Blinds vs. Shades: Key Differences

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If you are choosing new window coverings and aren’t sure where to start, you should learn about the different types of window treatments to make an informed decision. Blinds and shades are some of the most popular window shading solutions on the market today, and they’ve been in use for many years.

What is The Difference Between Blinds and Shades?

If you are a first-time shopper for window treatments, you may not realize there are distinct differences between blinds and shades, although many people use the terms interchangeably. Blinds are considered hard window treatments because their horizontal vanes are made of hard materials. Window shades are made of a sheet of fabric, and they are softer than blinds, but they have still considered a hard window treatment. In layering your window treatments, your blinds or shades would be the first hard layer next to the window, and then you can add soft window treatments on tops, such as drapery panels or sheer panels.


Blinds and Shades Design

Blinds and shades are designed differently from each other. Window blinds have horizontal vanes in them. You can raise your blinds entirely, close them entirely, or raise them partially. If you want filtered light in a room, you can leave your blinds closed and rotate the vanes for some sunlight.

Shades are a solid piece of fabric, and you get less lighting control because you can raise, lower, or adjust them to any level, but they do not have vanes to adjust for filtered light in a room. If you choose a sheer fabric instead of a thicker and more luxurious one for your shades, then your shades can be light filtering when they are closed.

Blinds and Shades Installation

Blinds and shades may install a bit differently from each other, but the process is simplified for both. Blinds require you to mount a bracket on each side of the window and then slide or snap your blinds onto it. The different types of shades may vary slightly from one style to another, but the basic idea is the same–to attach the bracket on each side and then attach your window shades.

Blinds and Shades Cost

The cost of blinds and shades depends on many factors, such as the style of each, the materials they are made of, the size that you need, the colors you choose, and the brand. Both can be very affordable for simple and plain versions, however, for the highest quality custom window treatments, you will pay more.

As a whole, the more options you can choose from, the more expensive the window covering is. Shades have many different options in the fabrics, and you can even add a motorized lifting system to them. Blinds have fewer options, so you get a nice appearance for less money than shades in most cases.

How to Decide Between Blinds and Shades

It helps to learn about all the differences and similarities between two different window treatments to make the best decision for your particular situation.

Privacy and Light Control

If you are searching for a window treatment for a bedroom, then you want one with privacy control. When closed, binds give you perfect privacy , and you can tilt the vanes for filtered light. If you choose a thicker fabric for your shades, they will also give you the same great privacy control, but you lose the ability to have filtered light.


Blinds definitely win in the durability aspect between them and shades. Blinds work well in high-traffic areas on doors, playrooms, and bathrooms because they are moisture and humidity-resistant. Blinds are made of hard materials, such as metal, wood, or vinyl, making them more durable than shades, which are made of fabric and can rip.


Both blinds and shades are quite easy to maintain and keep clean , although shades are a bit easier to maintain. For shades, you lower them completely down and vacuum the front and back sides, and that’s it–you are done. For blinds, each of the vanes needs to be cleaned. You can use a feather duster or a Swiffer and just wipe each of the vanes when they are tilted so that they are fully open. It does take a bit more time to clean blinds.


In terms of the safety between blinds and shades, they are equally as safe for small children and pets if you choose the cordless versions. Dangling cords can be a choking hazard for small children, so it’s best to avoid corded models on any type of window treatment you buy.

Need Help in Choosing?

If you are searching for window blinds we can help you to make the best decisions depending on your situation. We can also help you with customized shades of all types as well. We have many years of professional interior design experience for all your residential or commercial needs. Contact us at Couvrant Interior Window Fashions for all of your Washington, D.C. window treatments in the highest quality of products available.

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