Curtains vs. Blinds: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that the U.S. inflation rate reached a staggering 7% in December 2021? Rising energy prices, in turn, were behind 21% of that increase.

Unfortunately, experts forecast energy price hikes to continue this 2022. That includes a potential 3.9% increase in residential electricity prices.

That’s enough reason for you to make energy improvements at home. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to use windows curtains or blinds.

The question is, which of those two should you choose?

This guide, which compares curtains vs. blinds, can help you decide, so read on to learn what’s best for your home.

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What Are Curtains?

Curtains are window treatments made of fabric panels and often sold in pairs. You can get them in almost any color and pattern, including solid hues and printed designs. They’re also available in various fabrics, such as cotton, linen, or velvet.

As for how long curtains are, you can find them in one of five standard lengths: 63, 84, 95, 108, or 120 inches. The standard width, on the other hand, is 45 inches.

To put up curtains over your windows, you first need to hang them from a rod. It’s a long, narrow pole that’s often extendable and usually made of metal. You then insert it into the curtain’s metal grommets, rings, or sleeves found at the top of the fabric panel.

Next, you need to place the rod on mounting brackets installed on the adjacent wall. Depending on the rod’s length, you may have to use two to three mounts to hold it up and keep it stable.

What About Blinds?

Like curtains, blinds are also window treatments meant to cover those “holes” in your walls. However, they’re different because they have many movable panels called slats or vanes. You can adjust or tilt the slats simultaneously, but you can also lift or lower the entire system to close or open it.

Each slat that forms window blinds can have a 1/2-, 1-, or 2-inch depth. The first two are typical for mini blinds, while the latter is more common in traditional blinds.

Either way, a long thread, called a braided ladder, holds all the vanes together. It goes through a routing hole punched in each slat to keep them connected yet movable.

Another difference is that blinds consist of stiff materials, such as wood or plastic. You can also find them in bamboo or metal variants.

Most standard window blinds also have a wand that you rotate to adjust the vanes. Doing that raises only the slats, tilting them inward or outward.

If you want to open the entire system, you need to keep pulling the lift cord until all the slats form a neat stack at the top. A locking mechanism ensures the vanes don’t drop.

Then, once you’re ready to lower your blinds, you only have to tug on the lift cord again. That disables the locking mechanism, allowing the slats to descend.

What Are the Benefits of Curtains?

Since you can get curtains in so many different styles and designs, you can use them for every room in your home. That versatility also makes them ideal choices for bathrooms and kitchens. Moreover, they’re super easy to use; you only have to slide them to one side or use a decorative bow to keep them open.

Another benefit of curtains is that they help boost privacy by covering window panes. However, the thicker and more opaque the fabric you choose, the more privacy it can provide. A perfect example is a velvet curtain, which is extremely heavy and has tight weaves.

Velvet and blackout curtains also block light. That makes them some of the best curtains for windows in bedrooms. Close them at night, and they may help you sleep better since they promote a darker environment.

That sun-blocking effect can also help insulate your home, especially against solar heat. Some curtains even have a backing that rejects or reflects the sun’s heat. Thus, they help keep your home cool in the summer, reducing your air conditioner’s workload.

Come winter, thick curtains can act as a barrier against the chilly outdoor air. At the same time, they can help prevent heat from escaping through the windows.

Curtains, especially the heavy, opaque ones, help soundproof your home, too. For instance, they can dampen external noise, which can cause sleep disruptions.

Are There Disadvantages to Using Curtains?

Yes, one of which is that they take up more space since they extend over window frames.

Their large size also makes curtains tough to clean, especially if you need to wash a lot of them together. Moreover, the thicker, wider, and longer they are, the more water and detergent you have to use. You may even have to run several washing cycles to clean multiple pairs.

Curtains with rings or grommets are also fussier to clean since you need to take off those parts first. Otherwise, they might get all bent up or develop dents and scratches. They might also damage the curtains or the washing machine itself.

Another disadvantage is that fabrics are vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation damage. Experts even say UV exposure causes up to 40% of fading in such materials. Hence, curtains that receive plenty of sun exposure are likely to become discolored.

What Do Blinds Have to Offer?

Window blinds offer more flexibility than curtains when it comes to sunlight control. After all, they provide you the option of tilting just the vanes to let in some light. However, if you want to get plenty of natural light, you can pull the cord to raise all the slats to the top of the window.

Some manufacturers also offer blinds treated with a UV-resistant coat. That finish helps protect them against the fading and brittleness that UV can cause. And like curtains, they can also insulate your home.

It’s also easier to clean blinds because of their slick surfaces. A microfiber cloth is all you need to get rid of dust and debris on their slats. You can also use a cleaning towel moistened with some plain water to remove more stubborn dirt.

Note, too, that you can get modern blind systems in motorized versions. They allow you to control them with a touch of a button. You can open, close, or adjust their slats without manually doing so.

Some motorized types of blinds even let you control them using an app on your smartphone. With that, you can set schedules on when your blinds should open or close or the degree their slats should tilt. They may even be intelligent enough to do those tasks by sensing the temperature in your home.

What Drawbacks Do Blinds Have?

While blinds are easier to clean than curtains, they may require more cleaning. That’s because dust is quicker to settle on flat, rigid, and smooth surfaces. Dirt may also be easier to notice on blinds, especially if they have a lighter color.

Fortunately, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to clean your blinds, as long as you wipe them at least once a week.

Incorrect operation of window blinds can also cause their slats to develop damage. For example, they may become dented if you push the vanes down with your hand, such as if you want to look out the window. They may even snap, or their ladders may become frayed.

Lift cords and tassels can also pose dangers to families with kids and pets. If not kept out of children’s and animals’ reach, they may give rise to choking incidents. To keep your family safe, you can either hang the cords or go for fully motorized, cordless blinds.

Curtains vs. Blinds: Which Is Better Then?

Because curtains and blinds have their pros and cons over the other, deciding which one is better is up to you. However, you don’t have to stick to one, because you can use them together. You can pair the two to maximize their benefits and compensate for what the other one lacks.

For example, you can install both on the same window if you want utmost privacy and light and sound control. However, make sure that you install the blinds first.

That set-up can help reduce the dust absorbed by the fabric since it settles on the blinds first. It may be better that way since blinds are easier to clean.

Mix and Match Curtains and Blinds

There you have it; the guide that draws the curtain to the curtains vs. blinds debate. Now you know that while both are superb window treatments, they also have weaknesses. Fortunately, they go well together, with their benefits making up for what the other one lacks.

So, if you can’t decide whether to get curtains or blinds, consider mixing and matching them.

Did you like this article? Then you’d love our other informative guides, so feel free to check them out now!

Author: SHABL

Rob has been traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. The goal was to stop having a boring life and it turned into something far greater. He's worked with national tourism boards and been mentioned in National Geographic. These days he lives abroad and loves business, technology, the tropical lifestyle, good food and travel.

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