When we moved into our place last year, we had zero window coverings – no wonder the photos looked so light-filled! So, we quickly stuck up some temporary paper blinds, which covered the majority of our windows until this year.
Initially, I had no intention of installing our own blinds. However, a colleague convinced me that it was very simple, even for someone as inexperienced as I was. Window frames are always surrounded by 2×4’s, so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a stud (an issue I’ve had in the past when installing a closet system). The internet (aka reddit) further convinced me that self-installation was the way to go. Apparently, the vast majority of window products are very similar and there is no need to pay a mark-up unless a brand like Hunter Douglass has a very specific material that you just can’t live without.
Select Blinds came highly recommended by Redditors, and they had the initial style I was looking for – top/down bottom/up honeycomb cellular shades. So I decided to order one set to test… since then, I’ve installed their shades in three additional rooms in various styles!
If you are in the market for DIY installation blinds, I hope you find this review helpful. While Select Blinds has reviews on their site, they are text-only – I really wish people could submit photos as well.
This is a fairly long review, you can jump around to the most relevant sections with the links below:
Table of Contents
I highly recommend that people order samples! Their samples ship quickly, I received mine in just a few days each time. These were extremely helpful for color matching (there is simply no way to tell online) and for understanding textural differences. I ended up with 9 different linen samples for our roman shades — better safe than sorry. Had I gone with the online colors only, I would have definitely picked a shade that was off.
The only downside with their samples is that some of their more expensive and popular wood woven styles were out of stock. So on my first set, I had to take a chance and order them sight unseen. However, I did see many Instagram tagged posts with the exact blinds, so I ordered and hoped for the best.
With Select Blinds, you have to be cognizant of their sale schedule – they are one of those brands that perpetually has sales. Sometimes it’s 40% off all, other times it’s 30% + extra 20% (which comes out to 34% off). They do occasionally have sales that are 50%+ off, but personally we were happy with anything close to 40%. Especially with the colder months approaching, we wanted to make sure we had our windows covered for improved insulation.
At the start of our window covering journey, we wanted top-down bottom-up honeycomb shades around the whole place. Our previous apartment had these, and we loved having both light access and privacy. Especially in the city, where the neighboring building was 15ft away from us.
I ended up going with two styles: Select Single Cell (⅝”) Light Filtering Honeycomb & Premier Single Cell (⅝”) Light Filtering. I ordered samples of all the types, and their Classic Single Cell, while affordable, felt too thin and flimsy. Ultimately, there wasn’t a big difference between the Select and Premier. The only reason I chose the more expensive Premier for one of them was that a specific color I wanted didn’t come in Select. Now, onto the comparison!
|Select Single Cell||Premier Single Cell|
|Room||Office / Bedroom||Bathroom|
|Lift System||Cordless Lift & Lock™ Top Down Bottom Up||Cordless Lift & Lock™ Top Down Bottom Up|
|Installation||These were pretty easy to install. Select Blinds has very helpful YouTube videos on installing each style. |
The only issue I ran into was with one window that had a narrower depth than others. I wasn’t able to fit the last screw in (it would end up outside of the wall), so I had to get a little creative with… that final attachment. So, make sure you have enough for the minimum depth clearance before you begin drilling in the brackets!
|Same as Select.|
|Pros||Nice balance between economical and sturdy. I don’t feel a huge difference between the thickness of the material compared to the Premier.||Feels very sturdy and well made. The headrail feels and looks a little nicer because it is wrapped in fabric that matches the shade.|
|Cons||The headrail is not wrapped in the same fabric of the blind itself. It is plastic, and its color may not match 100% perfectly.||None really, except for the price (almost 2X of Select).|
Overall, I was pleased with both sets of honeycomb shades from Select Blinds. If you’re looking for something nice that won’t break the bank, I recommend the Select line over the Premier.
However, after installing 5(!) of these in the office room (we have a lot of wiiiiide windows where we have to use two or three panels), I realized I didn’t love the look of them. I think the combination of the light grey color + the sheer quantity of them made the room feel very… corporate. So I decided to look into other styles for the remaining rooms.
For the next room, I decided to look into the Classic Roman Shades. I couldn’t tell the difference between any of the colors / fabrics, so I decided to order a bunch of swatches first. I was not looking for anything fancy, and stuck to the more basic white / linen colors.
|Classic Roman Shades – Lifestyle Collection (not to be confused with Lifestyle Shades)|
|Color||White Linen & Simply White|
|Liner||White privacy liner. We still wanted some light to shine through, but many of these were west / south facing windows with harsh lighting most of the day|
|Lift System||Cordless Lift (+$20)|
|Installation||Similarly, these were easy to install. Like the Honeycomb shades, you simply have to attach the brackets to the wall and then install the shade afterwards. The hardest part was the initial measurement, to make sure the shade was level!|
|Pros||These are great looking shades at an even more economical price point than the Select Honeycomb. Especially great for rooms where you want shades to ‘soften’ the feel of the room.|
|Cons||If you have shallow window frames like we do, the only choice is to mount them outside the frame. I generally prefer inside mount (also helps with reducing light reflection), but it’s certainly not the end of the world.|
Additionally, these don’t have as clean a look from the exterior of your place as honeycomb, roller or shutter shades do. We are less concerned about this, as we spend most of our time looking at the interior side. And despite the different styles, all our shades have white fabric facing out, so it’s uniform enough for us.
A Note on Roman Shades Fabrics
We wanted a white linen shade look, and went through several samples (and even one actual order) to land on the right one. We originally ordered White Linen, but realized that it was too ‘natural’ looking in large format (our windows are very wide at 79” to 95”).
For the rest of the rooms with roman shades, we went with Simply White – which was a standard, slightly warm-toned mid-weight white fabric. While I liked the texture of Cloud White, it was ultimately a little too stiff and pure-blue-white. If you are in the market for white roman shades, I hope the annotated image below helps:
Originally, we were going to use cellular shades for the common dining / kitchen areas. However, after completing the office room, we decided we wanted something cozier and splurged on cordless woven wood shades.
|Designer Series Woven Wood Shades|
|Liner||White light filtering liner on back side|
|Room||Dining (planned: Kitchen / Living)|
|Lift System||Cordless Lift (+$20)|
|Installation||This by far was the easiest installation of the three! The brackets are pretty small, and more easily fits in narrow window depths.|
|Pros||Of the three blinds, these seem to insulate against the cold the best, due to the thicker woven wood material and privacy liner.|
Personally, I love the look of these the most – they add a nice combination of softness and texture to a room. I think these are especially great for common aras.
|Cons||I ordered these as an inside mount, which is generally my preference if the window sills are deep enough. |
However, the side edges of the top valence are not covered, so you can see the raw edge of the wood support and the metal lift mechanism. This is not an issue for sills that are deep enough – I installed these on a 1.25” deep sill, which is on the shallower end. I may cover these with a matching fabric at some point, but I’m not too bothered at the moment.
This could be a pro or con – because the material is thicker, more light is blocked, even with just a privacy liner. We’re using these on our southwest facing windows, which get a lot of sun. Sometimes the room is a little darker than we would like when the shades are lowered to block sun.
These are the most $$$$, but totally worth it if you like the aesthetic.
I really took a chance with these, since the samples were sold out. While their website has a few examples, I stalked the Select Blinds Instagram to see the different colors “in the wild”. In particular, I was torn between the lighter Jute Natural and Jute Wheat. Ultimately, I decided to go with Jute Natural based on this photo.
When they arrived, I panicked a little thinking they were too light. Once I hung them up, they were perfect! If anything, don’t underestimate how much ‘darker’ a shade can look when you have a large swath of that color. For comparison, I ordered a Jute Wheat sample once it was back in stock, you can see the direct difference in the photo below:
Overall, I’ve had a good experience with my various styles of Select Blinds. I’m glad we went this route – otherwise, we would have ordered installation of cellular shades around our entire place. I now know that I wouldn’t have loved that aesthetic, and we also saved money in the process!
If you’ve never installed blinds before and are nervous, I recommend starting with one small window. They have helpful installation videos on their YouTube channel, and if you happen to mess up measurements, their F.I.T. guarantee will replace 1 blind per order (up to 4 lifetime).
As per usual, I’ll continue to update this review with wear and tear of the shades, as I know that is equally as important as the initial installation.