How to Choose the Right Blinds for Your Home
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Published by TOP4 Team
Although much depends on individual characteristics, blinds tend to look more at home in spare or architectural rooms than softer, more organic ones. Most of them can be fitted outside or inside the window recess, using brackets fixed to the top of the reveal (top-fix), or at each side (side-fix).
Many popular styles can be custom made in the material and size of your choice, and some blinds are sold in a range of stock sizes as well (choose the size closest to your window). If you particularly enjoy sewing, consider making your own fabric blinds. Any good soft furnishing manual will provide detailed instructions.
Roller blinds consist of a panel of fabric fixed to a sprung, wooden roller that allows you to extend the blind to any length you want and then tug it gently to rewind it. You can easily make these blinds using a proprietary kit, but if you decide to do this, using thick fabrics and those with pile, ribbing, or any kind of raised trim that will prevent them from rolling up again smoothly.
When lowered, Roman blinds also present a flat panel of fabric, but they fold up into neatly stacked pleats. They are made by passing cords through rows of rings or eyelets fitted to the back of the fabric.
These cords are pulled to raise the blind, and then wound around a wall-fixed cleat to anchor it. Roman blinds are just as easy to make as roller blinds, but they are more of a sewing project than a DIY exercise.
A toned down version of the frilly festoon blind, London blinds are constructed in much the same way as Roman blinds, but instead of forming horizontal pleats, they draw up into a set of gentle gathers.
When lowered, they also become a virtually flat panel rather than the rows of ruched swags typical of festoon blinds. London blinds are not usually available ready made; you either need to make them yourself or have them sewn to order.
Made from aluminium, plastic, or wood, the horizontal slats that form a traditional Venetian blind are operated by means of corded tapes that run down both sides. The whole blind can be pulled completely clear of the window, lowered to cover it completely or adjusted to admit varying degrees of light according to the angle of the slats.
Vertical louvre blinds
Instead of being pulled up from the bottom in the traditional way, vertical louvre blinds are drawn to one side on a system of corded pulleys, much like a single curtain. In addition, they can be pivoted to control the light in the same way as Venetian blinds.
Wide slats, made from stiffened fabric, wood, or metal, give these blinds a strongly institutional feel and they are a popular choice for office windows. Most vertical louvre blinds are used to cover large windows and they must be made to measure by specialist manufacturer.
This very basic construction is used for many off-the-peg blinds: those made from cane and bamboo, for example, thin wooden slats, or reeds (pinoleum blinds) and paper. All of these blinds are drawn up by means of a cord – and – pulley system. Roll-up fabric blinds are among the very easiest to make yourself.
If you don’t need to draw them up and down regularly, you can even do without the pulley system – just roll (or gather) them up to the required height and then anchor them in position with lengths of strong tape.
• If your chosen blind leaves your window frames on display, make sure they’re in good condition rather than clogged up with layers of old paint. To focus attention on the blind, paint the windows to match the wall.
• Cane, pinoleum and wooden slatted blinds may look opaque, but they act in the same way as net curtains, guarding your privacy, yet still allowing you to see the outside.
Keep in mind, though, that after dark the opposite is true: you can’t see the outside, but your neighbours can see in very clearly.
• To disguise a short window, fix your blind a little way above the frame, and then make sure that it is never raised any further than the top of the glass.
Finding the right blinds for your home can be tricky. Make sure to do some research prior to making a purchase to ensure you get the perfect one for your home or office. For more home decor tips, click here.