What’s the Difference Between Blinds and Shades?

Difference Between Blinds and Shades

In today’s market, the variety of window treatments available can be overwhelming. There are wood and faux wood blinds, vertical blinds, cellular shades, vertical cellular shades, banded shades, Roman shades, London shades, and Austrian shades, just to name a few.

So when someone asks “What’s the difference between blinds and shades?” the answer can be extremely detailed or extremely generalized. It kind of depends on who you ask.

The Basic Difference Between Blinds and Shades

In the broadest terms, blinds have hard slats that can be made from wood, aluminum, plastic, vinyl, or other composite materials. They can be raised or lowered in the window to control light and provide privacy. They can also be tilted open or closed to allow view-through. Shades, on the other hand, typically use softer-looking materials such as woven fabric, grass cloths, and non-woven materials. They can be raised or lowered in the window to control light and provide privacy. There are exceptions, but for the most part, shades do not offer an open/closed view-through option like blinds offer.

Other Features or Benefits

Blinds are easy to clean with a dusting cloth or damp towel. Shades tend to need a bit more TLC and the maintenance requirements will vary based on the type of shade.

Both types of window treatments can be motorized, but blinds are usually limited to a motorized tilt option whereas shades can have a motorized lifting system. Alternatively, both products offer non-motorized cordless lift systems that can also address child safety concerns.

Both can provide complete privacy.

While both can provide light blocking or light control, all blinds (but only a small number of shades) allow you to adjust the amount of light being allowed to pass through the window.

Lastly, shade products typically offer more room-darkening options than blinds.

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