The Blinds Review.

The definitive guide to all things blinds & shades.

The Blinds Review cuts through the hassle of all the confusing data amongst the sea of window blinds websites. It's your one stop shop for expert reviews, relevant seasonal style guides and image galleries to help you make a decision...quick!

Filtering by Tag: drapes

New Season, New Reason: Refreshing Summer Window Treatments

With rising utility costs, homeowners all want to create a balance between beautiful summertime window treatments and saving energy. To answer the call, window treatment manufacturers have been working hard to create window dressings that not only look lovely, they also block out the summer heat and strong rays of the sun.

Opt for Awnings

Did you know that window awnings could reduce solar heat gain in the summertime on south-facing windows by up to 65 percent and on west-facing windows, up to 77 percent? You can have them installed on just one window, or on the entire side of your house. They are affordable and attractive, and some models are retractable, too. Innovations in hardware make them easier than ever to roll up, too. Awnings are available in a variety of materials, but most manufactured today consist of synthetic fabrics like acrylic or polyvinyl laminates that repel water and resist fading and mildew.

Open Up to Window Blinds

Window blinds, no matter if they are vertical or horizontal slats, work well to reduce summer heat gain. The movable slats provide the opportunity to adjust them in order to control both sunlight and air flow. Blinds come in many attractive styles and materials, and are affordable and long lasting. Blinds are the easiest way to maintain privacy and to filter out light and heat. They offer a level of insulation to windows, and if you add curtains and draperies to them, they are even more effective at blocking out the heat. Modern blinds come in vertical, horizontal and mini-slats and they can open from the top and sides, rather than the bottom, as well.

Draw the Draperies

If you have windows that receive direct sunlight, closing the draperies will reduce heat gain, and if they are medium-colored with a white plastic or acrylic backing, studies show they lower heat gain by 33 percent. Choose drapes with pleats and folds in them, because they dissipate heat via convection. Another way to reduce heat gain with draperies is to hang them as close to your windows as possible, and allow them to fall onto a windowsill or floor. To reduce heat by 25 percent more, install a cornice or valence at the top, or hang draperies flush against the ceiling and then seal them closed at both sides and in the middle.

Shop for Shades

Window shades are the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy if you install them properly. Mount them as close to the window as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the sides of the window or the wall to seal the air space. Lower your shades on sunny windows and raise your shades on shady windows during the daytime. Lighter colors will reflect, rather than absorb the heat of the sun.

There are shades suited for all types of windows, in a myriad of styles and features, including special linings to block out light and heat. Solar shades are a modern option, allowing you to see outside, while filtering out harmful UV rays. Solar shades are a valid year-round option, because they insulate your home from heat in the summer and cold in the winter, saving you money on both heat and air conditioning.

Install Interior Shutters

Modern shutters, either exterior or interior, reduce both heat gain and heat loss in the home. However, interior shutters are the most popular choice, because they are highly attractive, easy to use, flexible and convenient. You can adjust them as the sun moves from one side of your home to the other, and they offer an added level of privacy, too. Combined with other window treatments, such as curtains or draperies, interior shutters are even better for insulating your home.

By using this common sense approach, you can reduce the heat in your home during the summer months significantly. If you are not sure what types of window treatments to use in various areas of your home, consult with a window treatment specialist. They can help you be cool as a cucumber and avoid sweating over your cooling bills until the first frost hits.

Who Buys Drapes?

Who actually buys drapes anymore? Drapes are those things that covered my grandmother’s windows. And actually thinking back, there were drapes in the living room of the house I grew up in. It took a minute for me to remember that because nobody actually went into the living room.

There are drapes that still look just like the ones I remember. There are also drapes they look pretty good in any setting. I have to say that because I just bought some. I have these fake French door windows in my house, and I put some Roman shades on them, and they look okay. But something was missing. I mean not to me, but my wife told me something was missing. So obviously something was missing.

We looked at cornice boards and valances, actually several kinds of valances, but they were not going to give us the look that we were after. At least from what we could tell. I mean we were online shopping, not in a store. We did visit quite a few sites, most of which were very confusing. We actually went back to the site from which we bought the Roman shades to begin with; It was clear they were a leading brand for blinds and shades, but not really for cornices or valances. There was a link on their site to a place called Having already had one really good experience with this company, we clicked on the link.


Grommet drapes, back tab drapes, ring top drapes. What?? I had no idea. I just had this image in my mind of the drapes that adorned the windows in my grandma’s house, which I discovered are called pleated drapes. Pinch pleated to be exact. I was beginning to believe that we would find the answer at SelectDrapes.

Did you know that it is not necessary to have a looped cord mounted to the wall in order to open and close drapery? I thought that was standard. Anyway, the site was pretty easy to navigate. The way they led me through the decision making process was straightforward, and allowed me to choose colors and fabrics based on the style of drapery that we were most interested in. After going through the grommet drapes and ring top drapes, we found another kind of draperies called rod pocket drapes. The common feature with all three of these draperies is that no cord is required to open or close them. You simply pull on the wand. Or in our case, we leave them as is. 

Curtain Types Explained

You may have thought that all curtains are the same, but, in fact, there are many different types of curtains that you can choose from as you are deciding on window treatments for your home. Different styles and types will give you different looks, some are more formal, some more casual and whimsical. Depending on your personal taste and the needs that you have for your window treatments, you may want to explore the different options before you make a final selection.


Rod pocket style curtains are the kind that you are probably most familiar with. This type of curtain has a pocket along the entire top edge that the rod is slipped through to hang the curtains. The rod is not exposed at all, except for the very ends. These curtains can be pulled back or left closed, or they can be secured with a tie back for a more decorative appearance. Rod pocket curtains come in virtually any type of fabric or pattern, and are a popular choice and considered to be very traditional and classy, whether they are in a more formal or casual fabric or material.

A variation of the rod pocket curtain is the tab top curtain. This is a more casual version of the traditional rod pocket curtains, and the top pocket is replaced by “tabs” or loops of material that are evenly spaced, usually every couple of inches, along the top edge of the curtain. The rod is slipped through the tabs to hang the curtains. Tab top curtains work very nicely with decorative rods of either metal or wooden construction, as the rod becomes part of the décor. Tab top curtains tend to come in more casual fabrics, such as linens and cottons, and will be beautiful in many different types of rooms and complement many decorating themes.

Even more unique when it comes to curtains is the ring topped curtain style. This curtain is designed to be hung on a rod with multiple rings along the top of the curtain. The rings may be metal, wooden or even fabric covered, and add a beautiful decorative touch.

These are a few examples of the different types of curtains that you might choose from as you are developing the décor for your home and selecting window treatments.