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What are Horizontal Blinds?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Horizontal blinds are a type of window treatment that makes it possible to allow light into the room when desired as well as providing privacy when needed. Along with controlling the amount of exposure and light afforded by windows, horizontal blinds can also be effective in managing temperature control in the home. These versatile window blinds are manufactured in several different designs as well as making use of a variety of materials. Here are two examples of horizontal blinds that can enhance both the function and the appearance of a room.

Traditional horizontal blinds are composed of wood slats that are connected by cording. When in a closed position, these larger blinds effectively block light from outside the room. Because wood blinds effectively seal the window from the outside, they also act as an insulator, helping to make it easier to cool the room during warm weather and heat the space during the winter months.

Wood blinds are often stained to match moldings, hardwood floors and other varnished wood appointments in the room. The stain can be reapplied as necessary, although most stains on wood horizontal blinds are also sealed to protect the finish from fading or damage from condensation on the window panes during cold weather.

Wooden horizontal blinds are among the more costly types of blinds on the market today. However, it is important to note they can last for decades with no more than a reasonable maintenance. In addition, the wooden blinds can easily be painted to match any decorating plans, making it unnecessary to purchase new blinds when the décor is updated or changed.

A less expensive option with horizontal blinds are vinyl blinds that sport slats that roughly have the width of traditional wood blinds. The vinyl blinds provide a degree of light deflection that is not as complete as the wooden types, but does provide more protection from outside light than most types of window shades. Like simple plastic shade treatments, the vinyl blinds are inexpensive, making it relatively easy to afford them on any budget.

Mass-produced horizontal blinds made with vinyl are found in discount retails stores. The cheaper versions are usually available in white or off-white, although there are a few manufacturers who produce vinyl blinds in colors such as forest green and light blue. It is also possible to special order vinyl blinds in decorator colors and prints.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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