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 measure service in this  blinds ready in 7 days video; these custom-made blinds are crafted to the highest standards by skilled Partners at our Lancashire textiles factory.

Whether you buy a made-to-measure or ready-made blind, find out how to measure up and fit in our blinds video 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, but 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. You can also watch a video to help you.

Measuring inside a window recess

  • If your window is set into a recess it needs to be 7.5cm deep in order to fit in the blind mechanism. Double check how much space any window handles need to hang the blind in front of them.
  • Measure both the width and the length of the space to get the right dimensions. Remember to take measurements at different points and use the smallest to ensure accuracy.
  • If you prefer to hang your blind in front of the recess, position it as far above as you choose, then measure the inside of the recess crosswise and add a minimum of 0.5cm to each side.
  • Blinds with cords should only be selected if the head rail
    height will be greater than 1.5m from the floor. If the head
    rail is less than 1.5m then we cannot fit a corded blind.

Measuring outside a window recess

  • If you’re fitting your blind outside a recess, it’s a matter of taste how high or low you fit it – though we recommend leaving around 10cm above the window frame or recess. 
  • If you’re fitting a corded blind keep cords and chains out of the reach of children. Always install a safety device to any window fitted with a blind. Don't tie chains or cords together. Keep furniture that children can climb on away from windows.
  • Brackets are usually positioned one at each end but some wider blinds, particularly Venetians, need an additional centre bracket for support.

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 more video guides here

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.

Find out more about blinds and safety.

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 ordered for you, we'll be unable to refund or offer an exchange in this instance.


Child safety illustration
Safety instructions


  • Young children can be strangled by loops in pull cords, chains, tapes and inner cords that operate the product.
  • To avoid strangulation and entanglement, keep cords out of the reach of young children.
  • Cords may become wrapped around a child's neck.
  • Move beds, cots and furniture away from window covering cords.
  • Do not tie cords together. Make sure cords do not twist and create a loop.