Blinds buying guide

A practical and stylish way to improve the appearance of your home and complete the look of a bedroom, lounge or kitchen is the addition of window blinds. Not only will they increase privacy, reduce energy bills and help your family achieve uninterrupted sleep patterns, the window shades will also round off the overall look and feel of your space. These blinds come in a variety of attractive fabrics, colours and styles, and our convenient guide can introduce you to the range available online from Tesco, also giving you more information about how to fit your blinds to specific windows.

Types of blinds

From vertical to Venetian, there are lots of different types of shades to consider when it comes to buying and fitting blinds. Whether you want them for purely practical or decorative purposes, we've broken the range down by category to help you decide what to go for.

Venetian blinds

This distinctive style of blind has vertical slats, which can be closed to form interior shutters or left open to allow shafts of light to enter the room. A key benefit is the fact that they are easy to clean and can be adjusted to fit the size of your window. The Tesco range includes materials including aluminium slats, wooden effect or wood. Venetian blinds can also be tilted to give you a balance between light and privacy.

Roller blinds

Choose from a selection of bright colours and modern styles with this versatile blind that has a convenient roller shade, which can be closed completely to darken the room and keep in warmth, or rolled up to the top of the window to maximise light. Select a fabric to suit the look of your room and adjust the size to achieve the right fit. This type of blind is often fitted in the windows of bathrooms and kitchens.

Roman blinds

These are contemporary horizontal blinds that fold up neatly into a vertical stacked effect when they are opened for an elegant finish. Select from faux silk or linen-lined Roman blinds in striking colours like plum, red and teal. When they are unfolded they have a completely smooth finish and cover the whole of the window. Consider this style of blinds for living rooms, or as a signature feature to complete the look of a bedroom.

Vertical blinds

A useful and stylish addition to commercial premises, vertical blinds have become increasingly popular in modern homes. These shades combine the convenience of blinds with the effectiveness of curtains. Slats that run from the top of the window to the bottom can be rotated to open or close. Verticals can direct light into the room with a subtle turn, so you can control the light levels accurately, making them an attractive option for homeowners.

Thermal blackout blinds

Designed to exclude all outside light from a room when they are unrolled, thermal blackout blinds are useful variations of roller blinds. Many people prefer them for a child's room, when total darkness can help establish a regular sleep routine. Remember, not all blackout blinds are actually black - the Tesco range includes many different striking colours to enhance the look of a bedroom, lounge or kitchen.

Often the blinds are made from a durable polyester material that can be wiped clean and is long lasting. Blackout blinds are sometimes complemented by separate curtains and can be selected in a colour that fits in with the rest of the room.

Energy efficiency is an important consideration for any household and thermal lined blackout blinds are an effective way to keep your home warm. During the winter, when the blinds are pulled down they reflect heat back into the home and stop warmth from escaping through your windows. This makes your radiators more effective enabling you to turn down the temperature gauge on your boiler preventing waste and generating savings. Extra insulation can have a positive impact on your electricity and gas bills, depending upon which type of central heating system you have. Across the summer months, the blinds will keep heat out and minimise sun glare to ensure your rooms are cool and comfortable.

Blinds for VELUX windows

Tesco have a range of blinds available for VELUX roof windows and skylights to ensure you can find the right colour and the appropriate size. The compatible blind design ensures that the shade can be opened to any position on the window. Select from blackout and thermal protection plus aluminium side channels and a smooth, wipe clean fabric.

Blind safety

Take care to include a means of tying up chains and cords to blinds, they should be maintained out of the reach of small children to ensure safe play at home. All our blinds are sold with a cleat, or hook, which you can fix on or next to the window frame to secure the cord or chain when the blind is in place.

Fitting your blind

It's up to you whether you hang your blind inside or outside the window recess, but it makes a difference to the measurement you take for the space. Blackout blinds should be fitted with very little space around the sides or the bottom, so that sunlight can't appear.

Once you've decided how to position your set of blinds you can measure up for width and drop. If you're measuring for a roller blind, the fabric width needs to be about 4cm (about 1.5in) less than the overall blind width in order to allow for the winding mechanism and fixing brackets.

Cut to fit

It's not always possible to get a blind in a perfect size for your window. Rather than choose a blind that's too small, go for the next size up and then cut the blind to fit the space. You can use a mini hacksaw to cut the tube and lath (the small wooden pole that runs along the bottom of the blind) to the desired size, and sharp scissors or a cutting knife to trim the fabric.

Inside the window

If you've chosen for the blind to sit inside the window recess, measure the depth and width of the window recess at the 3 positions labelled A, B & C below. Use the narrowest measurement to the nearest millimetre as your guide. You should deduct an extra 1cm (0.5in) from this measurement so there's a small amount of clearance each side of the blind once it's installed. The recess will need to have space for the pulley mechanism; the fabric drop will be the length it hangs at its most extended.

Outside the window

The blind needs to extend beyond the window width, with an overhang of at least 4cm (1.5in). Again, measure different points of the window width and use the narrowest measurement, remembering to allow an additional 3.5-4cm (up to 1.5in) for the pulley mechanism. Next, measure the drop; this will tell you how far the fabric hangs at its most extended.