Window Blinds Buyer's Guide Part One

If you are looking for a blind but not sure yet whether a roller blind is the ideal solution for your window, have a read of the buyer’s guide to all the different types of blind on the market to help you make your decision.

Let’s start with the basics - What is a ‘Blind’? What can be termed to be a ‘Blind’?
Literally a Blind is an object or product which limits the possibility of observation of a particular area or thing and therefore ‘blinds’ the observer to the view of that area or thing. So literally any product or object which is used to fulfil this function could be termed a blind – from a piece of paper to a sophisticated automated shading system. However today the term ‘Blind’ is most often used as a product family name for a range of window coverings both fitted internally and externally. In the US and Canada the term ‘Blind’ is not used as much as in the UK as the term ‘Shade’ is used for certain products which in the UK are termed as ‘Blinds’.

In the home blinds are traditionally considered to be ‘harder’ and more functional window covering options. Indeed most fabrics used to make blinds are ‘hard’ and ‘stiff’ when compared to the ‘softer’ fabric options usually used for window coverings such as curtains and valances. However using a blind need not be an unimaginative choice as the number of blind styles on offer combined with the very wide range of specialist blind fabrics available to the blind-maker means that a blind can be selected to fit in with any room scheme or be a room feature itself. Furthermore today’s blind-maker has the ability to use laminating techniques to stiffen ‘softer’ fabrics which means that many fabric options traditionally only used by drapers and curtain-makers can now also be included in the blind-maker’s swatches. This combined fabric range and the fact that styles such as the ‘Roman Blind’ are now made by both blind-makers and drapers has merged the traditional hard and soft ends of the window coverings market and made it easier for customers to combine blind-makers and drapers products to come up with the creative window covering styles that they desire.

In office buildings and other commercial environments blinds are usually more functional than decorative and provide an effective and economical solution to solve sunlight, daylight, glare and privacy issues for building managers tasked with improving the functional comfort and user experience for people in the building. Specialist blind products are available to provide solutions to prevent solar gain, to retain heat, to protect contents from harmful UV radiation and to provide control to the levels of natural light entering the building.

What are the main blind types on the market for the home? What are the differences between them? How do they work? Where in the home are they normally used? How are they used commercially? What sizes can I get?
Most of us are familiar by sight with most of the different types of blinds that are commonly used today. However many of us will not be familiar with the names and terms that manufacturers and retailers use which can make choosing the right blind a little confusing. Many of us will also not be familiar with some of the newer and more innovative blind types that are on the market today which in the main have been developed to bring a particular benefit or solve a particular issue and may prove a more effective window covering choice than a traditional blind product.

To help inform customers looking on the internet for blinds we have put together the guide below which is intended to be an introductory guide for anyone who is thinking about a blind purchase and who would like a bit more knowledge before browsing the market to identify the ideal product. We should also point out here that the selection of the blind fabric is as important as the blind style choice in making sure the customer purchases the most suitable product for any situation. As well as the ‘blackout’ and ‘wipeable’ fabric options that most people are familiar with there are a range of other technical blind fabrics on the market that have been developed to suit different situations. Therefore before looking for blinds, as well as considering design and colour preferences, the customer should take care to identify any performance requirements needed in the blind fabric. If you need help with fabric performance then have a look at our ‘Buyers Guide to Roller Blind Performance Fabrics’.

In our guide we have started with the traditional blind types which are still by far the most commonly purchased. The guide starts with the ‘solid’ blind types and is followed by the ‘slatted’ blind types. Following our guide to the traditional blind types we have included a glossary of other terms that someone looking to select a blind on the internet may well come across. We hope you find this useful.

Go To Part Two >