How to buy blinds and shades

November 9, 2016

Most people think they know how to buy blinds and shades, because it’s such a simple process – measure the window, choose a style, find a store and pay your money. Simples.

But having bought what they thought was the perfect blind things suddenly get complicated when it comes to fitting.

Challenges arise, which people hadn’t considered, the fitting process takes much longer than anticipated and more often than not an element of bodging creeps into the job.

For that reason we go all out on our Made To Measure Blinds website to take you through the buying process step by step, from your initial decision-making to fitting.

Continue reading How to buy blinds and shades

Why we don’t want you to buy replacement blinds … too soon

March 4, 2016

Constantine Purple

This sparkling new blind from our Constantine Purple range will retain its just-new looks for longer with regular cleaning following our guide.

That might sound like an odd thing for a made to measure blinds supplier to say, but we care about our customers.

And it breaks our heart when we see blinds on the scrapheap when in truth they should still be serving a purpose in the home.

We offer you helpful guides every step of the way — and that includes how to care for your blinds once they are installed.

Our blinds are of good quality and are built to last and we want you to make sure they last.

Continue reading Why we don’t want you to buy replacement blinds … too soon

Blackout blinds from Made To Measure Blinds – which one does the job best?

March 5, 2014

With mornings becoming brighter it’s an appropriate time to focus on made to measure blackout blinds.

Each of our ranges of made to measure blinds has a blackout option and we achieve that by adding a lining or backing to the fabrics – it’s what stops the light filtering through.

With different manufacturing processes for each product – along with the blind’s style – some provide better window coverage than others.

Our blackout options include:






Blackout Roman blinds

Roman Blind willowy Amethyst with blackout lining.

Roman Blind willowy Amethyst with blackout lining.

Roman blinds offer the best window coverage but their complex manufacturing process means that they are not the most economical option. They do, however, add class to any room.

The feature fabric, with its thermal lining, is made to the finished width of the window, so if the blind is mounted inside the window recess it will be made to the narrowest width within the recess, less 1cm for a clearance fit.

As long as the window is nice and square the blind will block a considerable amount of light due to its close fit, making it the best blackout of all the blinds available.

If the blind is mounted on the outside of the recess we recommend allowing 4cm all around the window. The wider the blind the more light will be blocked, but remember that the fabric will stand off the wall a little due to the 3cm depth of the headrail on which the fabric is mounted.

For this reason there is little to be gained from an outside-mounted blind over a good fitting inside-mounted roman in a nice square window.

Blockability score – Roman blind 9 out of 10


Blackout Roller blind

Blackout Roller blind

Blackout roller blinds

Blackout roller blinds are a popular choice since they are also one of the most economical options. Blackout fabrics are coated with a rubberised backing that also offers a thermal barrier, as with the Roman blind.

The brackets and controls are mounted at both ends of the barrel so 30mm of fabric is lost to accommodate them. This will inevitably allow light to creep around the sides of the blind, but it will be more than adequate to do the job unless you are a very light sleeper.

If that is the case it would be worth considering mounting the blind on the outside of the recess, making the blind wider than the window opening.

If you plan to do that, add a minimum of 8cm in total to the width.

A blackout roller blind ban be used as a secondary barrier used in partnership with curtains.

The two combined offer an excellent solution to the problem of early morning light.

Blockability score – Blackout roller blind 8 out of 10


20mm Pleated blind

20mm Pleated blind

Blackout pleated blinds

The pleated blind is one of the more expensive blinds, due to the nature of the fabric construction formed in pleats.

Some fabrics are offered with the option of blackout backings by using a foil, again with thermal properties.

As with the Roman blind, very little fabric is lost within the construction of the blind since the brackets locate on top of the headrail.

The only consideration with the pleated blind is the need for the nylon cord, which is needed to support the fabric and control the blind.

To raise and lower, the blind has to travel through each pleat in the fabric, and to do this small holes are punched through the fabric, which will obviously allow light to bleed into the room.

The advice for outside mount would be the same as previously mentioned for roller blinds.

Blockability score – Pleated blind 7 out of 10


89m Vertical white

89m Vertical white

Blackout vertical blinds

Vertical blinds have a small offering of blackout fabrics. Like the roller blind fabrics, vertical blinds have the same make-up, with the rubberised backing providing the blackout, and it also provides thermal properties.

The strips of fabric (technical name louvres) hang from a horizontal headrail, and of all the blinds this is the least effective at blocking light.

When the blind is closed the louvres overlap, allowing a little light to seep through. In addition, the two end louvres are set back from the end inside recess walls, along with a clearance gap under the louvres to allow the blind to rotate freely from the windowsill.

When you add these together you have a fair amount of light around the blind. This means that vertical bllinds will often be used in partnership with curtains. So when the two are combined the end result is satisfactory.

We don’t recommend a vertical for outside recess face fix mount as a blackout option.

Blockability score – Vertical blind 6.5 out of 10


Venetian Cocoa 25mm

Venetian Cocoa 25mm

Blackout Venetian blinds – metal and wooden

The make-up of a venetian blind allows for a close fit to the inside of the recess, similar to that of the Roman and pleated blind ­– as long as the window is nice and square, allowing for 1cm clearance fit.

The slats overlap each other, so this will allow a little light to penetrate through the overlaps. But since they are a solid material no light filters through the slats themselves.

The slats are all held together with a nylon ladder cord that travels through the slats to tilt and raise the blind, so the holes punched into the slats to take the cord will allow light to bleed into the room. This, combined with the overlaps, allows some amount of light to enter the room.

The bigger the slat size then the darker the blind will be in the closed position due to smaller quantity of slats, so there are fewer overlaps.

Outside face fix mount we would suggest allowing a minimum of 8cm extra to the width but the advantage of this would be questionable over inside mount.

Blockability score – Venetian blind 7 out of 10


Wooden venetian 50mm Valley Oak

Wooden venetian 50mm Valley Oak


Use the information we have presented to decide how much light is acceptable.  Are you a light or heavy sleeper, and what style of blind is most likely to suit the room.

Confused by the large range of blinds available? Our buyers guide to blinds gives clear guidance

November 18, 2013

whiteAT MADE TO MEASURE BLINDS we’re often asked which type of blind is the best value across our whole range.

People also ask about the qualities of each blind on offer.

To help answer those questions we have compiled a league table of blinds within this blinds buyer’s guide.

The table sorts blinds by type, listed from lowest price to highest. Prices valid at the time of uploading this blog post.

There are four price tables within each product type.

Depending on the fabric chosen, we have chosen the base range fabric from each product, then selected a common size window for the study – 175cm width with a drop of 110cm.

This provides the best like-for-like comparison.

Please bear in mind that each blind type offers a different feel and look and serves a different purpose, so price is not always the best way to compare blinds – but since you have asked the question we wanted to provide the best answer we could.

Blind variables

There are many variables and each customer will have a different priority.

  • Function
  • Level of privacy
  • Light-blocking ability
  • Room type

Some blinds work better in different rooms, so that the type of blind you choose for a bathroom or kitchen will be different to that for a bedroom or lounge.

To help remove some of the variables we have provided a description of how each blind will perform.


1st place – Roller blinds

Roller blindsWindow size for this study – width 175cm x drop 110cm – price starts at £42
This blind has the ability to be raised and lowered inside or outside the window. It has a sidewinder control unit controlled on either side.

Available in plain and pattern fabrics mounted on an aluminium tube. As an optional enhancement you can add decorative shapes to the bottom.

  • Commonly used in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom as a blackout option – offers sun protection for furniture in the lounge and full privacy when in the closed position

Order free samples here


2nd place – Vertical blinds

Vertical blindsWindow size for this study – width 175cm x drop 110cm – price starts at £51

A vertical blind offers a different functionality. It has vertical slats/louvres mounted on an aluminium headrail. 89mm 127mm wide options available in plain and pattern fabrics.

Louvres can be rotated 180 degrees front to back and stopped at any angle. They travel along the headrail and there are multiple control options on how you draw and open the blind.

  • A very popular replacement for net curtains due to its ability to offer light but with a restricted view it is not unusual to see this blind in every room of the home, it also offers a blackout fabric for the bedroom or acts very well as a privacy option matched up with curtains offers full privacy when in the closed position

Order free samples here


3rd place – Venetian blinds

Venetian blindsWindow size for this study – width 175cm x drop 110cm – price starts at £52 

A venetian blind is similar to the vertical blind in terms of functionality but it has aluminium slats 15mm and 25mm wide mounted horizontally.

The blind can be raised and lowered and the slats tilt front to back to allow light to enter the room. It also offers privacy from inquisitive eyes.

The slats are a metal so will block more light than a vertical blind.

  • Popular in every room in the home, commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens, and offers full
    privacy when in the closed position

 Order free samples here


4th place – Roman blinds

Roman BlindsWindow size for this study – width 175cm x drop 110cm – price starts at £86

This blind is made from soft furnishing fabrics cottons and polyesters. Available in plain and patterned fabrics, all lined as standard with the option of a blackout lining.

A roman blind with a blackout lining offers the most effective way of blocking light for bedrooms because it is the closest fitting to your window size of all the blinds available. This will depend on how square the window is to begin with.

Mounted on an aluminium headrail that allows the blind to be raised and lowered to any given position within the window.

Offered with the cord and cleat system i.e. a nylon cord that is wrapped around a cleat to hold the blind at your desired position, or the popular but more expensive sidewinder headrail on a one length control cord system this is simpler to use, a

  • Popular choice for bedrooms and the lounge and offers full privacy when in the closed position

Order free samples here


5th Place – Wooden Venetian blinds

Wooden Venetian blinds – redwoodWindow size for this study – width 175cm x drop 110cm price starts at £87

A very popular blind. One of our favourites, this blind also offers great versatility with how you control the light entering the room.

The wooden slats are mounted horizontally on a metal headrail that tilts front to back for privacy.

The whole blind can be raised and lowered to any given position within the window and is available in four slat sizes – 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 63mm.

The larger the slat size the more light enters the room when in the open position, but then also it’s darker the bigger the slat when in the closed position.

  • Popular in every room in the home and offers full privacy when in the closed position

Order free samples here


6th Place – Pleated blinds

Pleated blindsWindow size for this study – width 175cm x drop 110cm – price starts at £110

Becoming popular for several rooms within the home, pleated blinds started life as a blind for the conservatory. Polyester fabrics mounted on aluminium headrail formed in a pleat, the blind can be raised and lowered within the window to any given position.

The fabrics have a thermal coating on the back that help to reflect the sun’s harmful rays and reduce the heat on  hot sunny days.

Will perform equally well in the winter months to help keep the heat in the room.

  • Full privacy when in the lowered position, available in plain and patterned fabrics

Order free samples here


  • PLEASE NOTE: Prices valid at the time of uploading this blog post – November 2013

What blinds to choose? Roller, Pleated, Vertical ….

July 19, 2012

Between roller blinds, pleated blinds, vertical blinds and a host of other options available, it can be difficult to determine which blinds are best suited for your home. In general, blinds can serve the purpose of providing privacy to you and your family, and they can also allow you to easily control the amount of sunlight that enters the space. Other benefits include decreasing UV damage to furniture and carpeting and helping to maintain the temperature in a home by blocking sunlight and adding a layer of insulation to the windows. Some blinds, however, are more effective at providing some of these benefits over others. Identifying your functional needs as well as style preferences can help you to choose the right blinds for your space.

Sunlight Control

If you are interested in the ability to block out most of the sunlight from a room, roller blinds or pleated blinds are recommended over vertical blinds. Vertical blinds feature vertical slats that can allow sunlight to seep in slightly even when the blinds are fully closed. Pleated and roller blinds, however, provide a full sheet of material that covers the entire window. Consequently, pleated and roller blinds are also more ideal for temperature control than vertical blinds for this same reason. However, with pleated and roller blinds, your ability to allow partial sunlight into a room is limited. With vertical blinds, the panels can be rotated at any angle to allow greater control of sunlight in the space.


Blinds are commonly installed to give the home’s occupants privacy from peering eyes of neighbors and passersby. Pleated and roller blinds will provide maximum benefits with regards to privacy. Vertical slats can easily move as a home occupant or pet walks by. Further, if the blinds are opened at even a slight angle, neighbors and passersby can enjoy views of the inside of the home. Privacy from passersby may be less of a concern for those who live in a more rural area or who live on a heavily treed lot.

Choosing the right blinds for your home can be difficult. However, when you pay attention to these key points, you can more easily make a decision that is right for your needs.

Protect Your Home From Sun Damage

July 12, 2012

Exposure to sunlight has an irreversible impact on home furnishings.  Even though the suns UV rays has the ability to give us some pleasant seasonal colour, it has the power to significantly damage your flooring and upholstered furniture.  Your best line of defense is the installation of quality window coverings and blinds.

Sun damage is one of those things that people are not apt to notice until it is pointed out and unfortunately by that time it is too late.   If you have carpeted floors you may notice a bleaching of the carpet coloration in front of any window that allows a high volume of light into the room.   Over time this effect becomes more noticeable and unfortunately it is not repairable.

Wood flooring that is damaged by UV rays appears to be dry and cracks easily.  Significant exposure sometimes warps the shape of the floor board which can create gaps between floor boards and dangerous splintering of the surface.

Replacement of flooring is costly.  As is replacement of upholstered furniture which can suffer the same effects from over exposure to UV rays.  Homeowners do enjoy the ambiance of a bright sunny room.  What is required is a management and filtration of the natural light that will protect your interior furnishings without hindering your use or enjoyment of the space.

A media or recreation room can require total darkness in order to enjoy a movie without any source of glare.  Consider choosing a Black Out Blind which when installed will create a perfect multimedia viewing environment.  Black Out Blinds are also appropriate for individuals who work during off hours needing a dark room  to rest during the daytime.

Sitting rooms or conservatory areas are designed to be light filled spaces.  There are a variety of options to manage the amount of light that comes in (or filter it) to prevent damage from sun exposure while still enjoying the warm glow of sunlight.  Consider the elegance of Pleated Blinds which cast a pleasant hue of colour into the room while effectively filtering the light to help prevent UV damage.

Quality blinds are not only a fashionable choice for window coverings but also a very necessary tool to manage the light and heat permeation in your home.  Our tutorials make it easy to measure your space and then shop for your new blinds from the convenience of home.