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In this blog, Blinds Leading the Blinds: Custom Window Blinds, vs Cut-To-Go Blinds. I want to talk about, window treatments, shutters and shades. As an Interior Designer I dealt with many types of window blinds and shades and many manufacturers of window treatments. We will even delve into shutters. They all have different features, prices, and installation requirements, however they are all made out of pretty much the same elements, metals, wood, faux wood or materials. Some are easier to install than others and some do not stand up to the wear and tear as others do. So I want to educate you on each of the main brands and compare them to store bought window blinds and shades.
There Are Many types Of Blinds: There are several main custom blind manufacturers, custom meaning the dealer comes into your house, measures your windows, orders your quality blinds to fit and the Manufacturer cuts your blinds to fit exactly. Blinds are an essential part of your decor for several reasons, one being that they protect any draperies you have on your windows and furniture from the suns rays that damage and fade fabrics over time, gives you privacy, enhances your decor, and shades your eyes from the sun when entertaining, or watching television during the day. I want to talk of the 3 main manufactures that I have dealt with in my career, then I want to compare those blinds with store bought blinds, and shades. So you have an informed concept of what you are buying and why.
Here is my list of Custom Ordered Blinds:
1. Hunter Douglas: Custom Order
2. Shade O Matic: Custom Order
3. Levelor: Custom Order
Hunter Douglas: Hunter Douglas has the reputation of being the top brand and they do have a good product. An American based Company that sells window coverings all over the world. There is a lifetime guarantee on their product. They state their blinds are superior to others, and they have a product that will fit any budget. There are numerous colours to choose from and many styles of shades, shutters and blinds. These are: metal horizontal blinds, wood horizontal, roller shades, vertical blinds, woven wood, sheer and shadings, cellular honey comb shades, and roman shades, as well as faux wood, wood and shutters, there is also draperies, side panels and full draperies. You can order motorized shades as well and you can also design your own.
We know that our windows are not the most efficient insulators, no matter how many panes of glass you get, cold or warm air seeps through the glass because the glass is cold in the winter or hot in the summer. In the winter the heat in your home escapes through your windows as well, in summer, the cool air from the air conditioner escapes. In 1985 Hunter Douglas became the industry’s leader in making a significant difference in energy savings. They invented the “Duette honeycomb shade“, a highly energy efficient shade. This was due to the energy crisis that was causing major problems in the 1970s. These shades continue to save home-owners up to 50% of their heating and cooling costs. The fabric is sown in a honeycomb design that traps the air inside the comb and forms a barrier that acts as an insulator. They now have a new product called the “Duette Architella honeycomb” it is a honeycomb within a honeycomb and gives you even greater insulation. In some places there are rebate programs you can utilize through Hunter Douglas when you use these shades. The rebates run from April 6 – June 28th for the $400.00 rebate when you select a minimum of 4 treatments with Powerview Automation.
There is child safety products as well when you order the cordless or motorized operating systems or retractable lift cords, cord tensioners. This does help keep children and pets safe, and the wand controls.There are warning tags on all the blinds and shades when they come into your home to be installed.
Hunter Douglas also has blackout or diffused Light shades for those families that need it darker in the summer months. Great for those workers who need to sleep during the day and work nights, or for children in the summer who have a hard time sleeping because the sun is still out.
Shade O Matic: Shade O Matic was one of my favorite to sell, order and install for my clients. These blinds compared to others were so easy to install. Again these are custom quality window treatments. Shade O Matic was founded in 1982 and has grown to a leading national Canadian Manufacturer. Shade O Matic became part of the Hunter Douglas Group of Companies in 1996. All their products meet and surpass the Canadian Child Safety requirements, and provide a high level of energy efficiency and function. I did like selling these shades and I do recommend them as a custom made window treatment.
Some of their products are:
SheerLuxe Horizontal Sheer – this is a new product added into the Shadow Magic collection.
Shadow Magic Cordless – Cordless Luxurious Sophisticated Window Covering.
Pleated Shades – Provides light, privacy and sun shading.
Romanelle Panel Track Systems – vertical sliding panels that fit inside a track makes a dramatic fashion statement.
Before we move on to Levelor I would like to show you something I think you will like. I had some draperies to put up in the Grandkid’s bedroom, they come and stay with me sometimes on weekends and so I gave them the second bedroom upstairs, they are 4 and 6. I didn’t want to put the conventional hardware for the curtain rods up I wanted to do something unique for their room so I went to the dollar store and bought tie backs with crystal bobbles on the end of them, used large white cup hooks and tied the rod up with the rope part of the tie backs. See pictures below.
I wasn’t sure how it would look but I think it turned out just fine. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
Levelor: So to start with, Levelor has not only custom blinds but also cut-and-go blinds, in participating stores. They can be cut to size at no charge as you shop. You only need to take your measurements in, and the store clerk will cut them for you. Levelor has been making blinds, shades, and draperies for 100 years. They have quality products with innovative technology and the know how when building blinds, shades, and shutters. Some products they sell are faux wood, real wood, vertical blinds, shutters, roman shades, panel track, roller shades, and sheers. I have sold Levelor blinds and shades but find them to be a little more pricey then Shade O Matic, I find the quality to be the same however I found them harder to install.
Let’s talk about shutters. Shutters come in faux wood or real wood the vanes are either 2 1/2″ for the more traditional style, 3 1/2″ for a contemporary look and 4 1/2″ for an ultra modern look. Shutters are custom-made to fit your window, come in all different colours and will add value to your homes bottom dollar. Looks great from the outside as well as inside the home. Gives the home that “wow factor” more than blinds or shades do, that is because they will last much longer than conventional blinds or shades, 10 or more years longer. They are actually considered part of the window frame when installed professionally. They are great insulators in summer or winter. In summer you can sleep with them open and the wind or breeze doesn’t cause them to bang. They are perfect for larger windows. Plantation shutters have a 25-year warranty, most other blinds only have 1 to 2 years warranty. People ask why are they so expensive? The reasons are they are labour-intensive. Making a quality plantation shutter takes a number of steps to assemble starting with your exact measurements, using high quality material and paint. There are cheaper plantation shutters using a thin PVC plastic that is not painted or have the UV treatment on it, and may yellow with the hot sun over time and become brittle. These do not add any value to your home. Some are painted with a paint that has VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds, it can emit an odor from the chemicals like formaldehyde or lead and are not custom fitted to your size of window. They do tend to warp and swell up and sometimes even burst when subjected to moisture. So your better off spending the extra for Custom Plantation or California Shutters.
Please keep this in mind when talking with a sales rep about Shutters, “THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME” and “THEY DON’T ALL COME OUT OF THE SAME FACTORY”. There are different qualities. 80% of plantation shutters are made overseas but not all are made the same. California Shutters are 100% made in Canada. So please be careful when buying your Shutters do your research.
Store Cut-To-Go Blinds. These can be horizontal metal or PVC blinds, metal is better, and highly recommended, for obvious reason as mentioned in the Shutter review above, vertical blinds, roller blinds-blackout or mesh. They are ok to order in a pinch or on a tight budget, but only recommended for a short period. Custom is the best. Home Depot, Lowes, or Ikea, sells these cut-to-go blinds. There is really no warranty on these blinds due to the fact they have to be altered to fit your window. Your measurements must be exact so they will fit your window properly when you install them. Home Depot also sells custom blinds, Hunter Douglas, Shade O Matic and Levolor and also sell Shutters.
Measuring for in store cut blinds: There are two ways to measure your windows
1. Inside Mount: Blinds are installed inside the window casing. Measure the frame width in 3 places top, middle, bottom. For the height measure the left, middle, and right side. You want the narrowest width and the longest height measurement. Also, you will need the depth measurement of the window as well. Do not take any deductions from your measurements they will do that when they cut the blinds. Otherwise, your treatment will not fit properly.
2. Outside Mount: This is outside the casing. The overall measurement to be covered by the blind. Consider adding 3″ to the width and the height for complete light control and privacy. Make sure you have at, least 2″ of flat surface above the window or frame for mounting the brackets. Brackets need to clear the upper frame. Or you can mount them at the side of the frame in the upper portion so the header is sitting parallel to the upper molding. These blinds do come with all the hardware you need to install them. Make sure you double check your measurements before you go to get your blinds. It’s better to be safe then sorry.
Using the template below, draw your window on grafting paper. Use the measuring technique you want, inside or outside, putting the measurements on you drawing with the arrows pointing in the direction of each measurment like the diagram.
Amazon Blinds and Sheers
Amazon sells semi-custom blinds and shades as well, at a much lower and able to manage pricing point. I have read only good reviews on these window coverings, maybe something to check out I have added a few of them to my site if you want to check them out and order. Semi-custom blinds means they have all the standard window sizes listed on the order page to order from.
Zebra Sheer Blind: Custom Cut To Size
Similar to the Shade O Matic Shadow Magic Horizontal Shades
(Name of the reviewer has been deleted for privacy. Click on the picture to go to the site to see the reviewers name)
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Zebra blinds at an unbelievable price!
Reviewed in Canada on November 12, 2019
Size : W81 x H64 (Inch)Color Name: 01.WhiteVerified Purchase
This is my very first time buying blinds on Amazon so I was alittle skeptical with the quality. I decided to give it a try, mainly since I had local companies qoute me almost $2000 to have zebra blinds installed for our entire house. I started off by only ordering a couple of these blinds and a single from a different brand on Amazon. When they arrived and I installed the first one I was absolutely shocked with how amazing they looked. Obviously they are not luxury fabric material, but honestly for the price it definitely surpassed my expectations. I ended up returning the other single blind I ordered becouse these ones are so much better quality.
The size came out to be perfect. I shaved about half an inch off each side when measuring my window just in case, and that made the blinds fit spot on inside my window frame. It was ridiculously easy to install. They also come with two types of brackets so I have some blinds installed inside my window frame and other on the wall outside.
I’ve been so happy with these blinds that I ended up buying the rest of what I needed for my house, and it costed me a fraction of what I was initially quoted elsewhere. These are definitely worth every penny!
Blackout Pleated Cellular
Great for a temporary solution.
Review: That Review Guy
What a life saver! A must buy for any parent.
Reviewed in Canada on July 5, 2018
Size : 36-Inch by 72-InchColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
This is a life saver. Our baby girl sleeps in her crib in our room and we always had morning light seeping in from the sides of the windows and curtains. The blackout curtains never fully closed off the room from the light. Our daughter kept waking us all up at 530 am.
After installing 3 of these on all our bedroom windows not a spec of light makes it past the curtains anymore. It’s 100% pitch black in our room now and we can sleep until her wakeup time which is 7-730am.
Absolute life saver!
Here is one more window treatment style
Review: (the name of the reviewer has been deleted for privacy)
Reviewed in Canada on September 5, 2019
Size : 33″W X 64″HColor Name: Jamaican Truffle (Natural Woven)Verified Purchase
I’d buy it again. A bit of a thing to hang and wasn’t thrilled with where the magnets fell when hanging but now that it’s up and I don’t really adjust it on a daily basis, I love the look of it.
Where this shade is concerned some people did like it, some didn’t like it because of the magnets. Remember the price, some of these shades are great for a tight budget and you need a blind quickly. If you can’t wait for custom made or the price is just not in your budget for custom made, these shades will work just fine. This gives you some options to look at. I hope this blog answers some questions you might have had, and some ideas to think upon.
I will buy the Zebra Sheer Blind for my masterbedroom. I will let you know once I get them and install them. If your interested in any of the above treatments just double click on the picture it will take you right to the page. Till then
Phone: 403-369-6993 or Skype me just click on the purple button at the side of the website.
Please leave a comment below and let me know how your doing in your decorating plan or, if you have any questions.