The Evolution of Window Blinds: 6 Ways Blinds Have Changed Through the Years
Over the course of history, societies and civilizations had unique reasons for using window coverings. Underneath each story, there is a core need for safety and comfort, as well as a desire for beauty and aesthetics. These needs and wants allowed window covering innovations to flourish into what they are today.
Manufacturers are now making the most beautiful, dynamic and long-lasting blinds we’ve ever seen. As you marvel over the way your shades and blinds make your home a better place, we invite you to learn how they’ve changed over the years. You’ll learn a little something about window blinds and you’ll be grateful about how they’ve evolved since ancient times.
1. Updates in Materials
Thousands of years ago, window blinds were made of a society’s most coveted materials. Some civilizations, such as the people of Ancient Egypt, used wet pieces of cloth to cover their windows. Villagers in Asia made their coverings out of bamboo stalks. Additional popular choices around the globe included reeds and animal skins.
As societies found new ways of harvesting materials, wooden blinds began to rise in popularity. They went mainstream in the 16th century, while aluminum blinds became commonplace in the United States during the post-World War II era. By the 1950s, manufacturers were competing throughout North America and Europe to make the most durable and attractive products. The 1970s and 1980s saw some of the most innovation in window coverings throughout modern history, with inventions such as metal mini blinds, dynamic honeycomb shades and wide-slatted wood blinds. A fan favorite, faux wood blinds, also entered the market.
Today, you can find materials for every room, function and style in your home. Choose bamboo blinds or woven wood shades to create a refined, natural look in your bedroom or home office. Easy-clean vinyl roller shades are perfect for kitchens and bathrooms, while cellular blinds allow the perfect amount of light into your living room, family room or dining area. The choices in fabrics are nearly endless.
2. From Corded to Cordless
When you were a child, the blinds in your home probably had long cords. To keep you safe, your parents watched you closely—and told you not to touch the shades when you were older. If you had a dog or a cat, you and your family did all that you could to keep the dangerous fixtures away from them, including placing the cords atop your window or tucking them behind the shades. Various injuries and deaths inspired the innovations you see today.
Nowadays, cordless blinds are gaining popularity due to safety. As a result, most of the popular window blinds come with a cordless option. Instead of having a string or a wand on the outside, the mechanisms used to open and close your shades are inside the headrail, within the material and tucked into the bottom rail. Roller shades are one of the most classic cordless styles, but you can say goodbye to cords when choosing real wood blinds, faux wood blinds or pleated shades. You can also go cordless with light filtering shades, solar shades and vertical blinds.
Some cord-free models even come with a top down bottom up option. Operate your blinds from the top of the window or the bottom of the window for the perfect amount of privacy and light control. Combined with the cordless feature, you’ll find your window treatments are easier to use than ever. To find the right cordless blinds for your needs, visit the manufacturer’s website. Navigate to the “cordless” page or search your favorite shades to see if they come with a cordless option.
3. A New Rainbow of Color Options
Homeowners and families alike have enjoyed different colors of window blinds for thousands of years. In Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Roman societies, the hues would often depend on the type of material that was available at the time. Bold-colored cloth could be purposed into rich shades, while brown and black animal hides adorned any space. You’re not as confined today. In fact, you can choose from nearly any shade of the rainbow to make your room complete.
While you have more freedom in the modern market, know that it depends on the window coverings you choose. Some styles of window blinds and shades come in only a few colors. Others will give you plenty of options. Shopping online is the best way to browse before making your final decision.
For instance, if you like Zebra shades, you can select from neutral, room-darkening hues like Coffee, Brown and Gray. Roman shades are one of those window coverings that come in many prints. Go wild with a variety of patterns in colors like Saffron and Sprout. Cellular shades are among the most dynamic when it comes to color. You’ll find everything from Leaf Gold and Moss to Agate Red and Jean Blue. Mini blinds are also especially colorful. Whether you have children or a whimsical décor personality, you can go with hues like Pale Pink, Chinese Red and Raw Umber.
4. Blackout and Room Darkening Features
As we learned how to live better in our homes in the mid-20th century, light filtering options became more popular. Today, you can still enjoy a modest level of sun protection without sacrificing natural light—but you also have many other choices.
Start by thinking about your needs. If you want to darken a baby nursery, bedroom or home office, choose room darkening or blackout blinds. Room darkening shades make the room more dim than traditional ones, but you’ll still get a little bit of sunlight. In contrast, blackout blinds will ensure your space is as dark as night.
When it’s time to buy, you also have a variety of different options. You can select a window covering with thick slats or purchase shades with a light filtering material. Basswood blinds are hardy enough to block bright sunlight, while Roman shades can be fitted with a room darkening or blackout liner. Vertical blinds, by design, are an excellent choice for blocking out light. While they’ve been around since the mid-20th century, homeowners still marvel at how perfect they are for light control on patio doors, long windows and screened enclosures.
5. Motorized Additions
Only a few generations ago, motors were reserved for big machines and cars. These days, they’re placed in everything from toys to computers. Believe it or not, they’re also available in window blinds. In fact, motorized blinds are one of the most coveted, state of the art features on the market. Despite what you may think, they aren’t just for the frivolous. They actually bear a variety of important benefits almost any homeowner can use.
Some windows are just too tall or too big to operate their window coverings alone or by hand. Many bow windows, bay windows and casement windows are completely out of reach, especially in homes with tall ceilings. Instead of compromising safety or being helpless to the weather conditions, you can choose a window covering that will allow you to add a motorized feature. With a simple push of a button, your shade will move up or down, wherever you are sitting.
Motorized blinds also allow the best light control and protection from the elements. Since you can quickly and easily control how much sun and cold gets into your home, you’ll never have to worry about a big electric bill or faded furniture. Finally, blinds with motors are perfect for seniors, people living with disabilities and even kids. Nearly anyone can operate their blinds or shades with ease and independence.
6. Automated Controls
If motors and remotes aren’t enough, you can now control your window blinds and shades through a smart device. The same motorized solar shades or cellular blinds you purchased from the manufacturer may be coordinated with your home automation partner.
Just like your Bluetooth-enabled car and Wi-Fi-powered kitchen appliances, these aren’t your grandmother’s window treatments. If you forget to close your blinds when you’re leaving for vacation, you can turn them down from your tablet or smartphone on the way to the airport. Close the shades before the kids get home so you’re sure they’re safe. You can also lift your coverings on a sunny day so your pet can enjoy the weather. Besides ease of use, you’ll further increase your home’s security and energy efficiency.
Choosing the Right Window Blinds for Your Modern Home
Now that you know about the evolution of window blinds, you’re that much more aware of the best features and how they can benefit your family. As you browse your favorite shades and coverings, take some time to think about which materials, colors and characteristics will help meet your daily needs. For example, durable, washable and moisture-resistant materials like vinyl and aluminum are best for high traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens, while bamboo blinds and wooden blinds can make a bedroom or living area more cozy.
Roller shades and cellular blinds are excellent choices for families with modern décor, while traditional homes are beautifully adorned with faux wood blinds and the classic Roman shade style. It’s also helpful to think about who will use your space, what you want it to look like and how long you need your shades to last. You should also consider how much you have to spend on your window coverings, as well as if they’re available in your favorite colors.
If you have the extra money in your budget, take a look at cordless, motorized and automated features. You will also find window coverings with different valances, liner options and fold styles. The way you enjoy your blinds is as unique as you and your home. Whatever customizations you choose, make sure you order direct. Since you can provide your window measurements, you’ll get a custom fit. This benefit will make them look better in your windows. It’ll also help them last longer.
As you receive your new blinds on your doorstep, we invite you to open the box and take a moment to appreciate the evolution of the modern window treatment. The hard work and imagination of those before us have made our blinds and our homes what they are today. Thanks to them, we’re able to operate our shades from the couch, the car or thousands of miles away. This empowers us to make our homes and living spaces more comfortable than ever before.