6 Expert Tips To Choose Blinds And Shades

When you're shopping for blinds and shades, you quickly realize the options are plenty! Purchasing the right ones depends on what you're looking for, whether you're longing for privacy, want a durable material, or both. Below we break down six expert tips to help you make the right choice.

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What is the difference between blinds and shades?

Blinds and shades differ in two ways:

  • The materials for each style are different. Blinds tend to be made from wood, metal, or vinyl while shades are usually fabric-based, softening the overall appearance of your windows. 
  • Blinds give you the flexibility to let light in by tilting the blinds slightly or pulling them completely open. Shades, on the other hand, must be pulled up to let light in.

What are the best materials for blinds and shades?


Available in both dark and light hues, wood blinds are great for your den or office. Since wood is affected by moisture, it's best to keep this blind material out of environments that get humid, like your kitchen, restroom, or laundry room.

Dali Native Bamboo Roman Shade
White Faux Wood Room Darkening Blind
Natural Woven Wood Roman Shade
Brown Bamboo Semi Sheer Roman Shade
Whitewash Bamboo Semi Sheer Roman Shade


This is an ultra-lightweight material for blinds. It's very flexible but can be bent out of shape if damaged during cleaning. Since aluminum is rust-resistant, this is a good choice for humid environments. Plus, it's an exceptionally affordable material.

Faux Wood PVC Room Darkening Blind
Patterned Light Filtering Aluminium Blind
Mahogany Faux Wood Aluminum Venetian Blind
Light Brown Aluminum Motorized Roller Shade
Aluminum Double Layered Window Pleated Shade
Heavy Duty Aluminum Semi Sheer Outdoor Roller Shade


This is a synthetic polymer material that fits well in any environment, regardless of climate. It's durable, affordable, and easy to keep clean, making it a popular choice for homes everywhere. You'll find tons of patterns and colors with this material so you can be sure to complement your interior décor nicely.

Cocoa Vinyl Semi Sheer Roll Up Shade
Dark Walnut Vinyl Horizontal Venetian Blind
Vinyl Blackout Linen Roller Shade
White Vinyl Semi Sheer Horizontal Venetian Blind
Gloss White Vinyl Horizontal Venetian Blind
Mocha Vinyl Room Darkening Venetian Blind


Fabric blinds and shades are made in one whole piece without any spaces between slats. Because of this, they are great for insulating and keeping sunlight out. This style traps dust between folds and you'll likely require professional support to clean without harming their pulley system.

Seascape Synthetic Fabrics Roman Shade
Maui Synthetic Fabrics Outdoor Roller Shade
New Snow Synthetic Fabrics Roller Shade
Paper Synthetic Fabrics Roman Shade
Burgundy Natural Fabrics Roman Shade
Natural Fabrics Adjustable Vertical Blind

How to choose the right size blinds and shades?

Before determining the right size for your blinds or shades, you'll need to decide if you will be mounting them inside or outside your window frame. Inside mounted blinds and shades look cleaner; however, if they're mounted outside, you can make your window appear bigger. Once you've decided, you can move on to the steps below:

  • Measure the width of your window (bottom, middle, and top) and use the narrowest width measurement. For outside mounts, add three inches for overlap (1 to 1.5 inches per side).
  • Measure the height of your window (right, middle, left) and use the longest height. For outside mounts, add 1 to 1.5 inches to the height.

What are the different types of blinds?

Looking to dress a sliding glass door? => Choose vertical blinds.

This blinds style includes individual slats that hang down from the track on top. They are commonly opened from one side; however, some may part in the middle. This is a frequent choice for sliding glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Need blinds for a large window? => Choose panel blinds.

Panel blinds, like vertical blinds, are a popular choice for sliding glass doors and large windows. Panel blinds are comprised of vertical sections that move along a track, allowing you to leave them closed for privacy or open them up to let the light in.

What's the most popular choice? => Venetian blinds.

This is the trendiest style. These slats are horizontal and are attached with thin strings. You can tilt these blinds to control light and privacy, or you can raise them, fully uncovering your outside view.

Need blinds for a small window? => Choose mini blinds.

These blinds operate just like venetian blinds, except the horizontal slats are not as thick as their venetian counterparts. Expect each horizontal slat to be no more than one-inch thick.

Room Darkening Horizontal Venetian Blind
Natural Fabrics Adjustable Sliding Panels Blind
Black Double Layered Horizontal Venetian Blind
Daily White Adjustable Semi Sheer Vertical Blind
Black Room Darkening Venetian Blind
White Synthetic Fabrics Venetian Blind

What are the different types of shades?

Need to sleep during the day? => Choose blackout shades.

These shades can block up to 100% of light, setting you up for a cozy afternoon nap or setting the mood for a good movie with your loved ones. Expect to pay more for this shade style.

Have an extra sunny room? => Choose solar shades.

Solar shades are made with a sheer weave that blocks out dangerous UV rays but still allows you to see through them. These fit perfectly in parts of your house that get direct sunlight, like sunrooms and light-saturated family rooms.

Going for a natural feel? => Choose woven wood.

Woven wood, like bamboo, provides full coverage while providing a natural feel. This shade style looks great in garden rooms or sunrooms, where you incorporate other natural elements, like plants and flowers.

Want to add a touch of elegance? => Choose roman shades.

Roman shades have expansive, delicate pleats that fold flat when raised. These look great in family rooms and dining rooms, where these soft touches can be appreciated.

Concerned with saving on energy costs? => Choose honeycomb shades. 

Honeycomb shades are designed to trap heat during winter months and keep heat out during summer months. They have horizontal strips of air compartments that resemble a bee's honeycomb. They're a super functional choice for places that experience drastic changes in temperature.

Sandstone Natural Fabrics Roman Shade
Gray Cloud Synthetic Fabrics Cellular Shade
Sand Room Darkening Roller Shade
Beaver Bamboo Semi Sheer Roman Shade
White Synthetic Fabrics Blackout Roman Shade
Grey Synthetic Fabrics Outdoor Solar Shade

How to choose blinds and shades for light and privacy?

For a sunny and cheerful feel, you can pull blinds completely open or tilt them enough to let the sunshine in. When working with shades, choose a light-filtering fabric that encourages a brighter setting. Even when you choose sheer shades, opening them up completely will always let the most amount of light in.

For a warm and cozy environment, keep your blinds closed or tilted only slightly to filter out the light. For shades, choose a room-darkening fabric that seriously limits brightness in your room.

When you have a base understanding of different blind and shade types, you are better equipped to make a purchase you'll love. Are you leaning more toward blinds or shades?

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.