Venetian Blinds: How to Choose the Best Option
Venetian blinds are one of the most popular types of window covering available. The popularity of Venetian blinds is easy to understand because of their affordable price, practical style, and their accessibility throughout the modern world. Another reason for their popularity is the ability they give the user to maintain privacy while still allowing light to flow through, something lacking with most curtains.
Given all the window covering options, Venetian blinds are worth consideration. But there are many different styles and types of these horizontal blinds. We are here to help you make sense of all of these great options so that you can better understand which Venetian blinds are a good fit for your home, style, and budget.
What are Venetian Blinds?
Venetian blinds are window coverings that have horizontal slats that are also called louvers. These louvers are attached together with a cord or fabric tape and can be adjusted to change their slant to allow light as desired.
These slats can also be raised or lowered to cover the window or leave it bare. In previous decades, a Venetian blind was adjusted by the manual manipulation of cords. Today, there are more and more mechanical cordless options available.
Venetian blinds were a popular window covering throughout Europe in the 18th century, but this style is thought to have originated in Persia. Venetians were famous for their trade routes and brought back and utilized this window covering.
Venetian blinds were modernized by John Hampton from New Orleans in 1841. He is responsible for creating a mechanism that tilts the louvers to adjust the shade without opening and closing it.
Types of Venetian Blinds
Following the modernization of the style by John Hampton, Venetian blinds have expanded in material used to construct the slats, the slat width options, and closure style.
Material Used for Venetian Blinds
- Wood – Real wood is one of the most beautiful options for Venetian blinds. Slats constructed from basswood are the most common because it is a strong and flexible wood with a tight and even grain. Other wood options for Venetian blinds are cherry, walnut, pine, and oak. Wood Venetian blinds lend warmth and beauty to any room. Yet, these are one of the most expensive options and are also susceptible to swelling if exposed to moisture.
- Composite Wood – Composite wood Venetian blinds are made by combining wood pulp and a synthetic binder like plastic. These mimic the look and feel of wood blinds. You can find composite wood blinds that have both painted and stained finishes. Composite Venetian blinds are less expensive than wood blinds. These are fabricated to stand up well to exposure to moisture.
- PVC – PVC is a hardened plastic substance that is used to make Venetian blinds. These are also called faux wood blinds because they are shaped to have a similar wood grain pattern. These are a cost-effective Venetian shade option. They stand up well to moisture. Yet, they are more susceptible to UV damage over time. These are a good choice for white shades, but they do not look as authentic with dark finishes made to resemble a stained surface.
- Aluminum – Aluminum Venetian blinds were created by Hunter Douglas in the 1940s. These used the lightweight silver metal to create the durable, moisture and UV resistant shades. Aluminum Venetian blinds are also a cost-effective option. Yet, these are not as traditional or classic in style as wood blinds.
How to Choose the Correct Slat Width for Venetian Blinds
Slat widths for Venetian blinds vary between ½”-2 ½”. These slat widths impact the appearance of your window and the amount of light that comes through the window.
- Window Size – It is best to use a larger width slat on a larger window as smaller slats over a large space create a busier look.
- Design Style – The smaller the slat, the more contemporary the style of the Venetian blind. Most traditional wooden Venetian blind styles utilize wider slats. You can also emphasize the classic look of wide slatted Venetian blinds with fabric tape used to attach the slats to one another. Emphasize a minimalist style with micro-blinds with ½” slat.
- Privacy Concerns – Venetian blind with smaller slats provide more privacy. Venetian blinds with larger slats create large openings when tilted open.
- Budget – In general, the wider the slat size, the more expensive the Venetian blind. If you are looking for a budget option, find blinds with smaller slats.
Closure Style Options for Venetian Blinds
Most Venetian blind companies feature blinds with manual and mechanized closure options. Horizontal blinds for windows that use cords feature manual operation. There are cordless options that are both manual and mechanized.
- Cords and Tape- Using cords or fabric tapes to adjust the height of the blind and slat angle is the most traditional closure style. This is a cost-effective option for Venetian blinds as it is the least custom style. This closure style leaves a dangling cord that may pose a risk for small children or pets who could get tangled in the extra cord.
- Cordless – Cordless Venetian blinds feature cords that hold the blinds together but a lift mechanism that lifts the blinds up and down. This style gives the blinds a cleaner look, not to mention is safer for children and pets that are often attracted to long cords. There are both mechanized and manual cordless Venetian blind options.
How to Measure Your Windows for Venetian Blinds
There are two options for hanging horizontal window blinds: inside the window frame or outside the window frame. Blinds hung inside the window frame have a more tailored and seamless look. This is recommended in most cases. Yet, this is not always possible because of windows that do not have a standard shape unless you buy a customized blind.
Measuring Your Window for an Inside Mount
- Collect the materials you need to measure your windows: a tape measure and a pencil and paper to record your findings.
- Measure the depth of the window to determine if it is sufficient to mount your Venetian shades inside the window box. It should be at least ¾” for most Venetian shades to fit.
- Measure the width of the window in three places, the top, middle, and side. Round these numbers to the nearest ⅛”. Use the narrowest number to determine what width blind you need for your window.
- Measure the height of the window in three places, the left, middle, and right side. Round these numbers to the nearest ⅛”. Use the longest number to determine which length Venetian blind you need for your window.
Measuring Your Window for an Outside Mount
- Gather materials to measure your windows including a tape measure and a pencil and paper to record your measurements.
- Look at your window frame to determine where you should mount the blinds. You can choose the top window molding, the wall area above the window, or even the ceiling. Make sure that wherever you choose to mount the blind, there is a flat area that is at least 2 inches high.
- Measure the width of the window from side to side in three places, the top, middle, and bottom. Most experts recommend that you include at least a 1 ½” overlap on either side of the window. Round each number to the nearest ⅛”. Use the widest number to determine the width of your Venetian blinds.
- Measure the length of the window from where you want to mount your blinds to the bottom of where you want your blinds to fall. Measure in three places, the left, middle, and right side. Round each number to the nearest ⅛”. Use the longest number to determine the length of your window blinds.
Venetian Blinds in Home Design
Venetian blind are a favorite with interior designs as they work with such varied design styles.
Layering Venetian Blinds With Curtains
One trick to create the most functional room is to layer your window treatments. In this transitional Brooklyn living room, this interior design used wide slatted blinds with fabric tapes and combined them with curtains. This gives the room a more sophisticated look and it allows the owners to adjust the amount of light and privacy in the room to the highest degree.
Minimal Venetian Blinds
In a home like this contemporary one in Vancouver, the windows are all the wall decor needed. The designer has opted for minimal thin slatted blinds that disappear when opened. This maintains the room’s integral connection to the outdoors without sacrificing privacy.
Venetian Blinds as Focal Point
Venetian blinds like this red one from Hunter Douglas provide a good way to bring more color into your room. This works the best with a neutral-colored wall and accents that blend with the blind.
Venetian Blinds for Texture
Use wood or wood-toned Venetian blinds to give neutral rooms some needed warmth. The key here is to use a medium-toned wood that has a slightly textured grain.
Venetian Blinds with a Valance
While some people may love the elegant look of curtains and Venetian blinds, they don’t want the fussiness of a curtain. Choose another elegant header like a valance to dress up the look of your Venetian blinds.
Venetian Blinds Pros and Cons
Now that you have seen all the key elements of Venetian blinds you know that they are a window covering that works well in many designs. But they do have some qualities that mean they are not the right choice for everyone.
- Light and Privacy Control – Blinds allow you to adjust the light coming into your room and the amount of coverage on a more granular level than curtains that are just open or closed.
- Style – Venetian blinds work well with a variety of styles from traditional to contemporary.
- Ease of Adjustability – Venetian blinds are easy for everyone to adjust and manipulate.
- Availability – Venetian blinds are a popular window covering, so there are choices in a wide range of styles and budgets.
- Longevity – With proper care, Venetian blinds will last for many years with little trouble.
- Maintenance – One of the most common objections to Venetian blinds is the cleaning involved. Each individual slat can collect dust which can make them difficult to keep clean.
- Safety – Venetian blinds with cords can pose a health hazard for children and small pets who can become tangled in the dangling cord.
- Difficulty of Repair – Venetian blinds are difficult to repair if the slats are damaged or if the cord gets off track.