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Beginners Guide to Window Blinds

I assume I'm not the only one who wrestled with their Granny's roller blinds as a child. I swear that woman loved to ask me to pull the spring roller blind halfway up only to watch it fly up out of my hands and roll all the way up only to giggle at me wrestling it back down to the height she requested. Well let me tell you blinds have come a long way baby!

Not only the designs, fabrics and choices have gotten seriously cool over the years but the mechanisms have become darn right user friendly. The choices you'll be faced with are almost endless but we can divide them into a few basic categories while you're deciding which ones will suit you best.

Roller Blinds:

roller-blinds-guide Luxaflex®Roller Blind

Roller blinds are what would have been known as Holland blinds, they're the most basic type of blind, being a piece of stiffened fabric rolled around a roller which you then pull up and down by either a chain at the side (chain mechanism) or a pull in the centre (spring mechanism). There is an amazing range of choice of colours and prints available, which makes them a good choice when you want a splash of colour in a kitchen or the likes. There is also a really good range of blackout colour available which makes them an ideal choice for bedrooms. They also start at a very reasonable price so are a good budget friendly option. Then if you want to get fancy with it, not only can you pick a more expensive fabric but you can add cool finishes like metal bottom bars or pelmets to jazz them up.

Silhouette/Facette Blinds:

silhouette-blinds-guide Luxaflex® Silhouette Blind

Within the roller blind category we have the relatively new Silhouette blinds. These are basically a continuous length of fabric rolling around a mechanism top and bottom. The fabric is divided into equal panels of opaque and sheer fabric, allowing you to adjust the amount of light into the room, line all the opaque ones up and you let the least amount of light in, then get rolling to allow the light to diffuse into the room. They're generally more expensive than regular roller blinds but allow you a lot of control and diffuse the light beautifully into the room.

Vertical Blinds:

vertical-blinds-guide Luxaflex®Vertical Blinds

Vertical binds are made of stiffened strips of fabric that hang from a rail, almost like a curtain rail and can be pulled open across entirely or tilted to block some of the light without being closed fully. They are an extremely practical style of blind as they can be made to fit huge windows and even bay windows. So many of our customers have moved into homes with amazing floor to ceiling - wall to wall windows and then wondered how they're going to get anything to fit them. In this case vertical blinds are your best option, particularly if you're on a budget as they're quite reasonable.

Venetian Blinds:

wood-venetian-blinds Luxaflex® Wood Venetian Blind

Venetian blinds are blinds made of slats running across that can be either opened fully or tilted to diffuse light into the room. Venetians are a good choice for most rooms in the home; left down and tilted they are great for privacy so can be used as an alternative to the old net curtains. They are also a good choice for french doors as they can be supplied with hold down brackets for the bottom, meaning that you can tilt the blinds easily and open and close the doors without the blinds moving around too much. Most styles of venetian blinds will come in a few widths of slats 25mm (1"), 35mm (11/2") and 50mm (2"). It's good to note that the wider slats will let in more light, both when opened and closed. It's also important to realise that although they might be made of wood or the likes, the fact that they are slatted blinds means that they will not act as a blackout blind, even when closed. They are available in wood, aluminium and the new kid on the block faux wood. Let's talk a little about what each means:

Wood Venetian Blinds:

Probably the most popular of all, they provide a very soft, natural look and generally have a nice colour range. They cannot be washed so it's important to keep them dusted regularly; break out the ole feather duster once a week.

Faux Wood Venetian Blinds:

These basically have all the benefits of the wood but being made of a composite material they can be fully submerged in water, allowing them to be properly cleaned. When they first came on the scene they were much more expensive that the regular wood venetians but have come down to a similar price range.

Aluminium Venetian Blinds:

As the name suggests they are venetian blinds that are made from aluminium. This means that they come in a huge variety of colours and can be wiped with a damp cloth to keep them clean. The downside is that the aluminium is noisy when being pulled and they don't have the warmth of a wood blind but they work really well in a kitchen or bathroom where you want a statement splash of colour.

Roman Blinds:

roman-blinds Luxaflex® Roman Blind

Roman blinds are probably the most elegant and even "curtain like" of all the blinds available. They are made from a lined piece of fabric, that velcro onto a track and pleat up into beautiful, simple folds. The best thing about roman blinds is that they are completely custom in the sense that you choose your fabric and your lining, they also give a nice finished look to your window. Let's be honest about it, in living rooms or bedrooms most people will use a roller blind or venetian blind and then put a curtain over it to dress and finish the window. This is not the case with roman blinds as they already have a very soft, finished look. They can also be hung inside or outside the window recess, making them very practical for awkward spaces, for example a bedroom window in which the wardrobes are too close to the window to accommodate a full curtain or a dormer window.

That covers the basic styles of blinds available. There are other styles of course like pleated or duette blinds, which you may just really love, though in my experience if you're looking at these styles it's because you have an awkward window, like in a conservatory or such. Our expert fitters can help in these situations and advise on what might be most suitable.

If you're feeling inspired, then get to your nearest Home Focus /Hickeys store to have a look at our extensive range of blinds. We do offer a full measuring service but in my experience if you have some basic measurements (recess size) on your first visit it really helps to narrow things down as not all blinds will suit all size windows. Each type of blind has their place in the home and hopefully this blog will have helped you decide which is most suitable for you.



I started working for Hickeys when I was only 16 and my love affair with all things fabric, textiles and crafts began!! I always have some project on the go (even if they don't always get finished), and after nearly 20 years in the business I'm still learning new things all the time from fellow staff and amazing customers!

Your Comments
  • Kevin Murray 25 March at 22:30

    i would appreciate contact from your blind section

  • Hello I am looking for vertical blinds for the patio doors in my living room, I would like to have a medium grey colour. Can you please advise if you have stock in Blanchardstown as I plan to go there on Wednesday this week.

    • All of our blinds are made to order and our Blanchardstown store has the full range that you can choose from which would include grey vertical blinds. If you bring in your sizes our staff will be happy to advise you fully.

  • I'm looking for Silent Gliss sliding fabric vertical blinds. You're down as stockists online. Let me know where I can go to view them.

    • Hi Gemma, We stock silent Gliss Rails but not their blind range. We do stock a beautiful range of vertical blinds from Luxaflex, available in all of our stores and from Prestigious Textiles available in our Carrickmines, Henry st, Wellpark and Wexford stores. If you have any further queries please contact your local store where they will be happy to advise you. Thanks
      store finder

  • Hello,l will shortly be moving to my new home in Portlaoise & am interested in vertical blinds for all my windows.l see you have a sale on at the moment so am keen to avail of that.Can you tell me how long it takes to have blinds fitted once the order has been placed.
    Thanking you,
    Sincerely Yours,
    Margaret Stone.

    • Hi Margaret, Depending on what range you choose from etc the blinds themselves take approx 1 week to 10 days. As a general rule I would allow yourself 3 weeks from start to finish (including having your windows measured and blinds fitted). Your local store will be able to advise you further

  • Hello do you have a price list for the Roman blind kits please ?



    • Hi Elaine,
      The kits come with everything you need including the dowels,track and mechanism and can be cut to size in needed
      90cm €57.00
      120cm €67.00
      150cm €85.00
      180cm €95.00
      240cm €100.00

  • Yvonne Hannon 22 November at 22:22

    I am enquiring about light grey wooden blinds.
    I purchased last year and need another blind to match?
    Do you still stock them, I can't see them online.

    Thanks, Yvonne.

    • Hi Yvonne, Our blinds are available in store only. If you return to the store you purchased the original from they will be able to help you

  • Hi

    Do you have Alexa compatible motorised blinds / another type of smart blinds?


    • Hi Cathal, None of our blinds are compatible with smart devices but they can be timer programmed etc

  • Anne O'flaherty 01 April at 17:12


    Do you sell roman blind kits? I can't find them online.


    • Hi Anne,
      Unfortunately our roman blind kits are only available to buy in store. Our stores are closed at the moment in accordance with government guidelines. We'll talk to our buyers about adding them online.

  • sarah lawlor 05 April at 18:11

    Looking to order roman blind kits on your website but can't find them on your page.
    Are they not available now ?


    • Hi Sarah,
      Unfortunately our roman blind kits are only available to buy in store. Our stores are closed at the moment in accordance with government guidelines. We'll talk to our buyers about adding them online.

  • Hi Laura

    Just to say that this is a very informative and well written piece.

    Thank you

  • Henrietta Erakpoweri 16 June at 16:18

    Hello, I ordered some blinds but still have not collected them yet and now I'm not sure about the colour as during lockdown I changed my whole space. I was wondering if I could change them or I just have to use them since there custom made.

    • Hi Henrietta,
      You would have to contact the store in which you bought the blinds to discuss this. You can find all of the store contact details here.