Roller blinds were once a very simple window accessory, and often a less-expensive alternative to curtains. The blinds were typically made of thickened paper surrounding a spring-loaded tube. A person could ull the blind down to shade a room; pull the blind again and it retracted around the tube. Roller blinds were almost always a shade of gray, and were available in thicknesses that allowed for a greater or lesser darkening effect. Times have changed, however, and roller blinds are no longer so simple.
These blinds are usually still wound around a spring-loaded aluminum tube, but the flimsy paper and monochromatic colors are a thing of the past. Roller blinds in 2011 are manufactured from materials as diverse as cotton, linen, flax, and polyester. Styles can be purchased to fit with any room, or the blinds might be custom-made. The traditional gray finish has been replaced by choices that range from suede to solar-reflective to metallic to literally any color in the spectrum.
Some roller blinds are operated not by a cord or pull, but by an electric motor. This device replaces the standard spring-loaded tube, and the blinds can be raised or lowered by a matter of degrees. In most cases, electric roller blinds come complete with a remote control. A person need not rise from a chair or bed to let the morning sun into the room; all that is required is the press of a button.
The primary reasons for installing roller blinds on a window are for privacy and light control. Many people do not sleep well unless a room is totally dark, and some roller blinds — commonly known as “blackout” shades — block 100 percent of the light that would otherwise enter a room. Other styles of blinds are available that will allow for 50 percent or less light blocking. Some blinds are virtually sheer, providing a degree of privacy but preventing a room from being too dark.
Blinds that feature a textured weave are relatively new to the market in 2011. Such blinds provide a feeling of depth that is nearly three-dimensional, and were designed to provide a fashion contrast against walls painted in a neutral color. Another innovation in the world o fblinds is a product that allows for minimum light filtering during the daylight hours, but total blackout shading at night. These two-in-one blinds are increasing in popularity, providing the homeowner or apartment dweller with the options of large amounts of light and maximum privacy.