Blinds buying guide
Choosing your blinds
Practical, durable and easy to care for, blinds are a great option for any home. They are really versatile, and can be used either on their own, or in conjunction with curtains to maximise their appeal.
With so many different styles available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Learn everything you need to know about buying, fitting and maintaining blinds in this expert guide.
1. What are the different kinds of blinds?
Blinds fall into a number of different styles and categories, and the blind that’s right for you will come down to preference, and how you want to use it.
Versatile and practical, roller blinds are the most popular kind of blind. They roll up using a cord. Available in a range of different lengths and sizes, they can usually be trimmed to size. We stock a huge range of different roller blinds in a wide variety of different patterns, colours and materials.
Designed to completely cut out light entering a room, blackout blinds are a type of roller blind made from a thick fabric. They’re ideal for bedrooms, and a great option for those who work at night, and want to sleep during the day. Blackout blinds are easy to install, and come in a wide range of sizes and styles. They can be fitted behind curtains, as an alternative to blackout curtain linings.
Simple and elegant, Roman blinds hang straight and flat when down, and form soft pleats when raised. They are operated using a cord lock mechanism. Made from bamboo or fabric, they require minimum installation.
Venetian blinds are made up of a number of horizontal slats. Usually made from wood or metal, these can be tilted, raised and lowered to control the amount of light they allow in. They are operated using a cord and blind stick. Adaptable and attractive, they are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and colours, in addition to different widths of slat.
Vertical blinds consist of wide vertical vanes (slats), which hang down from a horizontal rail. They can be tilted or drawn to control the amount of light that enters a room. Vertical blinds are a great choice for larger windows and patio doors, and are very easy to install.
2. Which blinds are best for different rooms?
Different styles of blinds and different materials tend to work better in different rooms. Learn how to match the blinds to your room here.
Which blinds are best for bathrooms?
Roller blinds and Venetian blinds are good options for bathrooms. Fabric and Roman blinds tend to work less well in bathrooms, as they are prone to damp. Colour wise, you’re going to want something that matches the rest of the room. If your bathroom is lacking natural light, then a lighter coloured blind will help to avoid it looking too dark.
Which blinds work best in the kitchen?
Blinds are a better option for kitchens than curtains, because they are much easier to clean. However, they are dust traps and in a busy kitchen, can collect grease. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to go for a blind that can be wiped clean. Wipe-clean roller blinds or metal Venetian blinds are a sensible choice.
Which blinds are best for a conservatory?
On sunny days, conservatories can become really hot. Blinds are a great way of regulating the amount of light that comes through, whilst maintaining a level of privacy. You can use any style of blind for a conservatory, but some work better than others.
Roller blinds and Roman blinds look great, but they are magnets for dust and insects, and during the summer months, you will need to have them all at different heights to manage the sun. Vertical and Venetian blinds are an easier option, providing the best balance between light control and ease of cleaning.
Whichever blinds you go for, you will need to be careful about the materials you choose. Wooden and plastic blinds aren't designed to stand up to the heat of a conservatory.
3. Should I go for ready made or made to measure blinds?
Whether you go for ready-made blinds or made to measure will depend on a few different factors:
- The size of your windows.
- The style of blind you want.
- The design of blind you’re after.
- Your budget.
Ready made blinds will almost always be more affordable, and are available in a wide range of different styles, sizes, colours and designs. They come pre-made, and ready to be fitted to your windows. It’s worth remembering that many pre-made roller blinds can be trimmed down to fit your windows.
If you can’t find anything you like in our ready-made blinds section, or have particularly large or unusual windows, then you may want to go for made to measure blinds.
Custom made to your exact specifications, in the style, colour and pattern of your choice, bespoke blinds are usually a higher price than off the shelf blinds.
3. How do I measure for window blinds?
For a blind to work properly, it needs to be the right size. If it’s too narrow or short, then it will let light through, and won’t provide you with privacy. Too large, and it won’t fit your window.
Inside or out?
When measuring, the first decision you need to make is whether to fit your blinds inside the recess (the area between your wall and the window), or outside. If your window has a deep recess then it is often best to fit the blind inside this recess. Check that there are no obstructions that might prevent the blind from hanging correctly.
Measuring inside the recess
Window recesses are rarely 100% straight. To ensure that your blind fits comfortably inside the recess, measure the width and height at three different points. You’ll want to record the smallest of these measurements, so that your blind will fit properly.
Measuring windows without a recess
If your window doesn't have a recess, or you’re placing a blind outside this recess, then measure the width and height of the window. Now, add at least 50 mm (2”) to each side. This will allow for an overlap, and prevent light from seeping through.
Additional information on measuring window blinds can be found here.
4. How do I fit window blinds?
Most window blinds are quick and easy to install. Blinds come with brackets, which can be screwed into the top of your window frame, above the frame, or the adjacent walls. You should avoid screwing directly into PVC window frames, which will cause irreparable damage.
How do I cut blinds to fit my windows?
First, measure your windows, in accordance with the instructions in section 3 of this guide. If you’re fitting inside a recess, take 10 mm (just under ½”) off this figure.
Roll out the blind fabric on the floor and carefully draw the line in pencil where you need to cut. Use sharp scissors or a knife to cut the fabric, and cut the tube using a hacksaw.
More detailed information can be found in our guide to measuring, trimming and installing window blinds.
5. How do I keep my blinds clean?
As a rule, most blinds can be dusted, and fabric blinds can be vacuumed using a brush attachment. Many roller and Venetian blinds can be wiped clean. You can also purchase special blind cleaning kits and dusters, designed for getting between the slats of Venetian blinds.
6. Safety Advice
The pull cords and chains on blinds can be dangerous. If your child becomes accidentally entangled in a blind, and the chain becomes wrapped around their neck, it can be fatal.
To minimize this risk, it’s important to keep cords out of the reach of children. Make sure your children’s beds and cots are positioned away from the windows in bedrooms. You can also purchase special child-friendly blinds, and fit existing blinds with safety devices.
Window blinds safety advice
Safety requirements for blinds are changing this year to address the risk of children being strangled by loops and cords on blinds.
To significantly reduce any risk of strangulation or entanglement to babies and small children, always follow the manufacturer's instructions when fitting blinds.
-All window blind cords should be secured out of reach of small children.
-Young children have been strangled by loops in pullcords, chains and tapes that operate the product.
-To avoid strangulation and entanglement, keep cords out of the reach of young children. Cords may become wrapped around a child's neck.
-Move beds, cots and furniture away from the window so that they are not covering the cords.
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