Blinds help add some privacy to a space while also adding some visual flair to the interior decor. They can also lower a home’s energy usage by adding a layer of insulation in front of a drafty window. Some even work with a smart-home system, allowing users to adjust them with the touch of a screen or the sound of a voice.
With so many options on the market, it can be tough to compare all of them and confidently select just one. This guide can help. Keep reading to learn about important details like style, sunlight-blocking capability, safety, installation methods, and fit to help you choose the best blinds for windows for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: Home Decorators Collection Room Darkening Blind
- BEST BUDGET: Bali Blinds 1” Vinyl Cordless Blind
- BEST LUXURY: Pottery Barn Custom Emery Roman Blackout Shade
- BEST MOTORIZED: Custom Home Collection Designer 2 Inch Wood Blinds
- BEST BLACKOUT: Symple Stuff Insulating Cordless Blackout Roman Shade
- BEST PULL-DOWN: Levolor Light Filtering Cellular Shades
- BEST VERTICAL: Blinds.com Vinyl Vertical Blinds
- BEST FOR SLIDING DOOR: GoDear Design Deluxe Sliding Panel Blind
Types of Blinds
Each blind type has advantages and is best suited to certain rooms. For example, the best window blinds for living rooms typically let in some light while providing privacy, but the right choice for bedrooms will often block all light and visibility and also provide thermal insulation. Here are some examples of the most popular blind types.
Venetian blinds are the old standby horizontal blinds, traditionally having slats, pull cords, and twistable wands to adjust the amount of light they let into the room. They have been updated and improved, and today’s Venetian blinds are made of higher-end materials and have better designs.
Slats are made of wood, vinyl, and even aluminum, making them more attractive and durable. They also feature cordless designs, allowing users to adjust their height by simply lifting or pulling the bottom of the shade. They come in many colors and are easy to adjust, allowing the user to choose their privacy level.
Most Venetian blinds don’t add much insulation value to windows, and they seldom have blackout-level light control. They’re the most affordable option for blinds, costing far less than most other styles. They’re the best blinds for folks on a budget.
Roman blinds can do a lot for a room’s style and design. These blinds are typically fabric, and they fold onto themselves as they open. They come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Roman blinds do an excellent job of blocking out sunlight and even add some insulation benefits. Since these blinds are fabric, many manufacturers add a lining to them. These blinds can reduce temperature variance in a room if they fit tightly in the window frame—a desirable feature in places with hot summers or cold winters.
Depending on the material and lining chosen, Roman shades can be expensive; however, they can give a room a pop of design interest.
Mostly used on sliding patio doors, vertical blinds use long slats that twist to filter light and slide to the side to open. These blinds are notoriously finicky and can be a hassle for folks with children, dogs, or cats. Twist too far or open them the wrong way and the mechanisms that make them move can break.
There are updated versions of the old vertical blinds with wide, sliding fabric panels that are less likely to break. The main disadvantage of these blinds is that most don’t adjust for light: they’re either open or closed. They’re more durable than the old-school vertical blinds, though, and the best vertical blinds come in a variety of materials with various opacities. Some let in light but do not let prying eyes see inside when closed.
Pleated blinds have accordion-shaped faces that fold on top of one another when someone lifts them. They come in two main varieties: standard pleated and a honeycomb/cellular design. Both are good options for most windows, but each has advantages over the other.
- Standard pleated blinds come in a wide range of colors and patterns, and they tend to be less expensive than honeycomb style.
- Honeycomb blinds trap air between two or three layers of fabric, adding an additional barrier between temperature-controlled spaces and the window, which helps increase energy efficiency. They’re also much better at blocking sunlight than the standard option.
Honeycomb blinds have cords, but they’re routed between the fabric layers where pets and kids can’t get at them. Standard pleated blinds expose the cord at every other pleat.
If the term “roller blinds” brings to mind cheap plastic sheets that don’t roll up when they should, push that thought aside. Roller blinds have come a long way. They’re now available in a variety of fabrics, colors, and patterns.
Their light-blocking capabilities depend on the fabric chosen, but some are incredibly efficient at blocking the sun. The trade-off is that they are not adjustable for light or privacy beyond just raising or lowering them, so users can’t be very precise with light control. They can be one of the more expensive types of blinds, but the decorative touch they bring to a room makes the investment serve a double purpose.
Anyone with a tech-savvy smart home can set up smart blinds to work with their digital voice assistant. Through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, they can adjust their blinds’ height and slat angles for the perfect amount of light—and they don’t even have to be home to do it!
These blinds install like any other, with the addition of a WiFi-controlled motor in the top bar. The installer can then set up the motor to work with a mobile app on a smart device or a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant, which allows them to control the blinds with their voice. Smart blinds can then be programmed to open and close on a schedule—making them among the best blinds for maximizing security and privacy.
Most smart blinds are roller style, but they’re also available in Venetian or hybrid styles.
Automatic blinds are similar to smart blinds, except they don’t tie into smart-home devices. They’re usually roller shades that use motors in the top bar to move the height and slat angle with a remote control.
They cost more than standard blinds, but less than smart blinds since they don’t need Wi-Fi capability. Automatic blinds aren’t new; they’ve been used in commercial offices for years.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Blinds
Before choosing the best blinds for any space, there are some points to consider. With so many options for material, size and fit, and the different features some models come with, there’s quite a bit to know. The following points can help prevent flying blind when shopping for this kind of window covering.
The best blinds come in a variety of materials. Plastic blinds are the most common because they’re inexpensive, lightweight, and relatively easy to maintain. Metal blinds are also popular for their affordability and low maintenance.
The best blinds also come with wood slats, but they’re considerably more expensive than metal or plastic. For a meet-in-the-middle material choice, polyvinyl chloride (good old PVC, as it’s more commonly known) blinds can offer the look and texture of wood while costing considerably less and requiring far less maintenance.
For those who prefer a textile, many manufacturers offer fabric shades. These options are more expensive than plastic or metal, but usually competitive with wood. And, these shades typically insulate the window and prevent light transmission better than other window treatments.
Size and Fit
When choosing the best blinds for large windows or small, it’s important to know how their sizes and fits work.
Those who prefer their blinds to sit inside the window frame can measure from side jamb to side jamb to get the width, and top jamb to sill to get the overall height. Generally speaking, the width of the curtain should be as close to the actual width as possible without being larger. For instance, for a 30.25-inch jamb measurement, a 30-inch blind will be fine, while 30.5 inches would be too wide. For length, choose a length just slightly longer than the overall height of the window frame.
Anyone who prefers their window shades to sit in front of the frame may want to choose a size 2 or 3 inches wider than the window itself to allow for overhang on either side. Also, add at least a few inches to the overall height to account for mounting these blinds higher than the opening.
Today’s window treatments are a far cry from the simple curtains and plastic blinds of old. Today’s models may have extra features:
- Soundproofing: Soundproofing is a great choice for anyone who needs to block out road noise, neighbors, or a noisy garage band next door. These blinds minimize sound transfer, making them a good choice for window blinds for living rooms, bedrooms, or even media rooms.
- Blackout: Natural light is great, but for folks who work nights or like to sleep in, sunlight could be disrupting their sleep. In these scenarios, blackout curtains that fit well within the window will block light from entering the room, improving sleep quality.
- Room darkening: Like blackout curtains, room darkening blinds regulate the amount of light that penetrates through the window. These blinds don’t block out as much light as blackouts, but that is by design.
- Thermal insulation: A lot of conditioned air, whether heated or cooled, manages to escape through windows. Blinds with thermal insulation do their best to keep hot or cold air where it belongs, keeping the space more comfortable.
- Remote controls: Many of the best blinds feature remote controls or even Bluetooth tech that allows the user to raise, lower, close, or open their blinds without touching them.
- Hanging hardware: The best blinds come with all the mounting hardware necessary to put them in place, but some kits are better than others. Plastic brackets are affordable, but metal brackets are usually sturdier and less likely to snap. Usually, the brackets have the ability to sit inside the window or on the outside frame, depending on the installer’s preference.
Installing blinds is relatively easy. The kits that the blinds come with usually include all the brackets and screws necessary to put them in place. The only thing the user might need to supply are the tools, such as a level and a screwdriver or drill.
- Decide whether the blinds will sit inside the jambs or outside. Then, use a level long enough to reach both sides to draw reference lines (in the case of installing curtains in the jamb, this step isn’t necessary).
- Hold the brackets in place and mark the holes. Use a drill with a small bit to drill pilot holes.
- Switch to a driver bit and install the brackets using the screws provided in the kit.
- Snap the blinds into place in the brackets and install any end caps, valances, or covers included in the kit.
Our Top Picks
The above details about blinds shed a lot of light on choosing the best blinds, but too much information can feel overwhelming. To help, the following list includes some of the best blinds on the market. There is an option for almost any window. Just be sure to keep the top considerations in mind when comparing these products.
Anyone looking for a reasonably priced product to regulate light but still add a bit of a stylish flare may want to check out Home Decorators Collection Room Darkening Blinds. These Venetian-style blinds feature a cordless design for safety with kids and pets, and faux wood slats that are 2 inches wide. To tilt those slats, the user simply twists the wand.
These blinds are available in several sizes between 9 inches and 72 inches wide in .25-inch increments. At the factory, the manufacturer actually cuts the blinds .5 inches shorter to ensure a proper fit. As far as lengths go, they’re available in lengths of 36, 48, 54, 64, 72, and 84 inches. They come in white, and the blinds include the necessary brackets for installing within the window frame (along with an attractive valance). Brackets for installing outside the window frame are extra.
- Type: Venetian
- Size: Widths between 9 and 72 inches; Lengths: 36, 48, 54, 64, 72, and 84 inches
- Blackout: No, room darkening
- Colorways: White
- Wood look for less
- No pull cord
- Comes with valance
- Standard in-frame brackets only
- Side mount brackets are extra
For renters, college students, and anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money because their living situation is temporary, the Bali Blinds Vinyl Cordless Blind’s affordable price may pique their interest. While these PVC blinds might not be the most stylish option, they come in several sizes, including 27 by 64 inches, 29 by 64 inches, 31 by 64 inches, and 36 by 64 inches. Keep in mind that the manufacturer cuts them .5 inches shorter at the factory for a better fit.
These inexpensive blinds for windows provide privacy with a simple, effective design. This basic blind uses a cordless design for height adjustment and a wand for adjusting slat angle and privacy. While they are only available in white, they do come with hardware to mount them inside or outside of a window frame.
- Type: Venetian
- Size: 27 by 64 inches, 29 by 64 inches, 31 by 64 inches, 36 by 64 inches
- Blackout: No
- Colorways: White
- Extremely affordable price point
- Cordless design for safety
- Mount inside or outside the frame
Window coverings can add a lot of style points to a space. For those looking to rack up as many points as possible, Pottery Barn’s Custom Emery Roman Blackout Shade might be the way to go. These fabric shades are 73 percent linen and 27 percent cotton, a blend that looks great together. They also come in six colors: oatmeal, grey, ivory, navy, walnut, and white. They’re available in widths between 20 and 50 inches wide in 1-inch increments. Lengths include 48, 66, and 84 inches.
Beyond the good looks, these shades block out sunlight for light control, and the cordless system makes them safe for kids and pets. The hardware to mount them inside or outside the frame comes with the shade as well. These blinds are spot clean only, so although they’re safe for kids and pets, kids and pets might not be safe for them.
- Type: Roman shade
- Size: Widths between 20 and 50 inches; Lengths include 48, 66, and 84 inches
- Blackout: Yes
- Colorways: Oatmeal, grey, ivory, navy, walnut, white
- Attractive linen texture
- Several colorways
- Cordless design that’s safe for pets and kids
- Blocks sunlight from penetrating through the window
Whether it’s for convenience or for hard-to-reach-windows, Custom Home Collection Designer’s 2-inch wood blinds might be the answer. These blinds are available with a motorized system that lifts, lowers, and tilts the blinds via remote control. These motors can operate on battery power or a wall outlet, giving users even more flexibility during installation. Just keep in mind that these motors will cost extra.
Beyond the convenience, these blinds offer a relatively affordable option for real wood blinds. And with 63 colorways available, most folks are able to find something to match their decor. There are also other options, such as valance styles, cordless or cord loop, and more.
- Type: Motorized Venetian
- Size: Widths between 9 and 120 inches; lengths between 12 and 120 inches
- Blackout: No
- Colorways: 63 options
- Available with a motorized lift system
- 63 different colorways
- Flexible power source
- Available with motor, but it will cost extra
For those who need to sleep during the day or have windows that suffer from a little too much air leakage, check out Symple Stuff’s Insulating Cordless Blackout Roman Shade. This shade consists of 100 percent cotton with large honeycombed cells behind to trap air and light, making most rooms more comfortable.
These Roman shades feature a cordless design for convenience and safety with pets and kids. They also come in seven colors, including chocolate, grey, ivory, khaki, light grey, navy, and white. For size, shoppers can choose widths between 20 and 72 inches in 1-inch increments, while the only option for length is 72 inches.
- Type: Roman shade
- Size: Widths between 20 and 72 inches; length of only 72 inches
- Blackout: Yes
- Colorways: Chocolate, grey, ivory, khaki, light grey, navy, white
- Cotton design with honeycomb cells to catch sunlight and air
- Variety of colors
- Cordless design for safety
- Only available in 1 length
Anyone who might prefer a pull-down blind may give Levolor’s Light Filtering Cellular Shades some thought. These shades allow sunlight in to heat the room while keeping cold air outside, offering warmth and light during the winter months. And with a top-down, bottom-up design, users can lower the top of the shade or raise the bottom of shade to allow light in. However, this design does often result in a small gap at the top of the shade, for which Levolor suggests additional pleats.
These shades are available in more than 350 colors and cell sizes, as well as overall sizes ranging from 6 to 144 inches wide and long, which should allow most users to find the right size, color, and amount of filtering for their needs. They’re also available in both cordless and cord loop designs, depending on the size and weight of the fabric chosen.
- Type: Pleated honeycomb
- Size: Lengths and widths between 6 to 144 inches wide, ⅛-inch increments
- Blackout: No, light filtering
- Colorways: More than 350 options
- More than 350 color and cell size options
- Massive size range
- Top-down design
- Design often results in a small gap at the top of the blind
Some spaces just look better with vertical blinds, and the Blinds.com Vinyl Vertical Blinds might be just the product for those situations. These blinds feature vinyl 3.5-inch slats and an aluminum track, minimizing maintenance while still being durable. They’re also available in more than 50 colors and finishes, allowing shoppers to choose something for their specific taste.
These blinds are customizable as well. Shoppers can choose whether they want their blinds to open left to right, right to left, or split open in the middle. While the standard opening mechanism includes a chain, shoppers can upgrade to a wand for improved safety for little ones and pets. While they are an additional cost, valances, wands, smooth finishes, and embossed colors are available.
- Type: Vertical
- Size: Width from 6 to 120 inches; height from 9 to 108 inches
- Blackout: No
- Colorways: More than 50
- Low-maintenance vinyl material
- Choice between chain or wand
- Several colors available
- Valances and wands cost extra
If a sliding door lacks privacy and vertical blinds don’t meet the room’s style needs, check out the GoDear Design Deluxe Sliding Panel Blinds. They use a polyester-and-paper-blend fabric that installers can cut to any height, so they’ll work on patio doors or large windows. These blinds filter light but don’t block it out altogether, so they’re well suited for providing privacy without making the room too dark.
They feature adjustable tracks that will fit a range of widths. While they don’t twist open like vertical blinds, they do have two wands so the user can pull the panels to either side of a doorway. And, since there aren’t any cords, they’re safe for kids and pets. They come in several different patterns and earthy colors, including marble, mica, pecan, and twisted roll.
- Type: Vertical
- Size: Adjustable between 48.8 and 86 inches wide; one height of 96 inches
- Blackout: No
- Colorways: Marble, mica, pecan, twisted roll
- Nontraditional approach to vertical blinds
- Provide lots of privacy without making the room too dark
- Panels cut easily and track adjusts
Anyone hunting for a traditional set of Venetian blinds might consider the safety, low maintenance, and wood look of the Home Decorators Collection Room Darkening Blind. But for those on a budget, the Bali Blinds 1” Cordless Vinyl Blind’s low price point—and safety features—are another great choice.
How We Chose the Best Blinds
Putting together a list of some of the best blinds on the market that’s as transparent as the windows they cover was no small task. We spent hours doing extensive product research, comparing products based on features, materials, price point, and more.
It was important to us that we offer the best blind choices for each respective category, so we organized the top products by type or feature. Then, we compared the value and materials, as well as the styling, colorways, and sizes available. With those areas covered, we were able to put together this guide to some of the best blinds.
With the above primer on the different types of blinds and the top picks on the market, you’ve got a great foundation for choosing the best blinds for any window. However, as every situation is different, there may be some lingering questions. Here are answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions about blinds.
Q: How do you install blinds?
Most blinds come with brackets. Attach these brackets to the window frame or wall, following the manufacturer’s directions, and then snap the blinds onto the brackets. You’ll need a drill, a pencil, a level, and a pair of safety glasses.
Q: How do you fix broken blinds?
In most cases, there is no way to fix a broken blind. While it’s possible to replace individually damaged slats in some blinds, once the mechanisms become damaged, or several slats bend, you’ll usually need to replace the blinds.
Q: How do you keep light from coming through blinds?
Buying the right type of blinds is one of the best ways to keep light from coming through. If you want no light to get through, choose blackout blinds. Just make sure they fit closely within your window frame so you don’t leave any space for sunlight to leak through the sides, top, or bottom.
Q: From a design perspective, what color or finish should my blinds be?
It’s ultimately up to you. If you’re into minimalism, grey, wood, or white blinds can be best. If you prefer a Scandinavian design, go with neutrals like wood or browns and beiges. If you’re going for an eclectic look, choose colorful fabric Roman blinds. Your design aesthetic will determine what colors work best, but you can also hire an interior designer and ask them to help choose custom blinds.