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Help Me Choose: A Guide to Selecting the Right Window Treatment

Wood blinds or faux wood? Horizontal blinds or vertical? Drapes or sliding panels? Roman shades or roller shades? When it comes to window treatments, the options can be overwhelming. You can look at inspiration photos all day, but how can you be sure which window treatments will work for your windows? We can help. Bali has a fun, interactive guide that asks a few questions to find exactly the right solution for you. It's like the grown-up, homeowner version of those magazine quizzes that tell you who your celebrity soulmate is. Except, of course, this quiz actually provides information you can use in real life. Try it; it's fun to put your selections in and see which recommendations appear! And to help you feel even more confident in your decisions, I'll guide you through the reasoning behind the suggestions.

1. Window Shape: This is the first question for a reason. The shape of your window can quickly narrow down your options.

Standard windows have the most options (fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how indecisive you are!). Head to the next section to narrow it down.

Bay windows are beautiful, but the angles can make them tricky. We recommend shutters or shades with an inside mount. You can keep it simple, since the windows themselves make a design statement. Some good options are shutters, classic Roman shades, layered shades, natural shades, cellular shades, or roller shades.

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Specialty shapes like circles, arches, or triangles add character to your home. The right window treatment can make your specialty window even more of an eye-catching feature, while blocking unwanted light as needed. Our cellular shades, pleated shades, and aluminum blinds are all good choices that can fit many different shapes.

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Sliding doors and French doors require window treatments that open from side to side, instead of open and down. We recommend vertical cellular shades or vertical blinds, which can coordinate with their horizontal counterparts to match the other windows in the room. Sliding panels and drapery are also beautiful solutions.

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2. Light/Privacy: When it comes to window treatments, light and privacy are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Every window treatment offers some level of light control and privacy; you just have to find the right balance for your situation. Consider factors such as the amount of natural light you want to allow, how close your neighbors are, and whether you have a view you don't want to block. Layering with drapery also gives you more versatility and control.

Sheer window treatments maintain the view and maximize natural light, but offer minimal privacy. Good choices are sheer shades, solar shades, and layered shades.

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Light Filtering window treatments allow sunlight to filter gently through with moderate privacy. We recommend cellular shades, roller shades, classic Roman shades, and natural shades.

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Room Darkening window treatments will provide greater privacy and significant darkening. Look into options like wood blinds, faux wood blinds, aluminum blinds, tailored Roman shades, and custom drapery.

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Blackout window treatments block out all light, giving you complete privacy and darkness for better sleep. Our blackout recommendations include custom drapery, tailored Roman shades, and cellular shades.

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3. Material: Our window treatments come in a wide variety of materials. Which one is best? Well, that depends! The best material for you is one that makes sense for your practical needs, while fitting with your design style. Keep in mind that you don't need to use the same material throughout the entire house (after all, the bathroom likely calls for something different than the living room).

Fabric shades and drapes offer the widest variety of patterns and colors, to perfectly complement your room. Tailored Roman shades and custom drapery also have the option to add a liner that solves for practical concerns. Blackout, thermal, water repellent, or flannel-backed linings can offer additional privacy, energy efficiency, and protection from moisture. However, fabric is harder to wipe clean than hard surfaces, which may make it impractical for rooms where spills are likely.

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Natural shades and drapes are made with organic, renewable resources like bamboo, grass, or sisal. They add gorgeous texture and warmth that can't be replicated with man-made materials, and give off cultured, elegant vibes. One thing to note: it's common for natural shades to be "perfectly imperfect", with uneven spacing, gaps, or length differences on the sides. As with any natural material, variation is normal and adds to the beauty and character of these shades. But if imperfections would bug you, read on.

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Wood blinds are a timeless, sustainable choice that comes in a variety of stains and colors, with both vertical and horizontal blinds. Our North American hardwood blinds are made to the highest quality standards. They are beautiful, durable, and naturally insulating for energy efficiency. However, wood blinds will warp with too much moisture, so this is not a great material for bathrooms or humid climates.

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Faux/Composite wood is a strong, warp resistant material that's designed to look like real wood. Available in a range of solid and woodgrain colors, faux wood blinds add the classic, charming character of real wood, but with great moisture-tolerance.

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Vinyl is a durable material and a good choice for large windows and doors. Available in both horizontal and vertical blinds, vinyl comes in a wide variety of colors, textures, patterns, and slat shapes.Choose vinyl vanes that have a smooth surface, or upgrade to embossed vanes that mimic the texture of fabric, wood, or stucco.

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Aluminum blinds are sturdy and scratch-resistant, with an anti-static finish. Aluminum is a fire-retardant material that resists humidity, dust, stains, and scratches—making it a smart choice for hardworking spaces. To suit your style preferences, aluminum blinds are available in an array of colors, textures, and finishes.

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4. Solutions to Common Needs: Window treatments are something you use every single day, so it's important to make sure they function well for your family. We've anticipated some common window needs and provided solutions for them. If any of these apply to you, order your new window treatments accordingly. Your future self will thank you.

Motorized lift provides simple, intuitive remote control of grouped or individual shades. This is especially nice for windows that are hard to reach or multiple windows that are time-consuming to lift manually. You can opt to use a remote or integrate your window treatments into your smart home solution. Motorized lift can be operated from up to 65 feet away, and is available with all of our shades.

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UV Protection ensures that your home furnishings and floors are protected from fading and sun damage. Our recommendations include solar shades, roller shades, sliding panels, Roman shades, and cellular shades.

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Heat/humidity in your environment requires materials that can withstand that climate. For bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and humid climates, look for materials that can withstand moisture. Some good options for humidity tolerance are faux wood blinds, vinyl blinds, aluminum blinds, or tailored Roman shades with a water repellent liner. Look for the "humidity tolerance" icon on the product pages.

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Energy efficiency is the upgrade that pays for itself over time. You'll be insulated against the heat and cold, and save money on your energy bills all year. Our top recommendation for energy efficiency? Cellular shades, which use honeycomb shaped cells to trap hot and cold air from escaping through your windows. If they aren’t your style, then custom drapery, tailored Roman shades, solar shades, and real wood blinds also provide excellent insulation.

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Child/Pet Safety is of utmost importance throughout the entire house. Dangling cords pose a strangulation risk for young children, so opt for motorized or cordless lift instead. Our cordless and motorized products are certified Best for Kids™ by a third-party laboratory. All Bali shades are available in cordless and motorized lift, and blinds and shutters are available in cordless control. All of our cordless systems operate by simply lifting or pulling the bottomrail—no tricky pull and release required.

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Top Down window treatments can be raised and lowered from the top as well as the bottom, allowing you to position your window treatments anywhere on the window. By customizing exactly where you window treatments sit, you have better control over the level of privacy and light. Top down operation is available with Roman shades or cellular shades.

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Hopefully this helps you to narrow down what to get for your window treatments! If you still have multiple styles that you can’t decide between, order swatches to compare the colors in real life. You can also price out your top favorite window treatments, as budget may be the deciding factor.