Why the switch?
Two years before Ryan + I moved in together, we remodeled my bedroom in my parent’s house from head to toe. It was the perfect neutral feminine oasis: white trim, greige walls, antique furniture + the most gorgeous dark woven wood blinds with off-white velvet curtains. I was in LOVE. When we purchased our first home in February 2018, one of the first things on my list was to replace the existing shades with woven wood blinds.
Which style did you choose?
These are the blinds we went with. I knew I wanted inside-mount woven wood blinds in a light finish.
Inside-mount blinds hang INSIDE your window opening. I went with inside-mount because I love the custom look. I’m also a big fan of our window casing that’s original to the house, so I wanted it to stay exposed. The other option [outside-mount blinds] hangs OUTSIDE your window opening, covering the window casing.
Unlike my previous bedroom remodel, I decided to go with a much lighter finish for our home. It’s a small house + I wanted as much natural light as possible. We also have bright white walls, so I preferred the look of the lighter blind. Almost 3 years later + no regrets!
How did you measure your windows for inside-mount blinds?
Accurately measuring your windows is not only vital for ordering your blinds correctly, but it will dictate whether your windows are “standard enough”, or if you’ll be requiring custom blinds. Make sure you follow these steps closely to ensure you have the most accurate measurements:
1. Write down the name of each room in your house where you plan to purchase new blinds.
2. Next to each room label, sketch boxes to depict every window in that room.
3. Label each window so you can differentiate between them. I labeled them based on which part of our yard they face.
4. Using a measuring tape, measure the opening size of each window. You want to measure the inner-most points [where the blinds will be sitting] to the nearest sixteenth of an inch. Measure the width, height + depth.
IMPORTANT: Even if they look it, not all windows are perfectly straight. They can be a different width at the top than they are at the middle, or a different width at the middle than they are at the bottom. For each window, measure the width three times: one at the top, one at the middle + one at the bottom. Record the smallest measurement. The height can also vary. For each window, measure the height three times: one at the left, one at the middle + one at the right. Record the smallest measurement. Use the same method for the depth.
This is an example of how I documented mine. I assure you it was not this pretty, but these are my actual dimensions:
You may be wondering why my bathroom isn’t on this list, but we have a short, long window inside our shower super high up, so it doesn’t require a shade 🙂
How did you know which size blinds you needed?
Width: As a rule of thumb, you want .25″ [a quarter-inch] of breathing room on each side of your blind. .25″ for the left side + .25″ for the right side for a total of .5″ less than the opening size. That means if your window opening width is 27″, you need a blind that is 26.5″ wide.
Height: You also want .25″ of breathing room on the bottom. For example, if your window opening height is 51.5″, you need a blind that is 51.25″ high.
Depth: After you’ve measured the depth of all your windows, take the smallest depth you found in the whole house. This is going to determine which blinds you can order. Some blinds require a minimum depth of 2″. Some require a minimum depth of 1″. My blinds require a minimum depth of 3/4″, so they fit most windows. If you’re unsure, order just one of your blinds + install it to test the depth before you order for the whole home!
Given my window dimensions above, I created an outline of the blind dimensions I needed below:
Now, to find pretty blinds that fit these measurements without spending thousands of dollars….
I have my blind measurements. Now how do I find inexpensive blinds that work with my measurements?!
It took me MONTHS to find shades that fit my windows + my budget. Nothing online or in-store was working for me. Until, I FINALLY stumbled upon these beautiful blinds. Not only did they have one of the widest ranges of dimensions available, they also had the best price, pretty color offerings + great reviews. I compared my blind dimensions to their standard offerings + did a serious happy dance. It wasn’t PERFECT, but I’ll explain below how easy it was to make it work for our home.
What are the standard offering sizes of your blinds?
The blinds we selected have two heights available: 60″H + 74″H.
They also have over TWENTY-THREE widths available ranging from 20″W to 46.5″W. For not being custom, these are definitely the most custom thing about our home!
What if I can find blinds with the right width, but the height isn’t perfect?
If you have a window opening height that is taller than 74″, then these specific blinds won’t work for you, because that is the tallest blind they offer. BUT, if your window height is between 60″-74″, or even anywhere under 60″H, you’re in luck!
As you can see from my blind dimensions, most of our windows have an opening height of 51.25″, but some windows are 43″H. These are both under their shortest standard offering of 60″H, but that is perfectly fine! This is where I “compromised” with our custom-fit blinds.
When custom blinds are completely drawn, there is a .25″ gap between the bottom of the blind + the top of your window sill, similar to the .25″ breathing room we want on either side of the blind. Since my windows are shorter than their shortest height offering, it just means the shade will bunch at the bottom when completely drawn [as seen in my photo below]. This was not a concern for me!
What if the width isn’t exactly perfect? What do I do?!
I ran into this situation with every. single. window.
On my “blind dimension” sheet, you can see what size blinds I would need to PERFECTLY fit my windows, according to interior design standards. On the sheet below, you can see which blinds I actually purchased:
As you can see, the blinds I purchased are only between .125″ + .5″ off. Remember, this overall difference will be split in two [breathing room is on the left + right of the window], so small fractions are not going to be discernible to the naked eye. For example: my kitchen window’s blind dimension width is 34.25″, but 34″W was the closest size available. This means that instead of the interior design standard of having .25″ of breathing room on either side, there will be .375″ of breathing room on either side… only an extra .125″ per side!
IMPORTANT: if your exact blind dimension is not an offered size, order the closest size LESS THAN than your blind dimension. For example: in my office, my window dimension is 27″W, so my blind dimension is 26.5″W [calculation explained above]. 26.5″W is not an offered size, so I purchased the 26″W blind. This was the closest size LESS THAN my blind dimension. If I had ordered the closest size more than my blind dimension [27″W], it would be the exact same width as my window opening + would get stuck while opening/closing it.
Why was finding non-custom blinds for your home such a journey?!
Our home was built in the 50s, so we have windows of many different sizes. There are two different opening heights + five different opening widths throughout our home. The more variation you have from window to window, the less likely your home will fit the standard blind offering. Standard blinds typically have just one height + three to four widths available. If you have just one or two windows that don’t fit within the standard sizes, you’ll need custom blinds. OR… in certain cases like mine, it means you need to do some serious research + possibly compromise a bit.
Absolutely not! I love our blinds sooo much + we’re always getting compliments on them. And let’s be honest, I never notice the fraction of an inch of more or less breathing room around my shades. Changing out your outdated, dark or dingy shades is one of the biggest transformations you can make throughout your home. It definitely makes ours feel more bright, elevated + inviting!
I love your blinds! Tell me more!
When we purchased our blinds, they were available in a corded option that were much less expensive than the cordless. It is typical for cordless shades to come at a premium cost. HOWEVER, they are now ONLY available in cordless at the same price I paid for our corded shades! JEALOUS. Cordless shades are much safer for children + pets 🙂
Our woven wood shades let in the PERFECT amount of light during the day when fully closed. We have the color “Petite Rustique”. Darker colors such as “Tuscan” likely will not let in as much natural light. I usually only open the living room blinds halfway so our dog can look out during the day. But the others usually stay closed because they still let plenty of light into the room!
Although these shades aren’t lined with any privacy fabric, they are not see-through from the outside during the day. If it’s SUPER gloomy outside + you have bright lights on inside the house, they could be, but it’s not likely.
At night, you’ll need curtains in addition to these shades if you want privacy. I knew this when purchasing + was already planning on doing curtains in most rooms. If it’s dark outside + there are no lights on inside the house, you won’t be able to see inside. However, most of us have lights on in the house when it’s dark outside + that’s when these shades become see-through.
If you decide to make this major update in your home [at a minor price!], I’d love to see it!! Take a photo of your new blinds, post to your Instagram + tag @aurainteriors_! I can’t wait to see your updated space!
Shop our living room here!!