Windows of Opportunity: A Buyer’s Guide to Blinds

If you’re looking for window treatments to provide you with adjustable light control, blinds are the way to go. In fact, a lot of the new fabric options available today are UV-resistant and offer solar protection. This means you can keep your indoor temperature comfortable without constantly needing to resort to an air conditioner. Plus, the material and fabric of many blinds are water-resistant and exhibit anti-fungal and dust-resistant properties, allowing for easy maintenance. To top it all off, motorised blinds are making life easier and you can now adjust the lighting in your home with the click of a remote control. Today’s world of blinds has plenty to offer.


What are the main types of blinds?

  • Roller blinds: Roller blinds are popular for good reason. They are available in a variety of colours, transparencies, textures, and fabric options as well as on-trend natural fibres, such as cane. They offer full privacy when closed and can effectively block out light, particularly if you choose a blockout fabric.
  • Roman blinds: Ideal for larger windows, roman blinds fold up neatly when open, lending ample appeal to your spaces. Like curtains, these blinds are available in an assortment of colours, textures and styles.
  • Vertical blinds: Vertical blinds are comprised of a series of strips or vanes that can be tilted or drawn using a cord. You can select vertical blinds with a translucent weave that softens the natural light entering a room, or you can block out light entirely using a heavier fabric. Today, vertical blinds are available in different sheers, patterns, textures and even metallic options. They’re ideal for high windows and doors.
  • Top down, bottom up: A recent innovation, these types of blinds can be opened from the top down as well as from the bottom up, which makes them ideal to shade rooms where the angle or direction of sunlight changes significantly throughout the day. Some models also glide horizontally, moving from one side to another instead of up or down your windows. Like most new window coverings, these types of blinds are usually motorised.
  • Venetian blinds: Given their horizontal orientation, venetian blinds can be angled to let light in while still offering plenty of privacy. In addition to fabric options, timber venetian blinds are enormously popular and are available in a wide range of finishes and slat widths. The width of the slat will determine how much light enters your room when the blinds are closed, so choose wisely.

Tip: With wider horizontal slats, one can create the illusion of a bigger window and lend more visual space to apartments and smaller rooms.

How to measure
Grab a tape measure before you hit the shops and keep your window measurements handy when you visit showrooms in search of blinds.

For blinds that fit inside the window recess
First, measure the width of the top, sides and bottom sections of your window recess. Select the shortest measurement of the three. Do the same while calculating the drop (left, right and centre) and select the shortest measurement here as well. Stick to exact measurements in millimetres when you share the dimensions of your window recess with a blinds professional and avoid rounding up or making any deductions.

  1. For blinds that overlap the window
    Measure the exact width of the area you would the your blinds to cover. To avoid any light leaking in, Blinds Online recommends allowing at least 70 millimetres at the top and 50 millimetres on each side. If blinds are designed to drop to the floor, the company recommends a clearance of 10 to 20 millimetres.
  2. Don’t forget to specify additional height for any mounting brackets.
  3. keep in mind that mouldings, doorknobs or deadbolts could get in the way of your blinds

    Shopping tips

    1. If you’re keen on heat and light control, seek out sun-screening or blockout fabrics.2. The other option is sheer fabric, which is a translucent material that mitigates the sun’s glare. Sheers can be opaque as well, meaning they offer added privacy, though
    without the heat and UV protection.3. Blockout fabrics on the other hand will ensure the highest levels of privacy. They’re ideal for bedrooms and home theatre spaces.4. When you’re out shopping, remember to request large-sized samples to get an idea of how the material will look when it covers your entire window or door.6 Ways to Successfully Mix Window Treatments
  4. Did you know that almost 20 percent of a home’s energy is lost through its windows? For an eco-friendly home, invest in energy-efficient blinds that provide insulation and are produced using sustainable materials. This can go a long way in reducing your home’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.
  5.  Also, remember to enquire about child safety regulations and warning labels, especially with dangling cords.

How to care for your blinds
With fabric blinds, vacuum the material using the soft upholstery brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Spot-clean if necessary. Alternatively, synthetic or feather dusters will do the job.

Even venetian blinds can be dusted using a microfibre cloth, while the timber varieties can be cleaned with a wood cleaner.

Avoid harsh solvents, as blinds do not respond well to these substances.