Curtains or blinds? It’s a question that has left countless homeowners scratching their heads. And for good reason: Each option has a long list of pros, and equally long list of cons. So where exactly should one even begin?
Taking One Step Back
The first step is, well, taking one step back. Take a look at the room and all its functions. It may seem a little obvious at first, but when you really consider what the room is and what it needs to do, it will make choosing the correct window dressing a whole lot easier. Let’s take a kitchen for example. Curtains can work, of course, but consider how close the window is tothe stove, prep area and sink. Over time, the fabric can draw in unwanted smells and even stains. In this case, using blinds would be the better option: They can be pulled open almost entirely, won’t absorb different smells, and can be cleaned with relative ease. On the other hand, when we look at the living room then the dynamics change. Here you might want to create a sense of warmth, while creating focal areas with texture, colour and contrast. Blinds won’t really achieve this, so curtains would be the best bet. Although you might have a preferred option, looking at the room holistically will help inform your decision-making, helping you choose not only what looks good, but what works well.
Small Changes and Big Impacts
Before running out and making that purchase, consider what the curtains or blinds might do to the room once they’re installed.
- Dark blinds may make small rooms appear even smaller.
- Curtains that are hung higherthan the windows can make rooms appear larger.
- Blinds offer the best protection against light, without compromising on ventilation.
- In particularly sunny parts of the house, sunlight may bleach curtains over time.
- Blinds are easy to clean so dust, pollen, and animal hair can be kept under control.
- Curtains can collect a lot of dust, pollen, and animal hair over time, and cleaning them requires quite a bit of effort.
It’s possible you might already have an idea of what you want – more or less anyway. You’ve weighed up the room and its functions, and you’ve considered the look and feel. But when it comes to making the final decision, the budget is everything. Blinds are often the cheaper option – especially when they’re made of cheaper materials – so your rand can go a very long way. While blinds may often be the cheaper alternative, it’s important to consider a few important things. Blinds have several complicated mechanisms that allow them to open, close and dim. Over time, however, these mechanisms (and all the literal strings attached to them) can wear down and break. Additionally, blinds also require more intensive measuring and installation when compared with curtains.
Eyes on the Future
Lastly, consider the following: Will the room evolve over time? If so, it’s best to opt for a solution that is flexible and can be easily changed up when needed. For this scenario, curtains might be the best option. Not only are they quick to replace and install, but they can even be rotated between different rooms in the home, meaning your style can evolve as you do.
Introducing the Dream Duo
When all is said and done though, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. If your budget allows for it, pairing curtains and blinds together can be quite impactful, presenting the best of both worlds. While it may take some time to find the perfect match (keeping colour coding, texture and materials in mind), the result can be amazing. For instance, you can maximise on sun protection and ventilation (through blinds), while creating the illusion of comfort and space (through curtains).
Blinds should be cleaned once a month to keep things under control. Depending on the material, a quick and regular vacuum or dusting will prevent the blinds from getting to the point where they need to be soaked and washed.
Curtains should be cleaned once every three months. Using just a vacuum cleaner or steamer while the curtains are hung is a quick and worth-while chore. Every now and again, remove the curtains all together, shake them out and consider using a fabric deodoriser.
Words by Edwain Steenkamp