Vertical Blinds – The Choice Has Come A Long Way

Interior designers involvement in developing the fabrics for vertical blinds has transformed the once office blind into one of the most popular window coverings in the home. Most people’s first sight of a vertical blind used to be in the office in a plain or slightly patterned coarse fabric in a neutral colour.

Five years ago even for the home the colours section was a little thought out addition at the back of most samples books and a good 85% of vertical type blind that were sold were made with either a white, cream or beige fabric. Designs centred on a set number of popular designs with plain features or at most a garish festoon pattern.

In recent years interior designers have been drafted in by most suppliers to rejuvenate the tired designs of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The previous best sellers were looking dated against the more vibrant fabrics for roller and roman blinds.

Looking at the fabrics around now is a world away from those dated ranges. A massive colour choice now dominates the vertical blind ranges with warming browns, vibrant pinks and purples, and robust reds becoming the most popular.

Not only the colour choices but the designs have taken a large leap forward ranging from broad stripes and narrow lines to rich plains in every colour imaginable and bold florals have made a big impact on the popularity of the vertical blind over the last few years. The original reaction of seeing the choice of vertical blind fabrics was disinterest at best but this has now moved on to genuine surprise at the choice available.

Changing the choice of fabrics available would have been half hearted had the designers not extended their imagination to the headrail and weights and chains. For years the only choice for a vertical headrail was a rather commercial, cumbersome looking inconvenience used to hold the fabric. Now smooth rounded edges create a sleeker look that add to the look of the fabric rather than hinder it, and with headrail colours in silver, gold and brown you can create a unique looking vertical blind which was previously never possible.

The chains used to rotate the slats are now available in numerous colours to co-ordinate with the fabrics, and the weights and chains at the bottom coming in beige, brown and black.

The office blind of the 80’s and 90’s has come a long way in a short time and with more emphasis put on the choice available the future certainly look better for the vertical blind.

All the Options for Wooden Venetian Blinds

Wood venetian blinds have increased in popularity substantially over recent years for a number reasons. As with any industry demand and volume brings down the price but interior design and choice has had an equally relevant effect.

There are 3 different sizes of slatting 25mm , 35mm & 50mm. The narrower the size of slat the less light is filtered into the room. More simply for a 25mm slat blind the gap between the slats when open is approximately 25mm, so on the largest slat size 50mm, the gap when open is approximately 50mm which allows more light into the room. Generally the large the window the larger the slat we would recommend for two reasons. There will be less slats for the 50mm so when the blind is raised it will gather less at the top and the 25mm will keep out quite a lot of light the larger the window.

The choice has also increased due to the popularity. Ranging from budget boxed blinds that are cut down to size from superior made to measure with decorative ladder tapes. Choosing which is best for you can often come down to price as they do vary however the difference in the basic quality isn’t substanital.

Quality will relate to the controls and the grain of the wood available. The superior the quality of the blind the better the slats close against each other, although its important to note that the slats on wooden venetian blinds are not inteneded to close completely like aluminium venetian blinds, so they are not recommended as the best window covering for blocking out light in bedrooms.

The slat colours and grain density is the next choice to make after price. Heavier wood grained wooden blinds are more expensive as they appeal to the more interior design motivated rather than price motivated and the wood is more expensive to source. More and more colours are available from white and blacks to blues and greens.

The final choice to make is whether you want ladders cords or ladder tapes. Functionality wise there is no difference so again its more for the interior design motivated however there are many choices of colours for the tapes as well so they do add to the sense of individuality of the blind.

Venetian Blinds – What you need to consider before buying

Venetian blinds offer a range of functional advantages and as such need careful consideration before deciding if this is the type of blind you not only want, but need.

Although there are now two alternative materials, aluminium and wood, used in the manufacture and the operation is the same for both. Essentially rotating slats operated by either a rod or cords that turn the slats roughly 180° (degrees).

In recent years a trend has formed where the wood venetian blind is chosen for style, for instance in living rooms to co-ordinate with wooden flooring or as a window feature against interior design show inspired bare walls. As wood is a natural product which could warp in heated or damp environments it is rarely used in bathrooms or conservatories. Whilst it is the customers’ choice where to fit your chosen blinds, manufactures will often not honour guarantees is they do warp in those locations.

Aluminium venetian blinds whilst still very popular in offices are now a staple in the home for bathrooms, kitchen, home offices and bedrooms. With the choice of finishes ever increasing the design feature is becoming more important. Wood effect finishes and stardust or scratched silver effects are very popular as opposed to the traditional plain neutral colours of white and cream.

The most repeated question regarding venetian blinds are, how do you clean them? Unfortunately the very design nature of horizontal slats lends itself to collecting dust. However it is probably unfair to blame it all on the blind. If the blinds are rotated on a daily basis dust accumulation is greatly reduced and there are ostrich feather dusters readily available that clean them really well. To be fair, anything that isn’t cleaned will collect dust!

Probably the most unprepared consideration is the amount of light you want to let into the room. With both types of venetians available is three or four slat sizes ranging from 16mm in aluminium and 25mm in wood to 50mm in both there is a difference in the amount of light let into the room. The smaller 16mm will let in approximately 25% of the light that the large 50mm will let in. With more slatting to cover the window as the gaps between each are much narrower they are often used in offices to reduce what the outside world can see whilst still letting in some light. The 50mm is the most popular size in wooden venetian blinds and 25mm still the most common choice for the aluminium version.

Choosing either type of venetian blind it’s important you consider the points raised above. Deciding which colour to go for be discussed in the next article.

Blackout Blinds – The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Blind Type

Looking at the different types blinds available all of them offer a blackout option to a different degree. Some only meet that description in the sense that it blocks out a percentage of the light coming into the room. Let’s look at the different types of blinds and judge the performance of each.

Vertical Blinds are the least likely of any blind to bring a substantial reduction of light into the room. The reason being is the way they are designed. Let’s look at a window say 100cm * 100cm with a slat size of 89mm. There will typically be 14 slats of fabric on a vertical blind that size, each slat overlaps the slat next to it allowing a certain amount of light to come through. Taking into account there are 14 slats, light will be coming through the blinds at each overlap. Hardly the best option even if the fabric itself is blackout.

Venetian Blinds and Wooden Venetian Blinds encounter a similar problem; there are essentially a number of slats overlapping the one next to it, allowing for light to come through. Although the normal venetians close tighter to the slat next to it than even the vertical blinds, it’s not tight enough to stop light coming through. Wooden Venetian are probably the worst slat type blind to block out light due to the thickness of the wood causing the gap to the slat next to it not intended to be tight closing.

Roman Blinds are in my opinion the second best option for a blackout blind. They are the most stylish giving you the option of style as well as function. The lining used on the back of the main fabric provides the blackout function, therefore not interfering with the design. They also fit the tightest into the recess where the blind is fitted, preventing hardly any light coming in at the sides.

Roller Blind ranges typically offer the largest choice of fabrics option but again due to their design allow too much light into the room. The size of the brackets used to hold the blind up results in the width of the fabric being around 33mm narrower than the width of the blind including its brackets, therefore allowing light into through that 33mm of the window recess.

Finally, the best option is a Cassette Roller Blind. A roller blind is fitted inside a typically white powder coated aluminium frame. The frame fits snugly in the window recess and the fabric providing the blocking out of any light. As the frame prevent any light coming through the sides, top or bottom of the blind, it gives you the complete solution for a blackout blind.