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Vertical Blinds are the Devil’s Work

I have a bone to pick with Edward and Frederick Bopp. They’re the brothers responsible for creating vertical blinds back in 1950. And the major bone I have to pick is this: they should have stayed in 1950!

There’s nothing more outdated in a home than vertical blinds. And I’m allowed to say that because I have them in my new home. But Chris, you’re a stylist, what were you thinking? I hear you say. And to that I must reiterate that I purchased my new home off-the-plan. And I came in right toward the end of the process when everything had already been selected and installed.

Thankfully the verticals are not in every room in my home. But they do take up a rather large chunk of visual real estate in my living room. And I have to see them every day.

Actually, there is one thing worse than vertical blinds in a home – and that’s oyster lights. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have those too!!! I know, it’s almost grounds for a refund on the property sale, right? Thankfully the oysters are only in the three bedrooms of my home. And thankfully I tend to not use overhead lights anyway (Lamp lighting is what I’m all about).

vertical blinds in an office with polished floorboards and black leather sofa

Exactly where vertical blinds belong. And even that’s being generous.

I’ve P*ssed off the Gods, clearly

So I’m stuck with these vertical blinds for the moment, because the roller blinds the builders put in the rest of the home aren’t amazing either. You can clearly see that they cut corners financially in some areas. Namely the lighting, blinds and carpet. Thankfully Choices Flooring already sorted out my hideous old carpet (Full before and after shots coming soon).

Now I just have to navigate replacing the verticals. But I don’t want to install roller blinds to match the current blinds, because I want them replaced in the coming months. The blinds I have are cheap. And they are SO hard to roll up. Seriously, it’ll be a Biggest Loser exercise challenge soon; rolling up Chris’ blinds. And they’re a very dark grey. None of it is working, but I hold out hope that it’ll all be sorted out shortly.

It’s not just the look of vertical blinds that I loathe. Yes, they remind me of corporate offices of the 90s. Yes, they remind me of doctor’s surgeries of the early 2000s. But looks aside, I hate the way they function too. Clearly I’ve done something wrong in this life or a former one, because the decor God’s are p*ssed off and I’m being punished.

grey vertical blinds from luxaflex in living room with black leather armchairs

I love you Luxaflex, but it’s a no to the verticals

Vertical Blinds and Pets are the Pits

In one of my old rental homes, my kitten went bonkers on the vertical blinds. Those creepy little white strings at the bottom of each panel were her favourite thing to play with. They’d be ripped out randomly, or sometimes the entire vertical panel would be found on the floor in the morning when I got up. Living the dream, right?

Even in my new home, I hate seeing those tassels at the bottom; connecting each vertical panel. Readers of the blog have been kind enough to offer up advice on how to deal with them (“take the tassels off”, they’ve said). But even with the tassels removed, my living room still feels like a 90s flashback. And the plastic insert at the bottom of the vertical always slides around too. Peek-a-Boo, I never want to see you!

Is my decorator OCD showing? I know, there are bigger things to worry about in the world apart from vertical blinds (like what to replace oyster lights with). But this is a big deal if you’re as house proud as I am. There is nothing worse than friends or family coming over to your home and having to put them through looking at your vertical blinds. What horror.

sheer curtains in living room with blue and white aztec rug and cream sofa

Loving the sheer blinds in this shot from Lovelight

Alternatives to Vertical Blinds, please!

The hunt begins to determine which window treatments will be best to replace the vertical blinds and the roller blinds in my home. Now that the dark grey carpet is gone and replaced with a gorgeous creamy beige, I can reassess the overall colour palette. I love sheer curtains with a roller (like in the above from Lovelight), but the cats would tear those up something shocking. A roman might also work, but it will take some investigating.

I did see a new version of the vertical blind on a website recently and I was almost impressed with it. But something about verticals still brings me pangs of pain. I know that venetian blinds can be a right pain in the behind to clean (and they collect a tonne of dust). But I do prefer those over the vertical options.

Right, I’m on it! Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I show you a few alternatives to verticals that you might want in your space. There are a lot of options to consider, so I think a ‘window treatment showcase’ is in order.

What’s your Take?

Do you have vertical blinds? Are they giving you grief too? Maybe you’ve replaced your verticals with another option and are insanely happy right now? Sound off in the comments below and offer up your advice. I’d love to hear from you!

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

Comments (17)

  • Joanne Fletcher

    Hi Chris, my entire house has vertical blinds and I hate them also. I will be keeping an eye on this space for affordable ideas, I have a lot of glass to cover and every window is a different size! Cheers Chris

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  • jennifer essad

    I LOATHE verticals and horizontals as well. Trying to keep them neat and CLEAN is not easy. I literally cleaned with soap and water and paper towel all of our blinds a few years ago and will never do them again. I’ve asked my husband to help me take them down and hose them off on the driveway. I hate the way the dust collects on them, how they get gritty. So wish builders would find some other type of treatments for windows

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  • Katrina Rush

    THE WORST!! When we purchased our house, every single window had them. The colour is awful, the look is awful and the effectiveness is awful. We replaced the bedrooms and front sitting room with plantations and they look lovely, However the lounge/dining and kitchen area, which just happen to have the biggest windows EVERRRR still need replacing. So I will also be staying tuned to this post, while I save my money or mortgage my husband to pay for beautiful sheers……

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  • Helen Morley

    We had them in our last 2 homes and they all went to the tip shop I detest them. I did notice them in your photos Chris but I was too polite to comment I figured they ‘came with the house’. We are in our forever home so we have shutters but the Ikea Vivan sheers are great too. There are also some great on line deals for blinds where you can measure order and self install to save money. Just pull those verticals down, too too depressing

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  • Rsse

    I agree that verticals look terrible but the only saving grace that verticals have is with sliding doors. I have sliding doors with verticals and they are a way of having the door open in the summer to let in some air but preserving privacy at night. No other window treatment works as well. This is particularly true in apartments where the sliding doors open to a balcony. I overlook a park and in summer I need the doors open a little but also need privacy. It is hard to use sheers on some doors as getting them opening to the right side of the door can look awkward from inside the room. .If you use roller blinds they either blow in the breeze or expose a lot of the doors to the world..

    I will be interested in what others say about this.

    reply
  • Sue A

    I love them I have a big expanse of window have had them up for about 20plus years have contemplated changing but find they work for me the brand I have let’s me open a few or the whole lot to replace know would cost me about $4-5,000.oo and not sure any of them would work.

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  • Nic

    You had me at devil. Ours are powder blue and absolutely horrible. I love the look of sheers but not sure whether they would work for us as we have bay windows. Ouch. At this stage we are looking at plantation shutters but it’s hard to justify the cost, they need regular dusting and I feel like they are overdone now. Be interested to see what you come up with! Surely it’s time for something new, exciting or revamped to hit the window furnishing market..

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  • Lauren Tribbick

    Ha ha vertical blinds and oyster lights are hideous Chris! When building, I laughed in the face of vertical blinds. However a few years later I found I needed something practical on the laundry doors (kids, blocking out heat – that type of thing). So I have one set. BUT mine must be “fancy” without the little white strings! I did look into plantation shutters for some rooms but big $$$ that I couldn’t afford with all the other costs of building!!

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  • Jonathon Baillieu

    Now come on Chris,they can’t be all that bad.A product that comes in a mindboggling array of colours from purple through grunge beige and yellow and to add to their appeal a variety of finishes.What other product can you buy for your windows that guarantee to curl and shed on the edges,break and fall from the track when you open and close them and come with those incredibly attractive plastic chains to hold the whole thing in place,at the bottom.Every time I see them looking at me from a window I am torn,do I rush home, phone the decorater and demand she get rid of my custom made drapes and roman blinds and replace them immediately with verticals, or at least in four to six weeks,if that is the cut off time for manufacture and instalation.It is hard but so far I have managed to say no to what has to be, for many,noice and to steal a line from one of the great fashion and decorating icons of the past ten years,look at me, look at me,easy on the eye.

    reply
  • Ness

    I’ll watch this space with interest. I’m currently building a new home and I took all window coverings out of the tender, because the builder’s options were all horrible.
    My current house is a (rental) new build and it has verticals everywhere too – I hate them! At least mine are a semi-modern variant – there’s no string thing along the bottoms, and the weights at the bottom stay put… but still… verticals aren’t going to go with my Hamptons/coastal theme in my new house!
    I’m still not sure what to go with on the new house, but I do know that my budget will be tiny – I decided a massive butlers pantry and a huge range cooker was vitally important for the house, so there’s zilch left in my house budget 🙁
    I’m thinking of checking out Ikea and Spotlight, but any awesome finds you come up with would be fabulous pointers! 🙂

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  • Em

    We had hideous nicotine stained vertical blinds when we bought our house, I couldn’t handle the ugly so we pulled them down the day we moved in and put up temporary paper blinds (seriously it looked better than verticals !) until we had our plantation shutters installed.. To compete with the ugly of the vertical blinds we had fluro tube lighting in our kitchen, but not your average train station style these were super pretty big-ass round fluro tubes, they looked like freaking ufo’s.. so special.

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  • Annie

    Yes I have verticals and I hate them too. But alas after a year I am finding them so practical. I have oodles of windows facing west and when the sun is pouring in I can slant them to keep sun out but still see views. Then in the morning I pull the blinds open and just have this wonderful expanse of glass. Privacy isn’t a problem.. venetians wouldn’t work with these floor to ceiling windows as would be so heavy to pull up every day by five blinds. I love the sheer curtains too but wonder if they would keep the harsh afternoon sun out. If you have any ideas would be very grateful. Cheers. Annie

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  • Ahahaha! I literally just did a big post on window treatments and solutions for crappy problem windows and doors. I really don’t like vertical blinds. My parents still have them in some windows in their house. They break SO easily and don’t look good. We just did modern dual roller blinds to our sliding door and kitchen window – they have a blockout screen and sunshade that lets in filtered light and love them.

    reply
  • Maria Georgiou

    Speaking of vertical blinds, I have cedar vertical blinds which we installed almost 18 years ago and they are on every window in our house (which is a split level home. What was I thinking!). I would love to get rid of them, but they cost a fortune and the guilt of spending a bomb on them stops me from ripping them down. I guess if I start with the blinds, there would be a frenzied domino effect that will set off other bombs around the house which will end up becoming a full blown reno (haha). I definitely hold the same view as you Chris on verticals.

    reply
  • jazz

    we have romans with sheers over top. love them

    reply
  • Isabel

    Oh dear! Sounds like something straight from a horror movie! Blinds, lights and carpets, starring Chris Carrol yielding a dagger for good measure! (Wink). We bought an 80s treasure a year ago for all the ‘potential’…or so hubby claimed! One of the first things I dealt with was the horrible vertical blinds! My solution was to get some roller blinds from Spotlight. They come in some great designs and colours, which you can just cut to size. I got the kids double blinds, which allows privacy during the day as well as block out for the night. The are very cost effective and came in at a quarter of the price of designer roller blinds I had in my previous house…while achieving the same look.

    reply

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