Remodeling or decorating a home sometimes seems like an endless sea of decisions. From sorting through carpet and paint samples
to comparing lamp shades with throw pillows, you can easily feel overwhelmed.

Don’t try to decide everything at once. It can seem impossible to pick out a specific item from hundreds of choices. When it comes to home decorating, start with big decisions, then move your way into the details.

For example, if you wanted to decide on a pet to buy, you’d decide whether you wanted a dog or a cat before you decided between a pit bull and a dachshund. Similarly, before you can decide what design or specific style of window treatment you want, you must simply decide whether you prefer blinds or shades.

The Difference

Many people believe that blinds and shades are different names for the same thing. While both blinds and shades perform the same task, each option offers unique benefits.

Blinds are hard window treatments. They consist of horizontal slats or vertical vanes made from wood, composite material, or aluminum. They rotate to adjust the levels of light and privacy.

Shades are a soft window treatment typically made from different kinds of fabric, grasses, or woven woods. You can raise or lower them to adjust the levels of light and privacy.

Light and Privacy Control

Window treatments have a big impact on the room. They serve more than an aesthetic purpose-they control the natural light and privacy of the room as well.


Blinds offer more in-the-moment control. You can tilt the vanes and slats to provide the exact amount of light and privacy you want into the room.

Blinds work as a great option for the bathroom, if you want a lot of natural light in the morning as you get ready for the day, simply slide open the blinds. Once you want a little more privacy when you hop in the shower, just close the blinds.

You can even control the angle of the light. If you want to let in natural light while maintaining your privacy, simply angle the blinds so the sunlight can peak through but no one can see inside the room.


Shades aren’t as adjustable as blinds-you can roll them up or down, but you can’t angle them to let in light while still protecting your privacy. However, they still offer several advantages. Shades come in varying degrees of thickness. Some shades look thin enough to let in some light during the day while still offering privacy. Others completely block out all light.

If you have a small child who won’t take a nap when during the day, thick shades can darken the room and make nap time a lot easier. These thick shades work well in bedrooms and media rooms.


Windows are one of the weakest points in your home when it comes to energy-efficiency. Cold air always seems to seep in or out. Window treatments add a layer of insulation and can help you save money on your energy bills every month.


Blinds offer basic insulation. They can block the sun during the warm hours of the day and trap some of the heat in the house during colder nights. Much of the insulator power will depend upon the chosen material.


Like blinds, different shades offer different levels of insulation. Thicker shades made from hearty materials offer greater energy savings. However, on average, shades offer more insulation than blinds, especially cellular or honeycomb shades, which trap the cold or hot air between the window and the shade.


How much time and effort are you willing to put into window treatment maintenance? Do you have small children that make a mess
wherever they go? Take these factors into consideration when you choose a window treatment.


Blinds offer easy maintenance since they are typically non-absorbent. Most varieties simply require you to wipe off dust, spills, or other messes with a moist cloth. If you have wood blinds, make sure to wipe up spills immediately, as wood will quickly absorb all the liquid and become stained.


Because most shades come in highly-absorbent materials, shades sustain more stains than blinds. You must regularly clean off dust with a sponge or duster. If your shades get a stain, like most fabrics, they will require more extensive care depending on the source of the stain.

Decorating your home doesn’t have to be as stressful when you simplify your decisions. Break your decisions down into more manageable bites you can take one at a time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If window treatment decisions make you want to tear your hair out, visit a window treatment company and ask for advice. They can help you pick treatments that work in each of your rooms.