Like curtains and drapes, window blinds are very common household items. It is also quite common for people to misunderstand and misuse certain descriptive terms concerning blinds, so it may be beneficial to define exactly what these words mean.
Blind - A type of window covering generally characterized by its use of parallel slats. Blinds are generally made of wood, plastic, or other materials. They can easily be opened and closed by turning a shaft. Usually, the slats can be raised or drawn to the side of the window by pulling on a cord. They are used to protect privacy and to block sunlight. Though sometimes used as a generic term for all types of coverings, blinds are usually considered distinct from related items such as curtains and shutters.
Venetian Blinds - A type that uses horizontal slats that can be rotated to control the level of sunlight that comes through it. Sometimes called wooden blinds. A mini blind is a variation of this type that uses very thin slats.
Vertical Blinds - A type that uses slats arranged vertically. The blinds go up and down, rather than left to right. Often used with large, glass sliding doors.
Cellular Blinds - A type that uses continuous pleated material with no gaps. Also called honeycomb shades.
Blackout Blinds - A type especially designed to block light.
Roller Blinds - A type that can be retracted by being rolled around a metal tube. Also called roller shades.
Faux Wood Blinds - A type that uses fake wood slats. Considered more durable than blinds that use real wood.
Matchstick Blinds - A type made of rounded bamboo wood sticks that are tightly bound together.
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Blinds have two basic functions. They reduce visibility from outdoors and provide shade from the sunlight. Blinds or blind like structures have been used for centuries. For example desert dwellers used wet cloths to cover their meager shelters and the ancient Egyptians strung reeds together and hung them over the windows to divert peeking eyes.
Today there are a variety of blinds for people to choose from when deciding to incorporate this home fixture. Vertical and horizontal blinds are probably at the top of the list. Both can be used with or without curtains, although horizontal blinds are often accompanied with curtains. Vertical blinds are ideal for patio sliding doors as they cover the door from top to bottom vertically. Other popular fixtures are those that custom made to fit particular window measurements. Skylights for example must have special blinds made to fit with those unique measurements. Minis are also very popular. Roller blinds or shades are an economical option and require little effort for installation. Cellular shades are an option for this category. Many large institutions like schools use roller blinds or shades. Wood is an alternative to shutters. It is typically made from basswood or ramin wood. Venetian, faux, bamboo and matchstick all fit into the wooden category. Roman blinds are made from fabric that gathers into pleats when raised up. If you want to enhance the effect of darkness in a room, blackout blinds are the way to go. These window treatments darken the room even during daylight hours.
Discount liquidators and home improvement stores offer the various options for these types of window treatments. Private companies may also supply services to estimate and install these blinds. With so many options, versatile blinds fit with anyone's personal preference for decor.