Beautiful grey roller shades

Made in the Shade: The Difference Between Shades and Blinds

Made in the Shade of Northern Virginia specializes in window treatments for your home or business. We literally bring the showroom to you with a variety of look books and catalogues, chock full of images to inspire you. Often, our clients have a pretty good idea of which window coverings they prefer; we help them envision how those products and others will look in their space.

People often refer to blinds and shades as though they are the same, using the terms “blinds” and “shades” interchangeably. The purpose for each is to provide privacy, block light, reduce the solar effects of the sun, and, of course, to provide a pleasant appearance. From a custom design perspective, there is a difference. Although Made in the Shade comes prepared for anything, it is important to help our clients understand what makes the two styles different.

Shades

Shades have been around for many years and recently we see a resurgence in popularity.  There are a wide variety of shades on the market.  Shades most often provide a fabric or some other layer of material to shade the home or business for privacy or for solar protection. One popular style is the Roman Shade, which is often made from fabrics and are custom ordered to be flat, pleated, or hobbled which is when the material folds neatly on itself as you pull the drawstring or lift the bottom rail when cordless.

Roller shades, which are also made from fabrics but tend to be flat material, also offer a wide variety of functional and decorative options.  Another popular shade style is the honeycomb shade (also referred to as a cellular shade).  Honeycomb shades are often considered the best for insulating because their cells offer moderate air buffering between your space and the harsh extremes of nature.

Finally, a very popular shade being sold today are solar shades.  These solar-ray defenders can be used inside the home or on the exterior and are very popular on patios and decks to make being outdoors more comfortable. Any one of these shade styles can be made from a variety of materials such as: grass-cloth, woven wood, polyester, cotton, or a combination of materials for a custom look for your windows.

Shades offer tremendous versatility in color, material, and styles and almost always offer something for everyone.  Here are just a few of the options:

  • Corded or cordless (cordless offers safety for children and pets)
  • Variety of folds, colors, textures, and designs
  • Room darkening or light filtering
  • Opacity levels in solar shades (varies the UV light permitted to pass through)
  • Decorative valances to hide shade rolls
  • Top down-bottom up

Blinds

Now let us look at blinds and what makes them functionally different from shades. Simply put, they are most often not made of fabric or soft material, but are often made of wood, vinyl, bamboo, or plastic.  Blinds are a classic window covering, stretching back many years and in many different forms. They have slats which can vary in depths and can open fully, partially, or close tightly to block light and ensure privacy.  Usually, blinds have horizontal (side to side) slats but there are vertical blinds too that can be effective in providing privacy and blocking light on sliding glass doors or oversized windows.

Blinds, like shades, come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials. These traits will often affect price, resulting in a wide variety of options with one sure to agree with your budget.  Blinds are often chosen for use in bathrooms and kitchens where grease and bacteria are frequently deposited on the hard surfaces and require frequent cleaning. They can be cleaned with a dust cloth or vacuum cleaner attachment. They can even be wiped down with gentle disinfectants. Blinds com are available in the following options:

  • Corded or cordless (cordless offers safety for children and pets)
  • Room darkening or light filtering
  • Decorative valances to hide headrails
  • Decorative tapes and slats without holes

Choosing the Window Treatment for Your Home

Now that you know more about what makes blinds and shades different, you might be wondering which is the better option for your home or office. The best way to make that decision is to have samples you can hold up to your window frame, touch and examine the materials, and see the colors and how effectively they work with your home interior. It is simply too hard to know how things will look unless you are looking at them in your space. Let Made in the Shade bring the samples and fabrics to you, take measurements of your windows, and follow up with a written quote to custom create and install your window treatments.

Made in the Shade of Northern Virginia is owned and operated by John and Dana Briggs. They have lived in the area for almost 30 years.  Almost three years ago, they began looking for a business that gave them both a chance to use more of the skills they enjoy, and realized this was a creative, fun business they could build for their family. Schedule your in-home consultation here or call us at 703-330-6487.