In terms of window coverings the typical choice is between curtains and blinds. While blinds are similar to curtains in terms of function, in terms of form they differ greatly and give the interior designer far more scope to create an individual and original style. Normally blinds are attached to the internal part of a window frame. Blinds are so called because they effectively blind those on either side of the window, controlling the amount of light being let into a room whilst creating privacy from the outside world.
The varieties of blinds on the market are numerous. Rollers are generally considered the most popular although the Venetian variety remains a design classic. The older forms of roller can snap shut should it be necessary although modern variants utilise a chain system that allows more controlled opening and closing. Materials used in blind manufacture also differ greatly from wood and aluminium to silks and other textured linens.
Venetian blinds have evolved from their original Persian development to become a sleek and stylish window covering option and are now constructed from vinyl plastics and aluminium, although wooden variants are also popular as they create a warmth and character in a room. Normally the Venetian variety of blind will have horizontal slats, each slat being connected to a cord allowing for it to be raised and lowered as well as tilted, controlling the amount of light being let into a room.
It is worth bearing in mind however that for those who want the wood effect without the price, some vinyl varieties are extremely effective at creating the appearance of wood. These slat blinds rotate by way off the attached strings; typically each slat can be rotated through around 170 degrees to give control over light. In most cases the rotation control is performed with a rod or a loop of cord.
Vinyl plastics are regarded by many to be the cheapest of the materials used in the construction of blinds. Vinyl is easy to clean and maintain and it is also available to have different coloured blinds although these are usually a little more expensive. In addition to vinyl, aluminium is frequently used in blind manufacture, once again a variety of colours are available and they are hardwearing; however care must be taken with aluminium blinds as they are susceptible to bending, especially if handled roughly. Finally wood is one of the most popular materials from which blinds are constructed, it is hard wearing and attractive whilst bringing a natural element to any room, the downside is that typically it is the most expensive of the three whilst it is also susceptible to warping in humid conditions and fading over the years.
Installing blinds is relatively simple; they usually come in standard sizes so are perfect for modern homes where the windows are built to standardised specifications. In terms of the physical installation the blind is usually fixed to the wall by two or more brackets, these are fixed to the wall and then the blind is hung from the brackets. Typically this will all be performed within the window recess, so that space is saved where possible. However this is not the only form of blind installation, modern manufacturing techniques have meant that blinds can now be fitted within the window meaning that they do not have to be cleaned as they are totally enclosed.
Hopefully this article has given an insight into the world of blinds and how they are fitted. As a window covering they are a modern, elegant and stylish solution to blocking light and creating privacy. From early beginnings in ancient civilisations they have become the interior designer's choice for window coverings.
Interior design expert Thomas Pretty looks at different varieties of blinds, the materials used in their manufacture and how they are fitted.