Blinds buying guide

 

Blinds can be every bit as eye-catching as curtains - especially in modern homes - and they're practical, durable and cost-effective. The style and material you choose depends on a number of factors: you may want to block out light or keep heat in for example; or you may be looking for a specific kind of blind to provide a backdrop to curtains, drapes or valances. Take a look at our blinds range here. Discover our made to order service in this  Blinds ready in 7 days video, and whether you buy a made to order or ready made blind, find out how to measure up and fit in our blinds videos guides.

Styles and solutions

Roller blinds are made from fabric which has been specially treated or stiffened and are operated by a spring mechanism or beaded side controls. Currently, all the roller blinds we sell online have straight ends but we can supply other styles, both ready- and custom-made, from our made-to-order service.

All our ready-made roller blinds can be cut to size in width, and have beaded side controls. They come complete with screws and universal brackets for easy assembly.

Spring mechanism roller blinds are available in children's designs, and on all blinds from our made-to-order service. These, or cordless blinds are the safest option if you have young children or pets around, as corded blinds can present a choking hazard; however, all our corded blinds also come with a safety system which minimises the risk of strangulation by eliminating the potentially hazardous loop.

See the section below on Child safety - there is now legislation concerning the safe fitting of blinds, so please make sure you follow the instructions that come with your blind.

Blackout roller blinds are made from densely woven fabric and will effectively minimise the light entering a room. They are especially useful in the bedroom for shiftworkers who need to sleep during the day, light sleepers, or for south-facing bedrooms. They can be used behind curtains, or you may prefer to use special blackout curtain linings.

Sheer roller blinds offer a hint of colour and let a considerable amount of light into your room.

Daylight roller blinds offer solid colour but allow more light into a room than a blackout blind.

Venetian blinds are made from wood or metal with horizontal slats which can be tilted, raised or lowered to let in as much or as little as you want. The slats are available in a variety of widths, ranging from 16mm to 50mm.

Roman blinds form soft pleats when raised and hang flat when lowered. The pleats are kept in place by dowel rods or slats that are sewn into casings on the lining. A cording mechanism attached to the dowel rods or slats on the back of the blind allows it to be raised and lowered.

Vertical blinds must be custom-made to fit your window. They consist of vertical strips or vanes which can be tilted or drawn using a simple chain control unit. The vanes can be partially tilted to admit more or less light, or pulled back completely on one or both sides.

The vanes can be made in a wide selection of fabrics and in widths of 89mm and 127mm. Vertical blinds are not currently available to order online. Please visit one of our shops for further details.

We sell both ready-made and made-to-order blinds giving you a wide choice and ensuring you get exactly the right look for your window. If you want to have a go at making your own blind, we also stock blind accessories

Measuring your window

If you've decided to do the measuring yourself, we recommend you follow these guidelines:

Measuring inside a window recess

  • First ensure that the recess your blind is going into is not obstructed in any way so the blind can hang freely when fully extended.
  • Make sure the recess is at least 75mm (3 inches) deep, otherwise it will not be able to accommodate the operating mechanism.
  • Measure the total width from A to B and the length from C to D (See diagram 1). Do this in several places to allow for any slight variation or irregularity in your windows.
  • Make a note of the narrowest of these measurements, to the nearest millimetre using a metal tape measure.

Measuring outside a window recess

  • Decide how far you want the fabric to overlap on all sides
    – we recommend this should be at least 45mm (1 ¾ inches)
  • Carefully measure the width from E to F (see diagram 2). For roller blinds, add a further 38mm (1 ½ inches) to take account of the operating mechanism.
  • Measure from G to H to the drop length you want.
  • Make a note of these measurements to the nearest millimetre, using a metal tape measure. 

Measuring and fitting help on video

One of our expert fitter & estimators, Martin Pidcock from John Lewis Kingston, shows you how to measure up and fit accurately, for roller and ventian blinds both  inside and outside a recess. He also shows you how to fit a spring mechanism blind (the safest option if you have young children around), and how to cut down a ready-made blind that's a bit too wide for your window.

View our video guides

Cutting down a ready-made roller blind: instructions and video

If you need to reduce the width of your roller blind we recommend you follow these guidelines:

  • Using a metal ruler, measure the required width from the outside edge of one bracket to the outside edge of the other.
  • Deduct the width of the winding mechanism from this figure before you cut the tube, lath and fabric to the desired size.
  • Use a mini hacksaw to cut the aluminium tube and sharp scissors, or a cutting knife to trim the fabric.

Watch a short video showing how it's done

Care of your blinds

Fabric blinds can be dusted with a synthetic or feather duster, or vacuumed with the upholstery brush attachment in the same way as curtains and furnishings. Venetian blinds can be dusted and wooden ones can occasionally be treated with a wood cleaner. Do not use soap and water.

Child safety

When you fit a blind anywhere in your home, you must fit the safety device provided with the blind to the wall in order to tie up the pull cord safely out of the way of children and pets. There is a risk of strangulation should a child become entangled in the cord, so it's imperative to keep cords out of harm's way. 

Don't tie cords together - make sure they don't twist and create a loop. You can use a cord accumulation system such as a cleat, but install it at as close to the headrail as possible so that little hands can't reach.

You can also use a fixed tensioning system such as a P-clip, a ball chain tensioning system, or a fixed cord or ball chain tension pulley. Whichever one you use, install it at the maximum distance possible from the control mechanism to keep the looped pull cord/s taut. We're giving away free P-clips in our shops if you already have a blind fitted but have no safety fitting.

For safety we recommend that you move beds, cots and furniture away from any window fitted with a blind that has a side control mechanism, even with a safety device in place.

You can also convert a side mechanism blackout blind to cordless by buying a John Lewis Spring mechanism kit. This is the safest blind control option for children's rooms.

Our children's ready-made blinds are already fitted with a spring mechanism, and if you buy a made-to-order blind from us, you'll have the option of choosing a spring or motorised mechanism.

If you have a blind fitted by us, depending on the blind chosen, it may be necessary by law for us to fit child safety devices. If you're not happy for us to do this, we're sorry but we'll be unable to provide or install your blinds and your order will be cancelled. If the blind has been personalised or specially orderd for you, we'll be unable to refund or offer an exchange in this instance.

Images of different types of cords