The type of window coverings you choose can make or break the overall design scheme for your space, and there are a ton to choose from. So I wanted to round up all of the different types of window coverings for you in one place so that you have ALL the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
Why do you need window coverings?
Before I get into the details of all of the different types of window coverings, we should discuss why you might want window coverings. There are four main reasons: to control light in your room, to insulate your space, to add privacy, and to enhance the aesthetics of the room.
Natural light is amazing, but you don’t necessarily always want it streaming into your space full force. To this end, different types of window coverings give you the ability to control and manipulate how much light makes its way into your space.
Insulate your Space
Perhaps you’ve noticed that there tends to be a temperature difference next to windows, whether it be warmer from the sunlight or cooler from the cool air outdoors. Window coverings have the ability to insulate your space and lessen this temperature difference.
It’s just like it sounds; window coverings give you the ability to close up your home and keep others from seeing into your space.
There is a type of window covering for every style and any look you may be trying to achieve. Whether your style is luxurious, simple, elegant, fun, or anything else, there’s a window covering to convey that.
Types of Window Coverings
Hard Window Coverings
Venetian blinds are horizontal blinds. They come in a variety of materials, including wood, vinyl, and aluminum, as well as with various widths of the slats. Venetian blinds are a super common window covering because they provide a ton of control over the amount of light coming in. They are also rather neutral and can go with a variety of styles and decor. Venetian blinds come in a variety of price points, depending on the material they are made from.
I’ve been around venetian blinds pretty much my whole life, and I’ve had some good sets and some bad sets. Personally, with kids and animals and being on a modest budget, my favorite ventetian blinds are made from vinyl. When we were selling our old house, I outfitted the whole house with these to increase buyer appeal. It was super easy to do because you can actually go to a home improvement store, like Home Depot, and have these cut to width, so there’s no worry about trying to find a size to match your window.
A couple downsides I’ve seen to Venetian blinds is that they can collect dust and are a bit difficult to clean and the aluminum ones can be dented out of shape, which, like I said, for me, with kids and pets who like to look out the windows, just didn’t work because them sticking out just drove me nuts. But I was so excited to find that the vinyl Venetian blinds actually don’t dent!
Vertical blinds are a common choice for sliding glass doors and picture windows. Being that they operate in a side-to-side motion, they work well for windows and doors that also operate in this manner. They collect less dust and require less strength to operate.
Similar to the venetian blinds, you can purchase vertical blinds at a variety of price points in a variety of materials.
Shutters are a more traditional type of window covering. They are typically made from wood or plastic and provide a moderate control of light entering the space. They are easy to operate and can be customized to fit windows that are odd sizes and shapes.
Often called honeycomb blinds, cellular blinds are amazingly insulating due to their unique shape. With cellular blinds you have several options in terms of how much light is let through; you can even purchase sets that have the ability to black light out completely. Another cool feature is that you can get cellular blinds that can be opened from the bottom up or from the top down, allowing even more control over both light and privacy.
The one downside that I’ve noticed with cellular blinds is that they are constructed out of a very thin material, which can be delicate and, if you’re not careful or have small people running around, prone to ripping.
Pleated blinds are very similar to cellular blinds; they simply don’t have the honeycomb structure, so they aren’t as insulative. They can also come with the ability to be opened from the top down or from the bottom up, again, giving you more control over the amount of light let and in and the privacy afforded.
Woven Wood Shades
Also known as matchstick shades, woven wood shades offer a more natural look in window coverings. They also provide a unique source of texture for a space as well.
Shoji panels are a Japanese window covering that consists of wooden or bamboo frames with rice paper panels. Depending on what you’re looking for functionally, they can either slide from side to side or be mounted on hinges. If you’re looking for something different or have an Eastern style in your home, these shoji panels provide an interesting graphic element.
As with some of these other types of window coverings, one of the downsides of shoji panels is their fragile nature.
Frosted glass and other window films are ideal for places where you don’t want fabric or wood, like bathrooms. These types of treatments allow for the clean lines of the window to be highlighted, and you don’t have the concerns about mold and mildew as a result of moisture that fabric or wood could present.
Nowadays there are tons of different patterns of window films that you can get, so you can really make a fun statement with it as well.
Soft Window Coverings
I think we’re all familiar with curtains and draperies, which are considered to be a thicker, pleated version of curtains. Curtains are a super versatile window covering and can be found in just about endless variations of pattern, color, and coverage.
You can get curtains to black out all sunlight or sheer curtains to simply filter the light and add an airy look to the room and anywhere in between. Curtains are also a super accessible option, being sold anywhere from Walmart to online to custom shops.
Cafe Curtains are a different take on curtains that leave the top of the window open. This lets in lots of light but still allows for privacy as the bottom of the window is covered.
Roman shades are a single piece of fabric that can be drawn up with a cord and lays in folded layers once open. Roman shades are a great way to use fabric on your windows in a simple, non-fussy way. You maintain the ability to take advantage of the wide array of fabrics available without the bulk that you can sometimes find with traditional curtains. Roman shades are also great for giving you the ability to easily control the amount of light coming in.
Swags or cascades are primarily for decorative purposes and are great for adding a bit of visual interest to windows without obstructing views.
Roller shades can be made in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns. They are considered to be one of the most economical options in window coverings and are also very easy to use.
Valences are decorative pieces of fabric hung above windows. They usually accompany curtains of some type and serve to hide the mounting hardware and curtain rod. They can also soften the edge of windows and add some color or design without adding a ton of fabric.
Panel tracks are panels of fabric mounted on tracks that allow for movement from side to side. They are great large windows and doors and provide a simple, clean, modern look.
Austrian shades are similar to Roman shades in that they are one piece of fabric that can be gathered upward with the use of a cord, but when they are opened, they gather in such a way as to create scalloped a edge along the bottom. They give off a very luxurious, romantic vibe.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Window Coverings
Do you want to utilize a ton of natural light? Are you blocking light out for sleeping? Are you trying to reduce glare on a television set?
Do your windows face the afternoon sun and create a lot of heat in your room? Do you live in a cold climate where you want to insulate the windows to reduce heating costs?
Do you have small children or pets who could get tangled up in cords? Is extra fabric going to be some type of hazard? Many different types of blinds have cordless versions now, so that’s something to consider as well
How much time and effort do you want to spend cleaning your window coverings? Are you looking for something you can throw in the washing machine?
What’s the style of the room you’re looking to put window coverings into? What type of material will enhance the aesthetics in the room you’re styling?
Do you have unique window shapes or sizes in your space? Will you need custom window coverings?
How much control of your window coverings do you need? Do you want to be able to adjust your window coverings easily? What type of operation best suits you and the people using the room?
What is your budget for window coverings? Are these permanent window coverings, or do you like to change it up?
Where can you get window coverings?
Window coverings are pretty ubiquitous these days and can be found anywhere from your local Walmart or Target to Amazon online. If you’re crafty, you can also head on down to the local fabric store and whip something up yourself. There’s also the option of hiring someone who makes and installs custom window coverings. It really all depends on what you’re looking for and your budget.
Go Forth and Shade!
Window coverings are yet another chance for you to express yourself and make your house a home. With all of the different types, styles, textures, colors, and patterns available, there’s surely something that will fit both your design aesthetic and the functionality that you’re looking for as well as your budget. And if you can’t find just what you need in one type of window covering, layering them is another great option! Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the types of window coverings and choices; use this guide and the questions above to find the PERFECT window coverings for every room in your home!