Blinds can be very utilitarian, even industrial as a window treatment. Among the reasons that they have been popular as window decoration in office and industrial setting is because they are durable, easy to clean, filter sunlight effectively and provide privacy. For all of these same reasons they are also popular as window decorations in homes. The trick was to make them attractive.
Types of windows blinds
Designers and home decorating companies have come up with a wide variety of materials and finishes for blinds. Decorators also use curtains and valences to give windows a much warmer feel. The result has been window treatments that are attractive, bright, airy and contemporary. The types of blinds commonly used in homes today include the following.
- Venetian. These are still usually made from aluminum; however they may also be plastic. The slats may be 1, 2 or 3 inches wide and are slightly curved. The slats are connected by cords and twill tape. They can be opened, closed, opened at an angle or pulled up to the top of the window. These blinds are very versatile, can be used in any room and are available in many colours. The slats close tightly, providing privacy when desired.
- Wood slat. Venetian blinds made from wood are also called wood slat blinds. The slats are thicker, and when pulled to the top of the window, will create a thicker stack. They may be stained or painted. Like other styles, the slats can be opened or closed to admit or filter sunlight.
- Miniblind. These have become very popular in the past 20 years or so. The slats on these blinds are very narrow, either 1/2 or 1 inch wide. They may be aluminium or PVC and come in a wide array of colours. These are a type of Venetian and can be opened, closed or pulled to the top of the window. These are very popular because when closed, they give the window a very smooth appearance.
- Vertical. Vertical blinds ( http://www.shades-blinds-shutters-guide.com/vertical-blinds.html ) are very popular in both offices and in homes. They may be used for both windows and sliding glass doors where they can be open, closed or pulled to one side. The PVC or metal slats hang from a track across the top of the window or door. The slats may either be connected at the bottom with a chain or cord, or simply hung loose. Some models are electric blinds and can be opened and closed with a remote control unit.
- Woven. Unlike the styles described above, woven blinds do not have slats that open or close. The slats are very narrow and woven together. Narrow spaces between the slats filter sunlight. More light is admitted by pulling a draw string and rolling the blind up toward the top of the window. Woven blinds do not offer quite as much privacy as Venetians.
Not only do blinds come in a variety of attractive styles, they are also available in a variety of materials. The combination of styles and materials give decorators tremendous versatility in putting together extremely attractive windows. This versatility results in windows that compliment and coordinate well with virtually every taste in room décor. Among the materials used in blinds are the following.
For years metal, especially aluminum, has been among the most popular materials for blind slats. Metal is durable, easy to clean and long-lasting. It comes in a variety of colours and the slats are available in widths from 1/2 inch to three inches.
Wood is a popular window dressing material because of the rich beauty and sense of strength it offers. Wood gives a room an aesthetic quality not found with any other material. Wood can be stained or painted a virtually infinite variety of colours. The slats in wooden blinds are generally one to two inches wide. Draw strings are pulled to open or close the slats, thus controlling the amount of light let into the room. Wood is used for both Venetian and woven blinds.
Cane is used in woven blinds. Cane may be either bamboo or rattan. The slats may be either whole or split pieces of cane. The slats do not open or close, but the small spaces between the pieces of cane admit filtered light into the room.
PVC. Vinyl is used in both Venetian and woven styles. It is easily substituted for metal or wood in Venetian or woven styles. Vinyl looks good for years, is easy to clean and is typically much less expensive than metal or wood.
Stiffened fabric is sometimes used as slats. This fabric may also be back with vinyl or metal. Fabric can be used to compliment or coordinate with other fabrics in the room.
Blinds can be used as the sole window treatment or in combination with drapes, curtains and valances. As the sole window treatment, they can make a room look larger and contemporary. Used in combination with curtains and valances, the room can be made to feel softer and smaller. The fabric of curtains or valances softens the hard, linear appearance created by blinds. The possibilities are almost limitless for the home decorator.
The décor in almost every room of the home can include blinds as part or the entire window treatment. A traditional styled living room, for example, looks comfortable and homey with light-coloured Venetians in the windows topped with a scalloped valance. A breakfast nook has a bright and airy feel with woven rattan blinds filtering out the full strength of the morning light. Bedrooms are private and attractive with rich-hued miniblinds softened by floor length double tied back and lined curtains. Small bathrooms seem larger with lightly-coloured Venetians providing privacy while admitting sunlight.
Blinds are colourful, functional and decorative. In combination with curtains and other window dressings they add style and a pleasing linear effect to any room. The blinds of today are a far cry from the sterile and antiseptic windows of my childhood physician’s office.