Blinds & Shades Buying Guide
Privacy, security, light filtration, as well as style and energy savings, can be achieved with blinds and shades. They are also durable, easy to clean and available in a variety of textures, styles and finishes to complement your home.
What is the Difference between Blinds & Shades?
Blinds are a type of “hard window” covering that are usually made of wood, faux wood, vinyl or metal (aluminum). Blinds consist of horizontal slats connected together so they can be raised, lowered or tilted at an angle to adjust the level of sunlight allowed in the room. Shades, on the other hand, are usually made of fabric or bamboo, and can be fully raised or lowered to match your desired level of light or privacy.
Taking correct measurements is an important step that ensures the perfect fit for the new Blinds and Shades you’re purchasing for your Home. Please watch our helpful video on How to Measure to be equipped with all the information you need to complete your purchase - either online or in the stores.
Types of Window Blinds
Blinds are very effective at blocking out the sunlight, and JCPenney offers plenty of stylish options to choose from. You can also pair blinds with a set of your favorite curtains to further complement the décor and style of your home.
Horizontal blinds are a classic way to control light and privacy, these come in a wide selection of colors and finishes.
Vertical blinds are made of individual slats clipped on a sliding track and can be opened and closed with a wand or pulley system. It is a great option for sliding glass doors or large windows.
Shutters provide a custom look with functional light control and privacy. They can be mounted inside or outside the window opening.
Wood blinds are made of real wood in a wide range of painted and stained finishes, allowing you to easily coordinate them with the rest of décor in your home. Wood blinds are lighter in weight than faux wood blinds, so they are a great option for large size windows.
Faux wood blinds are made of a PVC/vinyl or composite wood materials. They are made to look and feel like the real wood blinds, while adding durability and affordability. They are also more resistant to moisture than wood blinds.
Mini blinds are some of the lightest window treatments available. They’re easy to install and even easier to operate. Mini blinds are a super low-cost window treatment.
Types of Window Shades
Window shades are also a great option for your home - they help with light control and are great for privacy. Good window shades can also help lower your utility bills. Solar shades can also protect your home or office from harmful UV rays. In the following section we will help you choose the right type of shade for your home.
Cellular shades, also known as Honeycomb shades, are made of fabric that is pleated to form the cells. These shades are great at insulating windows to help reduce energy costs. They come in a variety of light control options from light filtering to blackout.
Pleated shades are a versatile single, continuous layer of fabric that is pleated to block incoming and outgoing light.
Roman shades are made out of fabric or bamboo that folds evenly at the top of the window when the shade is raised with the help of a pull cord system.
Roller shades are usually made from fabrics, and consist of a headrail and one solid piece of fabric material that stretches the length of your window when fully extended. They can mount to a window to either hide or expose hardware.
Solar shades help block sun glare and harmful UV rays. The openness ratings range from 1% to 18% - and designate the percentage of UV rays that will pass through the fabric. Solar shades are the fastest growing new segment and the easiest to add motorization to. They are ideal for east-or west-facing rooms, offices and sunrooms.
Sheer shades combine the versatility of a blind with the stacking of a shade - you can adjust the whole shade, or just the slats, to control light and privacy.
Outdoor shades are great for your outdoor areas – patios, verandas, etc. Usually made from PVC materials, they are fade and mold resistant. Solar Outdoor Shades is a new and growing segment of this category.
Controlling your Blinds and Shades
Corded vs Cordless
Cordless blinds and shades offer the safest option, especially for families with children and pets. Cordless products can be controlled by pulling on the bottom rail to lower or lift. If you have very tall windows, you may find that you prefer corded blinds and shades in which a lift cord on one side of window allows you to move the shades up or down.
Some blinds come with wands. When you twist the wand, the slats rotate to the desired angle. With vertical blinds, the wand allows you to rotate the slats sideways to open and close.
Top Down Bottom Up shades are window treatments that can be raised from the bottom, lowered from the top or adjusted from both directions at once. Top-down bottom-up corded shades will usually have two cords that are attached to two rails to control the top and the bottom. The cordless shades will usually have a clear handle which blends in with your fabric and allows you to raise and lower your shade without touching the fabric.
Motorized Shades have been gaining in popularity. With motorization option, you can adjust your blinds, shades, and shutters with just a simple click. Motorizing your window coverings is an easy way to simplify your daily routines.
Different levels of motorization require different levels of expertise for installation:
- Levolor brand of blinds & shades offers detailed installation guides online. Look on the product page, under “Helpful Guides” links.
- After installation, the remote can be paired to Levolor App (app download is necessary), allowing full control your blinds and shades via the touch of your cell phone.
Professional installation recommended
- Some blinds and shades require a bit more expertise in installation, in which case, the services of professional installers are best used.
Understanding Light Filtration
Blinds & Shades help strike a balance between full natural light and total blackout. If you would like to amplify the blackout effect, add blackout curtains.
Light Filtering: These blinds and shades gently diffuse incoming light and offer moderate privacy.
Room Darkening: these blinds and shades block most of the light that enters your room.
Blackout: blackout shades block the sunlight completely and provide the most privacy and room darkness, day or night.
What to consider before buying blinds and shades
House orientation and desired light exposure.
Evaluate whether your house has primary south/north or east/west orientation. East/west orientation usually results in extra sun exposure, especially in warmer southern climates. If your goal is to minimize bright sunshine, blackout blinds, shades and curtains provide a great option for bedrooms, nurseries, and media rooms – anywhere you don’t need light penetration.
If you like to have more light exposure in certain areas, like living room or a kitchen, look for light filtering blinds and shades or top-down bottom-up options.
In addition to house orientation, think about how neat the backs of blinds and shades will appear from the outside of your house, especially on the front facade. Matching colors, functionality and appearance will have your street-facing windows looking consistent and complementing the rest of the house!
Privacy shades are non-transparent to prevent others from seeing through them, during daylight as well as when the lights are on in the evening. Perfect for rooms facing the street or close neighbors, these shades are helpful for keeping the inside of your home hidden. Blinds are a bit more challenging when it comes to privacy, since you need to have them significantly tilted or closed to block all the view from outside of the house; however, when closed, they offer a privacy barrier, especially in case of shutter blinds.
Which room in the house are you buying for?
- Nursery, bedroom, media room – we recommend blackout options, especially if you’re a light-sensitive sleeper.
- Office or sunroom – we recommend solar shades that block harmful UV radiation while allowing the light in.
- Living room, kitchen – if you’re thinking of a light filled space, consider the wide variety of light filtering options in blinds, shades and curtains that JCPenney carries.
- Any room in a hot southern climate – consider shutters to ensure maximum protection from the sun, as well as keep your furniture and furnishings safe from discoloration.
- Room with oversized sliding glass doors – verticals or sliding panels.
Décor Style of your home
Given a variety of options in colors and styles of contemporary blinds and shades, everyone can find the best fit to the home décor style. In general, it is advisable to choose a color of blinds or shades that will match with either the trim or the wall color if those two are similar. If you want more contrast in a modern style, bold color options are available and make a fashion statement of their own. Subtle hues are usually perfect for a room decorated in neutral color palette. Just keep in mind that there are many shades of white and light colors – so if you desire to closely match the shade to your trim, it is best to order a sample and compare it to your window to ensure the closes match. If you’d like to get a uniform color across the house, but unsure about how to match it to both warm and cool paint colors of your interior and furnishings, the answer may be a new trendy color of greige = combination of grey and beige. This combo creates a richer color, one that can work in both cool and warm color schemes.
If you have children or pets, choose the cordless style of blinds and shades to avoid any possibility of injury.
Wood, faux wood and vinyl blinds can be wiped clean or dusted regularly with a duster. Be careful not to use any harsh chemicals while cleaning as not to cause discoloration of the slats. Most shades can be spot cleaned or lightly vacuumed. Since most shades are made of fabric, for any bigger spills please consult professional cleaners for best results. Make sure to follow the manufacturer suggested instructions.
In general, the bigger the window size, the more you can anticipate spending on window coverings due to size of the materials required. Also consider the total number of windows in your house – will you be upgrading all of them at the same time or will some rooms get the first priority? Custom options also generally cost more, but they are also fabricated to your exact specifications to ensure good fit and can be the best option with non-standard window sizes.
Measuring for Blinds & Shades
How to measure:
- Use a metal measuring tape to ensure accuracy.
- Round measurements down to the nearest 1/8".
- Measure each window separately. They could vary enough to require different size treatments.
- Note which measurement is the width (list first) and which is the length (listed second). It is very common to mix up measurements.
Choose inside mount or outside mount
Inside mount: Inside mounted shades are contained within the window frame. It can provide a finished, built- in look without covering any molding. It is also suggested if additional window treatments will be layered on top. Measure at top, middle and bottom of each window and use the smallest measurement for inside mount.
- Requires at least 2" frame depth for most treatments.
- Check for any obstacles like handles or cranks that could interfere.
- Your window should be square to work properly and hang well. Check by measuring diagonally in both directions and that the variance isn't over 1/2".
Outside mount: Outside mounted blinds or shades are mounted on the wall or molding. They can be used to make a window appear larger, hide less appealing windows, or maximize privacy by eliminating light gaps.
- Requires at 2" of flat surface above your window on the frame for mounting the brackets.
Measuring Inside Mount:
- Measure to the nearest 1/8" at top, middle and bottom.
- Use narrowest measurement as your ordering width.
- For roller or solar shades, use only the top width.
- Measure to the nearest 1/8" left, center and right side.
- Use the longest measurement as your ordering height except for horizontal sheers, vertical blinds and sheer verticals where you will want to order the shortest measurement.
- Measure from the wall to the glass.
- Account for any obstructions like handles or locks.
- Order a flush mount depth that is the same or less than your frame depth.
Measuring Outside Mount:
- Measure exactly where the window covering will be.
- Include overlap on each side to reduce light, at least 1 1/2" on each side is recommended.
- If you want your window treatment to stack above or to the side of the window or door opening, add the width or height of the stack to your measurement.
- Measure from the top of the headrail to widow sill (or to the floor for patio doors. If no sill, measure to where the window covering will end. Include 1 1/2" to 3" for overlap. If you want your blind or shade to rest on the sill, add overlap to the top only
What you will need:
- Metal measuring tape
- Possible a ladder