Blinds vs Shades

Blinds

   PROS
  • Easier to clean
  • Less expensive
  • Better light control
  • Can be adjusted and controlled by the user
  CONS
  • Minimal designs available
  • Less energy-efficient
  • Cords can be dangerous
  • Dust accumulates on the slats
  • Does not offer much privacy

Shades

   PROS
  • Many styles to choose from
  • Easier to use
  • Cellular shades are energy-efficient
  • Better choice for children and pets
  • Extremely durable
  CONS
  • Fabric stacks at the top of the window
  • More expensive
  • Difficult to maintain
  • Cannot be adjusted as easily
$345 - $750

(aluminum blinds for 8 windows)

VS

$685 - $1,310

(roman shades for 8 windows)

Get free advice and estimates from window treatment specialists in your city.

Blinds and shades offer a unique and customized look to your home, but the decision on which one to choose can be difficult. Blinds and shades come in a variety of styles to allow you to choose which one will meet your needs. Below, we present the pros and cons of each to help you decide whether a blind or shade is the best option for your home.

Design

There is a big difference in the design of both blinds and shades. Blinds are made in a slat-like fashion where they move and be controlled by the user. This means that you can adjust your blinds to open and close certain portions of it or raise or lower the blinds themselves to let light in.

On the contrary, shades do not provide as much convenience because you must either open the shade all the way or keep it closed. There are no slats that can be turned to allow light to partially shine through.

One thing to keep in mind is that shades come in a variety of styles and colors, which you will not find with blinds. In fact, shades are quite customizable, and you can match them to your home’s decor.

Installation

Installation of blinds and shades is relatively easy. The hardest part for both is making sure to measure the area accurately to ensure that the blinds and shades will fit properly. While DIY installation is possible, hire a professional if you are unsure of how to install them.

Both blinds and shades are installed similarly with the mounting of hardware and then adjusting the blind or shade to fit on the hardware. Cutting some of the cords may be required to ensure they do not present a strangulation hazard for children or pets.

Costs

The cost of blinds and shades depends on the options you choose. Some of the factors that influence the cost include labor, installation, materials, and any cleanup or disposal of previous window coverings.

If you have aluminum blinds installed on your windows, expect to pay $165 to $205 for blinds for 8 windows. The labor will cost anywhere between $160 and $520. Materials for the project will be about $20 to $25. The total cost to install aluminum blinds for 8 windows ranges from $345 to $750.

If you have shades installed, expect to pay between $435 and $535 for shades for 8 windows. The labor cost ranges from $230 to $750. The cost of materials is between $20 and $25. The total cost to install shades for 8 windows ranges from $685 to $1,310.

Light and Privacy

Blinds provide more privacy and light control because they can be raised or lowered. They can also be tilted open or closed. Unfortunately, shades are not able to be tilted as the shade must be raised or lowered to allow light in, which hinders light control. However, shades come in a variety of colors to help with light control in your home. For example, there are room-darkening shades that help block out light completely.

Best Use

Blinds are typically used in areas of the home where you do not necessarily need a lot of privacy, but you would like to be able to control how much light enters the room. Blinds are often chosen for hallway, living room, and family room windows because you can adjust how much light comes into the room, and you do not need these rooms to be completely private.

If you choose blinds, note that they are not best when it comes to heating your home, but they do help to keep your home cool in the summer. Since you can open and close the slats on the blinds, you will be in complete control.

Shades are a good choice for rooms where you want more privacy. Since shades do not have slats, you do not have to worry about anyone being able to see in. Therefore, they are ideal for bedroom windows.

Shades are a better choice when you have children and pets because they do not damage as easily as blinds. For example, if your child or pet pulls on the blinds, they can break, especially the vinyl 1 and aluminum options.

Durability

Durability depends on which options you choose. Some blinds are not as durable as other options and may not be a good choice for homes with pets or children. For example, vinyl 1 and aluminum blinds easily bend or break when pulled on or bent. However, wood and higher-grade blinds do not break easily and are considered very durable.

Shades are made from a fabric material, which makes them naturally durable, but some styles, such as cellular shades 2, especially when the fabric is thin, can be damaged easily.

Maintenance

Blinds are easier to clean than shades because of the construction of the blinds themselves, which is usually a non-absorbent material such as vinyl 1 or wood. Blinds can be wiped down to remove any dust or residue. If you have a buildup of grime on your blinds, take them down and scrub them with soap and water. Consider a professional cleaner to alleviate the amount of work required.

Shades require a professional or a more in-depth cleaning because they are generally made from a fabric material, which absorbs scents from the home. Stains can occur on shades, which also requires professional cleaning to remove them.

Blinds are the easier-to-clean option, but individuals with allergies may not want to choose them because dirt and dust often accumulate on the individual slats.

Insulation

Blinds are not designed to insulate your home and are poor at energy-efficiency when it comes to heating your home. Since blinds have slats, expect the light from the sun to shine through and provide some warmth for your home, but you will only truly experience warmth when the blind slats are fully open.

However, blinds do a good job of helping to keep your home cool in the summer because you can control how open the slats are, which prevents too much of the sun’s light or heat from getting into your home.

Shades, especially cellular options, are wonderful at keeping your home warm or cool depending on the season. The fabric of the shades allows them to block out the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter. Cellular shades 2 are specifically designed with fabric air pockets that trap the air inside of them to help insulate your windows.

Window Size and Shape

When it comes to choosing blinds or shades, it really depends on the type of window style and shape you have. For example, blinds would look nice on special architectural windows, such as a bay window 3, but shades may look better in a large front living room window. In addition, consider all of your options. For example, vertical slat blinds look good on windows that are wider than they are tall where shades may be better for a tall and slender window.

Safety

For the safety of small children, no window treatments should have cords within reach of a child. The Window Covering Safety Council recommends the following:

  • Make single cords as short as possible,
  • See that cord stops are installed that limit the movement of the cords, and
  • Continuous-loop cords should be anchored permanently to the wall.

If you have the option to choose cordless blinds, do so. These blinds are easy-to-use and allow you to simply push them upward to open and pull them down to close them. Cordless blinds eliminate the pull cord, which may worry parents.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
2 Cellular shades: A fabric shade that folds flat when collapsed and expands into a honeycomb pattern. They are good for keeping heat out in the summer and keeping it in the winter
3 Bay window: A set of 3 or more windows that projects beyond the outside wall of a building. These are great for allowing light into a room

Cost to install blinds vs shades varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Blinds - Install
Curtains - Install
Screens - Install
Shades - Install
 

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Auburn, WA
-1%
Austin, TX
+13%
Beaverton, OR
+15%
Bethesda, MD
+50%
Chesapeake, VA
-6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Corpus Christi, TX
+4%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Fort Mill, SC
-13%
Frisco, TX
+23%
Grand Prairie, TX
+6%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Greenwood, IN
-20%
Honolulu, HI
+35%
Houston, TX
+24%
Irving, TX
+10%
Jamaica, NY
+35%
Joliet, IL
+25%
Katy, TX
+63%
Lafayette, LA
+20%
Lakewood, CA
+16%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Longmont, CO
-3%
Mckinney, TX
+23%
Midlothian, VA
-3%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Mobile, AL
-8%
Murrieta, CA
-6%
New York, NY
+77%
North Charleston, SC
-6%
North Hollywood, CA
+11%
Ontario, CA
+19%
Peoria, AZ
-2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Plano, TX
+24%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Redmond, WA
+10%
Ridgewood, NY
+35%
Riverside, CA
+13%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Santa Clara, CA
+33%
Spring, TX
+24%

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