Window Coverings Buy Guide

Curtains, blinds and shades beautify your home while increasing privacy, controlling light and insulating against heat and cold. This window coverings buying guide will outline your options.

Window Coverings 101

The ideal window treatment is a perfect blend of form and function. Whether you choose curtains, blinds or shades, what you're really searching for is a way to give your rooms a beautiful finished look while facilitating privacy, security, light management and energy efficiency. Window coverings can also improve sleep by darkening your bedrooms and protect you, your furniture and your artwork from harmful UV rays. Before buying, consider the function of each room and make sure to use moisture-resistant materials in places like kitchens, bathrooms and basements. Finally, measure your windows carefully to ensure a proper fit. 

Types of Window Coverings


Curtains and Drapes

Curtains and drapes are a great way to make a style statement, whether it’s splashy or subdued. It's not just colour: fabric and pattern also draw the eye and help create balance with the room’s other design elements. You can use curtains and drapes on their own for a casual feel, or layered with valances, sheers or other curtain panels for a more formal look. To block out light for improved sleep and reduce heat transfer in both winter and summer, choose blackout curtains or liners. Keep in mind that fabrics can hold dust, moisture and odours and generally require more maintenance than other materials. So it's best to choose a style that you can easily hang and remove for cleaning and repair. 

Venetian Blinds

If you want more control over the amount of light entering a room then Venetian blinds are a good choice. By raising and lowering the blinds and adjusting the tilt of the horizontal slats, you can cover part of or the entire window. Venetian blinds are easy to install and maintain. You may want to consider a cordless option to safeguard your kids and pets from getting tangled. Venetian blinds are made from a range of materials, including aluminum, vinyl and wood to match your room’s decor. 

Faux Wood Blinds

Faux wood blinds are a good choice if you're on a limited budget or need a window covering that can stand up to humidity and high temperatures. Though they resemble wood blinds and even have attractive grain patterns, faux wood blinds are actually made from durable synthetics such as PVC and plastic. Like wood blinds, they tend to be heavy, so you should consider this factor in planning your purchase and installation.

Woven Wood Shades

Woven wood shades are an ideal choice if you're going for a casual, outdoorsy or cottage ambiance. Made from natural materials such as bamboo, reed and jute, they allow a moderate amount of light passage while still providing privacy. If you like the distinctive look of woven wood shades but need more control over the amount of light passing through, you can always add blackout blinds or liners. Be aware that high humidity can cause the natural materials to rot, warp and crack and that cleaning the irregular surfaces can be difficult. For these reasons, you may want to avoid installing woven wood blind in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

Cellular Shades

If your priority is insulation, then you should consider cellular shades. Also known as honeycomb shades, they're made from a single piece of material and display a horizontal pattern resembling Venetian blinds. The main feature of cellular blinds is their honeycomb-style air pockets. When the shades are pulled down, the pockets fill with air to form a barrier against both heat and sound. Cellular shades are available in a variety of colours and fabrics. When it comes to light control, the options range from sheer to room darkening.

Pleated Shades

Like cellular shades, pleated shades are made from a single piece of material and resemble horizontal blinds when in the down position. However, they don't have air pockets, so they lack the superior insulation properties. Pleated shades get their name from the way the horizontal sections fold compactly — practically disappearing from view — when the shades are raised. You can install pleated shades on their own for a casual feel or under draperies for a more formal look. They're available in styles ranging from sheer to room darkening, and can be purchased with liners for increased privacy and light-blocking capabilities.

Roller Shades

Roller shades are bolts of vinyl, fabric or sheer weave materials that mount to the top of a window frame and unroll manually. Mesh and sheer weave roller shades are ideal for rooms where you want to reduce heat and UV rays while still allowing some light to enter. Vinyl and fabric shades can block out light completely to promote privacy and create ideal sleeping conditions. Many materials used for roller blinds are stain resistant and wipe clean with a damp cloth for easy maintenance. Their sleek, simple look works well in a modern design setting.

Roman Shades

Roman shades are tailored panels of fabric or natural materials that mount to the window frame. When drawn, they bunch up accordion style or roll up into a fabric-covered head rail. With their contoured folds and interesting textures, Roman shades add depth and dimension to windows and make a strong style statement. They're available in a choice of light-filtering, room-darkening and solar-screen fabrics to provide plenty of control over light, privacy and UV rays.

Wood Blinds

For a look that combines sleek, modern appeal and natural warmth, you should consider wood blinds. By staining the wood, you can make the grain pop and create a colour match with any room decor. Wood blinds are often treated with water-resistant coating and can last for years. However, the slats may warp or crack over time if exposed to high temperatures (think south-facing windows), high moisture (basements) or high humidity (kitchens and bathrooms). Wood slats tend to be heavy, so consider splitting them into two or three parts on a common head rail for larger windows.

Measurement Tips:

• Take precise measurements of the width, height and depth of each window, as sizes may vary
• Record measurements in total number of inches, rather than feet and inches to avoid errors
• Decide if you’re installing window coverings inside or outside the window frame (drapes are often mounted outside the frame, while blinds and shades are typically mounted inside) and measure accordingly

Safety Tips:

• Install a cleat or tie-down device on the wall to keep cords high and out of reach of children
• Never place cribs, beds and playpens near a window where a child can reach cords
• Consider cordless blinds or shades if you have pets or children

Shop Accessories & Related Products:

Maintenance Tips:

• Wash drapes regularly, following the instructions on the label
• Regularly vacuum blinds with a handheld vacuum or brush attachment and dust them with a feather duster
• Clean plastic and vinyl blinds with an all-purpose cleaner and cloth or sponge
• Clean wood blinds with a wood-surface cleaner applied to a clean cloth

How to Measure for Drapes

Drapery measurements are for the panel when laid flat. Most often, draperies are hung using a factor of 1.8 to 2 times the required coverage width in order to determine how many panels to purchase. For example, if you wish to have draperies to cover a width of 120 inches, you will need to buy enough panels that add up to 216 to 240 inches. If in this example, the drapery panel comes in a 52” wide panel, you will need 5 panels to get complete coverage.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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