The 10 Best Window Blinds
10. Keystone Fabrics Motorized Outdoor
- convenient to operate
- all hardware included
- moderately expensive
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
9. Chicology Free-Stop Cordless Zebra
- 3-step installation
- 100 percent polyester yarn
- is a gap between fabric and valance
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Radiance Cape Cod
- suits traditional or modish decor
- folds into roman design
- cords tangle easily
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
7. Dez Furnishings Blackout
- raises and lowers smoothly
- certified child safe
- colors may be darker than pictured
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Achim Home Furnishings Pleated
- resistant to sagging and fading
- include inside and outside mounts
- sizing can vary a bit
|Brand||Achim Home Furnishings|
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Bali Light Filtering Cellular Cordless
- honeycomb construction
- no dangling strings
- insulated against heat and cold
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
4. Skotz MagneBlind Magnetic
- rugged aluminum instead of plastic
- hold-down brackets prevent swinging
- simple to reposition
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
1. Linen Avenue Custom
- available in 6 colors
- cordless spring lift
- safe for children and pets
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
On The Importance Of A Good Night's Sleep
Few things have a greater impact on a person's mood, productivity, energy levels, and overall health than the quality of sleep he or she consistently achieves. A good night of sleep can contribute to a sharper, better memory, a lower and more healthy weight, better cardiovascular health, a more robust immune response, and even an increased sex drive and reduction of stress. And in fact a lifetime of sufficient sleep may well mean more years spent alive: those who sleep better tend to live longer than their restless peers.
Yet with the demands of work, family, social life, hobbies, and all the basic requirements of life in the 21st century, few people get the sleep they need. All too often we lose hours of sleep each week in an effort to get ahead professionally, getting up too early, drinking coffee too late, or simply putting in too many hours in the effort to achieve. Or perhaps it's your desire to catch up on reading or TV time that robs those hours of rest; or maybe you tend to choose socialization over taking care of your own body's needs.
However, superseding the impact that lifestyle has on proper slumber, it's likely the principle hindrances to your sufficient sleep are the conditions of the room in which you rest. Too many American bedrooms are filled with blinking lights and glowing screens which can make it difficult for the brain to wind down. Sound too, whether from the street, the iPhone, or from a television set can make entering the sleep cycle a challenge.
But by far the biggest obstacle to staying asleep is premature exposure to sunlight. Unless you're a farmer who must be in his or her fields at first light, chances are you need not wake at dawn (which occurs before 5:30 a.m. at many latitudes in the United States). Yet once your body perceives the sun's light shining -- even when you are exposed only to faint, filtered sunlight -- it takes it as a cue to start waking up. Your body's circadian rhythms, sometimes referred to as the sleep-wake cycle, date back to time immemorial, and while you can't ignore the physiological effect sunlight has on your sleep, you can control it by ensuring that your bedroom windows are fitted with top-notch window blinds.
Window Blinds For Sun Control
There are many types of window blinds available. In fact, the range of blind type, the differences in blind function, and the vast variety of styles available can seem staggering at first. Before we discuss the aesthetics of the window blind, though, let's take a moment to focus on their function, which is primarily to keep sunlight out and to preserve privacy.
Blackout blinds are of course the best way to enjoy the encapsulating darkness that allows for ideal sleep. These blinds consist of one solid sheet of fabric, plastic, or other material that has been worked into sections that fold or roll out of place when needed and that create a surface free of openings when lowered. The drawback to blackout blinds is the fact that they offer no in-between options: they are either raised, fully exposing portions of or all of the window, or they are closed, blocking the view and keeping out all light.
If you want window blinds that can be oriented to allow maximum light in, that can be set to allow in some sunshine, and that can also adjust to keep almost all light out, then you need to choose window blinds with narrow, horizontally oriented strips. Thinner blind strips allow for a closer, tighter seal against sunshine, and horizontal blinds can be adjusted to counter the sunrise and sunset as needed. The material itself should not be overly thick, either, as larger, clunkier blinds won't settle as snuggly together, allowing for more light seepage.
Light filtering blinds are not usually ideal for a bedroom, but if the room in which you sleep is heavily shaded (or if you have trouble waking up) then this type of window blind can be a good option for limiting the amount of sunlight that enters your bedroom while not blocking it out entirely.
Also be mindful when choosing the blinds of any rooms adjoining your bedroom: if sunlight can come pouring into the attached bathroom or hallway, it may infiltrate your sleeping chamber as well. Even a shaft of light shining in under the door can be enough to tell your brain that it's time to wake up.
Window Blinds As Elements Of Style
In most rooms, the best window blinds are those that fade into the decor rather than those that try to stand out. Bold wooden blinds in a cool, modern home will likely look odd, just as sleek metallic blinds aren't a great fit for that country cottage or ski chalet.
Choose blinds first because they will serve their purpose of blocking light and maintaining privacy, but after that, it's generally advisable to choose those that best blend into your home or office. From fabrics to woods to metals to plastics, there are blinds available in such a wide array of materials that it should be easy enough to find a color and finish that won't clash with the interior.
Just make sure to also consider the material of your blinds in terms of window location. In a bathroom or over the kitchen sink, for example, you need blinds that can handle moisture. And those bay windows overlooking the sea or the meadow need blinds that won't discolor and crack in the constant sunshine.
Also always be mindful of the dangers hanging cords can mean for youngsters or pets: choose cordless blinds as needed for safety, even if they are more expensive.