Types of Window Blinds and Shades
Blinds come in materials other than fabric: metal, paper, wood and plastic are the notable ones. In style they range from the crisp, graphic quality of Venetian blinds to the soft, diffused effect of slatted wood and split cane. Most of the types discussed here are available in a range of standard widths and lengths; the more expensive, such as Venetian blinds, can be made up to your own specifications. Prices vary widely.
Standard pleated-paper blinds are among the cheapest window treatments of all, whereas Venetian blinds can cost almost as much as lined curtains. Maintenance, too, varies — from easy-care types such as cane blinds to Venetian blinds which are notoriously difficult to clean.
Made of tough paper or fibre, these blinds are permanently pleated and, since they pull up into the window reveal, can be combined with curtains. They are cheap and easy to dust, but are available only in a limited range. Balastore blinds are paper blinds with pierced holes.
Evocative of Mediterranean terraces, cane blinds — made from whole or split bamboo—roll or pleat up. They do not screen light completely, but they are effective inor wherever there is no requirement for privacy but where you want to mute strong sunlight.
Wooden blinds are made of slats of wood in either natural shades or dark green (they can also be sprayed). ‘Pinoleum’ blinds have thin strips of wood woven with cotton in wide widths, and suit inaccessible windows.
Available in a good colour range, plastic blinds consist of thin strips assembled in roughly the same way as the laths of a wooden blind. Easy to clean, plastic blinds suit kitchens and bathrooms.
These vertical blinds, made of canvas, wood or synthetic-fibre strips, are fixed to the window. They can be pivoted to allow different degrees of light to filter through, or they can be drawn across. They particularly suit contemporary settings and large picture windows.
Venetian blinds — slatted, adjustable blinds that pull up to the reveal — are available in plastic, metal and wood. The metal variety comes with either standard or fine slats and in a range of colours and finishes, including striped and gradated versions; there are also types pierced with holes. Operation of the blinds is by use of cords or rods. Wooden Venetian blinds are made of cedar or pine.
The great advantage of Venetian blinds is that they can be adjusted to allow varying degrees of light to filter through: fully open, they are almost invisible. Also, they can be used to cover very wide windows and made to any specification. Originally designed for office use, they suit modern interiors, but in neutral colours they can be unobtrusive enough to combine well with curtains in more traditional settings.
Internal wooden shutters have a traditional, rustic appearance. They can be fixed to half or full height, and are usually louvred to allow light to filter through.