Choosing the Right Blinds

3 Reasons Why Pleated Cellular Window Shades are Better than Blinds

There are a few different types of inexpensive blinds available from the big home improvement stores, and their only advantage is that they’re readily available. After installing everything from vertical blinds (hello 1985), the cheap metal “apartment blinds” and no fewer than a dozen of the faux wood, plantation style blinds in several properties I  I have the experience to make a solid recommendation towards another direction.

Let’s examine our options more closely:

Vertical Blinds These are the PVC or metal strips that hand down from a track along the top of the window opening. Unless you’re actually trying to recreate the Brady Bunch House, or have a glass door to cover and have no other options, don’t use these. They fall off, the plastic turns yellow and they collect a phenomenal amount of dust.

Metal Blinds We’ll call these “apartment blinds” because they are absolutely the least expensive option, which is why they get installed in most rental properties. Other than being easily identified as cheap, the only issue with apartment blinds is that at least one strip will spontaneously develop a kink in it. Don’t know why or how it happens, but it will.

Plantation Blinds We moved into our new place a few years ago and installed these in all the many, large windows. At first, we lived with them without shortening, just letting the slats stack up along the window sill. The issue here was they would never really close. There was always room to peak in on the ground floor, and always light coming through on the upper floors. They looked good, but privacy is limited. We finally trimmed them to fit properly, but ended cutting them a little too short and just exacerbated the issue.

Cellular Shades If you’ve never seen these, you can get a look in the designer section of any home improvement store. They are sold under brand names like Bali and Levolor and come in a variety of styles and colors. Cellular shades are made up of 2 pieces of material that are connected at specific intervals. They’re attached in such a way that they create cells, or squares, when you look at them from the sides. They create a cascade of 1” square tubes along the width of the window. The Honeycomb version that we purchased has a double set of squares that provide additional insulation.

Why Cellular Shades are Better:

  1. Easy to install – the other options require some pretty sizable brackets to be put in, especially the plantation blinds, because they so HEAVY. The Honeycomb Cellular Shades weigh about % of what the equivalent size plantation shade does. EASY. Plus, you order the cellular shades (we ordered online) so they came exactly the right size.
  2. Privacy - if you order them to open from the top and bottom option you can retain your privacy and still let light into the room. Simple LOWER the shades instead of raise them. On our second floor it allows us to block the view from the street and still see the sky. When the blinds are closed, the entire window is peaking. We chose the light filtering, so we get plenty of sunlight even with the blinds closed.
  3. Insulation – the double cell design we chose has extra insulation. Even letting light through, the shade blocks all of the heat. It’s even more effective because, once again, the entire window is covered.

The cellular blinds are more expensive than plantation blinds and the apartment option, but they’re worth it!