3 Must-Know Facts about Top-Down Bottom-Up Blinds before you buy

Rahul Mehrotra - February 27, 2015

Cellular Shades Beautiful Window Covering

You have seen the Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds at your friend or relative’s place. You liked the idea and looks. You are thinking to get this style of shades for your home windows as well. You wish to know more about this style before you decide.

You are on the right page!

Top Down Bottom up blinds for Kitchen

I will go through 3 important facts about Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds that you must know.

Before I do that, I want to ask you – Why do you think Top-Down Bottom-Up blind is the right choice for you? I live and work out of the Calgary area, and I know that homeowners here love this style.

New approach to Blinds – Top-Down Bottom-Up Blinds

You have seen the Venetian style blinds that you can tilt-open and tilt-close. This style allowed you to see outside without lifting the blind up all the way. Or, you can tilt close.

No other style allowed this middle view for a long time. We had different fabric shades along side Venetian style blind – roller shades, roman shades, pleated shades and more. All those shades were either up or down. Either you get full view-through or full privacy, but nothing in the middle.

That all changed with Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds. Now, you can raise the shade up and lower it from the top as well.

This new style of blinds allows you

  • To enjoy natural light and privacy at the same time.
  • To see-through outside without raising the shade up all the way
  • To bring fabrics into your décor.

Why I am saying that this style allowed you to bring fabrics to the décor? Before Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds came, fabric shades were either up or down. You had to raise the shade up to see-through. There was nothing in the middle. As mentioned earlier, venetian blinds allowed for that middle position with tilt-open and tilt-close. But, venetian blinds were usually made of harder material slats – aluminum, vinyl or wood. With Top-Down Bottom-Up feature on shades, you can bring the soft elegance of fabric and the desired middle view.

Top Down Bottom up blinds for Office area

Are all the Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds made the same way? I wish that they were, but that is not the case. What should you look for when you decide to buy?

Know these 3 important designs for Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds

You have seen this style of shades move up and down to offer view-through and privacy as needed. At the outset, it all looks nice. For the most part, it is good and shade is moving up and down, as they should. With any design, the beauty is in the details. I believe in that and look out for those details. My wife thinks I complicate for no good reason, but that is a different story.

I will share with you 3 of those design details. My hope is to lift your experience of this style from just having them to truly enjoy them.

Cordless Control

This is a must! Why I say so?

A blind will come with a way to move it up and down. In most cases, it is the standard cord control. You pull the cord and shade will move up. You can lock the cord anywhere in the middle. You release the lock and the shade comes down. The issue with the standard cord system is that length of the cord changes as you move the shade up and down. When you move the shade to the top, you have pulled the cord as long as, about, twice the height of the window. Cord then dangles and pools on the floor.

Top Down Bottom Up Blinds Long Cords - Dangling or Pooling on the floor

Who wants the excess cord? Cord floats on the floor, and it collects dust.

It gets worse with Top-Down Bottom-Up Blinds. You will have two sets of cords with this style. One cord is moving the bottom rail, doing the Bottom-Up operation. The other cord is moving the middle rail, doing the Top-Down operation. Let’s say, you have 3 windows in your living room. You will have 6 cords floating, looping and tangling on the floor. It doesn’t look nice.

Top Down Bottom up blinds Cord System - 2 Cords per blind for Top-Down control

The cord dangling on the floor leads to a kid-safety and pet-safety issue. We all heard about the unfortunate incidents resulting from the cord loop. I have a toddler and I get goose bumps thinking about it. So, I will just stop there.

These safety concerns, or I should say heart breaks, drove our government to act. Health Canada asked suppliers/brands to make their designs safe and prevent cord loop situations. All the reputed suppliers obliged. You are better off working with a reputed and established supplier, knowing that design will work when you most need it.

So, there are no excuses. Just get it!

You move the shade up and down with the touch of your hand. You use a small plastic handle or tab to move the shade. You can leave it anywhere in the middle and shade stays there. Cordless control systems are robust and reliable. Again, a reputed supplier will offer Lifetime Warranty on its control systems.

Top Down Bottom Up Blinds Cordless

I understand that there are situations where cordless control is not a good solution. I cannot reach some of high windows that we have in the Calgary area homes. There are other control options available to you, and you can still avoid the cords. I am not going to get into those control systems here, and I will do another write-up for that.

You can always schedule our FREE In-Home Consultation to see and select all these systems in your home.

Leveling System

You are saying that all I wanted was the Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds. Why is he talking about the Leveling System?

His wife is right. Why make it complex?

I say that I too love to live in a simple world – maybe not in an over-simplified world. It is you, my wife, who will make it complex for me.

Our professional installer will make sure that you are happy with your shades. He will leave your home with shades in good working condition. Then, on a harsh winter day, as you enjoy the warmth of sunshine filtering into your room, you notice that the bottom rail is not level or the shade height is too short or too long. I get the call and complexity begins.

In any design, moving parts will get misaligned or out of level over the time. For our Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds, we have the bottom rail that moves – doing the bottom-up step. The middle rail does the top-down operation. There is a chance that those rails do not stay straight or, what we call, not leveled. As you move the shade up or down, you find that rails are a bit uneven or crooked. The rails are not sitting straight on the sill of the window. It can also be the case that sill of your window is not straight or level.

Going out of level is nothing new. My wife thinks it happens to me every week. As long as you can adjust levels back, then you can still enjoy the warmth of the sunshine filtering into your room.

A good shade-design allows for easy level changes. The best design for leveling system comes from supplier Hunter Douglas. Hunter Douglas even sends a key to make adjustments. It is easy and there are no cords to cut and tuck. Simply insert the ‘key’, provided with every order, into a socket and turn it. Click the key clockwise to raise the rail and counterclockwise to lower it. Clockwise click makes the shade shorter and counter-clockwise makes the shade longer.

Any shade will do up and down. If you want to lift your experience further, then you choose Hunter Douglas. It has thought through your day-to-day lifestyle. It had put those thoughts into its design for long-lasting experience from your shades.

There are suppliers who don’t allow for any level changes. I can tell you from my experience that it is not easy to resolve leveling issues and the shade looks crooked.

One last thing, changing levels for Cordless system shades is easier. This ties well into why you should get cordless shades.

Magnet Closure between middle rail and top rail

On your Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds, the middle rail does the top-down step. I have heard this from some of the homeowners in Calgary that middle rail does not sit tight with the top-rail. Or, there is a visible gap where the middle-rail meets with the top-rail.

In some cases, there is light seeping in from the gaps. Other times, the homeowner is not happy with the looks of the gap that is there. Or, there is no leveling system available and the middle rail sits slanted or crooked.

With improved design, there is a magnet closure on middle rail and top head rail. This eliminates the light gap where middle rail meets the top head rail.

This is a recent introduction into this style of blind. All the suppliers do not do it. But, I think it will become standard in all shades.

The truth about Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds

You say, if I get all those 3 things right, and I will have complete Top-Down Bottom-Up blinds. I say it depends.

You say, what?

Yes, the truth is the desire to bring elegance to your décor. The truth is to make your shade flow with everything else in the room. A Top-Down Bottom-Up system without any fabric is just that – a system. It only looks beautiful when you dress it up with your fabric choices, colors and textures. That is where I help you when I meet with you for In-Home consultation and share ideas.

A well-designed Top-Down Bottom-up shade in rich fabrics will add to your joy today and for many more years to come. What are you waiting for?

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