Battle of the Blinds: The Differences Between Faux Wood and Real Wood–and How to Choose

Battle of the Blinds: The Differences Between Faux Wood and Real Wood–and How to Choose

If you’re looking for a new set of shades or blinds, there are a nearly endless number of combinations of materials and colors available to you. While products like Roman shades, zebra shades and vertical blinds still retain their market popularity, one of the most sought-after styles among homeowners today are wood blinds. These window treatments–and their faux counterparts–offer maximum warmth, texture and effective light blocking for every room in your home.

Shopping for window coverings has become more fun and customizable than ever. Before you begin exploring and deciding on your favorite custom design, it’s helpful to understand the difference between real and faux types. Explore our complete “battle of the blinds” guide below to decide on the ideal kind of wood window treatment for your home.

wooden blinds in bathroom

The Main Types of Real Wood Blinds

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Natural wood blinds, which are commonly known as real wood blinds, come in several forms. One of the most popular types used for blinds is basswood. This style is preferred by most custom blind manufacturers. American basswood trees are typically found in the Eastern United States. Since they grow up to 120 feet tall, they provide an abundant amount of wood for carvings, musical instruments and furniture accents. Many designers and homeowners alike prefer this material for its workability. Since it is both light and flexible, it is easily made into slats of varying thickness.

It’s possible to find basswood window treatments for your home that are both corded and cordless. Many families prefer cordless blinds because they are the safest option for children and pets. While the original form of the wood is light in color, it can easily be stained to any shade. Hues range from golden oak to forest green to cherry.

What Are Faux Wood Blinds?

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hand opening blinds

While they’re made to look and feel like natural wood, faux wood blinds are made of either composite wood, vinyl or PVC. The composite type often contains a real wood core but are also coated with a protective polymer. Like real wood treatments, they are made cordless or corded and come in different colors to perfectly match every home’s interior and exterior.

Pros of Real Wood Blinds

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Real wood blinds are made of high quality wood material. They’re also strong and durable, making them last longer than many kinds of fabric blinds and shades. This advantage is often combined with the peace of mind of a limited lifetime warranty. Dense basswood offers maximum light control and privacy. Whether your bedrooms and living spaces face other homes in your neighborhood, or you live in a sunny community, you’ll rest assured knowing your window treatments are protecting you from onlookers and the elements alike.

real wood blinds graphic

Authentic wood provides increased energy efficiency. Since there is less light and heat coming into your house, you’ll be able to save on air conditioning and heating bills. You’ll also let less warmth outside of your home in the winter. Since each slat is removable, they are easy to clean and dust. Their rich texture and strength make them an excellent choice for many dining rooms, family rooms and home offices. The best brands are also child safety compliant.

Cons of Real Wood Blinds

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While there are many positives to choosing real wood blinds, there are also several necessary considerations. Natural wood is attractive, but it is also susceptible to the elements. Slats can swell and warp in humid or moist areas, such as the kitchen or bathroom. They are also not the ideal choice for garages, patios or sunrooms. If you live in a high-humidity climate, such as the Southeastern United States, you may wish to choose faux treatments.

Real wood will also need to fit your budget. They can be more expensive than faux wood, aluminum blinds and many fabric shades. It’s helpful to compare and contrast their long life and cost over other options before making a purchase. While you can re-stain most basswood styles, you cannot change the color of painted wood.

Pros of Faux Wood Blinds

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Faux wood blinds will provide you with the gorgeous, earthy look of natural wood, but without the moisture concerns and higher price. Should you desire to match your real wood blinds with the same style in the bathroom or kitchen, you can easily find the same color from your custom blind manufacturer. They’re also an excellent choice to adorn the entire home of a family in a humid climate. Since they’re strong and durable, they’ll last for a long time. Like real wood coverings, you can remove the slats to dust and sanitize them.

faux wood blinds graphic

You’ll also benefit from many of the same features that real wood blinds have. These include high quality stains, color coordinated details and heavy-duty support mechanisms. Many brands meet the most stringent child safety guidelines. Limited lifetime warranties are also available.

Cons of Faux Wood Blinds

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While faux wood blinds look similar to natural wood, there is no substitute for the most high-end, genuine wood material. Some homeowners also find them less attractive than wood. PVC and composite products contain more grooves, which make the slats more difficult to clean and dust than the real thing. These treatments are also heavier than their authentic counterparts. You also cannot re-stain them if your preferences change. Should you want a different color for your bedroom or living room, you will need to purchase a new set.

Making Your Decision

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There are a few ways to choose your ideal type of wood blinds. First, decide which kind fits your price range. If you are on a budget and you don’t mind the look of faux wood, vinyl or composite material may be the best products for your needs. If you can splurge and aren’t placing your treatments in moisture-laden areas, real wood could be your best choice. You can also purchase a combination of natural and composite to save a little money. Weigh cost and durability. Real wood may cost more at the beginning of your purchase, but it has the potential to last much longer than a faux product.

closeup of open wooden blinds

Next, determine how often you will change your decorative scheme. If you plan on making drastic color changes to your exterior or interior in the near future, think about the cost to re-stain versus the price of a complete exchange. Kitchens, bathrooms and humid climates absolutely require faux products. Interior design buffs and those who entertain often may prefer to invest in real wood blinds to sustain their home’s reputation for high quality.

When in doubt, consult with your custom blind manufacturer. The best companies are experts in the field, understand the distinguishing qualities between real and faux wood window treatments and have served several types of people and families. Their experience allows them to work with you to find the best combination of coverings to fit your home’s style and your family’s preferences.

Understanding How to Order and Purchase Your Blinds

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Once you make the decision to buy real wood or faux wood blinds, it’s time to select corded or cordless. There are a few ways to make the process easier. Bigger or wider windows may require cords for easy opening and closing, especially if you plan on operating them yourself. Otherwise, cordless blinds will offer you a sleeker design.

ideal stain or paint color graphic

If you want authentic wood, decide on your ideal paint color or stain. Natural basswood comes in a creamy yellow-beige, similar to many light wood styles, but you can also buy treatments stained in espresso, black or summer pecan. Homeowners looking for white or off-white real blinds need to understand these will have to be painted.

Faux wood blinds also require the choice between corded and cordless. Since they come in a spectrum of painted color options, you have the freedom to select from any shade in the rainbow. Your space may be complemented by cherry, butternut or glacier grey. Many exteriors match great with neutral hues like acorn smooth, cloud white and ultra-white.

Before you complete your order, you will need to provide the manufacturer with the right window measurements. Decide whether you want inside or outside mounted blinds and then calculate the height and width of each opening accordingly. Remember: When you choose custom designs, you will not have to select the same mount for each set in your home.

Adding Extra Adornments

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wood blinds detail shot

Some details will make your purchase even more satisfying. You can specify whether you want standard blinds, with hole punches through each slat, or a style with privacy no holes. This feature offers you complete privacy and an enhanced room-darkening effect. Cloth tape additions can also give your blinds a rich look. They’re available to you in nearly every color.

Homeowners who mount their wood blinds to the door may desire hold down brackets. Your manufacturer can provide these for you. If you wish, you can also label each blind set by a name, such as “living room treatments” or “bathroom set.” If you plan on adding new coverings to your entire home, the specification can make it easier for you to know where to place them.  

Evaluating Your Manufacturer’s Benefits

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The decision-making process can also be made easier by knowing the perks of the wood blinds manufacturer you are working with. Some companies will help you with affordability by offering you free shipping. You may also have the chance to take advantage of special financing. These days, many purchases over a certain price range are eligible for up to six months of delayed purchase. That way, you can afford your dream wood blinds, whether they are faux or real. If your current company doesn’t offer these advantages, consider shopping around.

kitchen blinds behind sink

Enjoying Your New Blinds

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With the holidays on the way, now is a great time to invest in new faux wood or real wood blinds. They’ll not only provide you with better energy efficiency in cooler weather, but they’ll give you enhanced privacy and security. This advantage is especially helpful if you plan on going on vacation. They’ll also make a great addition to your décor if you like house guests or to entertain. It’s also helpful to think long-term. When spring and summer roll around, you’ll save drastically on cooling bills and keep sunlight from entering your home while you’re away.

Whatever color, style and material you decide on, you’ll be most satisfied by pondering each of the above considerations and partnering directly with a custom design manufacturer. They’ll help you save time and money while providing you with the longest-lasting, most quality authentic and faux materials available.

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