If your home boasts a patio, alfresco or outdoor area that you absolutely love – it extends your living space and creates the perfect light, bright atmosphere – then there’s no doubt you start feeling miserable when winter looms and you’re forced to shut that part of your home off from access in cold, wet, and windy weather.
Café blinds (also known as bistro blinds, alfresco blinds, patio blinds, or pergola blinds) are blinds that border your patio or alfresco space. These outdoor blinds are the perfect solution for creating an enclosed all-weather outdoor sitting area.
Without a doubt, the right café blinds can save your space from being unusable for a season and can actually prove to be the coziest living area for family or guests, no matter the time of year!
Get style smart with café blinds
Navigating through the choices available these days can be overwhelming without some kind of an introduction. Here’s a start to get you style smart when it comes to understanding the different café blinds on offer.
Classic-style café blinds are the most likely style of café blinds that come to mind. Made from clear plastic PVC, as well as Mesh early models of this style operated by simple rope and pulley. This style now has other operation options available including zippers, winding mechanisms, buckles and straps. A favourite outdoor blind solution for decades, the classic-style café blind is a cost-effective way to provide privacy and protection from the elements, helping you make the most of your outdoor space.
Traditional Rope and Pulley café blinds are not limited to clear plastic PVC, you can also create the look you’re after with just about any strong and durable2x2 mesh – and the result is sure to thrill you. Your blinds can be split and tailored to fit doorways and tricky areas too – this flexibility is a big plus for uniquely size and shaped areas.
Modern Ziptrak® blinds are your highly versatile and innovative option. Ziptrak® café blinds have tailor-made, slotted side tracks which make moving your blinds up and down very seamless and easy. These blinds stop at any position along the track and can also lock securely in place without flapping with wind movement.
Of course, this is just an introduction to the styles available to you; honestly you can choose your blinds in pretty much any colour, manual or automatic, with zips, ropes, straps, buckles; the list rolls on.
Don’t be blind-sided: check for quality
Images of blinds that you see online don’t always show the true texture, colour and quality of the materials. A far better way to ensure you’re getting the quality you’re after is by paying a visit to a blinds showroom to see and feel samples of the fabric or materials you’re considering having your café blinds made from.
Make sure you consider these specifications before you commit to buying café blinds:
- Is PVC clear or block-out as expected?
- What is the sun protection grading?
- How much do the blinds protect from wind and the elements?
- Are the blinds waterproof or water resistant? How do they respond to damp weather and rain?
- Does the material control temperature (insulating or sheer)?
- Is the fabric durability and strong?
- How much privacy to the blinds provide?
- Are there warranties on fabric/PVC and fixtures?
- Do the operation mechanisms meet high standards?
- Where are components manufactured?
- Is there any small print in terms of installation?
Make your blinds last with cleaning and maintenance
It’s important to ask the right questions so you don’t overlook what’s involved in keeping your café blinds in tip top shape once installed.
With UV rays, wind, and rain beating down mercilessly on exposed materials, wear and tear over time is inevitable.
Make sure you find out what is required in terms of maintenance and upkeep before installing your blinds. Depending on the fabric you use, you may have differing cleaning requirements and specific techniques to address these.
For straightforward PVC blinds, start by applying silicone spray to the teeth of café blind zips or to the tracks, if you have Ziptrak blinds – this will lubricate the mechanism in each case and allow the blinds to move up and down easily.
Within the first 3 weeks of your blinds installation, clean PVC blinds with a good anti-static plastic cleaner (ask your blinds specialist to refer a good one).
Anti-static is important because it prevents dust collection and also keeps your PVC from sticking to itself as you roll it up, so rolling down again is nice and smooth.
Spray both sides of the blind with the plastic cleaner and using a cotton cloth to polish it. It’s important that you use cotton to absorb extra polish. If you use another material such as polyester, it won’t absorb, and you’ll end up with heavy streaking on your blinds instead of a crystal-clear finish.
Buff the polish into the PVC like you’re ‘waxing it on, waxing it off’. For an extra bit of shine finish up with another fresh cotton cloth.
Following this first clean, be sure and clean and polish your blinds every six months. Dirt collecting on your PVC can damage it, so pop it in the calendar so you’re not set to forget.
For the six-monthly clean, start by hosing down your blinds to remove any dust and dirt and follow up with warm soapy water to freshen up your blinds – then repeat with antistatic polish, and buff it up nicely once more.
As with every investment, it’s very important to do your research about café blinds before you dive into making your purchase.
Speak with a blinds specialist local to you and explain the results you’d like.
If you’re in the Perth metro, please get in touch with the helpful team at Vision Décor – we would love to hear your story and can help guide you with the right style whatever your space and budget look like.