A blind is one of the most versatile of furnishing accessories. It can range from a cheap cotton roller that saves spending a fortune on curtains, to a sophisticated and more expensive Venetian blind that will last for years and cut out a dreary view. Don’t imagine that blinds can be used only for windows. There are many different ways of using them around the home for other purposes, like hiding a washing corner or making a room divider. It is simple to make your own roller blinds and Roman shades, and there is also a huge selection to be found in the shops. These can be made to measure for your windows at very reasonable prices. Choose anything from a plain holland that comes in a wide colour range, to all kinds of laminated fabrics in patterns and plains. The alternatives are rattan blinds (which are cheap) in a pleasant wood colour, or Venetian blinds (more expensive) in a good colour range from white to bright reds, yellows and greens. Look for concertina blinds in thick paper if you are working on a tight furnishing budget. If you like adapting ideas, keep an eye on current trends in the pages of magazines, then use these ideas for blinds as a basis for making your own. The detail is the important point to watch it’s the final touches like braid and borders, or colour that will help you to make your own blinds with style. Here are some ideas for using blinds around the house.
In the living room
One of the most basic uses for blinds in a living room, or any room for that matter, is to protect fine furniture from the sun during the day time. Over a long period the sun fades dark and antique furniture, and many fabrics too. Just plain white hollands, or roller blinds in a pale shade that tones with the colour scheme, can be fitted at the windows as well as curtains. When it’s sunny, the blinds are pulled down to keep out the harsh rays, yet let in the light. In the evening the curtains are drawn as well. If you want to doll the blinds up a bit, use a band of the curtain material along the foot of the blind. If the windows are large, use fabric blinds instead of curtains. They will work out cheaper and give a much cleaner outline to the window. A lull-length blind in a bright modern colour can look stunning. Used at a small window instead of curtains. a blind will let in more light during the daytime, because it will not encroach on the window space when it is rolled up.
In a modern home you may find one or two large Venetian blinds make the ideal covering for a picture window overlooking a garden, particularly if the room catches the sun. The Venetian blinds can be kept rolled down in hot weather during the daytime, when they will let in light and air, yet keep out the heat. Use a large blind to disguise an untidy study corner or shelves holding drinks in an alcove. Rattan blinds are a wise choice for this form of disguise. You could use a whole wall of blinds to screen off a fitted shelving unit. This is a smart idea if you prefer the neater finish of blinds to the more casual look of shelves crammed with an assortment of objects.
In a multi-purpose room
Blinds are a boon in a multi-purpose room or a bedsitter. They can be used so easily to screen eyesores, and as room dividers. In a bedsitter, use a blind to hide the washing arrangements. You can do this by building light hardboard floor-to-ceiling ‘walls’ on either side of the basin. Fit a blind at the front and you have an instant mini-washroom. If you are short of storage space, fit shelves above the basin and use the sides of the basin screen for hanging up towels, dressing gown, toothbrushes etc. Either build in the basin with a cupboard underneath it, or fit more shelves under to hold towels or shoes. Also in a bedsitter, blinds can be used to hide the bed, which can be fitted away neatly in one corner of the room. Fix two rattan or bright cotton roller blinds to the ceiling, and during the daytime they can be pulled down to hide the bed. Often, in a bedsitter, you may find you have to use ‘make-do’ furniture until you can afford what you really want. So the whole room can be made visually smarter if you hide a row of varied cupboards, and storage furniture, behind large cotton roller blinds. Use a rattan or Venetian blind above a bar to emphasize the division between eating and sitting in a multi-purpose room. Also, use blinds instead of screens to help zone the different purposes of the room-for instance behind a sofa to enclose a seating corner or divide it from a walk-through area, or to screen the stairs in a large room with an open staircase, or to hide a children’s play corner.
In the bedroom
One of the most attractive ideas for a bedroom is to use a blind instead of a net curtain for privacy. A thick cotton lace makes a stylish fabric choice. A good way of making more of a bedroom window is to have a roller blind or Roman shade in a fabric that matches the bedspread, then frame the window with semi-sheer curtains, caught back in loops, during the daytime. These could be made from the bedspread fabric again. Another idea is to have curtains in a plain fabric bordered and looped back with the patterned fabric. Try making your own four-poster bed, and instead of curtains use blinds made of inexpensive ruched cotton. The blinds can be pulled down and kept firm in side tracks so the bed becomes almost like a cave. Blinds can also hide a dressing corner, an unattractive old wardrobe. or a shoe rack.
In children’s rooms
If light evenings or an early dawn keep the children awake, use a dark holland blind behind the curtains, and this will cut out the light. In fact a blind in any dark-coloured opaque fabric will do the trick. Remember that blinds will flap on a windy night if the children are asleep with their door open. One way of stopping this is to make a pelmet and side frames so that the blind is held inside this and cannot flap about. A box covering the sides and top of a window is simple to make and, for added interest, use a curved shape to give more effect. Paint the frame brightly or cover it with the same fabric as the blind. This is a particularly smart idea which could be adapted for any room in the house. For safety, cut off all long pulls on blinds and replace them with small rings, particularly in a room where the children are under six and like fiddling.
Be clever with the way you use fabric on blinds to make a more effective room scheme. Make wide scallops at the foot of a roller blind where you have used a bold curvy fabric this will help to emphasize the movement of the pattern. If you are using a row of fabric blinds as screens or at large windows, be sure that the fabric matches at the edges of each adjoining blind. This is particularly important with a geometric or regular pattern of any kind. A good match looks much more professional. Instead of cupboard doors, you can use roller blinds made from a fabric that. for instance, matches the wallpaper. This is a smart idea for a bedroom or a kitchen if the shelves are untidy.