Blinds, shades and shutters provide privacy and help control indoor lighting. Choosing among the three is usually a matter of taste, but it can be due to function and often budget as well. There are subtle differences among the three, and knowing them can help you better decide which one to install.
Blinds vs. Shades vs. Shutters
Category BlindsShadesShutters Materials used Wood, vinyl, heavy fabric, bamboo, aluminum, PVCFabric, vinyl, woven materialsWood, viny l Privacy level ✰✰✰⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Mechanism Drawn with string or in the case of motorized blinds, an electric switch Drawn with string or in the case of motorized shades, an electric switch Slats open/close using a push rod. Shutter doors can be opened completely like casement or accordion windows. Light control ✰✰✰⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Ease of cleaning Moderate Difficult Moderate Cost Mid-range, highly variableLeast expensive, but “smart” and motorized shades are sold at premium prices Most expensive Longevity 2 to 5 years 5 to 7 years 10 years or more
Blinds are probably the most common among the three options, simply because they are more widely available. They also come in different materials, colours and sizes, which makes them a more versatile option. Additionally, they’re fairly easy to clean using a feather duster or a regular rag.
However, blinds are susceptible to disrepair as the constant pulling of the cords can damage the mechanism. The thin slats, depending on the material, can bend or break with frequent adjustments, which can be unsightly when not fixed.
While they can be used anywhere in the home, blinds are best used in spaces that receive a lot of ventilation during the day, like living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and home offices. When used in these rooms, you can open the windows to welcome in fresh air while keeping the blinds tilted so you can still have some privacy.
The average cost of blinds in Canada ranges from $50 to $850 per window, depending on the material, but some types can be cheaper than curtains!
Shades, sometimes called Roman blinds, function pretty much the same as blinds, only without the slats.
Shades look fabulous in bedrooms, libraries and offices, as they create a warm and relaxing look. Most materials used for shades have low to medium opacity, but some manufacturers offer options for maximum light blockage (blackout shades). These are ideal for people who work the night shift and sleep during the day.
The materials used for shades also tend to absorb rather than deflect sound waves, which helps dampen noises, making them good for home offices where you might need to do a lot of recording or virtual meetings.
The downside is they’re a little harder to clean since they can’t be laundered. Instead, cleaning shades involves vacuuming and dry cleaning, which is why it’s not advised to use them in kitchens, as they can absorb smoke, oil and odours very easily.
Regular shades can cost between $25 to $100 per window depending on the size, but motorized shades made with premium materials can go for as high as $1,000.
Shutters are like windows with built-in blinds. They are placed over windows and can be opened when needed. They’re good for most rooms, and different types of shutters can be used to match the aesthetic of the window and the room.
Plantation shutters, for example, which have wider slats, look magnificent when paired with larger windows.
California shutters, on the other hand, which have slimmer slats, look elegant when paired with narrow and tall windows.
Unlike blinds and shades, shutters are sturdy and heavier, and are either fitted into windows or attached to the wall, so they don’t flip or make a noise when it’s windy. They’re also very easy to clean, unless they have been heavily soiled, in which case, lukewarm water and a rag is usually enough.
The usual price of plantation shutters can range from $150 to$400 per window, while the more sophisticated California shutters can cost up to $2,000, depending on the type of material.
Choosing the Windows to Match
Finding the right accessories for your home can be taxing if you have too many options. But you don’t have to choose just one. By matching designs, colours, and materials, you can create a cohesive “look” in your home even if you use a variety of window treatments.
If you’re updating your home’s interiors and you think you need to upgrade your windows, we can help. Our window experts are great at giving advice and our reliable team of installers ensures the perfect fit, every time!