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I want to know everything about roller blinds

Of all the types of window blinds available today, roller blinds have probably undergone the most significant and noticeable renaissance in terms of design style, range of choice and manufacturing improvements, of them all. Available once upon a time only as very simple, plain, blinds in a limited choice of practical colours and little choice in fabric or shading types; roller blinds now probably offer the most choice, versatility and practicality of all types of blinds.

Our helpful guide will take you through some commonly asked questions; take you through the made to measure buying process and point you in the right direction towards choosing exactly what’s right for you with made to measure roller blinds:

What is a Roller Blind?

Roller blinds are simple, practical and durable blinds made from a single piece of specially manufactured, long lasting fabric. The fabric is chemically treated to make it fade proof and laminated using heat treatment to seal the weave. This means that the fabric does not fray when cut and therefore does not have to be hemmed to neaten it, enabling it to be tightly and neatly rolled around a cylinder or tube (hence the name roller blind) without any bulk or unevenness created by hems or seams. The roller tube fits horizontally across the width of the window and can be fitted either inside or outside of the window recess. A sidewinder chain turns the roller cylinder once it is installed in its retaining brackets, causing the laminated fabric to be rolled or unrolled around the cylinder tube.

In its fully extended (closed) position the fabric hangs down straight and is kept taught and level with a weighted bar at the bottom. This bar is hidden in a very inconspicuous channel (or hem) at the bottom of the blind. In its fully raised (open) position all the fabric is tightly wound around the roller cylinder at the top of the window.

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I want a roller blind...where do I start?

With all types of blinds there are five main considerations to think about from the outset – position, size, colour, function and price - and it’s no different with Roller blinds. If you’ve made your decision to go with roller blinds then you have chosen one of the simplest (but most effective) types of blinds to order and install, but here’s what you need to think about in a nutshell.

Position

decide whether you are going to fit your roller blind inside or outside of the window recess before you take any measurements. See ‘How do I decide whether to have my roller blind inside or outside my window?’ for more advice.

Size

Once you know where your roller blind is going to be fitted then you can take accurate measurements. You’ll be taking recess measurements if you’re fitting inside the window and finished blind size measurements if you’re fitting outside the recess. See our measuring guide for more advice.

Colour

You’ll probably have a good idea of what colour you want so the next step is to take a look at the vast range of roller blind fabrics and colours available at Blinds-Hut. You can search by colour option or by plain or patterned fabrics, or both, to narrow down your search.

Function

Once you’ve selected one or two roller fabrics that you like, check the usage recommendations or additional features of the fabric using the easy symbol codes. These will show features such as moisture resistant fabrics for moist environments, or blackout coating for good light blockage. Don’t forget to order a free fabric sample before you place your final order to make sure that you have the right colour match and the right quality of fabric for your needs.

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Price

Price is usually a primary consideration with any purchase so it’s good to know a cost from the start. Simply enter your measurements (they can be approximate at this stage) into the ‘quick-quote’ width and drop boxes on the Blinds-Hut website (to the right of each product image) and click the calculate price button underneath for an instant quotation. Unless you enter drastically different sizes the next time you come back to the page, the price you have been given will not alter when you come to place your order, so you can be confident that you’re getting an accurate price calculation with no nasty surprises later on.

Wait for your free samples to come, colour check them against your colour scheme and then come back to the product page that you were on to place your order. Ordering is swift and simple if you have all the information above, so here’s how you do it:

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Placing a made to measure roller blind order

Go to the product page for the specific roller blind that you want to order. Enter your confirmed (not approximate) measurements into the quick quote boxes again. If you need any help with final measurements click on the pop-up measuring help guide which is below the calculate price and free sample buttons, for useful diagrams on how and where to measure.

Press the calculate price button, the window will refresh and the price you will be paying for one blind will appear.  Above the price and directly underneath the sizes you have entered there will be two further selections that you now need to make – ‘Measurement Options’ and ‘Control Side’.

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Measurement Options

This gives you the option to select ‘Recess Size’ or ‘Actual Blind Size’.

Recess Size

Select recess size if you are fitting your blind inside your window and make sure that the size you have given is the actual size of the window recess. Do not make any allowances to this measurement or knock anything off, as we will make an allowance to ensure the blind fits with the correct clearance tolerances whenever the recess size option is selected.

Actual Blind Size

Select actual blind size if you are fitting your blind outside your window recess and have calculated the finished size that you want the blind to be. We make no allowances for clearance tolerances with this option and your blind will be made to the measurement sizes that you have given. You can select actual blind size if you are fitting inside the recess and prefer to give an actual blind size, but again no allowance will be taken off your measurements for clearance and the blind will be made to the sizes you have given with no further allowance taken off.

Control Options

Below the measurement options button you will see an option which says ‘Control Side’. Here the options are right hand control or left hand control. Consider which will be appropriate for the particular blind you are altering and select in the box. If you have three blinds all the same size but need one to be left hand control and two to be right hand control for example, then place two separate orders. One order for one blind with a left side control and one order for two blinds with right hand controls. See quantity below.

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Quantity

Immediately beneath the price and to the left of the add-to-basket button is where you will find the quantity option button. Here you need to enter the quantity of blinds that you require made to one particular size. If you have three blinds for example all the same size, then enter the quantity as 3. If you have 3 blinds all slightly different in size then you will need to repeat the above process again for each blind individually and add them to your basket one at a time. Don’t forget to select the specific control options for each blind as above.

Add to Basket

When you are happy with the measurements you have entered, the price quoted, have selected blind size or recess size, entered the correct quantity and selected your control side options, then you can click the add to basket button to take your order to the next stage. If you have forgotten to specify ‘measurement option’ or ‘control side’ at this point, then you will be prompted by a pop-up reminder to do so.

Checkout

Once you have successfully entered all the blinds that you require into your basket you can click on the ‘My Basket’ symbol at the top of the order page and then the ‘Checkout’ button to view and check your entire order and the details you have entered. If anything is incorrect then you can still amend it at this stage. If you are happy with everything then you can proceed to the payment process by clicking ‘Proceed to Checkout’. Your payment details will then be taken in the usual way for an internet order and your blinds will be on their way to you.

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Progress

You will be kept informed by email of the status of your order and be supplied with a tracking number so that you can track the delivery of your order, once it is despatched.

I like the idea of made to measure but how much can I expect to pay?

A lot less than you probably expect is the short answer! Roller blinds are practical, durable and great value for money solutions for your windows, so don’t make the mistake of dismissing made-to-measure rollers, assuming that they’ll be out of your price range if you’re on a tight budget.

Polished and refined manufacturing techniques have vastly reduced the production costs of roller blinds in recent years and this has been reflected in the cost to the consumer. Combine this with all our years of product knowledge and buying expertise and you’ll find a carefully selected range of fashionable, stylish, good quality and affordable made-to-measure roller blinds at Blinds-Hut that won’t break the bank.

If you do have to be budget conscious with your purchases then consider that our price range varies from a modest £22.00, to a far from shocking £187.00 per blind, depending on your window size and roller fabric choice.

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The first stage of our very simple buying process is a completely free and instant quotation, so select a fabric that you like from our vast and varied made-to measure range, enter your window size(s) into the relevant boxes for the width(s) and drop(s) and simply click the calculate price button.

The price displayed will be exactly what you will pay for a fully assembled, custom made roller blind, complete with everything that you need to install it.

You may find a ready-made roller blind which costs a little less, but you may have to compromise on your choice of colour or fabric and you will need to weight up the cost or time investment of getting it cut to size to fit your window(s) perfectly (particularly if you are fitting inside your recess(es)). So before you dismiss the idea of made-to-measure roller blinds thinking that they’ll be too expensive and well out of your price range, just pop your measurements into our price calculator and maybe order yourself a free fabric sample while you’re at it?

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If made to measure product isn’t returnable then how can I make sure that the colour matches first?

At Blinds-Hut we want your buying experience to be as enjoyable, smooth and simple as possible. Wherever possible across all our product ranges, we offer a free fabric sample service and it’s no different with our roller blinds.

The biggest difference between ready-made product and made-to-measure is that, as its name would suggest, made-to -measure product is made from scratch, specifically to your size and fabric choice; and can’t therefore simply be returned and put back into stock on the shelf if you decide that you don’t like the colour, or it doesn’t match, once you receive it.

We endeavour to make sure that our on-screen digital swatches are accurately colour balanced and matched as closely as possible to the actual roller blind fabric, but we would always recommend that your request a physical fabric sample to take any guess work out of your final fabric and colour selection and to be able to feel the weight, quality and texture of the fabric too.

You can request up to 8 free samples by simply clicking on the free sample button of the roller blind fabrics that you like. This will automatically add them to your basket. You then simply give us a delivery address and your samples will be on their way to you.

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Can roller blinds be made from any fabric at all?

No, not any fabric, but from a vast range of specialist fabrics in a multitude of different colours, patterns and finishes. Roller blind fabrics are fabrics which are specially manufactured to a particular weight and weave and which are then chemically treated and heat sealed (laminated) to give them a high level of fade resistance and to make them fray proof. (see also - What is a roller blind?)

General weight curtaining fabrics are not suitable for roller blinds as they are neither fray proof nor colour fast and have many varying levels of weight and weave density. Many curtain fabrics can stretch or shrink too and the very nature of a roller blind which is neatly and tightly wound around a slim central cylinder means that they need to be made from fabric which is stable not stretchy and doesn’t need to be hemmed to prevent it from fraying.

If you are trying to match to other fabrics or furnishings in your room to co-ordinate the look, then maybe consider a plain roller blind fabric in a complementary or contrasting colour, or consider changing your style of blind, possibly to a Roman blind instead. Take a look at our Roman blind guide for more help and advice.

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However, we do stock a huge range of different roller blind fabrics at Blinds-Hut, in a wide variety of different patterns, colours and textures, so we’re confident that you’ll find what you’re after when it comes to roller blinds to match your decor and meet your needs.

You can choose from a varied selection of carefully chosen, good quality, roller blind fabrics in bright colours to suit modern styles, neutrals for subtlety and simplicity, or patterns for designer style and flair.

And don’t forget that roller blind fabrics offer certain benefits that curtaining fabrics can’t such as wipe clean finishes, fabrics suitable for moist environments, blackout or dim-out qualities and  fabrics that offer specialist shading filters such as those suitable for use with computer environments for example.

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Where can roller blinds be used and what rooms are they best used in ?

The specialist fabrics used for manufacturing roller blinds come in many weights, colours and designs and can be treated with a number of different finishes to give them specific qualities.

Moisture resistant or blackout coatings for example, can be applied to certain fabrics making roller blinds ideal choices for kitchens, bathrooms, children’s rooms and conservatories for example. The incredible choice of colours, patterns, textures and finishes available in roller blind fabrics however, means there is no limitation to where they can be used and stylish roller blinds would not look a miss in living rooms, dining rooms, home offices or master bedrooms either- even the garden shed or garage!

A simple coding system using a set of pictorial symbols helps to identify what qualities a particular roller blind fabric has and therefore helps to establish what rooms it may be suitable for use in. These symbols indicate such things as wipe clean, moist environments, suitable for use with computers, shading quality (such as dim-out or black-out) and even indicate such qualities as fire retardant finishes where appropriate.

Look for the relevant symbols illustrated here, next to the roller blind fabric that you are interested in on the Blinds-Hut website, to see if it is compatible with what is right for your windows and the room in which you intend to use it.

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I have big windows, can made to measure roller blinds be made to any size or are there limitations as with ready-made ones?

Yes there are some limitations but you can still dress large windows stylishly and effectively with roller blinds. The specialist fabrics used for roller blinds are manufactured to a set width which therefore limits, to a certain degree, the maximum width that a roller blind can be made to.

However, this can be seen as an advantage rather than a disadvantage as the majority of our roller blinds at Blinds-Hut can be made up to approximately 2mtrs wide and 2.5mtrs long. So if you consider this against Roman blinds for example, the major benefit is that you can have a roller blind made to order in one piece.

Roman blinds any wider than a single width of curtain fabric have to have extra widths of fabric joined together to create the desired finished width. This doesn’t normally have any detrimental effect on the look or function of the blind, but does add to material and labour costs which obviously increase the final price. Roller blinds therefore, are not only a simple and effective solution for wide windows but usually a much more cost effective one too.

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That said; don’t dismiss the idea of roller blinds if your windows are greater than 2mtrs in width, as they are still an option as a viable window treatment. If you have windows wider than 2mts then more often than not those windows will be split into more than one section with a series of individual window panes.

In this case it is not unusual to have a number of individual roller blinds at the one window. For example, if you have a 3mtr wide window split into 3 equal 1mtr wide sections, then it is not only acceptable but also quite effective to have 3 separate 1mtr wide blinds, which meet closely or almost touch in the centre of the section of window frame between the adjacent windows.

Roller blinds are supplied and fitted using end brackets which can be fitted back to back, enabling you to get the side edges of the blinds quite close together, thus avoiding any unsightly or overly generous gaps between the blinds which could let too much light in or affect privacy levels.

Tip: If you are ordering individual blinds for this scenario then you will need to calculate and supply measurements for finished blind sizes rather than recess measurements.

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I don’t have a lot of room above my window so can I still fit a roller blind?

Yes, roller blinds are an excellent option for windows that do not have a lot of wall space above, for two main reasons:

Sidewinder brackets

The sidewinder brackets used to fit roller blinds are simple and easy to fit, but more importantly require very little wall space to fit them to. The overall depth of a roller blind bracket if it is going to be wall fixed is approximately 40 – 50mm deep (this can vary slightly from different manufacturers but is usually within these measurements). So if you have at least 50 – 60mm of wall space above your window then you can quite successfully face-fix (i.e. fix into the facing wall) a roller blind to this wall space.

If you have less than the required space above your window or if the top of your window is flush with the ceiling for example, you can still fit a roller blind but using the top-fix method. The sidewinder brackets are universal brackets, which means they can either be top, face or side fixed. So whenever there is a situation where there is no wall space to fix into above a window, the sidewinder brackets for a roller blind can be turned on end into the top fix position and securely fastened into the ceiling rather than into the facing wall.

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Stack height

Roller blinds, in comparison to fabric Roman blinds or wooden venetian blinds for example, have a very small ‘stack-height’ when in the fully raised (open) position, as the majority of the fabric is neatly wrapped around the roller cylinder at the top of the window. Roller blinds are therefore ideal in situations where there is little or no wall space above a window as there is little or no volume of the roller blind fabric encroaching onto the glass area of the window. This in turn means that the blind doesn’t block any valuable light source during the day, again making roller blinds an excellent solution in this situation.

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Can roller blinds be fitted to doors?

In some cases yes. However, you will need to assess your doors carefully before deciding whether or not to fit roller blinds to them or you could have operating issues with both the blinds and the doors.

The main issue here is how far out the sidewinder brackets protrude from the door. The sidewinder brackets on roller blinds are usually approximately 60 – 70 mm long (from back to front).

If your doors open outwards then fitting roller blinds to them is not an issue as there will be no clearance problems. Measure your doors calculating finished blind sizes (not recess sizes), ensuring that you calculate the width to go past the edges of the glass section and on to the frame as far as possible, depending on handles and hinges which may have to be avoided; and submit your finished measurements with your order.

If your doors open inwards, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to fit roller blinds to them. Windows and doors in particular are usually snugly fitted into a space in your walls referred to as a recess. This means that they are set into a space or opening in the wall that is set back from the hosting wall. Your doors will be hinged onto a fixed frame which is securely bolted into this recess space.

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There is usually only a narrow amount of frame visible at the top and side edges of the window or door, between the edge of the door and the inner side walls of the recess.  This amount can vary greatly from as little as 25mm to as much as 50mm maybe, but is the measurement that will determine whether or not you can fit a roller blind to your doors or window.

If for example, the amount of space you have between the edge of your door and the side of the recess is 30mm, then this is not enough space to accommodate the approximate 60 – 70mm depth of a roller blind bracket, because as the door opens inwards the brackets will touch against the side wall and not only prevent the door opening to a full 90 degree angle; but will also potentially cause damage to the side walls of the recess and the brackets and blind itself.

Roller blinds cannot be fitted to sliding doors such as patio doors, unless the recess is deep enough for the blinds to be top fixed into the underside of the recess rather than to the actual window and set far enough forward in the recess to clear the sliding door when it is in its open position.

Roller blinds can’t be fitted to bi-fold or multi-fold concertina doors, either to the doors or inside the recess, as both ways would stop the doors from functioning.

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I’m very conscious of safety issues, are your roller blinds child safe?

Your home is only ever as child safe as you make it, but we often get asked “...do roller blinds have the same safety issues with the sidewinder chains as many other blinds do these days?..” and “...what can I do to make my blind child safe?...”; and whilst most responsible parents realize that child safety in the home is part and parcel of good parenting combined with common sense and an increased awareness of potential hazards (with all things and not just blinds of course) there is new legislation in place concerning the manufacture, supply, safe fitting and use of blinds; which manufacturers and suppliers such as ourselves are required to fulfil.

We take safety very seriously at Blinds-Hut and all our sidewinder roller blinds are therefore supplied with the required safety standards retainer for the beaded operating chain, so please make sure that you follow the instructions that come with your blind and fit this safety retainer correctly.

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Any kinds of cords or chains on window blinds can present a choking or strangulation hazard where children or even pets are concerned; and fitting the relevant safety device or retainer supplied with your blind, significantly minimizes this risk. The retainers are designed to keep the cords or bead chain tight and close to the side wall under tension, to reduce the risk of a potentially hazardous loose loop.

So always fit your safety device and never leave young children unattended in a room where blinds with cord or chain mechanisms are installed.

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I need a blackout blind, what kinds of linings or shadings are available on roller blinds?

Roller blinds can offer shading in three different ways.

Positional shading

A roller blind can be fully open, fully closed or partially extended once it is installed at your window(s). This offers variable shading simply by controlling the amount of day light coming through the window. Roller blinds are particularly effective in windows where there is a poor source of natural daylight, as when they are in the fully raised (open) position, all the fabric is rolled around the cylinder roller, giving roller blinds a very minimal stack depth. More often than not, even where there is little or no space above a window, roller blinds can be fitted in such a way that little or none of the blind encroaches onto the glass area, thus maximising the amount of precious daylight available to the room.

Fabric weight and colour

The type of fabric and depth of colour that you choose for your roller blind will also contribute to a certain degree to the shading level that your blind can achieve.

Light weight, thinner and light coloured fabrics, whilst still diffusing a good deal of daylight, will allow more light into the room in the closed position than a thicker weight or darker coloured roller blind fabric. Some very dark coloured roller blind fabrics such as navy and black, can almost achieve blackout shading without any specialist treatment or coating.

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Specialist treatment and coatings

Whilst depth of colour and weight of fabric can help contribute to a good level of light blocking on roller blinds, the specially laminated fabrics that are used to make them can be treated with additional specific treatments such as wipe-able, fire retardant and blackout or dim-out treatments.

Roller blind features are usually identified by means of a simple system of pictorial symbols which identify their qualities or intended purpose; so if you need a blind that offers you a blackout shading, look for the blackout symbol before making your final decision to make sure that the fabric you choose is fit for the purpose you need it for.

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I’m normally a roman blind person, what benefits do roller blinds offer over roman blinds?

Roman blinds and roller blinds both offer many visual and practical benefits when it comes to dressing your windows but if you need some convincing that roller blinds are right for you, then here’s a few key features that definitely go in their favour.

Less Stack

Roller blinds have a smaller stack than Roman blinds when they are in the fully raised (open) position. The folds of fabric which create the horizontal pleats in Roman blinds, stack up at the top of the window and although they stack very neatly one on top of another, the minimum stack depth will only ever be as small as the depth of one fold – usually anything between 10 – 15 cms (4” – 6”).

The fabric on a roller blind however, wraps neatly and tightly around the roller cylinder and almost all the fabric is contained around the roller apart from the bottom 20mm (1”) or so, which contains the weighted bottom bar. The stack on a roller blind when it is in the fully raised (open) position therefore, is usually considerably less than that of a Roman blind.

This means that installing roller blinds is often beneficial for windows where there is a poor source of natural daylight and you want to cover as little of the glass as possible during the day; or where there is little space above the window to mount a blind.
Size – Roller blind fabrics are specialist fabrics manufactured for roller blinds only and are usually produced to at least 2 and sometimes 3 metres wide.

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Roman blinds are made from curtaining fabric which is usually only about 137cms (54”) wide. Making a Roman blind any wider than this, would mean joining more than one width of fabric to obtain the required width. This is fine but usually means that the roman blind will then be blackout lined to ensure none of the seams and joins show through the face fabric when it is fitted. This can be a disadvantage if you don’t want a blackout lining option on your chosen window; and on wider blinds in particular can add a considerable amount of weight to the blind, putting more stress and potential wear and tear on the operating cords.

Roller blinds on the other hand can be made up to 2 metres wide in one piece, with no joins. Blackout shading is only necessary or added to specific blackout fabric options and there will be a lot less weight in a 2mtr wide roller blind than there would be in a Roman blind.

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Easy Care & Maintenance

Roller blinds are very easy to keep clean and to maintain. There are no slats or veins to collect dust and there is seldom any need to touch the fabric body of the blind when raising or lowering it, which avoids any contact dirt. Many roller blind fabrics have moisture resistant or wipe-able finishes too, which repel dust and dirt to a better degree than ordinary curtain fabric and which make home cleaning easy and possible anyway. Although Roman blinds do not need frequent cleaning, if and when they should need to be cleaned, they need specialist cleaning such as dry cleaning and need to be stripped down (that is removed from the window and all the cords and dowels removed) before being dry cleaned; then reassembled and re-fitted afterwards. This can be both tedious and expensive.

The operating system of a roller blind and the way that the fabric wraps itself around the roller cylinder means that there is no need for cords or tapes across the body of the blind and subsequently there is less wear and tear to worry about, less working parts to potentially fail or go wrong and subject to the manufacturers recommendations, can often be cleaned in the home or even in situ.

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Specialist Finishes

Apart from a blackout lining, Roman blinds can’t offer you many of the specialist features and fabric finishes that roller blinds can. Roller blinds can offer variable degrees of standard, dim-out and blackout shadings; in addition to specific features such as wipe-able fabrics, fabrics suitable for moist environments (i.e. bathrooms and kitchens), fabric suitable for use in computer environments (i.e. home offices or corporate environments) and inherent fire retardant finishes.

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Do roller blinds go inside or outside of the window recess?

All our made to measure roller blinds at Blinds Hut are supplied with universal fitting brackets. These are brackets specifically designed for installing roller blinds and can be top, face or side fixed; meaning that the blind can be fitted either inside or outside of the recess without the need to request specific fixing brackets.

The brackets can be face fixed into the wall space above the window recess, top fixed into the underside of the window recess, face fixed into the window frame*, or fixed to the side walls of the inside of the window recess.

(*check any warranties or guarantees on your windows before doing this, usually recommended for wooden window frames only)

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How do I decide whether to have my roller blind inside or outside my window?

If you’ve decided that you’re going to have Roller blinds at your windows, then the next thing to decide is whether to have them inside or outside of your window recesses. Often this is largely down to personal choice and preference, but sometimes there can be contributing factors which will determine the decision for you, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to consider these first before taking made to order measurements. Here are a few pointers and things to think about:

Window Catches and Handles – in the majority of cases the depth (from front to back) of the sidewinder brackets supplied with roller blinds, will hold the blind fabric far enough forward from the window to clear any catches or handles, enabling the roller blind to go up and down and operate smoothly without catching on any handles etc.

It is always worth checking before you place your order thought that this is the case and if there is any clearance issue consider mounting the blind further forward in the recess or outside and above the recess instead.

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Architectural Details

Dado or picture rails inside the window recess, can affect where a blind can be positioned in the recess and determine its finished size. If measuring for a blind to fit between the profile of the dado or picture rail for example, would mean that you would have a considerable gap to either side of the window that would not be covered by the blind, then mounting it outside the recess may be a better option?

However, bare this tip in mind: When placing a made to measure roller blind order, you will be asked to state whether you are providing ‘recess size’ or ‘finished blind size’.

If you give your measurements as recess size then a small allowance will be taken off the measurement you have supplied to ensure that the finished blind fits and operates correctly within the recess.

If you give your measurements as finished blind size then your blind will be made to the exact width you have given from pin to pin. Pin to pin means from the end of the locating pin that fits into the roller blind brackets at one end of the blind to the end of the pin at the other end of the blind. Pin to pin therefore usually refers to the total finished width of a roller blind including the brackets.

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Pro-Tip: If you have a dado or picture rail inside your recess, there is an alternative way of calculating what width of blind to order, to avoid having gaps to either side of the roller blind any wider than they have to be.

The actual fabric width on a roller blind is usually 30mm less in width than the pin-to-pin size (15mm to either side). Measure the exact distance between the dado or picture rail and use this as the finished fabric width (example 125mm). Knock off a clearance of no more than 5mm (which will be 2.5mm either side, example 125mm – 5mm = 120mm). This will ensure that the side edges of the fabric do not touch the dado rail and cause any wear and tear; and will also ensure that the weighted bar in the bottom of the blind does not get wedged between the dado rail as the blind is raised and lowered.

Now add 30mm on to this measurement to obtain your pin-to-pin finished blind size (example 120mm + 30mm = 150mm).

Check this measurement at the top of the recess where the blind is to be fitted to ensure that it will fit. It may not take you exactly from one side of the recess to the other, which means that you will not be able to side fix the brackets into the side walls of the recess. This is fine as long as it is possible to face fix the brackets into the window frame or tip fix them into the underside of the recess at the position they need to be.

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Layered Window Treatments

If you are intending to have a working roller blind at your window(s) with curtains purely for decoration that won’t be drawn, then the norm is to mount the blind inside the window recess and the curtains outside and above it. With Roman or vertical blinds in particular, this is to avoid the curtains crushing or hampering the smooth operation of the blind.

The simplicity of roller blinds, however, makes them a little more forgiving and it is possible to have a roller blind mounted outside the recess and behind working or dress curtains if the curtains are installed on a pole with an adjustable bracket and the bracket is fitted at its fullest extension. You may need to assist the blind as you roll it down from time to time, but exercising a little care and patience is a small price to pay for achieving the look you want at your windows. This arrangement looks best if the top of the roller blind is level with the top of the pole where possible.

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Blinds Only

If you are planning to have blinds only at your windows, particularly in a living room, dining room or master bedroom, then it is often preferable to mount the blinds outside and above the recess. This dresses the window more effectively and gives a more finished off or furnished look, as the top edge of the window recess is covered. The bottom edge of the blind covers the top edge of the window recess, taking the bareness off the room and softening the window.

Roller blinds by the sheer nature of their simplicity though, can look a little plain on their own, particularly if you’ve gone with a plain fabric. This is great for a minimalist, fuss-free look, but if you want the window to look a little more furnished or finished off when you’re using blinds only, it is worth considering a simple pelmet. The most effective style of pelmet would be a simple, upholstered, box pelmet. This is basically a simple box with a top front and sides which is mounted to the wall over the top of the blind. In some cases a wooden pelmet like this can actually be used to attach the blind underneath. The pelmet can be painted to match the decor or for better effect can be covered in a complementary or contrasting fabric to tie in with the colour scheme.

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Limited wall space to either side of the window

If there is limited or no flat wall space to either side of your window then it may be better to consider mounting your roller blind inside the recess. Ideally roller blinds mounted outside of a window recess should extend approximately 7 to 10 cms (3-4”) to either side of the window, beyond the edges of the recess. If the blind extends any less than this to either side then there will poor light insulation and a good chance of seeing the window from the side of the blind when it is in the fully extended (closed) position?

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I have an army of sticky fingered little people and have been told roller blinds are wipe-clean or washable, is this true?

Roller blinds are probably one of the most forgiving of all kinds of blinds when it comes to cleaning and maintenance considerations. To begin with, the simplicity of the makeup of roller blinds with their minimal number of components means that there is little or nothing to collect dust – in comparison to venetian blinds for example.

The chemical and heat sealing processes which are used to create the specialist laminated fabrics used to manufacture roller blinds, already offer a relatively high inherent resistance to dirt, dust and moisture; but in addition to this other specialist treatments and coatings can be applied to roller blind fabrics during their manufacture to give them even greater resistance to moisture, grease or dirt – or even to make them fire retardant.

Apart from blackout and dim-out coatings which alter the light levels of roller blinds significantly, the most popular specialist finishes on roller blind fabrics are those labelled as ‘moist environment’ or ‘easy wipe’.

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The ‘easy wipe’ option means that the fabric can be wiped over with a clean damp cloth to remove any sticky finger marks or dirty patches. Sometimes a ‘washable’ option is available, but roller blind fabric should never be submersed in water. The washable option simply means that the face of the blind will withstand being cleaned with a wet sponge when the need arises, followed by drying as much of the moisture as possible with a soft dry cloth. Allowing roller blind fabrics to be soaked for too long could lead to their chemical treatments and protective finishes breaking down and affecting the look and performance of the blind.

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How much assembly is required with a made to measure roller blind, I’m concerned I won’t get the fabric rolled around the cylinder properly?

Assembling and installing a made to measure roller blind couldn’t be easier. Your made to measure blind will come already assembled with the fabric body of the blind securely attached to and already neatly wrapped around the roller cylinder. The location pins at either end will already be inserted into the roller cylinder and the sidewinder chain mechanism will also be attached. The only things you have to do is position and fix the universal roller blind brackets and then offer the location pins into them and the job is done.

Most ready-made roller blinds do come assembled to a similar degree too, but usually require cutting to size for a customized fit, particularly for an inside recess fit. So if you want to receive a blind that is good to go and ready to install instantly then made to measure is the way to go.

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I’m nervous about submitting measurements for a made to measure roller blind, would it be a safer bet to go for ready made one?

Measuring for roller blinds is much easier than you probably think, so don’t be put off by the words ‘made to measure’. All too often they seem to make people nervous about getting things wrong and making an expensive mistake. The reality is though that made to measure means just that. Your blind will be made to the measurements that you supply. And, don’t assume that a ready-made blind would automatically be the less expensive choice. The chances are that if it isn’t the exact size that you need to fit your window, that you will end up spending time and/or money getting it cut to size, which will obviously add to the cost of the blind and possibly leave you wishing that you had just gone for made to measure in the first place.

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So, if you give the correct measurements to us at Blinds-Hut, you will get a good quality, value for money blind made to the perfect size for your window; and our simple ordering system with pop-up measuring guides will take you through every step of the process, so that you can submit your measurements with confidence that they are correct. Here’s a few step by step bullet points to show you how simple it is:

  • Firstly decide whether your blind is going inside the window recess or outside. 
  • Next make sure you have a good retractable steel tape measure. Fabric tape measures can stretch and give inaccurate measurements so avoid using them.
  • Go to the product page for the blind you have chosen.
  • Take your measurements:

For inside recess blinds - Give the actual measurements of the recess. Do not knock anything off or make any other allowances to your measurements, but ensure you select ‘Recess Size’ in the measurement options box.

For outside recess blinds – calculate the size that you want your finished blind to be. This will be the recess size plus the overlaps you have allowed above, below and to either side of the window, to give you an overall size. Be sure to select ‘Actual Blind Size’ in the measurement options box.

  • Enter your measurements – into the quick quote boxes, width first then drop.
  • Click Calculate Price – the price you will pay will be displayed.
  • Select Measurement Options – Inside recess or outside recess.
  • Select Control Type – Left hand control or right hand control.
  • Select Quantity
  • Click Add to Basket
  • Go to basket when you have ordered all your blinds and check your order before proceeding.
  • Click proceed to checkout.
  • Enter payment and delivery details.

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Can you have roller blinds in a bay window?

Bay windows can be tricky to dress (even just with simple curtains) at the best of times and blinds often present an even bigger headache to many homeowners when it comes to the logistics of measuring and installing them into a bay.

Roller blinds can be fitted into a bay window though and can look very stylish as well as being very practical and easy to use. Careful measuring and proper consideration is required, but with a little guidance and expert know-how, ordering made to measure blinds for a bay window need not be a worrying or cautious process. In fact in many cases installing roller blinds into a bay window rather than working curtains can even be more cost effective too.

Careful consideration needs to be given to the corners and angles of your bay, combined with some accurate measuring; but don’t let that put you off considering roller blinds in your bay window.

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