Choosing between blinds, shades, and curtains for your home will ultimately come down to a matter of taste. However, there are some big differences between these 3 types of window treatments that can hugely impact your choice.

Today, we’ll help you understand these differences with the goal of ensuring you choose the right window covering for your space. Let us know if you have questions along the way! We’re happy to help.

Comparing shades, curtains, and blinds

Blinds Shades Curtains
Material Made from synthetic and natural materials. No patterns, some textures Made from fabric in various colors, patterns, & textures. Some natural fibers. Come in a variety of fabrics, colors, patterns, and textures
Function Installed at the top of your window. Moves up and down, some view through capability depending on product. Installed at the top of your window or door, moving up and down, some have top-down, bottom-up capability Hanging from a rod installed at the top of your window. Open and close from side to side
Operation Cord, cordless, & remote Cord, cordless, & remote Manual or remote
Light Control Moderate Sheer to blackout Sheer to blackout

Blinds

Characteristics

  • Horizontal or vertical slats
  • Typically wood, bamboo, aluminum, or vinyl material
  • Come in various colors and sizes

Window blinds are a very common type of window covering and are found in many homes throughout Portland. Blinds have horizontal slats, though can also be vertical, and allow you to see outside without obstructing your privacy. These slats are also very helpful for air ventilation and add a lovely light-filtering effect.

Blinds are controlled through either a cord or cordless system. Many homeowners today are moving toward power blinds and smart-blind systems, allowing them to operate the blinds remotely or on a schedule.

As for what they’re made from, blinds come in a wide variety of materials and styles — from natural to imitation options. The most popular are:

  • Wood
  • Aluminum
  • Vinyl
  • Fabric

Blinds can be completely customized to fit the length and width of your window and space. Additionally, because of the wide range in material types, virtually every homeowner can find the right blinds to fit their budget.

Need some assistance?

We help take the guesswork out of choosing the perfect blinds for your home.

Check out our guide to choosing the perfect blinds for your space, or give us a call!

Shades

Characteristics

  • Made from fabric, in one single piece
  • Light control ranges from diffused to blackout
  • Customizable colors, patterns, and textures available

The word “shades” is often used interchangeably with “blinds,” but the two are actually quite different — both in how they look and the way they control light and privacy.

Shades do not have slats. Instead, they are made from a single piece of fabric that moves up and down, or sometimes side to side. This type of window covering has several manual lifting system options and can be easily integrated with a smart home system.

Designer shades come in a variety of fabrics, structures, and shapes and come in different colors, patterns, and textures. They also come in a variety of designs. For instance, here at Portland Window Coverings, we offer:

Curtains

Characteristics

  • Fabric panels
  • Highly versatile and come in a wide range of widths, lengths, fabrics, colors, and patterns
  • Often used in combination with another type of window treatment

Curtains are the ideal window covering choice for adding decoration, softness, and warmth to a room. They also help absorb sound.

Made from virtually all types of fabrics, they can be custom-designed in various widths, lengths, and styles. They also come in a range of sheer to thick materials, providing limited or full light control.

Curtains hang from a rod, which can be visible, hidden, decorative, or simple. They also have a variety of hanging options — metal and wood rings, or directly to pole glides. They can also be hung on a motorized track, allowing them to be controlled remotely.

Many people use curtains in combination with another window treatment, like blinds, shades, or even with another curtain (for example a drape curtain layered over a sheer curtain). This oftens creates a more interesting, practical, and user friendly treatment. But, if necessary, they can also be used alone.

Choosing the right kind of window covering for your home

Of these 3 types of window coverings, there’s likely one option that immediately catches your interest more than the rest. But before you jump into a decision, we have a 4 tips to help you choose the right window coverings and get the best result.

1. See some options in person

We always recommend seeing and comparing the different types of window coverings in person. What might sound like the perfect fit may look and feel completely different in person. Viewing these options in person can also give you a better idea of functionality and how they’ll fit into your daily life.

At Portland Window Coverings, we have showrooms in both Beaverton and Lake Oswego. You’re more than welcome to stop by and explore window covering options.

2. Consult a designer

We advise having one of our designers come out to your home to evaluate your space, answer all your questions, and provide the best recommendations. A window covering designer can evaluate your goals and offer a solution to fit with the aesthetic and functional needs of your home.

Our team is happy to provide complimentary in-home consultations to help you find the perfect window coverings.

3. Order sample swatches

Once you’ve selected the type of window covering you want, it’s time to pick out designs.

Get the right color, texture, and overall style by requesting samples of your window covering of choice. You may want to order a few options to choose from.

Take a look at how these swatches look with the style of your home and room to ensure the covering will help bring the room together in a cohesive way.

And don’t forget about the window covering hardware, either!

4. Take the right measurements

Getting the perfect final result is impossible without the right measurements. Recording careful measurements will help you avoid recording and wasting money. This is especially important if you have a custom-sized window.

Remember…“measure twice, cut once!”

5. Get them professionally installed

It doesn’t matter if you have the best window treatments available. If you install them incorrectly, they will look cheap and won’t last.

At Portland Window Coverings, our window covering installers are top-of-the-line. Whether you chose shades, curtains, blinds, or a combination of all 3, we know the care and precision needed to property setup and install your coverings to the exact specifications.

How can we help?

Ready to choose the perfect window coverings for your home? Our team is here to assist.

We’re provide luxurious Hunter Douglas blinds and shades, as well as custom-made curtains crafted right here in Portland. More than that, we help with the entire window coverings buying process — from selecting the right type of covering, style, and material, to measuring, ordering, and installation.

We’ll help you find a look you love, and make it a reality. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary, in-home consultation and to learn more.