You guys have no idea how happy I am to be able to tell you about the new blinds we’ve recently installed in our bedroom. (Yes that is a cot you can see there, but with any luck, we’ll be getting rid of it in the next few weeks as we attempt to transition our youngest out of our room and in with her big sister. Wish me luck with that! It’s going to be a huge challenge, and one I’m not quite sure I have the energy for.)
We’ve had the same crappy curtains up since we moved in almost four years ago. They came with the flat and we just never got round to changing them. When it comes to window dressings I am instantly thrown into a spiral of total confusion.
I knew I wanted to get rid of the curtains but I wasn’t sure what to replace them with. Every time I looked into a different type of window dressing, I lost the confidence to actually make a decision and purchase something. The reason I didn’t like curtains was because when we drew them, they covered the radiator below the window and all the heat got trapped inside the window cavity. Certainly not ideal.
I ruled out a roller blind as I’m not a fan of how they look because I associate them with kitchens and bathrooms. I considered a roman blind as I see them as quite sophisticated, but I couldn’t decide on a colour or a fabric (I am the worst for making decisions about my own home, it’s really infuriating).
I thought about shutters, but worried that they would be too difficult to open given the lack of space on either side of the window and I didn’t fancy having them shut all the time. So that left me with wooden Venetian blinds, which was a decision I was happy with. All I had to do was measure up and order some. Easy right?
Well, you’d think so, wouldn’t you? But not for me. I’ve lost count of how many times I measured up, entered my dimensions on various blind websites and then shut down the browser without making a purchase. Must be dozens of times over the past four years. For starters, I had no clue if I should be getting recess fitted or exact size blinds. If exact size, I wasn’t sure how much extra to add above the window and at either side. It was all just so confusing, I just kept putting it off. So when I was approached by a lovely guy called James from Make My Blinds about the possibility of reviewing some of their blinds, I just knew that this was finally my chance to get rid of those hideous curtains and finally replace them with something we could be happy with.
James explained to me that Make my Blinds is dedicated to selling made-to-measure blinds online and was founded with one aim in mind and one focus – keeping things simple. “I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to buy blinds online before, but I did and found that the sites were slow, cumbersome and required customers to enter the blind sizes every time they wanted to look at a different fabric,” says James. He believes that Make My Blinds is unique in the fact that it offers one-time data entry, next day free samples, chat support on site, video how-to guides, videos of the fabrics and a product that is easy to install no matter your DIY ability. Well, that was enough to convince me to give it ago. Sounded like there would be plenty of support if I needed it. Which I did!
I decided that my first port of call would be to try out the chat support to see if I could get some advice. I only entered my first name as I wanted to be treated as a normal customer and not someone doing a review. I was greeted by a guy called Jim who was ever so friendly, helpful and patient. My first question was whether I should choose recess fitted or exact size blinds for the bedroom. Jim explained that exact fit would help to block out the light better as there would be no light leakage around the edge of the blinds. Apparently, recess fitted blinds require a cm gap at either end so that they have space to be raised and lowered without catching on the wall and this causes a little light leakage. That was the first issue solved.
I then needed to know how to measure up. Jim was great at explaining what I needed to do, but every time I thought I had understood correctly he politely pointed out that in fact, I had not understood at all. I felt like a complete idiot, but Jim was so kind and patient and kept trying to help me understand.
At one point I couldn’t stop laughing at my own incompetence, but at no point did Jim make me feel uncomfortable or intimidated. I eventually got it and asked Jim if he could send me a transcript of our chat just in case I forgot once I had logged off. He did this immediately once our chat was over so I was able to refer back to it later.
Still doubting myself, I drew a little diagram of the window and put all the measurements on it and emailed it over to James asking him if I’d done allowed enough extra above and on either side. James confirmed that it all looked good. All I needed to do now was choose the material and colour I wanted to go for. I had ummed and ahhhed about whether I should go for a wooden shade or white. I was a bit worried that wooden would make the room a bit dark. But then I came to my senses and realised that having a dark bedroom was, in fact, a good thing and if I didn’t want a dark bedroom I wouldn’t have painted my walls dark blue. So wood it was.
Next, I had to choose which shade of wood. I placed an order for eight free samples which arrived very promptly and allowed me to see the colour and material of the blinds up close and personal. Some of the shades I’d chosen were very similar so it was a tough decision. I ruled out the lighter woods immediately and decided to go for the one that was the closest match to my IKEA furniture. Turns out it was Merbu and I was surprised as to how good a match it actually was.
Loved the packaging that the samples came in. Very cool!
The final decision was where to place the controls. You can have both the rise and tilt on one side or on opposite sides. We opted to have rise on the right and tilt on the left. And that was it. All ordered. A few days later and they arrived all ready for us to install. The first job was to take down the existing window dressing, if you can call it that. We had a net curtain for privacy, a blackout blind to help darken the room for my daughter and the god-awful curtains. The curtain rail was mounted on a wooden baton which had to be taken down. This left a bit of a mess so we had to patch that up with filler and repaint before we could install the new blinds.
I instructed my husband exactly how high to hang them and he got to drilling the holes. Once the first blind was up, it was too short, by a couple of cms. I had instructed my husband to hang the blind 10cm above the window. But I hadn’t specified whether that 10 cm was to the top or bottom of the cassette bit of the blind. He was not pleased when I informed him he’d have to take it down and reposition it, which meant filling the holes he’d just drilled and drilling some more. Sorry, Babe!! But at least we’d learnt the lesson for the next blind, which he got spot on the first time around! You live and learn I guess…communication is key!
We’ve now been using our new blinds for about a month. I always like to test products out for at least a month before writing my reviews, so I can get a really good idea of how well they perform and what the quality is like. I’m happy to report I really like our new blinds. They look really nice, are great quality, have a really smooth mechanism for tilting and raising the blinds and provide great levels of privacy.
They do let in more light than blackout blinds obviously, that was to be expected. It’s been a little harder to get my daughter to sleep at night without the blackout blind, but as I said she’ll be moving out soon hopefully. The blinds definitely block out enough light for my husband and I, so no complaints there.
So we’re really happy with the product but more than anything I was extremely pleased with the service offered, especially considering that Jim didn’t know I would be reviewing the service. It’s good to know that all customers can expect this level of service not just people doing reviews. The online chat support was so helpful and gave me the confidence to actually place an order, something which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. If, like me, you are struggling with your choices over window treatments and need some guidance, I urge you to give Make My Blinds a shot. They take the hassle and worry out of the process and basically hold your hand along the way.
(Apologies for the awful photography. Who knew it was so hard to take photographs of windows? I didn’t. It took so many attempts on different days just to get these awful shots. We had to close the blinds to get any shots at all as the light was just blowing out the whole room. One day I will go and learn how to use a camera properly, I promise.)
Disclosure: This post has been written in partnership with Make My Blinds who provided the product for us to review. However, all the opinions in this review are our own and we stress that we only collaborate with brands and companies that we genuinely like and believe that our readers will like too.