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How to Install Blinds

Blinds are a great way to add privacy to your home. Read this step-by-step guide to learn the best ways to install various types of blinds on your home’s windows.

installing blinds Nat Rea

When it comes to privacy, lighting control, and thermal protection, window blinds have you covered. To install blinds correctly, though, you should take care to select the right product and measure accurately.

How to Choose the Right Blinds for Your Windows

There are many types of blinds on the market, and they speak to various room requirements. Bedrooms, where you need dark, restful conditions, can benefit from light-blocking shades.

Windows facing busy streets or areas open to the public may be best served by blinds that can be tilted to admit light but still provide privacy, like basic vinyl mini blinds. Blinds also come with features like top-down or bottom-up opening options for privacy and light adjustment, cordless operation for child and pet safety, and light-diffusing materials that admit light even when closed completely.

Once you’ve chosen your blinds, you need to decide on an inside or outside mount style, and measure accordingly. You may be able to use readymade blinds that come in standard sizes, or, for less common dimensions, custom-made blinds.

Inside Mount Blinds:

  • Offer a polished, finished lookRequire a adequate window depth for installation
  • Are the most common type of blind installation

Outside Mount Blinds:

  • Block more outside light
  • Are recommended when windows have a crank, other hardware, or security sensors that would obstruct inside mount blinds
  • Are better for very shallow windows
  • Typically have headrails (which house the mechanisms that raise and lower the blinds) installed on window moldings above the window or on the wall itself

How to Measure Windows for Blinds

Window treatment installation depends on accurate measuring, whether you’ve chosen inside or outside mount blinds.

Tools Required:

  • Metal retractable tape measure
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper (or somewhere to record measurements)
  • Stepladder (if needed)

How to measure for inside mount blinds:

  1. Use a tape measure to carefully measure he unobstructed depth of the window. Measure in three spots, noting the smallest depth. Then round down to the nearest 1/8 inch. If using readymade blinds, check this number against blinds’ mounting requirements to ensure a good fit.
  2. Measure the width of your window measuring between the side jambs in at least three spots for accuracy and use the smallest number. Record the width, rounding down to the nearest 1/8 inch.
  3. For the height, take three measurements between the top of the head jamb to and the bottom sill. Record the smallest number, rounding down to the nearest 1/8 inch.

How to measure for outside mount blinds:

  1. Measure the width of the area you’d like the blinds to cover. Since outside mount blinds aren’t limited by the size of the windows, you should decide if you’d like them to block more light. If so, add a few extra inches outside the window’s width—check with your blind manufacturer for their specific recommendations, but most recommend adding two inches on each side.
  2. Measure the desired height for your outside mount blinds. You may choose to install them several inches above the top of the window to create an illusion of a taller window—or install them on the window’s top molding and cover the headrail with a decorative valance.
  3. Be sure to measure for any hardware that may protrude from your windows, such as cranks, locks, or doorknobs (if installing blinds on a door). Adjust measurements accordingly.

Steps for Installing Blinds

Once you have your new set of blinds, installation is a fairly quick and straightforward process. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific installation guidelines.

Tools Needed:

  • Stepstool or short ladder (required for most windows)
  • Pencil or pen
  • Screwdriver (manual or electric)
  • Awl or drill for marking/starting screw holes)

Steps for installing inside mount blinds:

  1. Remove any existing blinds, curtains, or other items that could interfere with installation.
  2. Check against the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that you received all required mounting brackets, screws, and other hardware with your blinds.
  3. Using a set of blinds, hold the headrail and brackets to the window. Mark the outside of where the brackets will attach to the inside top of the window frame. Ensure that blinds will be centered inside the window, as they may not install exactly flush to each side.
  4. Remove the brackets from the headrail and hold them up to where they will mount. Use a pencil or pen to mark where to drill holes for the installation screws.
  5. Use a drill with a bit that’s slightly smaller than the screw diameter (or an awl) to create small pilot holes where the headrail’s mounting brackets will be screwed in.
  6. Use screws to attach each mounting bracket. (Screws are fine for drilling into wood, but if you’re installing blinds into drywall, use drywall anchors in addition to screws.)
  7. If your blinds come with a center-mounting bracket, repeat steps to mark and drill pilot holes, and then install the bracket with provided screws.
  8. Install the headrail into the mounting brackets.
  9. For a clean look, camouflage the headrail by attaching a decorative valance.

Steps for installing outside mount blinds:

The steps are nearly identical to installing inside mount blinds, except at the start.

  1. Carefully measure and mark where your headrail will be installed. Make sure your blinds are centered over the window from side to side, and are to be installed at the desired height.
  2. Mark the location carefully, either using the blind headrail with brackets, or if too unwieldy, with careful measurements matched from the blinds and transferred to their final mounting location on your wall or window frame.
  3. Continue as noted above, marking screw holes, drilling pilot holes, and attaching mounting brackets as needed.