Blinds are a popular window treatment choice because of their durability, affordability and appearance. With so many styles and materials to choose from, buying the right blinds for your home can seem overwhelming. Buying blinds is actually quite simple and just requires some product knowledge and careful planning. Read on to learn more.
Choose vertical or horizontal blinds. Which you buy depends on window size, room placement and personal taste. Horizontal blinds are great for bedrooms as they block out more light. Vertical blinds are often best for oversized windows, as you can custom order them in almost any size. In addition, horizontal blinds can get very heavy and hard to operate on long windows, so vertical blinds can be a more practical option.
Determine your budget. Installing blinds throughout a home can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the style, material and brand you choose. Even the most expensive blinds are generally far less expensive than curtains and drapes. Aluminum mini-blinds are often cheapest and wood blinds are usually the most costly.
Pick a material. Vertical blinds come in fabric and PVC vinyl. Some fabric blinds are sheer, allowing light in through sheer fabric when partially open. Horizontal blinds, also called Venetian blinds, come in aluminum, faux wood and wood. Faux wood blinds look like the real thing, but are heavier and cheaper. Buy blinds in a material that complements your décor and will hold up best in a room.
Measure your windows. It’s crucial that you take precise measurements, particularly if you’re buying custom blinds that are non-refundable. Always use a metal measuring tape, take each measurement twice and write down all measurements. How you measure depends on whether you’ll mount blinds inside or outside the window and the type of blinds you purchase.
Buy blind accessories. Valances add a classy, finished look to vertical and horizontal blinds and come standard with some models. Motorized blinds are easy to operate via remote control and eliminate child safety risks associated with blind cords.
How to Buy Mini Blinds for Your Home
Mini blinds began years ago with the Venetian blinds which were made out of wood. Aluminum blinds entered the scene for the first time in 1946. Vinyl mini blinds followed and then cellular shades were introduced during the last energy crisis when the inventor was looking for a window blind that provided insulation.
When it comes time to buy mini blinds for your home it can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many different types from which to choose.
Choosing which mini blinds are right for you will depend on three things: your purpose, your style preference and your budget.
Before you begin to shop for blinds it is helpful to know what is available, what you want them to accomplish and approximately how much they are.
Things You’ll Need
paper or notebook
KNOW THE TYPES OF MINI BLINDS AVAILABLE:
Aluminum slat mini blinds: Aluminum mini blinds, like all slated blinds are drawn up and down with a pull string. When down the slats can be opened and closed with small twist pole to adjust the amount of light that enters the room. They are available with 1/2 inch, 1 inch and 2 inch slats. They are available in a variety of colors from white to black. They range in price from $25 to $65 for an average size window.
Vinyl mini blinds are less expensive than aluminum mini blinds but come in similar slat sizes and a variety of colors.
Faux wood blinds look like wood, with a wood grain, but are made of PVC. Slats are 2 inches wide. They are available in white, off white and natural wood tones. They range in price from $20 to $75 for an average size blind window.
Real wood mini blinds come in sizes and colors similar to the faux wood blinds but prices are much higher at approximately $100 for an average sized window.
Cellular shades are used in place of mini blinds but are not mini blinds in the traditional sense. They are raised and lowered by a draw string but cannot be opened and closed while in the down position. They have a honeycomb design to provide insulation. They range in price from $40 to $85 for an average shade.
Mini Blinds in a Variety of Colors
MEASURE YOUR WINDOWS
You have two mounting options: inside mount and outside mount and what you choose will affect the size of the mini blind you purchase. Mounting them on the inside provides a custom fit look and is the mounting option used most often. Outside mount gives you more control of the amount of light that comes into the room.
Inside Mount: Measure from inside the window frame from side to side and top to bottom.
Outside Mount: Blinds are mounted on the window frame itself. Measure accordingly.
NOTE: The type of mount determines the type of brackets you will need to purchase to install the mini blind.
Inside or Outside Mount
The width of the slat you choose will have an effect on the look of the mini blind. A tiny slat (1/2 inch) works well in very small windows but not so well in larger ones. Generally speaking, the larger the window the wider the slat.
Wood mini blinds are a good option for a casual look or to blend with natural wood trim. Real wood mini blinds are almost always custom made. They are the only blind that is actually considered as part of the house when you sell it. They last indefinitely and are a serious investment and convey with the house.
Cellular shades have become a popular choice in recent years for their insulating properties. They are more costly to purchase than vinyl or aluminum mini blinds but the cost will be recouped in saving energy costs.
Wood Blinds are an Investment
LIGHT FILTERING & OPTIONS
Some blinds block more light when they are closed than others. This will depend on the thickness of the slats. Aluminum blinds usually block more light than vinyl blinds.
Cellular shades come in a variety of light filtering properties. Ask for black out shades if you want total darkness.
Mini blinds can be purchased that can be lowered from the top as well as raised from the bottom. Most quality mini blinds come with a valence piece that slips in a casing at the top to give the blind a more finished look.
You get what you pay for when it comes mini blinds in most cases. Hunter Douglas and Levelor are the two top brands in custom mini blinds. For standard sized mini blinds you will find inexpensive blinds at Wall Mart, Target, etc. Mid-range mini blinds are found at Lowes, Home Depot, and similar stores. JCPenney carries a good selection of mini blinds.
If you know how to measure and what you want, you will probably find the best price buying mini blinds online.
How to Buy Cheap Blinds
Window blinds add style and uniqueness to your home but they can be quite expensive. Specialized shops and interior decorators charge hundreds of dollars for customized window blinds. You can get almost the same look by finding more affordable window blinds to decorate your home. Don’t pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for custom window blinds when you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
Comparison shop. When searching for the perfect window blinds, be sure to shop around and ask questions. Some places can charge much more for cutting and sizing your window blinds so be sure to ask about extra charges you might not be aware of. Custom blinds will cost you much more than window blinds out of a box at a discount store.
Use a discount store. Many online stores offer eye-catching window blinds at a fraction of the price of a custom store. Even department stores such as Walmart and Target offer affordable, yet attractive, window blinds that come in all sizes, colors and styles. Best of all, if they aren’t altered you can return them for a refund if you don’t like them.
Utilize stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s for semi-custom blinds. Hardware stores also have semi-custom window blinds that you can choose from. They will cut your window blinds to the size you need at no extra charge. This gives you an almost customized look at a much less expensive cost and they are custom fitted.
Attend estate sales or condominium foreclosures. A lot of sales that involve getting rid of furniture, as in an estate sale or foreclosure, can be the perfect place to get custom blinds for hardly any cost at all. Always make sure that the size is right, although even if you have to have them cut again, it will still be less expensive than using a custom blinds shop.
Work with what you have. If you purchase inexpensive window blinds, dress them up with window dressings, or extravagant curtain rods and draperies. Use neutral colors with your blinds so that the focus is on other parts and decorations in your home. If you choose an off-white color blind but have a beautiful set of red drapes, a person’s eyes will immediately go to the drapery, not your blinds.