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Window Coverings Buying Guide – Hard Window Coverings

Window coverings complete your room décor and can provide privacy and energy savings. Choose wisely and your window coverings can instantly dress up any room.

 

Hard Window Coverings

Like soft window treatments, hard window coverings block out light and offer privacy. Hard window coverings are made from rigid materials such as wood, plastic, or metal. They include both horizontal and vertical blinds, shutters and shades.

Blinds and Shutters

Horizontal Blinds

Horizontal Blinds
Horizontal blinds are made up of numerous horizontally positioned wood, faux wood, PVC or aluminum slats that are rotated using an attached wand to ensure privacy and to control the amount of light that is let in. Slats are angled to let light pass through and are adjusted to overlap when the blinds are closed. The entire blind can be drawn up to reveal the window by pulling a cord that stacks the slats on top of each other.

Faux Wood Blinds
Faux wood blinds look like wooden blinds, but they are made using a combination of man-made materials and natural wood particles. The quality and selection of faux wood blinds has improved as manufacturing technology has advanced. Faux wood blinds come in a wider array of colours and finishes than wooden blinds, and are easier to clean thanks to the materials used in construction. They can also be coated to resist UV damage and withstand extreme temperature and humidity. Faux wood blinds are particularly well-suited for rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms that may be subject to high humidity and temperature fluctuations.

PVC (Vinyl) Blinds
PVC blinds are inexpensive, practical and easy-to-clean. They also come in a variety of colours. PVC blinds are more flexible than aluminum blinds, which means they are more resistant to dents and creases, and are easier to clean than aluminum blinds. However, they tend to absorb sunlight, which may warm up a room.

Aluminum Mini Blinds
Aluminum blinds are an affordable window covering option. They can, however, crease and/or break if the edges are folded. Aluminum blinds have the added advantage of being more energy efficient thanks to the metal’s ability to reflect sunlight.

Shutters

Shutters
Shutters filter light the same way that mini blinds do – they control the amount of light that passes through the slat. Unlike blinds, however, the slats on a shutter do not require a cord to help them rotate, but use a lever system. Mounting a pair of shutters provides the added ability to reveal the entire window behind the shutters.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical Blinds
Vertical blinds are similar to horizontal blinds in the way in which they operate. However, they move from side-to-side rather than moving up and down like horizontal blinds. Vertical blinds require less strength and are easier to operate than horizontal blinds. The slats for vertical blinds come in various widths, but they are generally wider than the slats of horizontal blinds. Vertical blinds are available in fabric, PVC and bamboo.

Shades

Like blinds, shades provide privacy and control light by means of barriers. Unlike blinds, which are made up of multiple slats that can be rotated to allow varying amounts of light to pass through, shades only permit light in when drawn up.

Pleated Shades

Pleated Shades
These simple shades are made from a single layer of pleated material. They come in a variety of fabrics and colours. Pleated shades block light and provide UV protection. Cordless designs make these shades ideal for households with young children or pets, since the absence of cords eliminates the danger of accidental strangulation.

Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades
Cellular shades are sometimes referred to as “honeycomb blinds” because they resemble a honeycomb when viewed from the side. They are available in single-cell (one layer) and double-cell (two layer) construction. These shades are energy efficient, and they do a wonderful job of blocking out sun, heat, cold and noise. Double-cell shades have better insulating powers as they contain twice as many cells as single-cell versions. Cellular shades can be either light filtering or room darkening, depending on your needs.

Bamboo Roll-up Shades
Bamboo shades are becoming popular for a number of reasons thanks to their durability and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. Unlike traditional woods, which may take years to reach a size that can be harvested, bamboo grows very quickly. This makes it a more sustainable option than wood derived from hardwood forests that take decades to regenerate.

Roman Shades

Roman Shades
Roman shades are similar to roller shades, but the fabric on a Roman shade folds at predetermined intervals when pulled up, creating soft pleats of fabric. Options for Roman shades are as varied as soft window drapes. Depending upon the fabric chosen, they can offer a variety of looks ranging from luxurious to casual.

Roller Shades

Roller Shades
Roller shades resemble roman shades. The main difference is that there are no folds of fabric when the shade is drawn up since the fabric simply rolls up at the top. The result is a clean and simple look. Roller shades can be used behind a drape to create a layered look when dressing a window, and they are good for privacy.