Choosing the right window treatment is no easy task, and we can find ourselves getting swept into the paradox of choice. Like choosing a soulmate, it’s all about weighing the different options and choosing one that best suits you and your lifestyle – not to mention one you won’t mind seeing every day for the next five years, at least!
From sun-blocking and privacy down to aesthetics, there are various criteria to consider when finding the one to dress up your windows. So today, we’re pitting the two – curtains and blinds – head-to-head to help you decide the perfect match for you and your home.
Pros and cons of curtains
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Curtains are a great way to uplift any room without a costly renovation. Besides making your home look warmer and cosier, they come in a plethora of designs that will leave you spoilt for choice. Curtains can also be a better option if you have young children at home since they are less prone to damage than blinds.
While curtains are more expensive with custom installations ranging up to $1500 for a 4-room HDB, there are also affordable ready-made alternatives as low as $13.90 on IKEA. Spacious homes may benefit from having curtains as they can be customised and layered for multiple looks, while smaller dwellings can end up looking cluttered.
Curtains are also harder to maintain as it takes more than a simple dust down to keep them clean. Those with creases and pleats collect dust easily and may need to be vacuumed or dry-cleaned every 3-6 months.
From rod pocket curtains to blackout curtains, here are six curtain types that can suit your home depending on the function and style you’re looking for.
Types of curtains
Rod pocket curtains
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Rod pocket curtains are one of the easiest curtains to set up as you only need to slip the curtain ‘pocket’ over the rod. The lightweight fabric and ease of removal make it easy to maintain – perfect for those who want to jazz up their home on a moderate budget with maximum convenience.
Rod pocket curtains may be a hassle to open and close since the curtain rod fits tightly into the pockets, so you may want to use them in lesser-used rooms such as spare bedrooms and guest lounges. Due to their lightweight or sheer fabric, pairing them with a second layer of curtains may be necessary for extra shade.
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Eyelet curtains are popular in minimalist Singaporean homes thanks to their modern and laid-back look. For those with young children, eyelet curtains are also an ideal choice as they are easy for the little ones to open and close on a day-to-day basis.
Since the curtain rod is visible through eyelet holes, you may need to choose an aesthetically-pleasing pole that does not rust easily. Choosing the eyelet material is also important – opt for stainless steel eyelets if your budget allows, or the more affordable plastic material if your curtains are on the lighter side.
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Another popular option among homeowners is pleated curtains, where hooks are inserted into the header tape at the back of the top panel. The intricate pleats also mean that cord-and-pulley systems are necessary to draw the curtains – an extra cost you’ll need to factor into your budget.
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Two big pros of pleated curtains are that they block light effectively and are available in versatile materials and designs – pinch pleats, box pleats, pencil pleats, or tuxedo pleats. While pleated curtains generally give off a traditional feel that can appear out of place in a contemporary abode, you can always go for inverted pleats, which sport a more modern look.
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Window scarf curtains use a single long cloth that hangs on the front or sides of a window. Although they don’t have elaborate designs, the softness of window scarves effortlessly upgrades the look of cottage or country-style homes. While they are the best way for thrifty couples to style on a budget, they may not be effective in offering sun protection or privacy. A handy tip is to layer your window scarves with other curtains – a smart way to improve coverage and make you feel like a DIY pro.
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You’re probably well-acquainted with sheer curtains given their frequent appearances on #homespiration Instagram posts and Pinterest boards. The airy, translucent material makes sheer curtains fitting for both indoor and outdoor use and can even provide privacy and UV-ray protection.
Easily available at low prices from Shopee or Taobao, sheer curtains allow you to decorate your room in a single breezy style or add drama with a multi-layered effect under thicker curtains. While they typically come in white or neutral colours, some even have embroidery or foil prints for that extra touch of glamour.
However, sheer curtains can be tough to clean due to their delicate nature and are extremely poor in blocking light. To avoid a glare nightmare, you may want to avoid placing these curtains in rooms where low light is necessary, such as the TV room.
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If your home is starting to feel like an oven, you can consider getting some blackout curtains instead of installing another air-conditioning unit. Also known as thermal curtains, these curtains are the easiest way to cool down your home and are incomparable when it comes to light blockage and noise dampening. By cutting heat transfer, blackout curtains can also reduce cooling costs and your energy bill.
While a darkened room can improve sleep quality, this can result in minimal natural light in the morning. Some people also dislike blackout curtains due to their lack of styles, so you can choose to drape over a window scarf or place a sheer curtain behind it to add some oomph.
Pros and cons of blinds
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If you’d rather have something low-cost and low-maintenance, blinds may be a better – and cheaper – option for light and privacy control. Compared to curtains, blinds attract less of those pesky dust mites and are more suitable for Singaporean homes which are generally smaller and adopt a minimalist style.
Blinds can be easier to operate, though they are also more susceptible to damage when operated wrongly. If complex mechanisms can’t be easily replaced, you may need to fork out a large sum to change the entire set. Some blinds also feature dangling cords that can be a safety hazard, so parents may want to choose ones with a ratchet system – all of which come at extra cost.
With that, here is a lowdown on the most popular blind types in Singapore so you don’t go into a purchase – blind.
Types of blinds
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One of the most versatile options is roller blinds which come in plenty of patterns and materials such as fabric, wood, or even bamboo. Their designs are simple enough to fit into any room and are suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms as you can simply wipe them down with a piece of cloth.
Roller blinds are great for homes that boast a scenic view, and you can easily roll them up in the day for natural sunlight and pull them back down at night for privacy. Unfortunately, roller blinds are not the best choice for oddly-shaped windows, though you can opt for custom-made blinds at an extra cost. Those living in windy homes may also think twice before purchasing roller blinds as they can get caught in the wind and flap about noisily.
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Those who want to achieve an Italian aesthetic can do so with these stylish Venetian blinds that will make your HDB flat look like a cosy holiday home. Venetian blinds are made from horizontal slats held in place with string or tapes, and you can tilt them to allow as much lighting or exposure as you please. Similar to roller blinds, they can be easily wiped down with a cloth and are made from water-resistant PVC or aluminium.
PVC tends to be the cheaper option though it can be heavier and less durable than aluminium. You can also opt for trendier wooden slats that are sturdy and light but keep in mind that they don’t handle moisture and humidity well.
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Roman blinds consist of folds of fabric that double as a decorative pelmet when pulled up. They are the go-to blinds for transforming a regular home into an elegant love nest and can be used to doll up bedrooms, living rooms, or dining rooms. Depending on you and your partner’s preferred styles, you can opt for sleek, solid-coloured linen blinds for an industrial look or cotton blinds for a shabby chic ambience.
Due to its one-piece design, roman blinds are less versatile when it comes to light filtration, and even when available in sheer materials, require you to expose the window completely to let in direct sunlight. Homeowners who prefer easy-to-maintain blinds may want to cross this one off the list, as roman blinds require total removal for cleaning.
Korean combi blinds
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You can now live out your K-drama fantasies with these Korean combi blinds – a new take on traditional blinds combining roller blinds with opaque stripes. The alternating translucent panels provide an excellent mix of lighting and style, with an added layer of privacy perfect for bedrooms and home offices. Korean blinds also require low effort to maintain as you can simply dust them down every few weeks.
While the panels provide a low view of what’s happening inside your home, they become see-through at night so remember to adjust them to block out nosy passersby.
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Vertical blinds are the solution for homeowners who want the versatility of roller blinds with the controlled privacy of Venetian blinds. These horizontal blinds go well with a large panel of windows and look elegant in homes with sliding doors.
Unfortunately, due to its profile, vertical blinds may not fit as well on narrower windows. And since it moves along the floor, the blinds can be easily obstructed by your furry friend’s chew toy or that pile of lego bricks left lying around.
Choosing between curtains or blinds for your home
It’s easy to get caught in the Curtains vs Blinds dilemma if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. When jumping into a purchase, consider which option better suits your budget and picture the overall look you want to achieve for your home. If you still can’t decide on one type, you can always mix and match blinds and curtains to suit different rooms. This way, you get the best of both worlds and all the good stuff both sides have to offer!