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The Best Blinds for Windows: 12 Options That Go Beyond Basic

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Updated October 31, 2023

I’ve always preferred the clean lines of blinds as opposed to drapes or curtains (although admittedly, there is always something comforting and appealing about light curtains blowing in a spring breeze). After college (long ago in the late 1980s and 1990s), most every apartment I lived in or saw was equipped with aluminum mini blinds, many of which had a bent slat or two where an over energetic domestic cat had tried to climb them once or twice. 

Those early mini blinds, though functional, only came in two colors, white or off-white, and didn’t offer much in the way of style. Today, blinds come in all sorts of materials and colors, combining function with fashion and personal expression. They’re equipped with technology that allows you to control the amount of light that enters your home as well as maximize your privacy, while also being decorative expressions of your own style. If you have a home full of windows that need some updated or new coverings, check out some of our picks for best blinds below. You may just find some inspiration.

How to choose the best blinds for windows

With so many options available, it may be difficult to know where to begin. When shopping for blinds, start by considering the following. 

What aesthetic are you going for?

Blinds are made from all sorts of materials including wood, vinyl, faux wood, cellular (paper), or vinyl. Wood blinds usually look and feel more luxurious and are available in a range of rich colors that add warmth and depth to a room. Vinyl and aluminum options tend to look a bit more utilitarian (often seen in offices), though they can also convey a sleek, modern look if you have a minimalist décor. If you want color options beside white or cream, wood or faux wood blinds are probably your best bet. 

How unique do you want your window coverings to be?

If you’re yearning for something unique that reflects a specific kind of vibe, look for blinds that offer plenty of customizable options, like matching valances, cordless or motorized operation, inside or outside mounting, different bracket types, lots of cloth tape colors and patterns, and door handle and hinge cutouts. Whatever your vision may be, there is probably a blind to satisfy it. 

Do you have to worry about a landlord getting upset about holes in the window frame?

If you’re a renter with a strict policy about putting holes in the walls of your home, consider a no drill, no tools required mini blind option. These blinds are secured with a tension rod rather than screws.

Our top best blinds picks

Best blinds for kitchen windows: Blinds.com 2-inch Faux Wood Blinds

Made from a moisture and heat resistant material, these 2-inch faux wood blinds from Blinds.com are a great choice for a kitchen. They’re available in a range of colors including grained, wood-like stain finishes such as cedar, mahogany, and walnut. You can also choose the color of the cloth tape that connects the slats.

Blinds.com has a Sure Fit Guarantee meaning if you make a mistake measuring, they’ll replace the blind for free. 

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 8.5- to 96-inches wide  x 12- to 120-inches long
  • Material: Moisture resistant PVC
  • Customizable: Yes
  • Price: Depends on size; $53.89 for 36 x 48 inches

Pros: 

  • Moisture resistant
  • Lots of color options
  • Surefit Guarantee

Cons: 

  • White color may yellow over time
Best for Kitchen
2 Inch Faux Wood Blinds

2 Inch Faux Wood Blinds

Best blinds for bathroom windows: Achim Cordless Mini Blinds

For small windows like the ones often found in bathrooms, Achim Cordless Mini Blinds offer an excellent choice. They’re vinyl so they won’t be affected by the moisture of accidental water spray. They’re available in white, alabaster, gray, wood-tone (tan), and even black, for those of us who like a black, white, and pink retro bathroom motif.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 22 to 72 inches wide x 24, 42, 48, 64, or 72 inches long
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Customizable: No
  • Price: Depends on size; $15.00 - $36.00

Pros: 

  • Inexpensive
  • Light filtering

Cons: 

  • Comes in limited color choices
Best for Bathroom
GII Morningstar White Cordless Light Filtering Vinyl Mini Blind with 1 in. Slats 23 in. W x 64 in. L

GII Morningstar White Cordless Light Filtering Vinyl Mini Blind with 1 in. Slats 23 in. W x 64 in. L

Best blinds for living room windows: Custom Home Collection Designer Wood Blinds 

When it comes to window coverings, wood blinds are one of the more luxurious options you can get. These completely customizable 2-inch wood blinds can be ordered in over 100 different colors and stains, making them uniquely yours. There are tons of options available, such as motorized, rounded corner slats, decorative cloth tapes and valances, routeless slats (meaning there are no holes for light to seep through), and cordless. We especially like the bamboo script and spring leaf cloth tape options.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 9 – 12 inches wide x 12 – 120 inches long
  • Material: Wood
  • Customizable: Yes
  • Price: Depends on size; $74.50 for 24 x 36 inches

Pros: 

  • So many options
  • High quality

Cons: 

  • Expensive
Best for Living Room
Designer 2 in. Wood Blinds, Custom

Designer 2 in. Wood Blinds, Custom

Best blinds for bedroom: Bali 1 inch Wood Blinds Home Depot

Made from eco-friendly hardwood, these wood blinds from Bali are the perfect upscale window treatment for any bedroom. Available stained or painted in an array of colors like regal oak and majestic walnut, these blinds will fit in with a variety of décor, including the one in your castle in the French countryside.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 7 - 96 inches wide x 12 – 120 inches long
  • Material: Light wood
  • Customizable: Yes
  • Price: Depends on size; $100.43 for 24 x 36 inches

Pros: 

  • 1 inch slat size good for shallow windows
  • Lightweight

Cons:

Expensive

Best for Bedrooms
Northern Heights 1 in. Wood Blinds, Custom

Northern Heights 1 in. Wood Blinds, Custom

Best blinds for large windows: Blinds.com Wood Blinds

For large windows which can drive up the individual price of a blind, these 2-inch wood ones from Blinds.com offer a designer look at a lower price point than many other companies. A cool feature is the trapezoid shaped bottom rail that allows the slat closure a better fit for added privacy.

They’re fully customizable in color and size as well as lift options, including motorized (with solar or USB charger) and cloth loop lift.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 9- 102 inches wide x 12 -120 inches long
  • Material: Wood
  • Customizable: Yes
  • Price: Depends on size; $44.70 for 24 x 36 inches

Pros: 

  • Excellent value
  • Many colors available

Cons: 

  • Changes restricted to mounting and size
Best for Large Windows
2 Inch Premium Wood Blinds

2 Inch Premium Wood Blinds

Best motorized blinds: Waterfall Woven Motorized Shades

We absolutely love these handcrafted, waterfall woven motorized shades from The Shade Store. They’re available in a variety of earthy and natural tones and textures that will reflect your own personal sense of style. There are many customizable options to choose from, including the addition of a decorative border or an upholstered valance as well as blackout or privacy lining. Meant to last a lifetime, these shades are as close to art as window treatments can be. 

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 10 - 117 inches wide x 10 - 144 inches long
  • Material: Woven wood fabric
  • Customizable: Yes
  • Price: Depends on size; $438.00 for 24 x 36 inches plus $525 for motorized

Pros: 

Beautiful textures, patterns, and colors available

Cons: 

Can get very pricey ($1,000 or more per shade) if you have lots of large windows

Best to express your personal style
Waterfall Woven Motorized Shades

Waterfall Woven Motorized Shades

Best blackout blinds (shade style): Langley Cordless 100% Blackout Roller Shades

If you’re a day sleeper, vampire, or just someone who likes to watch the TV during the day without any glare from the sun, these blackout roller shades are for you. They also reduce outside noise and decrease the energy lost through your windows by up to 45%. That’s something vampires everywhere can get behind.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 23 - 48 inches wide x 72 inches long
  • Material: Polyester
  • Customizable: No
  • Price: $77.66 for 48 x 72 inches

Pros: 

  • Cordless
  • Energy efficient

Cons: 

  • Not customizable
Best for Zero Sunlight
Langley Cordless Ivory 100% Blackout Textured Fabric Roller Shade 48 in. W x 72 in. L

Langley Cordless Ivory 100% Blackout Textured Fabric Roller Shade 48 in. W x 72 in. L

Best blackout blinds: LazBlinds' Blackout 1-inch Aluminum Mini Blinds

If you live in an apartment and don’t want to drill holes into the walls or window frames, LazBlinds’ no drill, blackout, mini blinds are for you. To install, twist the spring-loaded tension rod (same technology as tension curtain rods). For mini blinds (as opposed to shades), these offer excellent blackout coverage, though there may be a small amount of light leakage along the edges if your windows are not completely square (as is the case in many old houses). For about $40 though, these are a reliable, durable option for keeping the light out when you want to.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 22 – 48 inches W x 64 inches L
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Customizable: No
  • Price: Depends on size; $39.99 for 25 x 64 inches

Pros: 

  • No tools required

Cons: 

  • Long cord
Best for Small Windows
LazBlinds' Blackout 1-inch Aluminum Mini Blinds

LazBlinds' Blackout 1-inch Aluminum Mini Blinds

Best vertical blinds: Symple Stuff Sharmaine Room Darkening Vertical Blinds

Great for sliding doors or large windows, these room darkening vertical blinds are both stylish and affordable. The 4-rail track (each blind is made up of four panels) can be adjusted for widths from 45.8 to 86 inches wide. To open or close, simply slide to the side using the included wand.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 86 inches (width) x 96 inches (length)
  • Material: Paper, polyester, and metal
  • Customizable: No
  • Price: $249.00 for 86 inches x 96 inches

Pros: 

  • Great value
  • Trimmable length

Cons: 

  • Instructions are a bit confusing
best for Verticle Blinds
Sharmaine Room Darkening Vertical Blind

Sharmaine Room Darkening Vertical Blind

Best basic blinds: Blinds Avenue Light Filtering

Simple, cordless blinds that still look stylish (so much better than basic white pull shades found in the dormitories of our youths). Available in 10 colors including a gray or beige striped pattern in a light filtering material. The top down, bottom up cordless operation means you can lower the top of the blind to let natural light in while still providing privacy. 

They’re easy to install as long as you measure correctly and carefully.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes Available: 23 – 73 inches (width) x 48 – 72 inches (length)
  • Material: Cellular
  • Customizable: No
  • Price: Depends on size: $78.99 for 24 x 48 inches

Pros: 

  • Light filtering
  • Easy installation

Cons: 

  • Some people report that the included screws don’t fit the blinds
Best for Inside Window Frame
Semi Sheer Cellular Shade

Semi Sheer Cellular Shade

Best budget blinds: Chicology Vinyl Mini Blinds

Lightweight, super affordable, and easy to install, Chicology mini blinds are a simple option when you just need some window coverings and don’t have a lot of time and money. These are probably similar to the mini blinds you had in your first apartment – and there’s nothing wrong with that, we all start somewhere. Durable, warp and moisture resistant, these blinds won’t win any design awards but they will get the job done without any fuss, muss, or rough stuff. 

Specifications: 

  • Sizes available: 12 – 84 inches (width) x 36 - 84 inches (length)
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Customizable: No
  • Price: Depends on size; 19.33 for 24 x 36 inches

Pros: 

  • Low maintenance
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install

Cons: 

  • Limited color options
Best Affordable Blinds
White Cordless Room Darkening Vinyl Mini Blind with 1 in. - 29 in. W x 48 in. L

White Cordless Room Darkening Vinyl Mini Blind with 1 in. - 29 in. W x 48 in. L

Best custom blinds: Shade Store Custom Wood Blinds 

The Shade Store makes custom wood blinds in basic, bamboo, matte, painted, laminated, high gloss, and more. Pick your wood color/pattern (we like the zebrano which, as the name suggests, resembles the stripes of a zebra) as well as tape color and design as well as cord lock or cordless. You can also request a design consultation if all the options are a bit too overwhelming, or if you just want some professional advice.

Specifications: 

  • Sizes Available: 24 – 119 inches W x 10 – 119 inches L
  • Material: Wood
  • Customizable: Yes
  • Price: Depends on size and material; $225 for 24 x 36 wood

Pros: 

  • Many options for customization
  • Excellent price for wood blinds
  • Includes free professional measurement

Cons: 

  • Can get expensive for large windows
Best for Personal Customisation
Shade Store Custom Wood Blinds

Shade Store Custom Wood Blinds

How we tested and selected the best blinds for windows 

To select the best window blinds, we drew from our own experiences of living in a variety of homes as well as diligently reading through a plethora of online reviews and discussion boards in home décor and renovation forums. We’ve also traveled quite a bit and have stayed at many hotels and Airbnb’s across the world, where we’ve gained first-hand experience with a seemingly endless array of window coverings.

Types of blinds 

Blinds are manufactured in a variety of materials including wood, aluminum, vinyl, PVC, and paper or cellular. There are two major types of blinds: Vertical or venetian (horizontal).

Though called venetian, historians do not think that these window coverings were actually invented in Venice, but rather that Venetian traders brought them back from Persia to Italy.

Technically all blinds share the trait of having slats of some kind that rotate or slide to let in or block out light. Shades, on the other hand, are solid pieces of material constructed from something pliable that can be rolled up. Many people, though, use the two terms interchangeably. 

Vertical vs horizontal blinds

Venetian, or horizontal, blinds feature horizontal slats made from wood, vinyl, or other rigid materials that are connected via a cord or tape that ensures they all rotate at once.

Vertical blinds often consist of panels of fabric hanging vertically, attached to a sliding track at the top of a window or door. Sometimes the slats are connected at the bottom via a chain or cord to add stability and keep everything in line. They give you lots of control over how light enters a room as the slats can be turned 180 degrees. These are most often used on large windows or sliding doors.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do you measure windows for blinds?

Measure for blinds by recording the width of your window frame in three places: Top, middle, and bottom and the length of the frame at the left, middle, and right. Use the narrowest measurement for the width and the longest for the length. The reason you measure in multiple places is that, especially in older homes, many window frames are no longer perfectly square.

Also measure the depth of your window to ensure it can accommodate the mounting hardware for an inside mount, as well as the width of the slats of the blinds (usually 1 to 2 inches).

If you decide to go with an outside mounted window blind, measure the area you intend the blind to cover (often the outside molding of your window frame. Adding three inches to these measurements will ensure you can achieve optimal light filtering and privacy.

In all instances always measure to the nearest 1/8 inch.

Which blinds are most popular?

The most popular blinds are simple aluminum or vinyl 1-inch mini blinds. They’re a reliable, inexpensive window covering that’s easy to install. You’ll find them in rental properties all over the world.

What blinds let light in but stop the glare?

Blinds that let light in but stop glare are called light filtering, such as the Blinds.com light filtering option included in our top picks. Blinds made from a cellular or paper-like fabric also work to stop the glare from direct sunlight, while not blocking it completely.

What type of blinds are best for blocking light?

Blinds that are best for blocking light are those with slats made from wood and faux wood. When the slats are closed, they block the majority of light. Opaque aluminum and vinyl blinds also block a good deal of light, though there is often some light seepage.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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