Blinds – Origin, History, and Modern Forms

It isn’t exactly clear who first invented blinds, or where. However, experts have reason to believe that blinds find their origin thousands of years ago in Egypt. At this time, blinds would have been very simple and minimalist in nature, being comprised merely of a series of slats used to block harsh sunlight from certain rooms. Experts believe that this early design would have later made its way to Persia, India, or China.

It isn’t until the 1700’s that the early history of blinds starts to become more clear. During this time, blinds began to appear along certain trade routes in Europe, particularly along the Eastern Italian coast near Venice. This is where the common term “Venetian blinds” originated. Throughout the 1700’s, blinds began to boom in popularity in English and French colonies. They were considered something of a high class luxury at this time, appearing in early illustrations and paintings in lavish houses, official public buildings, and churches.

After World War II, blinds began to be mass produced through over 1,000 distributors, all of which were owned by Hunter Douglas. One of the most significant innovations in blinds was with the invention of the Mini Blind, a lightweight and affordable alternative to the traditional Venetian blind design, making them much easier to produce. Following this change in style, blinds were no longer limited to the upper classes, but became a common household product. However, roughly ten to twenty years later (during the 80’s and 90’s), there was a resurgence of the more traditional, wide slat Venetian blinds, as people came to regard them as more stylish and higher in quality.

Different Forms of Blinds

While there are generally two main forms of blinds, the lightweight mini blinds and the traditional Venetian blinds, there is a wide variety of sub-categories within each of these styles, as well as categories that don’t quite fit into either. Modern blind companies tend to provide virtually all of them. These include:

  • Vertical Blinds – Typically wide slat Venetian blinds, these are blinds that are set up vertically, opening either from left to right or by being parted in the middle.
  • Panel Blinds – These are vertical blinds that move along a track, nicely accompanying large windows and patio doors.
  • Micro Blinds – Similar to mini blinds, however, these are even smaller (about ½ inch thick), and look great in modern or minimalist home layouts.

Modern blinds are comprised of a number of different materials, such as:

  • Wood – Great for traditional style homes with a lot of wood and rounded furniture, as they create a warm, cozy feel to any room. However, these should be avoided in bathrooms or other areas that see a lot of moisture, as wood expands with moisture and temperature changes, which can result in damage over time.
  • Faux Wood – This is a great alternative to wood blinds, as they look and feel just like traditional wood blinds, but can also be placed in any room of the home, as there is no risk of expansion and damage in rooms that see a lot of moisture and temperature changes.
  • Plastic – A simple and affordable style, while also coming in a wide variety of sizes and colors, allowing you to easily find the perfect blinds for your home’s unique style and layout.
  • Metal blinds – These make a great addition to modern and minimalist home designs, fitting right in with grey, black, white, and dark blue furniture. Metal blinds can be placed in virtually any room of the home without worry of damage or problems in the long-term. Metal blinds are also great for reflecting heat and light away from the house, which can save you money on cooling costs during the winter.