Curtains, Blinds, or Shades: Which Is Right for You?

When it comes to covering your windows, your options might seem limitless, if not confusing and a bit overwhelming. Why would you opt for blinds when curtains seem so much easier to install? Is it worthwhile to install shades if you’re worried that curtains will far too far below the window frame? Below, learn about the differences among curtains, blinds, and shades to see which is right for you.

Curtains

Curtains are pairs of fabric panels (it’s rare to see individual curtains sold instead of pairs) that come in all manner of colors, sizes, materials, and patterns. They may come with metal rings, pockets, or hooks that enable you to connect them to curtain rods for hanging. The metal ring option can be especially easy to install – if you find a tension rod wide enough for your windows and narrow enough to fit through your curtain rings while stably holding the curtain, setup should take just a few minutes and no extra tools. 

Additionally, some curtains are known as drapes. Like curtains, drapes are usually sold in pairs and always hang from a rod. However, drapes are lined with additional fabric that often gives them additional light-blocking capabilities. And whereas only some curtains touch your floors, drapes almost certainly “puddle” at floor level. Generally, drapes appear more formal and luxurious than curtains, which can often be simple, basic sheets of fabric that accommodate rod hanging.

Given their ease of setup and versatility of appearance, curtains might be best for you if you’re looking for a quick way to cover your window while matching your apartment’s aesthetic. However, curtains tend not to block all incoming light (though blackout curtains can help to address this problem), so if you’re really looking to keep your room dark for uninterrupted sleep, you might want to consider shades, too.

Shades

When you purchase curtains or drapes to cover your window, you buy fabrics that extend past your window. Shades, however, stay within your window frame. And the name shades gives away a major feature of these window coverings: They’re designed to block as much sunlight as possible.

Shades, like curtains, hang from a rod, though they tend to come with their own thin rod for hanging (whereas, with curtains, you’ll likely need to buy the rod and, if applicable, rod holders separately). You’ll need to use a cord, roller, or another cable-like mechanism to raise the shades and let light in. They can be slightly difficult to hang, so they might be best used in conjunction with curtains rather than standalone if you’re trying to block as much light as possible.

Blinds

Blinds resemble shades in one way: You can raise or lower them using a cord-like mechanism. Where they differ is in their composition. Shades are single sheets of fabric, whereas blinds are distinct rows of solid material stacked together. Since there are gaps between these solid rows, you can rotate the rows to allow more or less light to enter your apartment. This light-filtering function allows you to change your apartment’s lighting levels without sacrificing the decorative qualities that your blinds bring to the room.

That said, blinds can actively detract from your apartment’s decorative setup if you’re not careful. Although blinds have become popular due to their affordability, they can easily be damaged and discolored, thereby becoming a blight on your apartment. If you’re serious about making sure that your window treatments add to your apartment’s decor scheme, opt for woven or wood blinds – or just go for shades (which are somewhat more expensive, but require similar hanging processes to blinds).

Which do you think is right for you: curtains, blinds, or shades? Share your opinion in the comments!

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