Blinds vs. Shades: What’s the Difference?

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Office alum blinds

Both blinds and shades belong to the category of window coverings and serve similar purposes. This is the reason why they are often confused. Many people simply don’t care to differentiate between the two and use the terms interchangeably.

However, these are two very different types of window coverings. Let’s consider them closely and separately.

What are blinds?

Aluminium blinds on the window.

Blinds are a kind of window covering that consists of hard slats/vanes. This is quite a complex device, as the slats/vanes are arranged consecutively, either vertically or horizontally, and are closed/opened with a pull of a cord. Blinds provide a range of light control options – from completely blocked, with the slats fitting closely together, to open, when the slats are positioned parallel to each other to let through a maximum amount of light. It is possible to choose between a different light and privacy control options by outing them at different angles. This also depends on slat size. Blinds come in a wide variety of colors and designs to match all possible interiors. Most commonly, they are made of hard materials – wood, metal (mostly aluminum), PVC, bamboo, woven grass, etc.

What are shades?

 Shades have an absolutely different structure. A shade is a long piece of solid piece of fabric, which is rolled or drawn up and down with a cord or with the help of a spring. Unlike blinds, shades are made of soft materials. They do not give as much freedom of light and privacy control as blinds do. With shades, it depends on the type of material, of which they are made: there are tons of variants and options, from which you can pick out one that will fit your interior and individual light level and privacy standards.

What’s good about blinds?

 Because blinds are made of hard materials, they are more durable, because they are less vulnerable to physical impact. This also explains why blinds are easier to clean than shades. You can apply different types of polish on blinds and promptly remove dust with a piece of soft cloth. Shades, which have been around, for quite a while, may accumulate dust and grime and eventually require professional cleaning.

What’s good about shades? 

Shaded window
Shaded window

Because a shade is a whole piece of fabric and have a simpler design, they appear to be a little more affordable option. Most important, the choice of patterns and designs seems to be a little broader than with blinds. Besides, there are shades with insulating properties (cellular shades), as they consist of pockets of air. Such shades can be energy efficient, as they trap cold and hot air and thus help maintain comfortable temperature and humidity levels. Another interesting alternative is a solar shade, which will block most of the sunlight, but won’t block the view.


If you weigh all pros and cons, you will see that each alternative is great in its own way, so there are hardly rights and/or wrongs. This can make it hard for you to make up your mind, but you are free to contact us by phone 905-876-9057 and get our professional help!

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