2″ metal horizontal blinds: The perfect window treatment for midcentury home

hunter douglas 2 inch metal blindWhen I went to order window treatments for my kitchen, Colleen from my local hardware store took one look and recommended 2″ aluminum blinds. “It’s what we rip out of every other 50s home,” she reassured.

We chose from the Hunter Douglas “Macro” line. These horizontal blinds are PERFECT, and from my reading of scores of mid-century magazines, I know that “venetians,” as they called these then, are totally authentic. About two years ago – when I originally ran this post — I even saw that Hunter Douglas has come out with a new color palette with circa 50s colors. I chose a soft neutral metallic, as my window is quite large, and I didn’t want the shade to overpower the room.

metal window blinds
Click on this image to enlarge it, and you can see: I ordered three separate blinds for my three-piece window. The two narrower blinds at either end each cover a casement. The center blind covers the picture window. I wanted the option to open each blind on its own. Plus, one blind as wide as the entire window installation would have been ginormously wide and heavy; something to avoid if you can, I think…. Also: You can typically order multiple blinds all on “one rail” at the top. I did not see the need for this — I simply butted each blind next to the other, and this worked fine for me.

Other tips: I ordered “traditional” slat styling – that is, I wanted the holes in the middle of the blind to show. The alternative “De-Light” option offers a design with no cord holes, the cord run outside the blind. De-Light is just an option, so you can get the old way too.  The old way — that’s what I wanted! I WANTED to see the cord holes.

Also, I chose the “wand” rather than the cord to adjust the slats horizontally. Finally, you get a self-colored valance free as part of the order. Go for it. However, I later added a fabric valence that I made myself.

Lastly, on logistics, I have a few pieces of advice from my experience:
  • I find that Hunter Douglas’ website is relatively complicated to use if you just want to get to the color selections by blind. So be patient in making your way through it — the info is there. In any case, before you order you are going to want to see live samples. So, use their dealer locator to find a store that carries this line and go see all catalogs and color samples and check everything out there.
  • These blinds are relatively expensive, but in my experience the quality and service were worth it. For example, after I ordered my kitchen window shade, I found that I needed to have it cut down by about 1/2″ on each side. My local sales rep got it done for me at no charge. She was great, and so was Hunter Douglas. Be nice – and the niceness comes back around.
  • One final idea: If you are installing a new window – talk to your contractor about adding a support behind the drywall all the way horizontally across the window top and even beyond if you think you will need a stack-back (for pinch pleats). That way – you will not have to hunt and peck looking for the studs (which will always be in the “wrong” place) when you go to install. Oh, this is also a good idea in a bathroom, in a tub — even if you don’t think you need that grab bar now — you may eventually — so if you have the space opened up, add the support now and make a note of where it is so you can add a grab bar if you need it…

This classic Retro Renovation post has been updated from the original, which was first published on March 19, 2007.

  1. Denise maskell says:

    Hi my mother lives in a house that was built in the 1950’s,and have white metal 2″slats horizontal blinds,unfortunately one of the blinds got broke and she is trying with no success at the moment to get a replacement one.she has seen silver ones ,but wants to match it up with her-other one as they will be used to dress the windows in the same room,does anyone know where she can get a good condition one from please

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Denise, I don’t know an exact answer to this. Have you tried Hunter Douglas itself?

      Just another thought: Perhaps she could remove one from all the other blinds too, so then they would match. That is, take one from the bottom of each set of blind, shorten them a tad…? On the “broken” one, take the slat from the bottom and move it to the gap spot. Just a thought…

      1. Denise says:

        Hi Pam ,thanks for your reply.

        The whole blind is broken, I’m not sure how it happened. Thank you for telling me about Hunter Douglas though. I will be sure to look them up and contact them.

          1. Pam Kueber says:

            note, i DID get their links to work – looks like they have lots of whites in solid finishes…. you just gotta click and look at the links — OR go to a retailer and ask for their help including getting samples to match

  2. Erik says:

    What hardware store did you use? After a year of being in my first house I’m ready to get blinds (Im 33 and a male blinds weren’t important) don’t judge haha. Id like to maybe get these in 2 inch, but maybe with the colored strip that runs down each side to cover the draw strings that run through the blinds.

  3. Larry Murphy says:

    Hi. I’m a new member. if your looking for authentic 2” metal venetian blinds with cloth inserts. Look no further. Home Depot online, sells custom fit Levolor Riviera 2 in. Aluminum Blinds with cloth inserts. I have just finished retrofying my mid 1940s kitchen with them. They look amazing.
    They come in an array of colors. Mine are Metallic Satin nickel, with celadon cloth inserts.They are spot on. Just like the originals from the 40s and 50s. I’m so happy the way they turned out, that I ordered more, and am outfitting my living room and dining area.

  4. Steve says:

    I was Reno

    I have 2 6’x6′ x2″ aluminum blinds that is stored away in my shop .They are a mint green color , Id say they are from the 50s . I’ll sell them for a reasonable offer.

  5. sarah says:

    I liked the idea very much and bought mine also from IKEA, added cheap motorized automation for blinds (www.theriseapp.com) to help with lowering and rising the blinds. Overall I’m very happy

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