Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What are the best blinds for a conservatory? - Buying guide

A conservatory on the home serves many purposes, choosing the right conservatory blinds is important if you are to get the most out the conservatory not just in summer but in winter. Let's take a look at the points to consider before you buy conservatory blinds. Fortunately given the advances in conservatory roofs, those hideous pleated insect traps that cost a kings ransom otherwise known as roof blinds are now out of vogue. In this article we'll concentrate on blinds for the windows in your conservatory.

Roller Blinds for Conservatories

roller blinds for conservatories
Roller blinds can look great in a conservatory depending on how you use them. If you have one roller for each "section" of window then you can create nice effects by raising or lowering the rollers to different levels as the sun moves during the course of the day. Rollers are available in a wide range of colours and fabrics at various prices.  Roller Blinds can be retracted fully for ease of cleaning. They are relatively light in weight and so won't put undue stress on the window frame onto which they are attached. 

The downside to roller blinds is that during the Summer months you may have them set at various heights but rarely will you have them fully closed. Come Winter when you want to close them for privacy and insulation reasons then you will notice that because they have been in full sun they will have faded quite badly. If you have had them slightly down, covering your top lights for instance you will now be left with odd looking and unequally faded blinds.  In addition, because most of us will have our conservatory windows and french doors open all during the warm season you will find that you get a lot of insect traffic and dust, insects have a tendency to get trapped in roller blinds leaving unsightly blood stains. 

Roller blinds suitability for conservatories:

Looks                    80%
Light Control         60%
Insulation               80%
Cost                       65%
Durability              40%
Suitability Score   65%

Roman Blinds for Conservatories

Roman blinds for conservatories
Roman blinds have changed considerably since they first became fashionable some years ago. Gone are the fussy home made wooden headrails and wooden dowel rods and in their place are modern aluminium headrails and fibreglass rods. Roman blinds have become popular as although expensive to buy made to measure, if you have sewing skills you can buy your fabric and then purchase cheap Roman blind kits that contain the headrail, rods and controls. Roman blinds are perhaps the best choice for insulation during the summer months. Because virtually any fabric can be used the choice is endless. 

The drawbacks to Roman blinds for conservatories however are many. Much like the Roller blinds they are like magnets for dust and insects. Even when fully retracted they have a deep stack height meaning that much of the window will still be covered which not only restricts your view but also makes cleaning difficult. Roman blinds are usually lined with a blackout fabric. Whilst this will bring light control benefits it also means that they are incredibly heavy. Most people these days have UPVC conservatories and although contrary to popular belief it is ok to fit blinds into upvc (see our article about fitting blinds to UPVC conservatories) you really don't want to start fitting heavy blinds into what is essentially just twin wall upvc. Roman blinds can look stunning in the home but as a conservatory blind they just don't fit the bill. 

Roman blinds suitability for conservatories:

Looks                    80%
Light Control         80%
Insulation               80%
Cost                       30%
Durability              40%
Suitability Score   62%

Venetian Blinds for Conservatories

venetian conservatory blinds
For clarification, we are discussing aluminium venetian blinds here, Real wood blinds simply aren't able to stand the intense heat and often quick changes in temperature that conservatory blinds are subjected to. Whilst we're on the subject PVC venetian blinds aren't able to stand the heat either. In fact, If anyone has chosen to fit these cheap pvc venetian blinds into a conservatory please swallow your pride and send us a photo like the one in this article that shows a melted plastic venetian blind. 

If you are looking for venetian blinds for a conservatory then aluminium venetian blinds are the ones to choose. Venetian blinds do look rather chic and even when not drawn up they offer superb privacy whilst still not impeding your view. They won't discolour and with the various devices available for just a few pounds from the likes of Betterware they are easily cleaned. 

Aluminium venetian blinds are quite light and so won't put stress onto the UPVC window frames to which they are fixed. The colour is anodised and so they won't fade in the sun. When fully retracted they have a medium stack height so cleaning should be relatively easy.  The choice of colours and even patterns of venetian blinds is quite breathtaking. See the full range of venetian blinds here.

Venetian blinds offer excellent light control, superb privacy and reasonable insulation. They aren't that expensive either. Perhaps a good choice overall when choosing conservatory blinds.

Venetian blinds suitability for conservatories:

Looks                    90%
Light Control         80%
Insulation               70%
Cost                       70%
Durability              100%
Suitability Score   82%

Vertical blinds for Conservatories

conservatory blinds - vertical blinds
Vertical blinds are always a popular choice for the conservatory and it's easy to see why. Vertical blinds offer excellent light control especially if you opt for blackout vertical blinds. The many draw options and controls allow for endless light control. insulation and privacy provision. 

Vertical blinds aren't too heavy and so again won't put undue stress onto the UPVC frames. We've already discussed the dust and insect problems in conservatories but depending on the fabric that you choose vertical blinds can be easy cleaned. You can even buy washable vertical blinds and will more than likely be able to find a conservatory blind offer for buying more than one vertical blind. 

Vertical blind slats will fade with time however unlike roller or roman blinds the fading will be uniform and not patchy. The one unique feature of vertical blinds is that in a few years time when the slats are beginning to age you can simply buy replacement vertical blind slats from as little as 50p each! 

Vertical blinds suitability for conservatories:

Looks                    90%
Light Control         80%
Insulation               70%
Cost                       90%
Durability              90%
Suitability Score   84%

The Best Blinds for a Conservatory

So to summarise, Conservatories are very demanding environments. It would seem looking at the above results that the best blinds for a conservatory would be vertical blinds or venetian blinds depending on your personal choice. 

Click the link to visit our online blind shop and see for yourself our range of vertical blinds for conservatories. Read one of our other articles if you're worried about fitting blinds to a upvc conservatory

ultimate conservatory blinds

Cheapest Venetian Blinds in the UK - EXPOSED

Venetian blinds from just £2.99 - What does that tell you? Look at the picture, it tells it's own story. Plastic venetian blinds are not structural. Unlike PVC windows or roof line products that have varying wall thicknesses of between 4mm and 25mm cheap plastic venetian blinds have a wall thickness thinner than you'll find on a yoghurt carton. In fact, they are made from recycled plastic that perhaps includes yoghurt cartons. At best they will fade in the sunlight, they may even warp slightly. At worst they will simply give up and melt like the ones shown in the photo.

The old saying "penny wise, pound foolish" certainly applies when speaking of the cheapest venetian blinds in the UK. If you are looking for cheap venetian blinds that are actually fit for the purpose then you really need to be buying aluminium venetian blinds. Not only will they not discolour from exposure to the sun they will not melt either thereby saving you from looking slightly foolish and also maintaining your privacy! You can buy aluminium venetian blinds here (for not much more than plastic ones!).

Monday, 26 March 2012

Vertical Blinds for the Bedroom

When choosing bedroom blinds you'll need to consider the following:

  • Are the occupants adult or children
  • Does the occupants sleep patterns mean that you require blackout fabric?

Vertical Blinds for Childrens Bedrooms

bedroom blinds
It's often tempting to go for a blind that is age related, Maybe a pink vertical blind or blue vertical blind depending on if it's a girls room or a boys room. Very often however we overlook the function of the blind.  If you are looking for a vertical blind for the nursery or the bedroom of a young child then it's often wise to consider a blackout fabric. Even better to consider a blackout fabric that can be easily cleaned! A perfect vertical blind for a childs bedroom  is a pvc blackout blind. Not only will this filter out most of the light which in the summer months you'll be thankful for at bedtime but also its a vinyl fabric and so can be wiped clean.  You may want to make sure that you also fit a child safe blind device. These are available for just a couple of pounds. 

Vertical Blinds for Bedrooms

For most bedrooms the choice becomes wider, more emphasis can be placed on appearance rather than function although blackout vertical blinds in bedrooms of those who work shifts are usually a good idea. You may want to pick some colour out in your bedroom decor and buy a coloured vertical blind that compliments or contrasts. Always bear in mind however that a coloured vertical blind may look odd from outside if the rest of the blinds in the house are neutral! 

A second option that you may want to consider if you already have vertical blinds is to replace the vertical blind slats. This often works out much cheaper than replacing the full blind. 

Vertical blind slats are available from around 95p each and come in a variety of colours and patterns, you can even buy blackout vertical blind slats and if you have the older 5" blinds you can also buy 5" blackout blind slats

With some vibrant colours about, new vertical blinds or replacement blind slats can make an incredible difference to a bedroom, combine with some new bedding, maybe a throw, a bedroom carpet or even just a rug and in no time you've created a whole new look for your bedroom. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds often conjure up mental images of childhood, certainly for me, alternate colours of pale yellow and green making up a kitchen blind. Thankfully today Venetian blinds are totally different. Lets take a quick look at how venetian blinds can help you to achieve almost any look in your home or office.

Aluminium Venetian Blinds

Aluminium Venetian blinds, often called metal Venetian blinds are now generally made with a 25mm slat width giving them a very elegant and minimalist look. These Venetian blinds are available in a variety of hardwearing anodised finishes. Venetian blinds can be raised to give an uninterrupted view or for ease of cleaning your windows. Aluminium venetian blinds have a very small stack height when raised.

  • Satin venetian blinds
  • Metallic venetian blinds
  • Perforated venetian blinds 
  • Patterned venetian blinds
  • Soft touch venetian blinds
Some blind companies offer cut down cheap venetian blinds that you buy to a set size and trim to the required size yourself using scissors or a small tool. Without saying too much on the subject, I'll give you some key words and let you figure it out yourself, ready? "cut fingers, sharp edges, different size slats, cheap, nasty. 

Thankfully some more reputable blind companies will supply made to measure venetian blinds. These will be supplied to your sizes and will simply require a couple of screws to hang at your window thereby taking minutes, not hours and with considerably better results. Made to measure venetian blinds aren't much more expensive either. Available in so many different colours venetian blinds can transform a conservatory, bring a touch of sophistication to your lounge, offer privacy in the bedroom and make any office look stylish.  Click on the highlighted link to see a full range of aluminium venetian blinds

Real Wood Venetian Blinds

Nothing beats the beauty of real wood venetian blinds. Giving a similar effect to plantation shutters but at a much lower price real wood blinds add a sense of warmth and nature to the home or office. Wood venetian blinds are available in 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and even 60mm slat widths. As with other venetian blinds the whole blind can be raised to give access for cleaning the window. There are many colours and shades to choose from including

  • White wood venetian blinds
  • Teak wood venetian blinds
  • Walnut wood venetian blinds
  • Black wood venetian blinds
  • Oak wood venetian blinds
  • Chocolate wood venetian blinds
  • Oyster wood venetian blinds
  • Pecan Wood venetian blinds
  • Limed Wood venetian blinds
You can buy cheap wood venetian blinds at most DIY stores that you can cut to size yourself, however, as with anything cheap, don't expect it to last for more than one summer. Not only will the wood be poor quality and warp in the heat of the sun but also the controls simply aren't up to managing the weight of the blinds. Real wood blinds can be heavy and therefore need adequate controls to adjust them. As with anything you only get what you pay for. 

Made to measure real wood blinds aren't that expensive in comparison. Real wood blinds are made from quality wood taken from sustainable sources. 

Click the highlighted link to visit our shop and see our range of Real Wood Venetian Blinds starting at just £22

Monday, 19 March 2012

Child Safe Vertical Blinds

Child safe blind device
Child Safe Blinds have become somewhat of a popular topic lately and whilst the topics popularity has been fuelled by tragedy the positive that we can draw from it is that the window blind industry has acted together to make blinds safer.

You can make your existing blinds "child safe" simply by buying the child safe blind device shown on the left and fitting it to your control cords / chains. This device will work on not just vertical blinds but also on venetian and roller blinds too.

If you are looking to buy new vertical blinds then quite a few blinds manufacturers in the UK are offering a child safe option.

We have put together an ideal child safe vertical blind offer. Made to measure vertical blinds in a choice of 3 machine washable fabrics, Cream, White and Linen. The blinds are available with either standard cord weights or a no cost "child safe" option. Prices start from an incredibly low £12

click the link to buy these child safe vertical blinds

Child safe vertical blinds

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Vertical Blind Slats- Buying Guide

More often than not you'll want to eventually decorate your room, change your flooring or carpet and perhaps think about buying new window blinds.

If you have vertical blinds however there is a much cheaper alternative to changing the whole blind. Chances are, the vertical blind still operates perfectly well and it is just the blind slats that look a little worse for wear. You can buy vertical blind slats to replace your old ones at a fraction of the price of a new blind. This gives you the opportunity to change your blind as you change the colour scheme of your room without it breaking the bank.
Vertical blind slats (often called blind louvres or blind vanes) can be found on the internet for as little as 95p each (sometimes even cheaper if you're prepared to have a coloured end of line fabric).

There are a few things to consider before ordering your replacement blind slats.

Do you have 3.5" or 5" wide blind slats?
Measure the width of one of your existing blind slats. It will either be 5 inches wide (127mm) or 3.5 inches wide (89mm). You can't put 3.5 inch slats onto a rail designed for 5 inch and vice versa. 5" blind slats aren't as popular these days so expect to find a smaller choice on offer. 3.5" blind slats offer a much wider choice of fabrics.

Do you need new weights and chain?
Not all blind slat shops include the weights and chains and will charge you extra for these. It's worth checking on the website of the company that you choose for your replacement blind slats if they are included in the price or not. It's always worth changing your bottom weights and chains as not only do they discolour with time but some bottom weights are different sizes and trying to fit your old weights into your new blind slats may prove tricky.

Will new blind slats fit my old track or rail?
Luckily most blind slats use the same type of hanger system. For more information you may want to read this blind buying FAQ

Measuring for your new vertical blind slats
This part is really simple. Take down one of your existing blind slats and lay it flat. Now measure from the top of the fabric to the bottom. There is no need to allow for hems etc. Simply measure the fabric from top to bottom.
Vertical blind slats -buying guide

Choosing a Fabric for Replacement Vertical Blind Slats

You may already have a colour in mind. Popular colours are always white or cream as they are neutral and will go with any colour scheme. If you're feeling a little more adventurous then see the article on this years interior design colours for blinds.

Replacement blind slats are available at different prices and for different purposes, You may want a washable blind slat fabric or blackout vertical blind slats for the bedroom or nursery. For a touch of luxury why not consider suede blind slats?

You are much better to buy made to measure blind slats instead of the slat packs sold by such shops as Argos etc. Buying made to measure costs about the same and is so much easier than having to cut each slat down. Simply unpack and hang them onto your head rail.

Bear in mind when buying vertical blind slats that the colour you see on screen may be different to the actual colour of the fabric. This is due to the limitations of computer screens. Most blind companies will be happy to provide you with free samples if you are trying to match a colour.

Click here to buy 3.5 inch vertical blind slats
Click here to buy 5 inch vertical blind slats