What you need to know about blinds

If you're looking for a durable, convenient and inexpensive window treatment for your home, look no further than blinds. Unlike traditional curtains or drapes, blinds can be adjusted to block all light, dim the room or let in all light – you simply pull a cord or turn a control and your blinds instantly let in the perfect amount of light for any time of day. And because blinds are made from vinyl or specially treated wood, they don't collect dust or get dirty the way that curtains do – simply wipe clean from time to time.

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Vertical and Horizontal Blinds

No matter which blinds you purchase or what your light needs are, you'll need to first decide whether to pick out horizontal or vertical blinds. The difference is fairly self-evident – horizontal blinds run right to left while vertical blinds run top to bottom. It's best to select vertical blinds for sliding glass doors and large windows and leave horizontal blinds for small windows, but the other than this, the choice is mostly aesthetic.

Wooden, Vinyl and Faux Wood Blinds

A wide range of materials are used in the construction of blinds. Vinyl blinds are standard. These inexpensive window treatments consist of panels of flexible synthetic material. Since vinyl wears well, resists water and stains, and is available in a range of different colors, it can be a great choice for most homes. Also check out faux wood blinds, made of a synthetic material but painted to resemble realistic, attractive wood.

For upscale settings, wooden blinds are a must, because they really complement the tasteful decor of your living spaces. Select from solid wood or veneer depending on your budget and tastes, and also pick out a wood type – options range from oak, walnut and pine to exotic tropical hardwoods. You can achieve a professional look by matching the finish of your wood blinds to the room's trim and hardwood flooring.

Blind Variants: Venetian and Pleated Blinds

Finally, there are two additional types of blind you may want to check out. Venetian blinds are similar to regular horizontal blinds, but they use a system of cloth strips and overlapping slats to add extra controls and flexibility to handle various types of light conditions.

Pleated blinds, often called Roman shades, are usually made of a seamless piece of stiff cloth. Instead of having slats, the blind folds up when raised and unfolds when lowered. These attractive blinds create better insulation than traditional blinds, but can be difficult to adjust for partial light conditions.