Options in window blinds, from techno to eco-friendly
Unlike other window treatments, blinds have horizontal or vertical slats that allow you to easily adjust the amount of natural light and heat that comes through your windows. Innovations in styles and materials--particularly materials that are as eco-friendly as they are attractive--make blinds a good choice of window treatments for homeowners who are concerned about energy efficiency.
Most popular materials for window blinds
The size specs for blinds include the height and width of your window or door, and the size of the slats, which usually range from 1 - 2 1/2 inches.
Blinds come in several materials:
- Wood. This classic material has been used to make blinds for hundreds of years in the U.S., with patents for wooden blind innovations dating back to 1847. Wood is hailed for its beauty and its insulating properties. Basswood is commonly used to make wooden blinds because it is light, soft, and relatively easy to work with. It can be stained to match most types of wood, or painted to match your decor.
- Faux wood. With all the beauty of wood, but less of the expense, faux wood blinds are made from durable synthetic material that is good for high-humidity environments. They are available in a variety of colors and stains.
- Aluminum. These are an economical and durable choice. Aluminum is excellent at blocking out sunlight and is easy to clean.
- Vinyl. Vinyl is usually used to make vertical blinds, which can be hung over doors or very large windows. Like curtains, vertical blinds are drawn to the side, instead of up, and their slats can be rotated up to 180 degrees, which allows for plenty of natural sunlight when you want it; plenty of protection from light when you don't.
- Eco-friendly. Blinds that are sustainably manufactured, made from recycled materials, and/or are designed with energy-efficiency in mind are often touted as "eco-friendly." Look for GreenGuard certification to indicate that a brand of window blinds is a healthier choice for your home.
Lift styles from cords to remote controls
The basic structure of a blind is simple: slats of material are lowered or raised, either manually or automatically. Options include these methods for lowering and closing your blinds:
- Lift cords. Traditionally, blinds have been raised or lowered by pulling a cord. This method remains popular today, although if you have small children or pets in the house, having long cords can pose a safety hazard.
- Cordless. Raise and lower your blinds by pushing or pulling on the bottom. This is a good option for childrens' bedrooms or playrooms.
- Motorized blinds. Raise or lower the blinds via remote control. This is a sleek choice for technology savvy people, or for especially tall or hard-to-reach windows. Motorized blinds are typically more expensive than other raise/lower options.
Brand names and price points
If you have started shopping for blinds, you may already be familiar with these most popular brands:
- Hunter Douglas
- Hampton Bay
The cost of blinds depends on the size of your window, the size of the slats and the material you choose. There are no standard sizes for window blinds. Some common sizes may be available ready-made, as reflected in this sampling of price ranges from Home Depot:
- Wood: $21.87-$125 (from 23"-by-48" to 72"-by-72")
- Faux wood: $12.14-$115 (from 17"-by-64" to 72"-by-84")
- Aluminum: $13.24-$180 (from 7"-by-64" to 47"-by-72")
- Vinyl: $3.27-$69.97 (from 23"-by-42" to 120"-by-72")
Custom window blind sizes can cost more.
Where to start
Measure the height and width of each window across three different points. Use the tallest and narrowest measurement to determine the window's size. For outside-mount blinds, be sure to include the window frame in your measurement. These measurements can help you estimate the price for your blinds; however, professional measurement can ensure proper fit and installation. Get recommendations for contractors and window professionals from friends, neighbors and family members. You can also talk to local hardware or home improvement store staff, or use the form on this page to start searching for a local window professional.