In any home, window coverings are an important addition for both privacy and protection against the sun. One of the most popular options among homeowners are window blinds that feature horizontal slats that stack up when you close the window and block out the light when the wand is rotated. Commonly called Venetian blinds, you’ll find them in households across the country, but they’re especially popular in homes from built or renovated from the 70s through the 90s.
The main problem with horizontal Venetian blinds, even the top-quality ones, is caused by the cords. Ultraviolet rays and excessive use cause them to deteriorate and break. Then you’re left with a crumpled mess that offers neither privacy nor protection.
Venetian blinds can be restrung, though, restoring their usefulness with nearly no cost. Here’s how to restring your Venetian blinds.
A brief history of Venetian blinds
Contrary to popular belief, Venetian blinds aren’t original to Venice. They were introduced by Persians in the 18th century and made of wooden slats tied together with ribbons. In the 1940s, Hunter Douglas made the leap to using aluminum slats rather than wood.
Subsequent versions used one-inch, then half-inch aluminum or plastic slats to pick up the moniker “mini blinds.”
Whether you’re fond of today’s faux wood venetian blinds or the common style of mini blinds, the cords are a weak spot in the design. Change them out and they’ll be nearly good as new once again.
How to change the cords on venetian blinds
If you’ve looked into the top rail of a horizontal blind, it can be confusing to determine how it works. Restringing the blind isn’t as complicated as it might look at first glance. Follow these steps and you’ll be blocking out the sun (and peeping neighbors) in no time.
1. Measure the length of the strings you need
The first step is to obtain string that’s long enough for your application. There are a couple of things to determine:
- How many vertical strings does your blind need?
- How wide is the blind?
- How long is the blind fully extended?
Using a tape measure, accurately measure the width and length of the blind for your calculation. For each string, you’ll need to add up two times the length plus the width. For example, if your blind is 24 inches wide and extends to 42 inches, your string calculation will be (42 x 2) + 24. Your total length per string is 108 inches.
2. Pull the new string through
This method is for a string that’s frayed but hasn’t yet broken. Remove the plug in the bottom of the blind, undo or cut off the knot, and attach the old cord end to the new string. It’s easiest to melt the two ends together with a lighter. Then, pull the opposite end of the string all the way through. Cut the join between the strings, tie off the new string end, and re-install the plug.
3. Re-string a broken lift string
If the lift string has already broken, you’ll need to manually weave the new string into place. It’s easy enough to do by hand through the center hole in each slat.
- At the bottom rail, pop out the plug and put the new string through, tying it off and re-installing the plug. Repeat for all the lift cords at the same time.
- At the head rail, loop each lift string through the hole in the rail, the toward the cord lock and out.
- Test the blind’s operation and even out the string lengths.
- You’re back in business!