As a designer, I get asked this question a lot. “What’s the difference between blinds and shades? Aren’t they the same thing?” Many people use the words blinds and shades interchangeably and regionally, some people use just one word or the other. For example, our Midwest and Michigan customers seem to prefer the word blind. But, in fact, window blinds and shades are not the same thing. Blinds are “hard” window coverings with slats or vanes that can tilt to control the amount of light you let into a room and also allow a certain degree of view to the outside, even when lowered. Wood blinds and faux wood blinds fall into this category.
Window shades, such as roman shades and roller shades, can be described as “soft” window treatments and are made of solid fabric that can be raised or lowered, but do not have slats. Shades do, however, allow you control the light filtering into the room depending upon the opacity of the fabric. In Michigan, we sell a lot of sheer shades because of their versatility. These types of shades combine the best of both blinds and shades, with soft vanes that form the slats. The vanes are enclosed within two layers of sheer fabric which allow some view to the outside. Tilting the vanes helps control the amount of light filtering. Sheer shades offer an upscale and clean look and a degree of insulation that many Michigan homeowners prefer.
In colder climates, cellular shades and drapery are also a good choice because of the insulation they provide. Triple cellular shade styles can be very effective in blocking out cold winter air from drafty windows. Customize your cellular shade with popular options like top down/bottom up (great for windows over bathroom tubs and whirlpools), blackout fabric for bedrooms and cordless operation for child safety.
In the more traditional home styles of Michigan, drapery is popular, and can be very effective as additional insulation when layered with blinds or shades. The choices and styles of drapery are endless, from simple tab top to grommets and more. Drapery gives you the chance to really showcase your individual design style. There are so many choices: fabrics, colors, textures, lengths, trims, pleat style and hardware. So let your creativity loose and see how you can combine blinds and shades with drapery for a look that’s all your own.
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