Blinds Vs. Curtains: Choose What's Best for You

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Decorating a home can be a difficult task given all the choices available today, but selecting window treatments can be an easy and pleasant experience if you know what to look for, and what will work best with your home. Curtains have been used for centuries for their luxurious looks and materials, and blinds, while newer, have taken the world by storm for their functionality and economic pricing. 

Blinds Vs. Curtains: Décor

There are few decorations more beautiful than a large, full set of curtains, draped from a window with a hint of daylight peeking through. Curtains come in every kind of style, color, material and size imaginable, and a panel can range from $10 to hundreds for custom sets. Anyone looking for a wide variety of beautiful window treatments will find a full spectrum of options with curtains. 

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They can be light and airy sheer curtains for kitchens and Cape Cod style homes, or heavy and thick, best for ornate, formal design schemes, keeping a room cloaked in darkness. There is little doubt that curtains can be a focal point for any room's décor.

Blinds, however, can be found in most businesses and commercial properties, because they provide a more professional look than curtains, and are much more affordable. Homes are also enjoying the benefits of blinds too. The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in styles and types of blinds available for homes, giving homeowners an equally stylish yet far less expensive option to curtains. They still lack the regal appearance of curtains, but most people can find blinds that match their colors with relative ease. Blinds can be accented with valances and other window treatments like curtains to help make them look more decorative. This combination of blinds and curtains may be the right option for anyone looking to blend function and style.  

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Blinds come in several colors and range from the less expensive plastic varieties to wood and other decorative styles. Overall, even the higher-end blinds are less expensive than curtains. Blinds are also easier to find and are available at most home improvement and department stores. More elaborate curtains must be obtained from custom shops or artisans that specialize in custom designed curtains.

Blinds Vs. Curtains: Function

There are two main functions for both curtains and blinds: light control and privacy. The type of curtains used makes a considerable difference in their ability to block light, and obstruct views. Sheer curtains are almost purely decorative. They allow light to shine through and offer little in the way of privacy, but are a great way to add soft, subtle style to a room. Heavy curtains will block almost 100 percent of the light shining into the window when completely closed, but can be adjusted by opening them according to your needs. When closed, thick curtains provide substantial privacy, but offer little when fully open. Adding a set of sheer curtains behind thick curtains is frequently employed in homes to enjoy the benefits of both. 

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Blinds cannot be beat when it comes to functionality. The twist of a rod allows precise control of how much light enters the room or a simple pull of the cord opens the blinds entirely to let the sun shine through. The curvature of the blind slats can obscure the view inside the home even while allowing light to shine in. This feature gives blinds an advantage over curtains, allowing them the benefit of privacy and light flow. 

Curtains vs. Blinds: Cleaning

Curtains don't require frequent cleaning, apart from spills or stains, which should be treated as needed. Taking curtains down and washing them once every 3-4 months will insure their cleanliness without fading the colors. Lighter curtains can be washed in a residential washer and dryer, but larger, heavier curtains should be washed in industrial washers and dryers, or dry cleaned. After a few months, the curtains should also be sprayed with a fabric freshener just to keep it smelling good between washes. Spot cleaning may be the easiest option to avoid the hassle and cost of removing and cleaning multiple sets of curtains. 

Blinds require weekly to monthly cleaning, though the process is much simpler. Unfortunately, blinds should be avoided in homes of people with severe allergies to dust and dirt, as they tend to attract and hold debris much easier than curtains. Weekly cleaning with a feather or synthetic duster will remove dust and debris from the blinds' slats, and is a much easier option that wiping each blind slat by hand. 

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Blinds Vs. Curtains: Installation

Installing blinds and curtains require varying levels of effort and experience. To install curtains, you will need a curtain rod, rod hooks, screws and a power drill. The installation process is relatively simply, and can be done by most people without the help of a professional. Installing blinds requires a slightly more complicated process, and is often down by a professional, sent by the company from whom you ordered the blinds.  

Blinds Vs. Curtains: Combination

There is a growing movement to combine both curtains and blinds into the ultimate display of function and decoration. Blinds are installed in the window and then curtains are placed over them. This gives the homeowner the ability to control the light without sacrificing beauty. The cost is more than having a single type, but there are many advantages.

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When the blinds and curtains are closed, there is no light shining through, but with the curtains open, light can still be controlled. Also, the blinds can be pulled up, so it looks as if there are only curtains. For people having trouble deciding between curtains and blinds, this combination is the best of both worlds. It may seem redundant, but a combination of the two can mix convenience and attraction.

The debate of curtains versus blinds continues, with each side having their proponents and detractors. When deciding what type of window furnishing to use, weigh the pros and cons, and choose what fits best with the décor and mood of your home. There is no right or wrong answer, only preference.

Last Updated: April 16, 2013
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About Brock Cooper Brock Cooper is a freelance writer for 

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