Blinds, Shades

While many people use these terms interchangeably, blinds and shades are uniquely different categories of window treatments.

Wood blindsBinds are comprised of hard slats and made from a variety of materials such as wood, faux wood, composites or metal. Offering a timeless and clean look, blinds are available with the slats running horizontally or vertically.

In comparison, shades are considered soft window coverings and are typically made from one or more pieces of fabric. There are many shade styles ranging from stylish Roman Shades to efficient yet beautiful Roller Shades.

Choosing between blinds and shades can be difficult. Primary considerations when deciding between blinds and shades are (1) function, (2) durability, (3) energy efficiency, (4) safety and (5) style.

Function (Privacy & Light Control):

While both blinds and shades can offer privacy and light control, they accomplish this function in different ways. Blinds have slats that can tilt for adjusting light and privacy. Shades are either open or closed.

Most shade manufacturers now offer Top Down/Bottom Up options, which means you can raise from the bottom or lower from the top – hence the name.  This feature allows you to let in natural light from the top while maintaining privacy. Shades are also available in room darkening materials that completely block light out or light filtering fabrics that lets in natural light while maintaining privacy.


Blinds CleaningSince blinds are made from hard materials, they are typically easier to clean and hold up better. Blinds can be dusted with a soft cloth or cleaned with furniture polish. For these reasons, blinds are a good choice if you have children or pets.

Dusting shades, which are made from fabric, requires regular vacuuming using a brush attachment. Shades may need to be removed and professionally cleaned for stains or significant grime.

Energy Efficiency:

Cellular CellsBoth blinds and shades can reduce heat gain by up to 45% when kept completely closed and lowered on a sunny window.

If you’re interested in keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, however, cellular shades are the most energy efficient window covering available. In a home, windows are the biggest cause of heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Basically, when the air in your room encounters a window, the temperature of the window can heat or cool the air. These shades use fabric pockets to trap air and create a layer of insulation.


Window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. In fact, between 1990 and 2015, nearly 17,000 children were treated in the emergency room for injuries related to window blinds and 271 died. Thankfully, newer window treatments offer options that are much safer for children and pets.

Today, both blinds and shades offer a variety of lift systems that meet the American National Standard for Safety of Corded Window Covering Products requirements that address strangulation hazards. These options include cordless and motorized options; tie-down devices to keep continuous-loop pull cords taut; cord stops; and more.

While corded systems may be necessary for some situations, it’s recommended only cordless window coverings be installed in bedrooms and sleeping areas for young children. Also, experts recommend replacing window blinds, corded shades, and draperies manufactured before 2001 with products that meet updated safety standards.


Choosing the perfect window fashion for your personal style is an important consideration. Blinds offer a very clean and classic look and come in a variety of paint finishes and rich looking stains perfectly suited for traditional, contemporary or modern homes.  If you’re looking to make a statement, you can add decorative fabric tapes and valences.

Roman ShadesShades offer a stylish fashion with many options for customization, so you can get that perfect look. Also, all shades can be paired with top treatments, such as valences, as well as side panels or draperies.

Available in a wide variety of fabrics and linings, Roman Shades gently fold when raised, giving them a unique and elegant look whether open or closed. Roman Shade are available in several different styles like Hobbled Roman Shades, which have cascading folds even when down, and Relaxed Roman Shades, which gently curve along the bottom hem.

Roller Shades are one of the most popular choices in window fashions.   Available in a wide variety of colors, textures and stylish fabrics, this option is clean, easy to operate and affordable.

Solar shades are made from fabric that blocks UV rays while allowing visibility through the shade – like sunglasses for your window.

If you’re trying to decide between binds or shades, call Made in the Shade Wichita at 316.272.2173 for your free, no pressure in-home consultation.

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