The Best Blinds and Shades For Small Homes

The right blinds and shades can any space feel bigger and brighter.

An illustration of a desk in a small apartment with a roller shade

A makeover to let in more light

About three years ago, I moved into a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. The three windows and a sliding door were covered with white vinyl vertical blinds and three of the walls were covered with dark gray paint. The problem with the blinds was that they blocked out almost all of the light when they were closed and they made the windows and door look way too busy and, coupled with the dark walls, those design elements made the apartment look too small. Each time we opened the windows the vanes made a lot of noise due to the intense wind we get up on the sixteenth floor. So, I decided to make few changes.

The first step in any room makeover

The first thing I did was paint the apartment with a light cream color to brighten up the space. I learned during my years working for Blinds to Go that it is best to do any painting before putting up new blinds. I replaced the old vertical blinds with new window treatments that would bring in more light because the apartment faces north and only gets sunlight in the morning so there is little need for the blackout effect that you get from vinyl vertical blinds. The new window treatments I chose are made of fabric that soften the atmosphere by allowing in filtered light when they are fully closed. I chose shades that were quiet, easy to operate, and good for privacy. I chose a popular blackout roller shades for the bedrooms but regular light-filtering shades for the common areas, like the kitchen and living room.

a hand holds three white swatches up to a window.

Swatches of Stria Antique, Hudson Ice & Dublin Crystal



Replacing Vertical Blinds with Horizontal Shades

I replaced the old vertical blinds with new roller shades. I considered solar shades, which would allow me to keep my view and let light in when the shades are closed during the day but there is another building closely facing our apartment and people could easily see inside with most solar shades, so I opted for full privacy of fabric roller shades instead. I chose the popular Hudson light-filtering roller shades in the color Ash for the entire apartment and put the same shades in blackout in the bedrooms. The fabric of these roller shades features a delicate texture and a grey undertone that pairs beautifully with light-colored walls. I love the view from my apartment so the roller shades are completely open most of the time letting in tons of light and roller shades take up so little space at the top of the windows when fully open that my windows look larger and so do the rooms.

Updating Your Windows Shades on a Budget

When I think about small spaces like apartments, basements and townhouses, I also think about the people who just started their independent lives or couples that are saving money for their first house. Roller shades are popular for these customers because we offer materials for different budgets and needs. For example, Aurora, Cameo and Amazon are perfect for customers that need something practical and affordable. Linen, Dublin and Stria are nice options for clients that focus more on decoration and solar shades are ideal for UV protection and to celebrate a beautiful view for every home from a cottage on the lake, to a condo on the beach, to a small urban apartment with a great view of a city skyline.


A small bedroom features two windows with Hudson blackout rollershades in Ash.

Blackout Roller Shades in Hudson Ash



Updating to Windows Shades That Add Insulation

If you have a small space, that would benefit from better insulation, consider cellular shades. Basements tent to get very cold because they don’t get as much natural light. Apartments have the opposite problem as the windows in these places tent to be bigger and get very cold during the winter and very warm during the summer. Cellular shades are ideal to solve these kinds of problems and they are great for small spaces because they virtually disappear when fully open, like roller shades. The light-filtering cellular shade collection (everything except blackout shades) features fabrics that let in tons of light and, like roller shades, cellular shades come in a wide range of prices to meet any customer’s budget.

It is incredible how the right window coverings can make a huge improvement to the look of our homes. The size of my small apartment is not comparable to the size of a house but we can make these small spaces look pretty, modern, spacious and bright regardless of size.

- Joana Mendez, Blinds To Go® Design Consultant

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A design consultant shows a customer fabric swatches while a map with a pins graphic is placed in the background.