Blinds vs. Shades, which one is right for you?

When you are deciding to buy window treatments for your home, one of the first questions that will pop up is whether to get blinds or shades. This guide aims to inform you of the pros and cons of each one so you can make an informed decision and hopefully choose the one that’s right for you.

Identifying them

The main difference between a blind and shades is whether it’s made using fabric or hard materials. If it uses hard materials, like plastic, wood, or even aluminum, then it is a blind. If it uses fabric, then it’s a shade. Each offer different advantages which you must consider when pondering which one to buy.


Blinds use multiple hard slats instead of fabric. Those slats can be tilted to let light in gradually. This affords the user a significant level of control over the amount of light he wants to let into the room. 

By opening the blinds just a few degrees, users can let in light while still protecting their privacy. Many consider this to be their main selling point over window shades.

Cleaning blinds is remarkably faster than their fabric counterparts; even a wet cloth will do the trick. The downside is that they do collect considerably more dust, especially when they are left in the “open” position with their slats placed horizontally for prolonged periods of time. 

Blinds are more affordable then shades by a wide margin, but their mechanisms are more complicated. The fact that they have more moving parts that can wear out faster makes the mechanism less durable than the one used for shades. The slats, however, are considerably more durable than fabric.

The amount of design choices available is considerably more limited than shades. The lack of options can make it harder to find the perfect one that will fit the vision you have for a specific room.


Shades are considerably more decorative than blinds. They can use many different kinds of fabric, that vary in quality and transparency.

It used to be the case that blinds couldn’t control the amount of light that was let into the room. They were either opened or closed, but new transparent fabrics and designs are offering solutions for this particular issue.

 They are called zebra shades, and they give the user some control over how much light they want in the room, depending on their position. Zebra shades don’t provide as much control over the lighting as blinds do. However, they do grant considerably more control than regular shades. Regular shades either open or closed, so it’s an all or nothing situation.

Shades are, generally speaking, more expensive than blinds and more delicate too. The difference in price could be substantial, especially if you want quality fabrics. 

Areas with really dense traffic would probably be better off using blinds instead of shades since a user getting snagged by the fabric can damage it. Some models of shades allow you to replace just the fabric while still using the same mechanism, which could save you money.

The mechanism in shades is usually a lot simpler than the one used on blinds since it only uses one pulley instead of two. Having less moving parts is always better for durability, and its simplicity makes it more user-friendly. Fewer cords dangling also represent less choking hazards for children and pets.

For rooms were absolute darkness is appreciated, blackout shades can be the better choice since it lets the least amount of light into the room. That makes them an excellent choice for most bedrooms.

Cellular shades are great at insulating your home. They can help you maintain your home’s temperature in a comfortable range while saving you money on your utility bill. The air pockets inside these shades help your home keep cold in the summer and warm in winter. That gives your AC a break when it needs it most.


Home automation has become all the rage recently. Many people love asking their smart assistants to do things for them. Creating daily schedules can help you start the day easier, automatically opening your shades every morning at a specified time can help you get to work on time on those days where all you want to do is snooze indefinitely.

Most blinds use two pulleys, one to lift or drop the slats, and one to tilt them up or down. Shades only use one, so if you intend to automate your window treatments with smart motors, you should take into account that automating blinds will require twice as many electric motors as shades to be fully automated. That significantly increases the investment necessary to get everything properly installed.


Shades are more customizable and decorative than blinds. However, they offer less illumination control and are also more delicate, not to mention more expensive as well. 

Nothing is stopping you from using both kinds of window treatments in your home. Use blackout shades when you want absolute darkness so you can sleep better, or enhance your home theater experience with a completely dark projector room. Use blinds where you don’t care that much about darkness and prefer to have better illumination control while saving money.

If your home sees some extreme temperatures, choose cellular shades to help you maintain your home’s temperature in a comfortable range. That can help you save money on your utility bill.

Use blinds in high traffic areas were people are likely to bump into them from time to time accidentally.

There are many reasons to choose either one, and it all comes down to your priorities for each specific room. Buy whichever suits that specific window better and customize it to your liking. Don’t forget there are few things as decorative as the window treatments in a room. The right one can make every piece of furniture look more expensive and classy. If you choose poorly, it can cause everything in your home to look cheap and low quality. Beyond the practical reasons, aesthetics are also an important factor. 

If you are still not sure which one is ideal, there are thousands of professionals out there willing to help you choose the one that will work best for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals

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