Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, shall we? The world of window treatments is faced with several challenges, and homeowners are often faced with a dilemma when it comes to choosing blinds or curtains. Curtains or drapes are traditional window coverings that have continued to dominate homes across the globe. They are the easiest window treatment solutions and whenever people are at their wit’s end they fall back on drapes and curtains. These are timeless classic beauties that have not lost their sheen or glamour despite stiff competition from blinds and shades. Most houses will have at least one window that are treated with curtains. Blinds and shades, on the other hand, come in varied shapes, patterns and sizes, and they can be as plain and solid as roller shades or as flamboyant as Roman blinds. Blinds are fitted with slats and usually made of materials like wood, PVC and vinyl while shades are primarily made of fabric. Shutters can be used to lend a classic touch to your house while perfectly blending with the contemporary elements. Drapes or blinds and shades, all are equally deserving window treatments and capable of single-handedly transforming the look and feel of your homes. How to decide whether to go for curtains or blinds? In this section, we observe the pros and cons of both these window treatments, and this will help you in going for the best possible option.
Advantages of Custom Blinds and Shades
We will start with the blinds and enumerate their various advantages and disadvantages to help you willingly make your purchase. However, we can assure you this much: the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, which are just minor stumbling blocks in the way of benefitting from these must-have window treatments.
Here are the advantages that you can consider.
1. Affordable and Low Priced: There are many window treatments that are high priced, employing window shades made from an expensive material. Yet there are a vast majority of window shades that you can get at budget-friendly prices. At the same time, they do not compromise on design and functionality. All you need to do is filter your choices, starting with the maximum price you can afford, and then select the blinds that fall into that category.
2. Light Control Features: Just about every blind and shade entails light-diffusing properties, filling your home with natural light during the day time. Diffused natural light helps to cut outglares and also reduces energy costs as electric light is not needed. Roller shades, cellular shades, faux wood shutters as well as vertical and aluminum blinds can be adjusted accordingly to let in a good amount of sunlight. Some of them also come in lighter fabrics to let in natural light even when they are shut.
3. Easier To Clean: Shades with horizontal or vertical slats are easy to clean. Many times, you do not even need to take them down and put them in a washing machine or dry-clean them. The process is very simple: their dust and dirt can be removed by a sponge or a piece of cloth soaked in detergent water. You can then scrub and wipe their surface, a process that will hardly take a few minutes of your time. You may also put your vacuum cleaner to use, just as you would to clear dust off the surfaces of your furniture, rugs and floors.
4. More Hygienic: Because of their surfaces and the minimal space they take, blinds and shades are usually not the breeding grounds of termites and bugs, unlike curtains that can attract them. They are, hence, more hygienic overall and keep your family members free from allergies and viruses.
5. Take Less Space: Window blinds and shades take up less space than curtains, which have the power to overwhelm the room. Because of their structure, they are generally suitable for smaller windows or rooms with multiple windows. Their subtle and minimal appeal adds a charming dimension to any room.
6. Motorized Control: Most of the blinds and shades today come with motorized control which means that they can be operated by a single press of a button of a remote. They can be pre-programmed to raise and lower at different times of the day. These shades are being increasingly integrated into the home automation system and allow you to control them from your Smartphone and tablets.
Disadvantages of Blinds and Shades
Fabulous though these window coverings are, they are not without their shortcomings.
1. Require More Cleaning: Although the blinds and shades are easier to clean, they might attract dust which settles on them easily because of their flat surfaces. Hence, they need to be regularly cleaned, at least two to three times in a week.
2. More Susceptible to Damage: Unlike curtains and drapery, the slats of a window shade can be easily damaged when they are not taken care of properly. You need to handle them sensitively, for they can warp, crack or twist out of shape. No wonder homeowners employing these window treatments need regular professional help and replacement of slats more often. They are more in danger of damage when you have toddlers or pets in the house.
3. Cords Can Be Dangerous: Blinds and shades that come with cords to operate them can be hazardous for toddlers and pets who often move unattended around the house. They run the risk of getting entangled and choking themselves on the loops of fabric.
Advantages of Curtains and Drapes
Now that we are through with the merits and demerits of blinds and shades, we turn our attention to curtains and drapes. Here are a few advantages that you must first consider before making your choice.
1. A Wide Range: Curtains and drapes are unparalleled when it comes to the range that they offer. To begin with, they have various mounting styles, including rod pockets, tab tops, grommets/eyelets, box pleats and pinch pleats, and so on. Then there are curtains based on different opacity levels, made from fabrics as light as lace and supernet (for sheer curtains) and as thick as silk and velvet (for blackout curtains). The wide range of colors, patterns and textures including solids, color-blocked designs and prints make curtains a versatile window covering solutions that can be put up anywhere in the house and also in cafes, offices and commercial buildings.
2. Insulation and Privacy: Curtains come in certain blackout materials to keep a room cozy and comfortable during all seasons. They prevent heat from escaping through the windows during winters while blocking heat from entering during summers. A blackout fabric can also be added to your sheer curtains, so they allow that kind of flexibility and light and temperature control. This feature also makes curtains great sound absorbers, besides protecting your home from the prying eyes of potential intruders and burglars.
3. Drapes add just the right amount of drama that is needed to pull the room together and elevate its appeal. The yards of flowing fabric have a luxurious appeal and elegance that is truly unparalleled and continues to sweep people off their feet even today. They impart a regal touch to the existing room decor.
Disadvantages of Curtains
1. Take Up More Space: Curtains are best suited for windows that are long and wide, which is why they take up a lot of space and can overwhelm a room. A compact room can thus end up looking smaller than it already is. They must be, therefore, installed in the living rooms or a large bedroom for maximum appeal.
2. More Costly: Curtains and drapes are usually more expensive than regular blinds and shades. So you are better advised to do thorough research if you want to go only for these window treatments.
3. Tough to Clean: Curtains do not require everyday cleaning, but whenever they do, it is a time-consuming process. Some do not even hand or machine-washable and have to be dry-cleaned which is quite expensive
4. Out Of Vogue: Sure, curtains come in both classic and contemporary styles, but in a world that is switching to subtlety and minimalism, sleek and slim blinds controlled by a motorized setup are becoming increasingly common. Curtains are slowly becoming a thing of the past despite their varied advantages. Drapes and curtains cannot be motorized and need physical intervention for operating them.
You are advised to go through both the merits and demerits of curtains as well as blinds before making a purchase. However, there is another option that you might consider: mix and match your blinds with curtains to add a charming appeal and increased functionality to your windows. They combine to help you enjoy the best of both worlds.