Micro Update: Up-Down Insulated Blinds

4 min read Insulated blinds are one of my favorite micro updates.  In addition to a warmer (or cooler) house they provide privacy, controls over your daylight and a stylish update to your aesthetics.  Win. Win. Win. Win.

The snap in the air this week reminded me to adjust my insulated blinds up at night instead of leaving them at half mast for daytime privacy.  I love, Love, LOVE my cordless, up-down, cellular blinds.  They are energy efficient, streamlined and private, and I think they could be an improvement to any home. 

What’s a Micro Update?

Remodeling, especially if you are breaking it into phases or taking on parts of the process as DIY, can take a LONG time.  That extended wait for results can be frustrating.  I think it’s important to set yourself up for a feeling of accomplishment and success by setting up several smaller projects, either before you get started or ready to insert when there’s a hitch in the bigger projects.

Insulated blinds are one of my favorite micro updates.  Additionally you win privacy, controls over your daylight and a stylish update to your aesthetics. 

Here are three variations of adjustments on the blinds in my bedroom: privacy with a view, maximum air flow, and all buttoned up.


Save Energy

No matter how high quality its construction, the window is always going to be the least insulated part of any wall system.  Give your windows a boost with insulated blinds.

The open air cavity at the center of cellular blinds creates a pocket of still air that prevents cold from radiating off your windows.  If you place the blinds correctly and get nice and close to the top, bottom and sides of the window frame to prevent air leakage you can create another pocket.  As long as it is less than 1″ from the window surface air won’t circulate and it will act like a down coat for your window.  Check out this excellent explanation of the thermodynamics of insulating curtains by Dr. Robert E. Buxbaum for more detail.

Save Money

I’m not in the business of promising dollars and cents savings which depend on the rest of your home’s insulation, your method of heating, the price of fuel in your area etc.  But I think it’s fair to say that you’ll see come financial savings in heating and cooling costs with the addition of insulated blinds.

Stay Cozy

You’ll also experience their insulation first hand by not getting cold drafts when you sit (or sleep) next to bare windows. Radiative cold is distinctly unpleasant and insulated blinds are great at beating it.

Plus the windows that let in light and views during the day become hard black surfaces reflecting odd interior points after night fall.  Soften that effect by covering them in soft shade fabric every evening.

Stave off Peeping Neighbors

Here’s where the up-down part comes in.  If you simply want to insulate and invite (or banish) a view, all you need to do is raise the curtain from the bottom.  However, you might want to keep the view of sunset sky and trees while having the freedom to wander the house in PJs.  Lowering just the top portion of the curtain gives you a look out without putting you on display to everyone taking their dog for an evening stroll.

Streamline your Aesthetics

Aesthetically, I love up/down blinds.  They are simple enough to be a stand alone fixture in a modern or contemporary interior.  And at the same time they have the ability to blend behind an other kind of window treatment.  They can go hand in hand with roman shades or standard curtains of any style and length.  They also can unify the appearance of the window on the outside of your house.

Control your interior light

With the right light colored curtains you hardly lose interior brightness but you can protect yourself from glare and direct light.  Or you can opt for dimming or even black out curtains.

My medical resident sister uses black out curtains behind drawn draperies to turn her bedroom to evening light when she works the night shift. The combined effect is startlingly dark but her room is still bright and cheery when she wants daylight.

I selected a more middle grade dimming curtain for the den (TV-room) at my parents’ home.  When we snuggle in for a daytime movie (or an evening show in summer) we drop the shades and pull a heavy fabric curtain over the doorway to dim the room and protect the TV screen from distracting reflections.


BlindsGalore has an interesting take on blinds and the Mid Century Modern Window here.  As they point out, the Mid Mod house has a bit of a schizoid relationship with windows wanting them to stretch from floor to ceiling but still afford convenience and privacy.  At the time options were limited to wooden slatted blinds, roller shades or the ubiquitous pinch pleat curtains.  My grandparents house had a shag carpet and pinch pleat shades in “bittersweet orange.”

My problem with all of those window treatments is that they afford only two options: open or closed.

I like privacy and light at the same time, thank you very much.  I think that up down blinds would have been just the ticket for the mid century modern home owner looking for ease and practicality as well as a sleekly stylish aesthetic.Insulated blinds aren’t exactly in-period for a 1952 ranch but, in my opinion, that is only because they hadn’t been thought of yet.

Up or down, my insulated blinds are always making my house cozier and classier. If updating your blinds doesn’t seem to do enough for you, you can always start by updating the windows first.

Modern Update with Cellular Shades: Add instant insulation, privacy, and modern visuals with top down, bottom-up cellular shades.