Deciding Between Blinds vs. Shades for Your Home

Should you invest in Roman blinds for windows or shades instead of blinds?? When it comes to the blinds vs. shades debate, there’s no right or wrong answer. Still, choosing the best window blind or shade will make a difference in your home’s aesthetics, lighting, and overall feel. 

Consult our window-covering comparison guide to make an informed decision for your house. 

What Is the Difference Between Shades and Blinds?

Many people assume the terms blinds and shades are interchangeable. However, they’re not the same type of window covering. 

Window blinds have a series of connected horizontal or vertical slats that you can open and close to control how much light you let into the room. The covering won’t completely expose the entire window pane, even if you push the blinds up.

Shades are opposite from window blinds. They consist of a single piece of material that you can raise or drop to cover or expose your window. 

How To Choose Between Window Treatment Options

Here are the top factors to help you choose between shades and blinds. 

Lighting and Privacy

Shades and blinds let you customize how much natural light you let indoors. Blinds offer more lighting and privacy customization because you can control how open or closed each slat is or raise the blinds like shades. However, wood and faux wood blinds create a thick bundle when you raise them, which can restrict the view from your window. 

Shades can also let in plenty of light if you choose a lightweight, sheer material. Thicker materials can block light when they’re down, making them excellent bedroom window coverings if sunlight disturbs your rest. 


Cleaning window blinds is fairly straightforward; you can clean each slate with a soft cloth or duster. Since shades are usually a single piece of material, they can accumulate a lot of dust and grime. Using a brush attachment on a vacuum or spot-cleaning stains with warm water is the best way to maintain shades.  

Unfortunately, you might need professional cleaning to treat shades with a major grime buildup. Easy-to-clean blinds may be best if your windows are in a high-traffic area or a home with children and pets.

Child and Pet Safety

Many blinds use cords to open, close, and raise their slats. Unfortunately, these cords could become a safety hazard for children and pets. Roller shades and cellular shades are safer because they don’t have cords. 


Shades come out on top of the blinds vs. shades debate when it comes to insulation. Cellular shades contain fabric air pockets that help insulate drafty windows by preventing air from seeping in or leaking out. 

Best Types of Shades To Consider

The differences in blinds and shades are greater than you’d expect once you consider the numerous styles and materials available for each option. For example, you can buy shades consisting of fabric, silk, vinyl, wood, bamboo, faux wood, or cotton.

Some shades have a tight weave to give rooms a blackout effect. Others are more sheer to allow privacy without restricting natural light. Here are the best shades to consider:

  • Pleated shades: Similar look to blinds without individual slats
  • Cellular shades: Ideal for insulating windows by trapping air
  • Roller shades: A quick tug on its cord will cause the shade to roll up into a tight coil
  • Roman shades: A popular option that creates horizontal folds when you pull them up

Common Options for Window Blinds

Blinds also come in many colors, styles, and materials. For example, faux wood blinds are a favorite option for many homeowners thanks to their durability and ability to withstand moisture. If you prefer the warmth and charm of real wood over engineered wood, consider installing wood blinds in 1-inch, 2-inch, or 2.5-inch slats. 

Metal blinds are an economical option, which is ideal if you’re looking for inexpensive options when choosing between blinds and shades. Metal blinds won’t curl or bend, but they can be noisy. They’re best for commercial buildings. 

For homes, many go for vinyl. Vinyl blinds have good durability, a versatile appearance, and a reasonable cost. 

Get Help Making the Blinds or Shades Decision

No matter your stance regarding the blinds vs. shades debate, you can find the perfect options for your home through BlindQuest. Our family-owned and operated company serves the Troy, Illinois, area with custom window treatments from an experienced design team. We can help with selecting the right window coverings from our impressive inventory of Hunter Douglas blinds, shades, shutters, and panels. 

Call (618) 342-8037 to schedule your consultation with BlindQuest today, or stop by our showroom to browse our selections. 

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