Blinds and Shades. What is the difference?

At Made in The Shade Blinds of Pittsburgh we often hear customers referring to Blinds as Shades and Shades as Blinds.  Of course this may be considered “jargon” but there is really a differences.


Blinds have slats that can be tilted open or closed or the entire Window Treatment may be pulled open or closed.  For Horizontal Blinds, Wood, Faux Wood, and Aluminum there are always two cords,  one for opening and closing the Blind and one for tilting the slats open or closed.  An exception would be a Cordless Blind.  In this case the Blind’s slats are tilted open and closed with a “wand”.  The Blind itself is merely lifted from the bottom to a determined height and left in that position.  If Motorization is involved then the slats are tilted open or closed via the motor while the Blind itself is opened or closed by pulling a cord. Many times home owners keep the Blinds closed but tilt open the slats.


For Vertical Blinds there again are two cords.  One for opening and closing the Blind and one for tilting the vanes open or closed.  Because of the different applications for Vertical Blinds they can be opened from the left,  from the right, from the center to the left and right, and from the left and right to the center.


Shades, on the other hand can only be opened or closed.  There is no tilting available due to the design.  Shades can be Cellular,  constructed of fabric formed into “cells”.  They can also be Pleated, which is crisp, single alternating folds of fabric.  They can be Roller style, in which the fabric is rolled into the mechanism.  They can be Roman, which is a flowing fabric in different styles, patterns, and colors.


So which is best?  That depends on not only the application but also on your own tastes.

For a patio door a vertical blind is a good choice. Most patio doors have one opening door and one stationary door.  The Vertical Blind would normally “stack” over a part of the stationary door leaving the opening door available for use.  It can be full fully pulled open to reveal the entire stationary door or only a portion there of.  Because these are such large openings light control could be challenging. With Vertical Blinds the vanes could be tilted open or closed a little or a lot to allow just the right amount of light into the room.


In this application a Shade must be fully opened for access into and out of the door and no light control is available except for fully opened or fully closed.

For windows the choice is yours.  We often ask customers if they are “tilters” or “openers”. It they are “openers” they like their Window Treatment either completely opened, closed, or a portion there of.  If they are “tilters” they like their Window Treatments closed but like to control the light and privacy by tilting the slats.


Some applications like specialty shaped windows like arches or angles can only be covered with a shade.  Additionally, skylights should probably have a Shade because of the insatiability of a Horizontal Blinds slats at that angle.

At Made in The Shade Blinds of Pittsburgh this is where we can offer guidance and ideas.  We are experts in Window Treatment styles, applications, and installations.

So if you are unsure which treatment would be right for your home contact Made in The Shade Blinds of Pittsburgh for your free no-obligation estimate.  We can be reached at (412) 999-9199 or by clicking the “contact” tab here or at the top of this page.