Similar sizes make differences in window coverings less obvious

DEAR GAIL: I am not sure what is acceptable as far as store-bought blinds and custom blinds and where they should go. My husband bought some off-the-shelf one-half-inch miniblinds to put in our garage that faces the street and I just hate them. We have custom 41/2-inch shutters that are on the front windows of the house and it seems it just makes them look cheaper with the minis on the garage. Please help me; I know that he will take your advice. — Becka R.

DEAR BECKA: There used to be a time when people felt that all the hard window coverings, as far as verticals, miniblinds, shades, woods or shutters, had to match throughout the house. It started back when people were mixing and matching too many different treatments on their windows and before manufacturers starting making products with neutral backs so that the color was at least consistent when looking at the house from the street. Before that it was unattractive to see a different color on each window.

But, you really don’t need the exact same treatment on each window because it may not be the proper style and function for the room that you’re treating.

In your situation, you mention that you have shutters on your front windows and your husband purchased miniblinds for the garage. I have to assume the miniblind selection was because he felt that it is only the garage and didn’t want to spend any more than you had to, which I have to partially agree with.

On the other hand, I would have preferred to see something other than the one-half-inch miniblinds as they are so much smaller in scale to your large-blade shutters. I know that he’s already purchased and installed them, but since they were off the shelf I’m going to assume that they were fairly inexpensive. So, I’m going to give you a couple of other suggestions to consider.

Instead of one-half-inch miniblinds upgrade to a 2-inch size blind in the same color. The 2-inch blinds are at least closer in size to your shutters, will give a nice look and draw less attention than the smaller-sized minis that you have. In the 2-inch size, you can select from at least three different style and types of blinds. You definitely want to stay with a horizontal blind versus a vertical type to keep the same look across your house. You can choose from a vinyl blind, aluminum blind or a composite faux-wood blind.

Since I don’t know the size of your window, I’ll give you an estimate using a window that is 36 inches wide by 48 inches long. These are just estimates as the exact manufacturer and product will vary in price, but this will at least give you an idea of the cost. Vinyl is the least expensive at $50, while both the aluminum and faux wood will cost around $60. With these two choices, I would select the composite faux wood.

The next option is a 21/2-inch plantation-style shutter blind. This is still a composite faux wood blind, but the blades are larger and have a curved shutter-style blade on them, so they have the look of a shutter. This blind will cost about $75. So for $15 more than the 2-inch composite wood, you’ll have a look closer to your shutters.

Then, of course, the option I’m guessing you would prefer is to replace the miniblind with a shutter to have the identical look across the front of your home. Since this is a window that is not going to get functional use of opening and closing, watch for a sale on a composite shutter and just make the leap. Most of the shutter companies offer any of the blade widths at the same price. If you could get one on sale for $15 a square foot, your cost would be $180.

Another option is that if your husband is handy, order it and install it yourself and save the installation fee. I also would check the Internet for any deals, but double check what your shipping might be to make sure that you’re still saving money.

I know no one likes to replace something that doesn’t need replacing when it’s brand-new. But, on the other hand, if it’s something that will just be a thorn in your side every time you drive up to your home, you need to comprise and replace the blind when you can.

Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is:

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