Our Living Room Window Blinds, and Why I Hate Them

I’ve never been a big fan of blinds myself. I think part of it is that in my experience, they never seem to let in quite enough light when you just tilt the slats, and then they go wonky and crooked when you try to actually raise them up. But the other part is just an aesthetic thing. Somehow blinds just feel kind of stiff and businesslike to me, great for an office but a little out of place in the home.

That being said, I can understand the appeal of them. Like how they can be dusted and wiped clean instead of taken down and washed, and how you can adjust the amount of light they let in rather than the binary “open or closed” choice you get with curtains or shades. I can even see myself getting to like the right kind of blinds in the right kind of space.

But not the blinds we currently have in our living room. They are absolutely awful in every possible way, and don’t have any redeeming qualities at all.

That last sentence must sound like some kind of ridiculous whiny exaggeration, so I’ll try my best to illustrate why I feel this way. To start with, here’s an overview of what we’re working with:

The wall of windows in our living room.

The above photo is a straight-on view of the living room windows, taken just before we moved in. (Sorry it’s so distorted — this is actually a panorama stitched together from four separate photos, since it’s impossible to fit the whole wall in a single frame with my camera.) As you can see, the previous owners had these old off-white blinds with wide aluminum slats.

They don’t look too bad from a distance, but as you get closer, you can start to see that they have some problems. They’re difficult to open and close, for instance, and usually end up looking crooked like this at the bottoms:

A closeup of the (slightly crooked) living room blinds.

And speaking of crooked, one of them is broken enough that the slats hang crooked all the way up the window:

One window's blinds are very slanty.

If you look closely at the photos I posted of our Valentine’s Day window decorations, you can see that the slanty blinds are even visible from the outside, which isn’t the best look, I don’t think. And as for the broken-ness, the previous owners apparently attempted to remedy this with a clothespin:

A clothespin holding the blinds together.

While I admire the resourceful attempt at jury-rigging, I’m not sure the clothespin actually does anything… although to be honest, I’m a little reluctant to mess with it for fear of making things worse.

But the worst part, the part that really makes me hate these things with a passion, is the way they’re attached to the windows. How it’s supposed to work is that these square metal brackets are screwed into the woodwork, the top of the blinds slide in from the front, and then another metal piece snaps on to hold everything in place. Here’s a closeup of the side of one of those brackets:

Side view of the bracket holding the blinds up.

As you might guess from the tape in the above photo, these are kind of broken too — the front pieces just don’t stay on the way they should anymore — and the result is that, if you’re not careful, the blinds will actually fall down as you’re trying to open them.

If I haven’t already mentioned, these aren’t your modern, lightweight plastic blinds. They’re heavy, old-fashioned aluminum with sharpish metal edges. As I write this, I even have a long angry red scratch on my wrist from when one of them fell on me the other day and I wasn’t quick enough about moving out of the way.

So in conclusion, our living room blinds are ugly, barely functional, and hazardous to the physical safety of anyone who touches them. And that last part is especially serious now that we have a baby — she actually turns exactly four months old today (can’t believe how time flies!) and before long, I’m sure she’ll be getting into everything.

But the good news is that after months of sitting around and looking nervously at our budget, we’ve finally gotten started on replacing these monstrosities, so stay tuned for an upcoming post about the living room windows’ fancy new look!

In the meantime, what do you think of blinds in general? Love them? Hate them? Anyone been attacked by their window treatments lately? Feel free to share your thoughts and stories in the comments.

9 Comments

  1. Well, I have the plastic kind, and while I do not love them (the cats do, they try to eat them!), they look all right when not broken. I do use them WITH curtains however, in place of sheers, so they’re a little more decorative. You are right for wanting to replace yours, they’re broken and semi-dangerous, it seems! If you replace them with the plastic sort, I recommend adding some sort of valance treatment, and a brighter color or maybe even painting a scene on them.

  2. I love your windows, wish you didn’t have to have any covering! Privacy, though — I guess you can see inside from the street or neighbors. Look for something that won’t catch dust!

  3. I was told yesterday by a friend with cats that their licking or chewing plastic is a very common thing, not harmful in itself, but they can tear bits off causing a choking hazard and making the blinds look fleh (as mine do now). Not sure how well behaved Grendel is, but if she likes hanging out in the windows, you might want something non-plastic. Everything catches dust to some extent, but lace or sheers on a tension rod look pretty and are easily taken down to wash. And if light-weight enough, Lily or Grendel pulling them down won’t hurt either of them.

  4. We have drapes not blinds…and I like them, though they almost never get taken down to be cleaned (and by that I meant to say we have yet to take them down and clean them after living in this place for over 1.5 years)…that being said aesthetically I would agree with your arguments that blinds could be done with out.

  5. I must agree that you need to do something with the blinds before your baby gets hold of them. And hey, I’m looking forward to that fancy look you are planning of. :)

    ~Lisha

  6. Thanks for the comments! It’s true that these windows will require some kind of replacement covering just for privacy purposes, since they’re right at the front of the house, and it’s nice to hear positive things about drapes and curtains (which are admittedly what I’d been fantasizing about during all those months of messing with these battered old blinds, haha…)

  7. I think window blinds, like ceiling fans, are one of those sometimes necessary home decor items that most of the design world would have you believe are completely unnecessary but in actuality are really quite necessary for many homes.

    When we moved into our 1916 craftsman, the previous owner – an insane lady – had a combination of aluminum blinds and newspaper taped to the window on every single window. She must have put them all up after we went to the open house. We took down most of the blinds when we got new windows but we decided to have blinds in my husband’s office because it looks directly into our neighbor’s living room. We ended up going with the wood ones from Ikea as they look nice and still perform in their intended use. Six years later we still love them. I’m trying to convince him that we need them for our bedroom because right now we have those pull down roller shades made of plastic and I loathe them.

  8. Thanks for the comment casacaudill, and you make a good point about blinds sometimes being necessary — I can see how they’d be the best fit for certain rooms (our kitchen even comes to mind in that regard) as long as they’re functional and reasonably attractive. And wooden blinds actually sound a lot nicer than the plastic or metal variety :)

  9. I do hate them. I recently bought a house that have those. They looked fine i never bothered about them during the inspection of the house. So we moved in. When I try adjusting them, it was like something was just not rolling back. So I pulled more, just to test it. The whole thing fell on my right wrist and gave me a really bloody cut! I got so worried because so much blood went out of the cut. These blinds are so dangerous. I would replace them all with curtains. Too bad, those blinds match the house design, but they are really dangerous. I think when they are nkt used for a long time, some parts become stuck, and you don’t know them until you use them.

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