When choosing blinds for your windows, many questions may come up, including, ‘what’s the difference between blockout, translucent and sunfilter blinds?’ ‘What blinds are best for me?’ It can sometimes be an overwhelming process, and it’s hard to know where to start! The many choices of styles and types of fabrics can be overwhelming, and it’s tricky to know what might be best for you. Luckily, we’re here to break everything down so you can make an informed decision. Each blind and the type of fabric that they’re made out of carry different benefits that suit different settings, such as bedrooms, kitchens, offices, hotels and much more. Here we will explain which blind is which, what that fabric options are and how they work (such as blockout translucent and sunfilter/sunscreen), and the benefits to each of these fabrics and where they might be best suited in your home or commercial space.
Styles of blinds
The most common types of blinds that come in these fabrics include, roller blinds, roman blinds and honeycomb/cellular blinds.
Roller blinds are made from a flat, single sheet of fabric that is attached to a aluminium tube. They are generally operated by using a side chain that runs through a child safety guide attached to the wall. Roller blinds can be made out of three different types of fabric, which are blockout, translucent and sunfilter/sunscreen fabric. These will be discussed further down.
Roman blinds comprise of a piece of fabric that has multiple, evenly spaced, horizontal batons placed into a back layer of the fabric, which then allows the blind to fold up underneath itself into pleats. It is operated by using a child safe pull cord lifting system. Roman blinds generally come in two types of fabric, blockout and translucent.
Honeycomb/cellular blinds are made of a soft, paper-like fabric. This fabric is sewn in a way that creates honeycomb-shaped cells. These cells can vary in numbers and sizes. Most blinds are singular cell honeycomb blinds, however you can also find blinds with two of three cells. The construction of these cells creates air pockets, which helps with insulation. The softness of the fabric also allows the blinds to stack up neatly across the top of your window frame, taking up minimal glass space. Honeycomb blinds operate with a child safe pull chord mechanism and come in blockout and translucent fabrics.
Types of fabrics
As we previously mentioned, each of these blinds can be made out of different types of fabrics, each with their own benefits. These fabrics include blockout, translucent and sunfilter/sunscnreen fabrics..
Rollers, romans and honeycomb blinds can all be made out of blockout fabric. Blockout is an opaque fabric, which is generally made with a layer of acrylic, blockout coating. Sometimes this blockout layer can also be bonded into the fabric. When completely closed, blinds made out of this fabric cause the entire room to be dark.
Blockout blinds have many benefits. Firstly, it completely blocks out any light, which is ideal for rooms such as bedrooms and hotel rooms as it creates the perfect environment for a good sleep. Blockout fabric is particularly great for children’s bedrooms and shift workers, as it creates an artificial, dark environment, which assists with regulating sleeping patterns.
Blockout fabrics also give you complete privacy during the day and night, while also assisting with noise reduction, as the thickness of the fabric helps to soak up sound.
Another benefit of blockout blinds is that they also help with insulation. The blockout properties in the fabric can help regulate the temperatures in your home or office space as these blinds keep the heat in during the winter, not allowing any warmth to escape through the glass. They also keep you cool during summer as they act as a protective barrier against the harsh sunlight. These insulating properties therefore help with saving on energy and money, as our appliances don’t have to work as hard to keep us comfortable because they can work in conjunction with the blockout fabrics!
Translucent fabrics are solid fabrics that have no coating on the back. They therefore give you daytime privacy, but still allow light to filter through, creating a warm ambiance in any room. Privacy does diminish however in the evenings when lights are on.
Translucent blinds are great for reducing the harshness of the sunlight without blocking it out completely. They also reduce UV rays, which is a great way to protect your furniture, allowing you to get more use out them in the long term. These types of blinds do provide some insulating benefits as well, however they will not be as effective as blockout blinds in terms of insulation.
Translucent blinds are great for rooms that generally don’t require nighttime privacy, such as kitchens or office spaces. If you would like the benefits of light filtering during the day in more private rooms, such as lounges and bedrooms, you can always pair these blinds with blockout curtains or blinds to close over in the evening. This gives you the best of both worlds from the blockout and translucent sides, while also being a great styling option.
Sunfilter fabrics are an open weave fabric that cut out up to 95% of UV rays coming into the room without obstructing your views. This fabric generally only comes as a roller blind. The 5% openness of the weave in the fabric allows you to see outside during the day, while preventing people from seeing inside, giving you full daytime privacy. Once it is nighttime and lights are on inside, people will be able to see into your home or commercial space. These blinds dramatically reduce incoming heat, while also allowing light to filter through so you can still enjoy the sunlight.
Sunfilter blinds, much like translucent blinds, are perfect for rooms that don’t require nighttime privacy such as kitchens and offices. Again, you can pair these blinds with blockout curtains or another blockout roller blind, creating a dual blind system.
When trying to decide which type of blinds would be best for you, it’s always good to assess what you would like to achieve from dressing your windows, other than just style, i.e. whether or not you need privacy, insulation and/or light control. Each room generally requires different levels of these factors, so you can mix and match different types of blinds and fabrics to best suit your needs. Once you know what practical elements you need from your blinds, you can have fun with all of the different styles available, allowing you to become your own interior designer!