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Blinds Buying Guide

by Chrisina Wright

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Beautiful bamboo Roman shade

Enhance your level of privacy and safety at home by adding the fresh look of blinds, shades or shutters to your window treatments. If you work at night, have a high-pressure job or like to sleep late, blinds allow you to rest in a darkened room and refresh yourself from the demands of everyday life. Blinds and shades give you control over the amount of light in a room and also provide some protection against burglary. Peace of mind and restful sleep can keep you at your peak of wellness. This buying guide will help you choose the right blinds and shades for your window treatments.

Types of Blinds and Shutters:

  1. Cellular shades: Also known as honeycomb shades, these window shades allow sunlight to filter into your home in a very subtle way. Your privacy is never sacrificed with these blinds, and cellular shades offer great insulation. Cellular window shades are constructed from layers of fabric that filter light while they keep heat and cold out, and they are easy to clean by vacuuming.

  2. Roller shades: Roller shades are the classic fabric roll-up shade. Today's technology makes roller shades reliable and durable, and they come in blackout or filtering types.

  3. Venetian blinds: Also known as horizontal blinds, Venetian blinds are the standard light-control window treatment. Modern Venetian blinds have wider slats than their predecessors from the '90s and are usually made of plastics, composites or vinyl. Many now come in wood and faux-wood versions for an updated look.

  4. Roman shades: The epitome of contemporary window treatments, Roman shades have classic clean lines and will suit most any home decor. They are manufactured in bamboo styles, woven fabric, solar materials and others. The characteristic roll-style bottom of Roman shades is controlled by cords. Other styles are stitched in horizontal folds that lift incrementally as the drawstrings are adjusted.

  5. Vertical blinds: Vertical blinds are great for tall windows or sliding and French glass doors. Vertical blinds can vary in width and come in a host of modern materials, from aluminum and plastics to textured, fabric-covered selections.

  6. Window panels: Window panels can add modernity and interest to your home. These vertical sliding blind-panels operate on a top and bottom track and are often used as closet covers, sliding doors, patio doors, room dividers and more.

  7. Woven wood blinds: Woven wood blinds filter light through the weaves, never eliminating all natural light. These shades are often made from bamboo and other natural materials, which can be dyed in a variety of colors. Most woven wood blinds come in roller-shade or Roman-shade styles.

  8. Traditional shutters: Also known as colonial shutters, traditional shutters control the light with 1 1/4-inch slats. Painted shutters add great impact to the decor of your home. Most are painted in various shades of white or cream tones. Because of the light colors, these shutters reflect a moderate amount of sunlight away from your room.

  9. Plantation shutters: These contemporary shutters are designed with slats ranging from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches. Plantation shutters are also usually painted white or cream. Both plantation shutters and traditional shutters are more formal and substantial than other blinds and shades.

  10. Wood shutters: Wood shutters for interiors are usually made of basswood, which is a renewable wood source in the United States. Because of its fine uniform texture and smooth finish, basswood is generally regarded as the best wood for shutters.

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