First, the common knowledge about faux wood blinds vs. real wood blinds tends to go in one of two directions, with either the demanding environment argument or the value vs. authenticity tradeoff argument. Here’s how the two different arguments go, followed by a distinctly less analytical perspective.
Faux vs. Real – The demanding environment
If the blinds are going into a demanding environment, the theory goes that humidity, rough handling, or conditions that would require more frequent cleaning (like a kitchen) are damaging to real wood and better suited to a durable, synthetic material like vinyl or a composite of wood and other plastics, the most common materials for faux wood blinds. Real wood absorbs moisture, expanding and then contracting again when humidity drops. This, and strong direct sunlight through non-UV blocking windows can cause warping, splitting and other wear that all wood and natural materials are subject to. Also, stains are absorbed in the more porous material, requiring more frequent cleaning, which is less effective on porous material and also hard on wood. In short, the argument is that same as the argument for vinyl seats in a car that carries toddlers; it’ll hold up better.
Faux vs. Real – The value vs. authenticity tradeoff
The tradeoff argument implies that real wood is better, but that faux wood is a more functional, appealing to your left-brain rationality and ‘practical’ side that likes to find a smart compromise. This is the rational voice in your ear that tries to keep peace between the luxury-seeking you and the penny-pinching you. If you were buying a watch, this is the referee between the voice that wants the luxury and status of a fine Swiss watch and the one pointing out that a cheap digital watch keeps time just fine. At this point, a watch that is more luxurious than a Timex and less costly than a fine Swiss watch looks mighty smart. The tradeoff argument places faux wood blinds squarely there: less expensive than real wood, more durable, and much more luxurious than plain vinyl blinds.
Faux vs. Real – The Gut argument
I’d argue that the the blinds that will serve you best are the ones you are instantly drawn to. When you started reading this article, you were probably looking to either justify your fine Swiss watch (real wood blinds) or confirm the value of the cheap digital watch (faux wood blinds), hoping for data to back up your decision! Data like the faux wood looks really really real, or real material is warm, luxurious and unmistakably natural. Either way, you probably had one of the two options already in mind and you were looking for backup. Yes? Well – unless you are putting up blinds in the kitchen or just flat out cannot afford the real stuff, even through a low-cost online store, the faux wood vs. real wood blinds dilemma is probably not really a dilemma. You should get the ones you know you want.
If you still want data….wood blinds are pretty darn durable. Unless your environment is truly rough, they’ll probably do just fine and they will be… real. No matter how good faux gets, it’s not the same as real wood in terms of feel and up-close appearance. However, faux wood blinds are really good in their own right and more luxurious than plain vinyl. So, if you just gotta have wood, get wood. If you don’t gotta, and you’d prefer to save a few bucks, get faux. Either way, if you buy them from a good retailer, you’ll have new blinds that work well and fit well and you’ll end up happy. Enjoy.