep in the dark. Light blocking cellular would have been a better choice for the bedrooms, as these have a very small crack all the way around them. Urgh.


I like the way they dust fairly clean. I sometimes vacuum them (~6 mos or so).


I was concerned that fabric cellular would be difficult to dust and require vacuuming more often. DS has allergies.


We don't have curtains yet, except in DS's room, where I bought a pair that matched his sheets, on sale.

post #9 of 12

I love our cellular shades.  I did not get the room darkening ones which means I can keep the shades down for insulation and still get nice sunlight.  I also chose the top down feature so I can lower them from the top but have the bottom of the windows still covered for privacy, like having cafe curtains.  And it's a nice clean look.  I originally thought I'd add curtains but I'm enjoying the look and figured curtains would be one more thing to wash.  The shades don't seem to attract dust, either.

post #10 of 12

Good to know the shades don't attract dust. If we had gone with cellulars, we would have done top-down/bottom-up. I really like the idea of that feature. And we would have done light blocking in the bedroom, and "regular" ones downstairs.

post #11 of 12

Hi, just bumping this thread because not only that I agree with most of the opinions posted, I love cellular shades and wooden blinds as well, but I also like roman blinds. I think they give a warm and rich feel to the room they're installed in, they have insulation properties like curtains, keeping heat during winter inside, but without the heavy, bulky feeling a curtain inspires. As I was searching around for a blinds retailer online, I found a few thoughts on roman blinds. I want to share it with you guys: Within our range there is a colour or fabric texture to suit any dècor; a beautiful choice for any window making a definite impact. Made fully lined using the highest quality sateen and black out linings roman blind from our next day range is delivered to you mounted on an aluminium track with an automatic cord lock or choose the optional bead chain cassette operation. I agree, a roman does make a definite impact and I know not that many people have roman shades in their houses or would go for one, but I really think they should gain more popularity.

post #12 of 12

I'm really glad that I am not the only one who HATES CLEANING BLINDS. I can see that my duster is collecting some, but the natural light coming through the window also lets me see all the other dust particles that are moving through the air and I assume the ones that I don't inhale will just resettle on the blinds beneath them.  


Besides that, I actually really like blinds because they do give you the most light control, and even if dusting is irritating, I like being able to see it so that I can take care of it (and it is still easier than vacuuming curtains.) 


Turn out some genius has addressed our problems and invented blinds that go between the panes of glass so that no dusting is necessary.  I don't actually have these, but I plan to get them when I need a window replacement.  The magnetic operator (cordless) is also a great safety feature. Has anyone tried them? I'm only familiar with the ones from sunrise windows. Here is a picture:


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