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The Differences Between Blinds, Shades and Shutters

As home interior experts, we get asked tons of questions daily about the smallest or simplest facts. And that’s okay! They’re the easy ones we love to use to help educate our hard-working customers. It’s our job to provide solutions for your home, and we’re happy to do so.

Recently, we were asked, “What is the difference between blinds, shades, and shutters?” And today, we are going to dive in and explain the differences for you.


A little disclaimer here is necessary before we begin—depending on what region you’re in, you may find that people have different definitions for each. However, the answers we provide here are the most ubiquitous.

The Differences Between Blinds, Shades and Shutters


The best way to describe their unique feature is that a blind is a “hard” window treatment. That is, it’s made of a material that is stiff, and largely composed of vanes (or slats) that tumble downward as you lower it. However, vertical blinds don’t adhere to that last rule, so you see where there may be some interplay between terms.

Blinds can be found in a number of styles and materials, lending them the ability to match any look, traditional, classic, modern, or anything in between!


Where blinds are a “hard” window treatment, shades are “soft”—meaning, they are made of a soft, lighter material that moves up and down on a continuous roll to cover a window. Shades are “drawn” up and down on a roll utilizing a spring device.

With no slats or vanes to speak of, shades are the preferred window treatment for insulating a home. Though shades do not offer the utility of being able to adjust how much light is let in on the fly, the wide variety of materials you can construct a shade from offers plenty of options for homeowners. Not to mention the plethora of styles shades are offered in, such as honeycombroller and solarroman, cellular, and woven wood, the sky is truly the limit with this type of window treatment. You can really get creative!


The difference between a shutter and a shade would be plain as day, but between a shutter and a blind is often where people make a misstep.

The biggest difference is that shutters are typically found on the outside of your home, and are closed to protect your windows from the elements and when you’re away. There is such a thing as indoor shutters though, and the way we like to define them from blinds is by pointing out two key points. Shutters are a stationary set of blinds with a rod attached to the slats for rotation, and usually include a locking mechanism for keeping them shut.

Give us a call today at (270) 441-2305Also, make sure to like us on Facebook! We’d love to be a part of your next home renovation project!

Contact Steve Dannenmueller, the Authority on Shutters, Blinds, & Closets.

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