If you love the look of slat-style blinds, then you have an important decision to make — wood or vinyl. Both materials have their benefits. The following guide can help you make the best choice.

How Large Is the Window?

Wood blinds weigh less than vinyl, so they are often the preferred choice if you have a larger window to cover. This is simply because the weight of a larger set of blinds is easier to anchor when the material is lighter. If you prefer vinyl, it is still an option for larger windows but you may need to use two sets of blinds to cover the same length to avoid weight issues.

What Color Are the Blinds?

Both wood and vinyl come in a huge range of colors, ranging from natural wood tones to colors like white or even red. Vinyl blinds are even imprinted with a wood grain to help with realism, but if you are going with a natural wood tone there is nothing like the real thing. You may also want to go with wood blinds if you desire a custom color, since this may not be an option with vinyl blinds.

Is the Room Humid?

Humidity can destroy wood blinds. The moisture can cause wood to swell, warp, or even split. Finish and paint may peel or bubble off. In extreme cases, rot may affect the blinds from constant moisture exposure. If you have a very humid room in your home, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or utility room, opt for vinyl blinds. They are impervious to moisture damage so you won't have to worry about the humidity destroying them.

Are There Any Budget Constraints?

If you are on a tight budget, opt for the vinyl option. Vinyl blinds can be just as attractive and long-lasting as wood, but they often cost a lot less. This is especially true if your home has standard size windows since you won't need to pay for custom blind sizes.

Do You Have Maintenance Concerns?

Maintenance is relatively easy for both wood and vinyl, but it is a bit easier for vinyl. With both types of blinds, the main maintenance tasks are dusting and occasionally washing them down with a damp cloth. Over time, though, wood may need more care. In dry homes, the wood can dry out so you may need to apply a wood conditioner to prevent cracking. The finish may also wear off, requiring either replacement or refinishing. These issues aren't a concern with vinyl blinds.

Contact a window blinds dealer and installer to learn more about the choices available.