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How to Select the Best Blinds for Your Windows

Become an instant expert on buying blinds with this breakdown of sizes, styles, and retailers.
By Samantha Jones
September 14, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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Upgrading the blinds in your home might seem like an unimportant task, but in reality, installing the right set of blinds can add visual appeal and increased privacy to your home. Swapping out your dated window coverings for a more modern option allows you to control the amount of light that streams in, maximizes your home's energy savings, and reinvigorates a room's decor. Whether you have custom windows that require specially cut treatments or you're simply in need of a refresh, there are many stylish yet affordable blinds for you to choose from that'll elevate your living space. 

Before making a final decision, it's important to consider factors such as cost, materials, color, and whether a contractor is needed to install the product. This blinds installation guide covers all that and more. If you're looking to buy right now, scroll down to see a selection of blinds from Amazon, Wayfair, Stoneside, and other major retailers. 

Signs Your Blinds Need Replacing

If you're wondering whether or not it's time to replace the blinds in your home, you can usually make that determination through a quick examination. While blinds are typically made to last seven to eight years, outside factors such as humidity, malfunctioning parts, and the purchase of new windows could force your existing blinds into early retirement. 

If you've had the same set of blinds for close to a decade, you'll probably notice natural wear and tear caused by age, such as warped or bent slats and frayed cords. According to Barrie Barash, a Los Angeles-based blinds designer at Stoneside Blinds & Shades, the lifespan of a specific set of blinds depends on the material they're made out of and the amount of use they receive. 

"Custom products will last a lot longer [than hardware store blinds], simply because they are made of higher quality materials and manufactured to be durable," Barash says. "You can expect a custom product to last 10 or more years."

Blinds that are difficult to raise and lower could indicate that internal pieces are damaged. Replacing them at this stage reduces the risk of injury to you or your family if the blinds break or fall. 

Types of Blinds

When choosing a style of blinds to install in your home, there's a lot to consider. For highly functional rooms like your kitchen, opt for a resilient window treatment, such as Venetian blinds. For smaller rooms, lightweight window treatments that don't draw too much focus, like mini blinds, work well. Blinds can be outside-mounted (attached to the wall or window trim, or above the frame) or inside-mounted (nestled within the window frame). 

Deciding between inside-mount and outside-mount blinds depends on the depth of your windows and your design preference. Since outside-mount blinds are installed on or above your window frame, this can be a great solution for windows with a shallow depth. They also give the appearance of larger windows and can cover an outdated or unsightly window frame. For a more minimalist design that blends with your window frames, choose inside-mount blinds.  

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds are one of the most popular styles and feature adjustable horizontal slats made from wood, aluminum, or plastic. These blinds fit in seamlessly with many interior design styles because they come in a variety of sizes and colors. You can further customize Venetian blinds with cloth tape, cordless or motorized lifting mechanisms, and light-blocking materials. 

Best Venetian Blinds

Mini Blinds

One of the most affordable and versatile options is mini blinds, which have slats that are less than half the width of standard-size blinds. They're typically made of synthetic materials, meaning they're lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. Though not as customizable as Venetian blinds, mini blinds are available in different colors and sizes (depending on the manufacturer), so you can find a set that fits your windowsill. 

Best Mini Blinds

Vertical Blinds

If you're looking for a simple yet sleek appearance, vertical blinds are a great option. According to Barash, these types of blinds are ideal for commercial spaces and sliding glass doors since they're highly durable and can easily be moved out of the way when necessary. Because vertical blinds move side to side across your windows, they're easy to adjust depending on how much natural light you want to bring in. Some homeowners choose to install a decorative valance above their vertical blinds to cover the track where the blinds attach. 

Best Vertical Blinds 

Blind Sizes

Because there are so many different styles of windows and dimensions, blinds are not one size fits all. If you have custom windows or live in an older home, it's likely standard-size blinds won't work. However, you can set up consultations with major retailers like Stoneside Blinds & Shades, Lowe's, and The Home Depot to get your windows measured and receive expert recommendations about the type of window treatments you should purchase. Because blinds installation requires precise measurements, it's always best to involve a professional before you order any products. 

Materials for Blinds

Blinds can be purchased in a variety of colors and materials to match your design aesthetic. When selecting these features, keep in mind what room you're decorating, your budget, and the size of the window you're dressing. 

Wood Blinds

Wood blinds are the most durable and long-lasting type available, creating a polished, natural look in most rooms. Many manufacturers offer wood blinds in multiple stains, so you can match your set to window frames, flooring, or other wood accents in your home. Wood blinds are great for high-traffic, low-humidity rooms since they hold up under frequent use but will warp if exposed to too much moisture. Although they tend to be a bigger investment upfront, wood blinds increase a home's value more than less expensive options, according to Barash.  

Price of wood blinds: Above average

Faux Wood Blinds

If you like the look of wood blinds but they're out of your price range, faux wood blinds are a more affordable alternative. Made from either composite wood or PVC, faux wood blinds tolerate moisture better than wood blinds, so you can install them in high-humidity areas like bathrooms. Because it tends to be heavier than other materials, faux wood shouldn't be adjusted frequently, making it less ideal for commonly used spaces. 

Price of faux wood blinds: Medium-cost option

Vinyl Blinds

Most common in mini blinds and vertical blinds, vinyl is a lightweight synthetic material that can easily blend into just about any interior design style. Vinyl blinds are incredibly versatile because moisture and household cleaning products won't damage them. Not only are they one of the most affordable options on the market, but they also offer similar levels of energy efficiency as more expensive materials. Plus, they're designed to be raised and lowered frequently without fear of breaking.

Price of vinyl blinds: Budget-friendly option

Aluminum Blinds

While less likely to visually blend into your windowsill than wood or vinyl, aluminum blinds are great for spots in your home that are more functional than decorative (think a garage or home office). Most aluminum blinds are rust-proof, so they're capable of withstanding high levels of moisture. They also tend to last longer than vinyl blinds.   

Price of aluminum blinds: Budget-friendly option

How to Install Blinds

While it is possible to measure and install blinds on your own, the process is tricky, and a single incorrect measurement can result in accidentally purchasing the wrong window treatment. According to Barash, even if your windows appear to be a perfect rectangle, they may not be. 

"[Your windows] can vary in width from top to bottom, making accurate measurements difficult to attain," Barash says. "The most significant advantage to having an expert install your new blinds is the guaranteed perfect fit for your window." 

If you do opt to install blinds on your own, it's best to measure your window frames in multiple places along the length and width to ensure you have the correct dimensions. If your windows don't fit within standard blind sizes, we suggest working with a retailer that offers in-house blind cutting like The Home Depot or Lowe's

When choosing blinds, consider three measurements: your window's width, length, and depth. For inside-mount blinds, measure from one side of the window casing to the other in the top, middle, and bottom. If the measurements are inconsistent throughout, use the smallest measurement. Then measure the length of the window frame in three places and use the longest measurement if they aren't the same. Finally, measure the depth of your window casing at the top since this is where your blinds will attach. These measurements will help you determine which size and style of blinds to buy. 

For outside-mount blinds, measure the exact width you'd like the blinds to cover (this might be slightly wider than the window casing itself). You also need to determine where you want the headrail of the blinds to attach, and should measure from this point to the very bottom of the windowsill. When in doubt, it's better to go longer because you can always make the blinds shorter. 

Best Places to Buy Blinds 

When it's time to purchase new blinds for your home, working with the right retailer can make all the difference. Many companies offer free consultations to help you find the best blinds for your aesthetic and budget. If you have windows that don't meet the standard dimensions, a technician can ensure you order the correct size blinds for any space. Plus, big retailers often provide installation services for an additional fee, so you don't have to worry about putting the blinds up by yourself. Scroll down for our recommendations on where to buy blinds.  

Stoneside Blinds & Shades

For long-lasting, high-quality blinds that are custom-cut to fit your windows, Stoneside Blinds & Shades is the manufacturer to call. The company offers free consultations during which you meet with a designer to talk through different sizes, styles, and materials. Stoneside's technicians also handle the installation, so you don't have to worry about incorrect measurements. You can also upgrade your blinds to include motorization, which raises and lowers them automatically. 

Schedule your free design consultation now by visiting Stoneside's website. 

Amazon

If you're willing to sift through listings and reviews to find a good product, Amazon is a great place to score incredible deals on blinds. Since the blinds are pre-cut and shoppable by size, homeowners with standard-size windows can easily purchase mini blinds, Venetian blinds, and vertical blinds that'll fit their windows. Of course, buying blinds from an online retailer like Amazon means you'll have to install them yourself, but several reviewers who shopped top-rated blinds said the process was simple and straightforward. 

Wayfair

When shopping for blinds on Wayfair, you can filter your search by length, width, size, color, and material to find the exact style you're looking for. Similar to Amazon, you don't have the option to work with an expert, but you can still shop a variety of window treatments at affordable prices. 

Lowe's 

Lowe's has a wide range of blinds in both standard and custom sizes. The popular hardware store sells a myriad of colors, materials, and styles, making it super easy to find the exact product you're looking for. The company will also connect you to independent contractors in your area who can install your new blinds for you. Plus, Lowe's offers price matching if you find the same blinds at another store for less and free shipping. 

Schedule an in-home measurement appointment with a Lowe's associate now to learn more about the company's installation services. 

The Home Depot

When it comes to blinds, The Home Depot is dedicated to helping you find the perfect fit. In addition to carrying popular brands like Bali Blinds, Levolor, and Home Decorators, The Home Depot encourages shoppers to schedule a consultation with one of its experts, who will help you measure your windows and select appropriate products. You can opt to have a professional install the blinds for you or you can DIY it using one of the company's helpful installation guides

Blinds.com

Shop a huge selection of products in any color, size, and material imaginable on Blinds.com. Though you won't be able to browse the selection in person, you can schedule a virtual design consultation with a technician, request samples on some products, and return your blinds for free within 30 days of purchasing. Even if you need to return the product because you measured incorrectly, Blinds.com will recut and send you the correctly sized blinds for free.