Types of Blinds for Your Windows

By Amanda Lutz Updated March 4, 2024

Homeowners can install window blinds to let in natural light, block sunlight, or change the mood and appearance of a room. There are many types of blinds that suit all types of windows. Read more about the different types of window blinds, the maintenance each type requires, and how to budget for installation in our guide below.


Types of Blinds

Window blinds have certain features that make them individually suited for use in bedrooms, bathrooms, or living spaces. We break down the most popular types, how they work, and where they function best. 

Cellular Shades

Cellular shades create a solid, opaque barrier when fully extended. They’re constructed from two or more rows of pleated fabric instead of individual slats that are typical of blinds. These rows connect to form diamond-shaped or honeycomb channels between layers, which can expand or contract like an accordion.

These window shades provide privacy, style, and energy-efficient insulation. Fabric cells can also fill with hot or cold air to keep a room’s temperature more comfortable and can allow some light inside or completely darken a space. 

Best suited for: Standard-sized windows in bedrooms, offices, and dining rooms

Mini Blinds

Mini blinds are built from thin, horizontal slats that are no more than an inch wide. Homeowners can draw up (open) or draw down (close) mini blinds by pulling on the bottom, and they can rotate slats to allow sunlight in or block it out. 

Mini blinds are available in a wide range of materials, colors, and sizes and can work well in any rectangular window. Thin slats offer a chic, contemporary style that isn’t encumbered by a string. 

Best suited for: Bedrooms, including children’s bedrooms, as they don’t have a string that parents might consider a safety hazard

Panel Blinds

Panel blinds have long vertical panels of fabric that move side to side along a headrail. Homeowners can extend all the panels out to create a wide window covering, or the panels can narrow into the width of a single panel to let in light. 

Panels are typically made of stiff fabrics, but homeowners can choose from a variety of textures, patterns, and colors. 

Best suited for: Sliding patio doors and larger windows in living rooms or dining rooms

Roller Blinds

Roller blinds are similar to standard blinds, but they’re made from a single piece of fabric rather than rows of individual slats. These blinds are made of sheer and light-filtering fabrics, thicker light-blocking materials, or packed wicker sheets that are dual-layered. 

Homeowners pull down the bottoms of roller blinds to unlock them and can change the length to whatever they like. Roller blinds are great for inside the home or outdoor patios and kitchens. 

Best suited for: Utilitarian spaces or budget remodels

Roman Shades

Roman shades are made of a single piece of fabric that homeowners can shorten by pulling a string that draws the shades into folds. The softness of Roman shades makes them a great supplement to other shades, but homeowners can also group them by twos or threes for use along big windows.

Keep Roman shades out of kitchens or bathrooms, as high-moisture environments can stain the fabrics or encourage mildew growth. 

Best suited for: Primary bedrooms, living rooms, and front-facing spaces

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds are probably what homeowners envision when they think of classic blinds. Vertical strings hold horizontal slats to keep these types of blinds in place. Homeowners can elongate or contract Venetian blinds by pulling strings or allow more or less light through a window by rotating a rod, which twists the blinds.

Venetian blinds are incredibly versatile, and they’re available in metal, plastic, wood, and faux wood varieties. Big-box stores and window-treatment stores carry wide varieties of lengths and widths for virtually any standard-shaped window.

Best suited for: Any window

Vertical Blinds

Add extra elegance and luxury to large windows with vertical blinds. These blinds have wide vertical slats that are straight or curved and hang freely from above the window to the floor. You can open these blinds by pulling a string or by using a rod mechanism to push the blinds all to one side of a window. You can also rotate the rod to angle the slats and allow light through a window.

If you have a particularly wide window, we recommend installing vertical blinds that open from the center toward the sides for a grander, symmetrical appearance. 

Best suited for: Main bedrooms and sliding patio doors


Materials Used in Blinds

Some blinds, such as Roman shades, are only available as one type of material, but other blinds are available in many types of materials. Take a look at the four most popular blind materials and what styles they pair best with below.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a sleek, modern option for vertical blinds, Venetian blinds, or mini blinds. It’s an increasingly popular choice because it’s more durable than plastic or wood and easier to clean than fabric. 

Aluminum is corrosion-resistant, is easy to wipe down with mild household cleaners, and won’t warp or stain. Homeowners can finish aluminum with white, wood, black, or matte paint or powder coating.

Fabric

Fabric-based blinds are available in dozens of different colors, patterns, and textures. 

We recommend using light-colored solids or subtly textured fabrics for most blinds. These add softness without overwhelming your space, especially for windows that also feature curtains and drapes. Thicker fabrics are ideal for room-darkening fixtures.

Fabrics are reserved for options such as roller blinds and Roman shades. If you love another style of blinds but also like fabrics, combine your blinds with upholstered window treatments.

Plastic

Plastic is a cost-effective, easy-to-clean material that’s best for Venetian blinds, mini blinds, and vertical blinds. It’s best suited for use in kitchens and bathrooms. 

Plastic bends easily, and the opening and shutting mechanisms can be temperamental. We recommend choosing thick plastics for long-term installations or thinner plastics if you need temporary blind options.

Wood

Wood is a luxurious material that homeowners can use for premium Venetian blinds and custom interior shutters. Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of wood types. Bamboo is a popular choice because of its light weight and uniform grain.

Wood needs a lot of maintenance and requires staining and finishing to protect it from moisture and sunlight. Keep it out of kitchens or bathrooms, where it might be susceptible to dampness. 


Choosing the Right Blinds

Choosing blinds that are right for you isn’t as simple as picking your favorite style. There are several factors to keep in mind when selecting the style, color, size, and features of your blinds. Make your choice based on these important considerations:

Budget

Different styles of blinds have different price points. Plastic Venetian blinds are one of the most budget-friendly options, while custom wood blinds and Roman shades are more expensive. New blinds can cost between $15 and $50 per window for materials and installation.*

The right blinds will make your house more energy efficient, especially when combined with cellular shades and thick or opaque blinds. The winning combination will reduce your energy bill significantly each month.

*Cost data in this section was sourced from HomeAdvisor.

Desired Light Control and Privacy Concerns

If your top priorities are privacy and protection from light, consider the material, size, and style of each set of blinds. Slatted blinds will always have some small gaps, for example, and opaque and blackout fabrics will provide more privacy than sheer fabrics. Carefully measure your windows to ensure you have enough material to block out the related space. 

Homeowners can modernize blinds by motorizing them. This allows you to open blinds on a set schedule or operate blinds from your phone or with a remote control. 

Room Type

Not all blinds are suited for use in all rooms. Follow these rules when deciding which blinds to put where.

Style Preferences

We recommend browsing through images of different types of window treatments before you commit to one. Read about how different blinds work with different types of windows, and think about which colors, materials, distinct features, and aesthetics you’ll love for years to come. 

Window Size

Consider the size of your window when deciding which blinds to choose. Vertical blinds are typically best in front of sliding glass doors or large windows, for example, while mini blinds work best in standard or small windows.

Window size can also dictate how many sets of blinds you need and the total cost of your project. If you have irregularly shaped windows, you may have to purchase custom-made fixtures. You might need to buy multiple vertical blinds or horizontal blinds for wide windows.


Care and Maintenance

All blinds require occasional maintenance, but some need more care than others. Follow these maintenance tips to keep your blinds clean and beautiful.


Our Recommendation

Window blinds provide privacy, shade, and style for your home’s interior. Consider which types of blinds function best in which rooms, and think about styles that you’ll appreciate for years to come. Consider augmenting your windows by adding motors if you have the budget, and remember to occasionally inspect blinds for signs of damage.


Types of Blinds FAQ

What type of blinds are best for large windows?

The type of blinds that are best for large windows are vertical blinds, which can cover tall windows and sliding patio doors.

How do you clean different types of blinds?

Clean different types of blinds by lightly dusting the surfaces regularly and using mild cleaning sprays. Fabric blinds may require a more specialized cleaning process.

What are the most durable types of blinds?

The most durable types of blinds are faux wood blinds. Thick plastic makes them durable, easy to clean, and ideal for use in humid spaces.

What types of blinds offer the best light control?

The types of blinds that offer the best light control are Venetian blinds, also known as horizontal slat blinds. Users can expand and contract slats to cover windows to various degrees.

What are blinds without strings called?

Blinds without strings are called cordless blinds. These blinds are spring-loaded and can be pushed up or down.