From Drab to Fab: Top 11 Alternatives to Vertical Blinds

A modern living room with grey roller blinds.

You see them everywhere. In every apartment for rent, every tract home sold, and every office you work in. We’re talking about vertical blinds.

Why are they ubiquitous? Because vertical blinds are simple to operate, easy to maintain, and relatively cheap.

The cons? They can be downright boring. They don’t age well and lack privacy and insulation.

But fear not! There are plenty of great alternatives to replace those fusty vertical blinds, and they don’t have to cost a king’s ransom.

1. Cellular Shades

A Blend of Aesthetics and Insulation

Cellular or honeycomb shades have a unique hexagonal cell structure that traps air and gives them exceptional insulation properties.

They fold up accordion-style for a clutter-free look and are available in various colors, opacities, and fabrics to match your decor. Cell sizes vary for better light control and insulation.

As a bonus, these shades reduce outside noise and protect against harmful UV rays.

2. Roller Shades

Practical Elegance, Easy Control

These streamlined, easy-to-operate shades offer a modern, minimalist aesthetic that never clashes with your interior design. Their simplicity doesn’t sacrifice functionality — roller shades are among the best window treatments for sunlight control and privacy.

What sets roller shades apart is their user-friendly mechanism. With a quick pull or push, they glide up or down. Some models have motorized options and can be integrated into your smart home system to open and close automatically.

Roller shades are ridiculously easy to maintain and clean, making them an excellent choice for homeowners who value style and practicality.

3. Roman Shades

Classic Elegance Meets Modern Functionality

Roman shades are a cross between curtains and shades, composed of a single piece of fabric that gently folds into itself when pulled up. This design produces an appealing draped effect akin to curtains.

When they’re down, they have the smooth, clean look typical of shades. They provide excellent light control and privacy, and their versatility is a big plus — they’re available in various fabrics, colors, and patterns.

Roman shades can be lined with a light-blocking fabric for even greater sunlight control, and because they lie flat against the window when down, they insulate well.

4. Austrian Shades

Vintage Drama

Austrian shades are similar to Roman shades but with a twist. While Roman shades fold from the bottom up, Austrian shades fold from the top down. This style produces a ruffled, romantic, and dramatic look.

Austrian shades are usually made from soft, lightweight fabrics like silk or linen, making them ideal for privacy without sacrificing natural light.

5. Solar Shades

Efficient Light Control and Energy Savings

Solar shades, also known as sun shades, are a terrific solution for those who want to enjoy their view while shielding interiors from the sun’s harsh glare.

These shades use specially engineered materials that reduce heat, maintain indoor temperatures, and protect furniture from fading due to sun exposure. The material and weave density determine how much light and UV radiation comes through.

7. Hunter Douglas® Woven Wood Shades

Natural Appeal Meets Modern Innovation

Hunter Douglas offers an incredible range of woven wood shades that beautifully blend natural materials with innovative design. These shades, made from organic bamboo, reeds, grasses, and woods, bring casual elegance and warmth to a room. The rustic character of the materials adds texture and depth, making each shade a one-of-a-kind piece of natural artwork for your windows.

Their exclusive top-down/bottom-up feature lets you control light and privacy to your liking. Plus, with PowerView® Automation, they can integrate with your smart home system for ultimate convenience.

5. Blackout Shades

Total Darkness for Optimal Sleep and Privacy

Blackout shades are the ultimate window treatment for a sleep environment. They block all incoming light, making them perfect for bedrooms, nurseries, and home theaters. No other shade provides the same level of light control, making blackout shades an excellent solution for late sleepers, shift workers, or anyone sensitive to light.

Beyond their light-blocking capabilities, blackout shades offer other significant benefits.

  • They insulate against heat transfer, which can help reduce energy costs and maintain a consistent temperature in your space, regardless of the weather outside.
  • They dampen outdoor noise, creating a quieter, more tranquil environment.

6. Bamboo Shades (Matchstick Shades)

E-Friendly and Stylish

Bamboo shades are nature’s gift to window treatments. Also known as matchstick shades, they’re a stylish and eco-friendly alternative crafted from organic bamboo, a sustainable resource. They have a light and airy feel.

Bamboo shades provide reasonable privacy without completely blocking your view of the outdoors. They cast delicate patterns in the room when sunlight filters through.

7. Venetian Blinds

Classic Design Meets Functionality

Venetian blinds offer superb light and privacy control. You can adjust the slats to any angle to let in as much or as little light as you wish. It’s easy to create the perfect ambiance, whether a brightly lit room for a productive work day or a softly lit environment for a cozy movie night.

Venetian blinds are durable, easy to clean, and don’t absorb odors or wear out like fabrics. Blinds made from aluminum, steel, or faux wood are moisture-resistant, making them an excellent choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

8. Wood or Faux Wood Blinds

Warmth and Texture

Real wood blinds are fashioned from hardwoods like basswood, oak, cherry, or mahogany, each with a distinct grain and color. These blinds give you total control over light and privacy while adding natural appeal to your windows.

Faux wood blinds mimic real wood but offer more moisture and heat resilience, making them an excellent solution for kitchens, bathrooms, or sunrooms. They’re also a tad more affordable, which makes them popular among homeowners who love the look of wood but not the price.

9. Panel Track Blinds

Sliding Door Solution

Panel track blinds are perfect for large windows and sliding glass doors. They have wide fabric panels that slide along a track, much like curtains on a rod.

The panels stack neatly to one side when open, leaving your view unobstructed. When closed, they provide excellent light control and privacy.

Panel track blinds come in various materials, including solar and woven wood fabrics. You can mix and match different panel styles to create a unique look for your space.

10. Plantation Shutters

Timeless Elegance Meets Versatility

Available in many colors, finishes, and materials, including wood and faux wood, plantation shutters offer versatility in design that few window treatments can match. Not just for windows, they can be custom-fit for glass doors, and provide superior light and privacy control thanks to their wide, adjustable louvers.

11. Sheer Curtains

The Charm of Soft Light and Privacy

Sheer curtains, also known as voile curtains, blend elegance and practicality. These lightweight drapes allow natural light to permeate the room.

They’re often paired with heavier drapes for better light control and privacy. But even on their own, sheer curtains can transform a room, adding softness, elegance, and a welcome, airy feel.

Call Us at Aero Shade

Are you considering new window treatments for your home or business? Call us at Aero Shade! We’ve customized blinds, shades, and shutters for the past 50+ years, and can guarantee a perfect fit. Or stop by our Los Angeles showroom to see, touch, and test working models of our products. We work directly with interior designers, contractors, architects, and people like you, so don’t be shy! All estimates are free.