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We come across blinds on a daily basis, whether it’s at home or at work, or while you wait in the queue at good ‘ole home affairs. Blinds have become a staple for interior decorators, property developers and homeowners alike because of the variety, versatility, low maintenance and ease of use.

They come in a variety of colours, textures and styles giving you the freedom to design the room any way you want from warm and cosy, to sleek and elegant or create an interesting feature by adding a pop of colour.

Blinds are uniquely versatile which makes them ideal for a variety of applications. Whether you are redoing your kitchen, updating a bathroom, or preparing a nursery, there is something to suit every scenario and budget.

The choices are endless, but there are a number of things you need to consider before diving into the exciting process of choosing your very own blinds.

In this post;

  1. The History of Blinds
  2. The Benefits of Blinds
  3. The Different Types of Blinds
  4. Automated Blinds
  5. Ready-Made and Made-To-Measure Blinds
  6. Which Blinds Are Suited For Which Rooms
  7. The Different Mounting Types: Recess (Inside Mount) vs Facefix (Outside Mount)
  8. How To Measure for Blinds
  9. How To Install Blinds
  10. How To Clean and Maintain Your Blinds
  11. How To Operate Blinds
  12. Things To Consider When You Buy Your Blinds

So let’s dive in.

1.  The History of Blinds

In order to understand the aesthetically pleasing and convenient elegance that blinds offer to our everyday lives, we to go back in time just a little bit, to Ancient Egypt!  

The Egyptians used to tie palm reeds together to form a window covering that would control the amount of light and heat entering a room. This convenient window covering would also provide an element of privacy for families.  

The Ancient Chinese used to tie together a bamboo mat with woven cords to form what we know today as the modern day roller blind. These blinds were rolled up when not in use and rolled down for privacy and blocking out the light and heat of the day.

While “Venetian” may imply that these window creations were created in Venice, we now know they were not.

In fact, blinds can be traced back to originally being created in Persia.

As Venetians were originally merchants, they were said to have brought the idea back to Europe from their various trade expeditions in Persia. These blinds then only really gained their popularity towards the latter half of the 1700’s.

The St. Peters Church in Rome was one of the first significant buildings to cover its windows with venetian blinds in 1761. Only in 1769 did Edward Bevan patent the first venetian blind in London, England.  

After that John Hampson of New Orleans adjusted the design in 1841 by inventing a mechanism to control the angle of the venetian blind slats. This design made it easier to control the amount of light and privacy that you could let into a room.

Their use in homes and office buildings grew in popularity around the 19th and 20th centuries. While the vast majority of venetian blinds were historically made of wood, the age of modernity has brought about the rise of new materials such as aluminium and PVC to match every environmental condition that your home or office has to offer.  

Click here to design your own blinds.

2.  The Benefits of Blinds.

Blinds are a popular choice of window covering for a number of great reasons:

  1. They are easy to use.
  2. They provide great privacy.
  3. They are great for light and temperature control.
  4. They are low maintenance
  5. They are easy to install.
  6. There is also a wide variety of styles, materials, and colours to choose from.
  7. They are affordable.
  8. They are versatile.

3.  The Different Types of Blinds

 In understanding the evolution of window coverings and the modern day blind we can appreciate that different types of blinds provide different aesthetic appeal and functionality to your chosen room.

Venetian Blinds

A venetian blind has horizontal slats that are positioned one above the other. These can be opened, closed or tilted to control the amount of light that comes into your room of choice. These slats can rotate at 180 degrees which accounts for the varying amounts of light. Venetian blinds come in three different materials:

1. Wood Venetian Blinds

Wood venetians are the Rolls-Royce of window blinds. They are made from natural wood and provide a warm, natural, modern finishing to your room of choice, whether it be your bedroom, lounge or office space.

2. Aluminium Venetian Blinds

Aluminium venetians are an affordable and durable option, that provides a sleek and clean look to any room. They are available in 16mm, 25mm and 50mm slat sizes and come in a variety of colours and finishes making them an incredibly versatile option.

3. PVC Venetian Blinds

PVC venetians are preferred in high moisture areas (like steamy bathrooms), where wood venetian would not be a practical option. The PVC composition protects against warping and swelling of individual slats.

Roller Blinds

Roller blinds are a popular choice and fall in the mid-budget range. They are comprised of a single uncut piece of fabric that can be rolled up or down. They come in a variety of fabrics providing a unique texture and aesthetic appeal but most importantly come in various degree of transparency. Some are block out and don’t allow any light through while others are light filtering and allow light to shine through.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds consist of strips of fabric, called vanes, that run vertically as opposed to the horizontal slats of venetian blinds. They are made from a synthetic polyester fabric, which makes them durable in high use areas, fade-resistant and easy to clean. They are really versatile in their application as well as affordable and can be used for both smaller and large window areas in need of covering.

Roman Blinds

Roman blinds consist of an uncut piece of fabric that when pulled up showcase a soft elegant layered position. Roman blinds are ideal for any size window covering and also give you the option of using blackout material which is ideal for a Saturday morning sleep in.

Honeycomb Blinds

Honeycomb blinds are made from two or more layers of nonwoven polyester material joined at the pleats. They have cellular compartments that trap air and thereby increase both heat and sound insulation.

Outdoor Blinds

You get a variety of outdoor blinds that are able to meet your specific outdoor requirements, whether it be UV protection or a cover from the wind and rain. Higher grade materials and fabric are used to protect against varying weather conditions.

Click here to design your own blinds.

4.  Automated Blinds   

Automated blinds are exactly the same as normal blinds except for a motor that controls the lifting and lowering of your blinds. The benefit is that they can be set to optimise the internal temperature of the room and thereby reduce the need for air conditioning which is better for the environment and improves a building’s efficiency. 

Automated blinds eliminate the need for controls which is safer for children and pets.  

5.  Ready-Made vs Made-to-Measure Blinds

 So you have done your research on what type, size and colour blind you want. It will look perfect in your dining area. But should you just go to a hardware store and buy an off-the-shelf blind or should you get something custom made for your windows?

Don’t fret. This is what we suggest:

Ready-Made Blinds  

These come in standard sizes and colours:

  • They are generally available in Venetian (aluminium, PVC and wooden) and roller blind styles which are the versatile option for any room type.
  • Ready-made blinds are also quick and easy to install.
  • Colours and sizes are limited.
  • Are the most affordable window coverings on the market. 25mm PVC Venetian blinds being the cheapest blinds your money can buy.
  • Ready-made blinds vary widely in quality so be careful to buy from a reputable retailer or online store.

Made-to-Measure Blinds

These are made according to your measurements to fit your specific windows:

  • You will have a multitude of style and colour options at your disposal.  
  • There is a customisable option for every budget.
  • The blinds are made to fit the exact measurements required.
  • There are hundreds of colour and style variations available.
  • Made-to-measure blinds are generally higher quality than ready-made blinds but can vary depending on the manufacturer.

6.  Which Blinds Are Suited For Which Rooms?

Let’s take a look at which blinds are best suited for which rooms. In general, this decision is based on personal preference but there are some exceptions:

Bathrooms  

A popular option for high moisture areas like your bathroom is PVC and aluminium venetian blinds. The moisture in bathrooms can often cause damage to wood venetians and the fabric of roman and roller blind while PVC and aluminium blinds handle the humidity well.

Guest Bathroom

In a small bathroom without a shower or bath, you would have the flexibility to use any blind so it would be entirely up to you.

Kitchen

In big open well-ventilated kitchens you can hang the blind of your choice. In smaller kitchens dominated by your stove and sink, we suggest you take a similar approach to that of your steamy bathroom. PVC and aluminium blinds would stand up well to steamy pots and sizzling splatters of oil.  

Bedroom

In the bedroom, you have the flexibility to choose whichever option you like best. A popular option for a is block out roman and roller blinds to make sure your sleep in is never disrupted by bright morning light. They are also great at temperature control and provide a high level of privacy.

Lounge and Dining area

Another set of versatile rooms where any blinds can be used. Some considerations to make would be how much direct sunlight these rooms get and if you want to reduce the glare on your TV. In a dining room, you might opt for a light-filtering blind that would bring light into the room but also reduce the heat for those hot South African summers. In the lounge, on the other hand, you might want to choose a block out blind that helps you create that home theatre feel for those important family movie nights.

7.  Recess (Inside Mount) vs Facefix (Outside Mount)

There are two ways to mount or install your window blinds:

Recess Fit or Inside Mount means that your blind fits neatly inside your window frame. This is the preferred choice for made-to-measure window blinds because it produces the most bespoke look and feel.

Facefix or Outside Mount means that your blind covers the entire outside of the window frame. This mounting option is normally selected when it isn’t possible to install the blinds recess fit. This is also the preferred option for ready-made blinds.

Before you decide which mounting type you use you need to check the following:

  1. Make sure there is at least 5cm of space in the window frame to install the blind. If not, select facefix.
  2. Make sure there are no obstructions like burglar bars, window mechanisms, or door handles that would prevent the blind from operating correctly.
  3. If the blind is installed above a door that swings inwardly to open then the blind needs to be installed facefix to ensure the door can continue to operate correctly.

8.  How To Measure for Blinds

Measuring is an easy task but should be done with care and accuracy. Below are the steps you need to follow.

First, you will need some tools;

  • Steel Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Notepad

Measuring accurately is crucial to ensure a perfect fit blind. Always take your measurements to the nearest mm.

Step 1: Measure the width

Measure the width (from left to right) in three places: top, middle, and bottom. Record the narrowest width.  

Step 2: Measure the height

Measure the height (from top to bottom) in three places: left, middle, and right. Record the tallest height.

Step 3: Decide where you want your controls

You have two options: left or right. Place your controls on the side of the blind that they will be easiest to reach and also not be an obstruction.

Step 4: Recess or Facefix

Decide how you want to mount your blinds. If you decide to mount them recess fit, then leave your measurements as they are. If you decide to mount them facefix, add 100mm to your width and 100mm to your height to make sure that the blind covers the window properly.

9.  How To Install Blinds

Installing blinds is a simple task. Below are the steps you need to follow to install yours like a pro.

 Let’s start with our tools;

  • Electic drill
  • 6mm drill bit
  • Pencil
  • Steel tape measure
  • 6mm wall plugs
  • 6mm wall screws
  • Brackets

Venetian Blinds

  1. Unpack your blinds and attach your brackets, spaced equally apart. Make sure the brackets don’t interfere with the blind mechanisms.
  2. Lift your blind up to the wall and mark the position of the brackets.
  3. Now remove the brackets and place them back on the positions you just marked and now mark where you need to drill the holes.
  4. Now you need to drill holes in each of the places that you marked.
  5. Put your wall plugs into each hole.
  6. Once this is done hold the brackets up to your holes and screw them into place. Do the same for each bracket.
  7. Finally, lift your blinds up and lock them into place. Step down and test your blind to ensure that it works.  

Roller Blinds

  1. Unpack your blind, brackets, screws, and wall plugs.
  2. Once unpacked, attach your brackets.
  3. Next, pick your blind up and make a pencil mark where you will need to drill.
  4. Drill your holes and insert your wall plugs.
  5. Once this is done hold the brackets up to your holes and screw them into place. Do the same for the other bracket.
  6. Finally, lift your blind up and put the side with the controls in first and then click the other side in place. Step down an test your blind to ensure that it works.

10.  How To Clean and Maintain Your Blinds

One of the main reasons blinds have become such a popular option is because they are relatively low maintenance. That being said they do require a bit of attention to keep them looking good. Below we have detailed care and maintenance instructions for the various types of blinds:

Venetian Blinds  

Release your blinds all the way down and tilt them until closed, you will then dust each slat with a soft dust cloth, or a slightly damp cloth for tougher dirt. Then tilt your blinds until the slats are facing the other way and do the same. Then open your blind slats until about mid-way so that they can air dry.

Roman and Roller Blinds

You can lightly vacuum the dust on your blinds with a soft dusting attachment. If there is a tougher spot to clean you can use a damp cloth with a mild detergent, do not wet or scrub the material heavily, this will damage the material of your blind.

Vertical Blinds

You will need to use a soft dust cloth to dust each slat and vane. You may use a slightly damp cloth for tougher dirt along with a mild detergent. Do not scrub your material as you will damage it.

Dust is not your friend, and when it’s allowed to build up, it gets into the control mechanisms and causes strain on the usage of your blinds. By following the above guidelines with a little bit of TLC, you will ensure that your blinds will be a long-lasting feature of your home or office.

11.  How To Operate Blinds

Here are a couple of tips on how to operate your blinds to ensure you help extend their lifetime.

Roman and Roller Blinds

Roman and roller blinds have a single looped chain to lower and lift the blind. Pull the front of the loop to lower the blinds and the back part of the loop to lift the blinds. Be careful not to over roll your blind because it could cause the spring to snap or slip inside the mechanism which then makes it difficult to open and close the blind.

Aluminium Venetian Blinds

Aluminium venetian blinds are controlled with a wand and three cords. The wand tilts the slats while the cords lift and lower the blinds. To move your blinds up and down hold all of the cords firmly in your hands and pull them toward the opposite side of the blind. This will disengage the gear that holds the cords in place and allows you to either lift or lower the blind.

Never force your blind, if it does not move up or down or the slats do not tilt when being pulled, do not proceed to pull harder, this can cause damage to something that may be otherwise easy to solve.

Wood and PVC Venetian Blinds

These venetian blinds are controlled with two cords that tilt the slats and three cords that lift and lower the blind. Trial and error will help you determine which cord tilts the slats forward and which cord tilts the slats backwards. To move your blinds up and down hold all of the cords firmly in your hands and pull them toward the opposite side of the blind. This will disengage the gear that holds the cords in place and allows you to either lift or lower the blind.

12.  Things To Consider WHEN Buying Your Window Blinds

When it comes to buying blinds, you have a couple of options available to you:

  1. You can buy them at most home decor and DIY retail stores.
  2. You can also buy your blinds from private sellers through sites like Gumtree and OLX. Sites like this often do not guarantee the quality or condition of the blinds.   
  3. You can purchase your blinds online. The convenience of this option makes it a popular choice. Try our Blinds Builder to customise your blind and order it online.

Before making your purchase make sure you consider the following:

  1. Not all blinds are created equal. Price is an excellent predictor of quality so make sure you don’t settle for the cheapest option.
  2. Check the warranty period and guarantees. These vary greatly among retailers and manufacturers.
  3. Order swatches to make sure you are happy with the colour and texture.
  4. Make sure your measurements are correct. Check our measurement guide to help you.

13.  Conclusion

Blinds are a great option for both home and office. They are versatile, affordable, low maintenance and are made to fit your specific windows which is why they are the go-to solution for both professionals and homeowners alike.

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