If you just moved into your new apartment, you may be hanging out in front of some very exposed windows right now. (I shutter at the thought!) Or maybe you just want to change up your window coverings. If the answer to your drapery desires is shrouded in mystery, here are a few questions to ask yourself that will make choosing the right curtain or blind an open–and–shut case!
1. How should your space look and feel?
This is the most important question. Do you ache to recreate that romantic, sweeping curtain look you’ve been mooning over? Or are you obsessed with the sleek lines and natural feel of wood blinds? Consider what kind of ambiance you want for your space: curtains add a softer flow to your aesthetic, whereas blinds feel more modern.
The thing about curtains is that they’re completely customizable. You can choose how heavy the fabric is, how long they are, the colour, texture, whatever youdream of (provided the fabric actually exists somewhere).
You still have many choices with blinds, but they’re mostly made of wood or plastic slats that run vertically or horizontally. There are also the pull-down roller types or roman blinds if you want to use that fabric you have your eye on, but you might need to get them custom made.
2. How much work are you willing to put into installing them?
Blinds contain mechanisms for opening and closing, making them immediately more complicated. Keep in mind that you’re either going to be mounting them to the inside of the window frame or the wall itself! This means you’ll need to drill directly into something, and be precise with your measurements for inset blinds.
If you’re concerned about damaging the walls, heavy-duty Command hooks are usually capable of supporting a curtain rod (as long as you’re not hanging those weighty antique velvet drapes). Plus, you’re dealing with just the one rod, so it’s not as complex.
Here’s aneat trick I came across: When you’re marking the spots for the support mounts, if you position an L-shaped piece of cardboard against the window frame and push a pencil through, you can flip it around to mark the opposite mounting point evenly. (So simple, yet so genius. Thanks, Youtube!)
3. How frequently are you going to clean them?
Now this one, you need to be honest about. Nobody stays on top of their cleaning as much as they’d like to. (Or maybe you do. Don’t judge me!) Really though, how often will you actually bother looking at how dusty your blinds are?
If you want to keep blinds clean, you need to wipe them down once a week or so. If that sounds like something you can handle, go for it. Curtains can usually* just go in the washer every few months, depending on what they’re made of.
*Please guys, for the sake of textile integrity, if your curtains come with washing instructions – read them and do what they say!
Now what about everyday quality of life stuff? Like…
4. How often do you want to open and close these things?
Are you going to get up each morning and with a cup of coffee in hand and throw the curtains wide open to soak in the day? Or do you work nights, with a sleep cycle that demands you block out every vile ray of sunlight?
Curtains are generally better for blocking out more light. Still, as far as light levels go, they’re kind ofall–or–nothing. And unless you’ve got something like a fancy electric track rigged up, you have to physically open and close them.
If you ain’t got time for that, blinds have a string you can pull, or a knob you can twist to do the job for you more quickly. Maximum efficiency!
Plus! With slatted blinds you can adjust how much or how little light to let in. Not to throw shade at curtains, but this is the feature I find the most val-ance-uable (okay, no more puns). In exchange for this flexibility, though, you can’t ever block out all the light, because that’s how slats work.
So what do you choose?
Personally, I love the easy elegance of a curtain and ensuring no light is getting anywhere near me on a Saturday morning. Butwhat’s make-or-break for me doesn’t necessarily matter to you. Think about what is important to you and remember the main points:
Totally customizable, from the length and style, to the colour and weight – everything you could ask for
Easy to install, even without a drill
Can (usually!) just be machine washed a couple times a year
Just two settings: open or close
Opening or closing takes whole moments sometimes
Come in plenty of options, butnot as many choices as curtains
Need to be drilled into the window frame or the wall
Should be wiped down about once a week
Allow for adjustable light levels
Open and close mechanically (a feat of human engineering!)
As someone who likes to get the best of both worlds, my ideal set–up is an inset blind with a curtain draped over top. That’s more elaborate though, so go with whatever makes the most sense for you.
Whatever you choose, if you do nothing else, measure your windows before you start!
If you’re at the store and tell someone you need a covering for a “standard sized window,” I can tell you from experience the staff will be frustrated and probably laugh at the absurdity of the question after you leave. Or you could end up buying the wrong size and having to be annoyed about it later. Remember: be a treasure, just measure.