Red blackout roller blinds in contemporary kitchen

Do roller blinds look better in the recess, or outside of it? This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get about the practicalities of hanging roller blinds.

Ultimately this is generally a style question rather than a functional one, and there is no correct and incorrect (or “smart” and “ugly”) when it comes to the appearance achieved by where you choose to hang your blinds. Inside vs. outside the window recess is a decision generally made based on your personal preferences, although in a small minority of cases your hand may be tipped by a particular idiosyncrasy of your windows.

One particular functional point to note if you’re buying blackout roller blinds and want to maximise the efficacy of their blackout effect is that placing them outside of the recess rather than inside of it is generally the most effective way to prevent light leakage around the edges of the blind.

This blog post will talk about how to decide whether to hang roller blinds inside or outside of the window recess, and enlighten you on a couple of points/traits of certain windows that you might need to factor into your choice.

I’ll also share some insider industry info (I may be making this sound a lot more Wikileaks-ish than it actually is) on which option most buyers pick, and why.

Where should roller blinds fit?

So, where should roller blinds fit? This is a decision to be made by you as the blinds buyer and there is no right location or wrong location as long as they cover the window!

Based on what most of our buyers go for, the vast majority of the roller blinds we sell are made to fit inside of the recess. However, when it comes to blackout roller blinds specifically, the numbers are a little closer together compared to our non-blackout or “dimout” roller blinds, for reasons that I’ll cover later on.

Do roller blinds look better in the recess?

Any time that the phrase “looks better” comes into play, you really have to have a word with yourself and remember that beauty, and also, the correct hanging position for your blinds, are in the eye of the beholder. That’s the key takeaway I want you to understand when it comes to blinds inside vs. outside the window recess.

Some people prefer the appearance of roller blinds hung outside of the recess, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if you do! Roller blinds look better in the recess if your goal is to pick a blind that takes up minimal space and leaves the surrounding wall itself clear, which many people feel looks neater or more polished than placing blinds over the recess.

However, this is very subjective and there’s certainly no right and wrong in this respect.

Can you fit roller blinds outside recesses instead?

Roller blind fitted outside the window recess

Yes, of course you can. In fact, while certain traits of a small number of windows might mean that hanging a blind inside of the recess is off the table entirely, there are no functional reasons nor barriers to hanging blinds outside of the recess in any scenario.

In fact, the whimsies and foibles of some homes/windows (you know, the kind that seemed quaint and charming or were not even self-evident at all when you bought the house, but that soon turned into a monumental PITA down the line) may dictate that your blinds have to hang outside of the recess in order to function as intended.

While having weird windows forcing your hand is relatively uncommon, it may be the case if you have inward-opening windows or really sticky-outy window handles. either of these factors would cause problems with your ability to open and close the window if the blind was hung inside of the recess, and doing so might make the appearance of the closed blind look lumpy and misshapen too.

Even with no practical barriers to factor in, if you personally prefer the look of a blind hanging over the recess or your wall is just so nasty that the more of it you can cover, the happier you will be, outside of the recess is a totally valid option.

While we sell more blinds to inside-the-recessers than we do to fans of external placement, hanging a blind over the recess is still far from unicorn territory.

It is not unusual enough to raise eyebrows or cause your MIL to tell you that you’ve messed up; I mean, she still might, but she would be wrong, and you can absolutely tell her that Polly from English Blinds says so, and I’ve got a PhD in blinds. And also in lying.

Should I fit my blinds inside or outside the recess if I’m buying blackout blinds?

As I alluded to earlier on, the proportion of our buyers that pick roller blinds to hang outside of the recess rather than inside of it increases markedly when it comes to our sales of blackout roller blinds specifically.

This actually gives me the warm fuzzies, because it lets me know that people are really reading our blog and listening to my advice, although I urge you to only do this latter in the context of what I have to say about blinds, because outside of the workplace I really cannot be trusted in any context.

Why this higher level of outsideyness from blackout blinds buyers though? Ok. If you hang a blackout blind inside of the recess, you might find yourself disillusioned with it in short order in terms of its light-repelling prowess; no light will get in past the fabric of the blind itself, but there is a reasonable chance it will leak around the edges of the blind between wall and window.

However, if you hang your blackout roller blind over the window recess instead, and have it made with an additional 10cm margin of coverage of the wall on all four sides, the odds of any light leakage occurring are greatly reduced and, in some cases, negated entirely.

Where should blinds be placed in recesses?

Finally then, if you are planning to hang your blinds inside of the recess, where should they be placed? Ideally as close to the window/glass as possible.

Not only does this result in a neater finish, but it also helps to reduce any potential light leakage around the edges of the blind to a bare minimum, as well as increasing the thermal efficiency of the insulation that your blind provides against cold and draughts from the window too.

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