How to Shorten Window Blinds

You’ve just installed your new window blinds, and you’re elated that the job is finally done. You don’t want to take the time to figure out how to remove those pesky extra slats, so you save that chore for another day.

Before you know it, the instructions have been thrown away, summer has arrived and you’re wanting to raise and lower your blinds to open your windows. Trying to land your blinds into the perfect lowered position–exactly even-Steven with the window sill–is nearly impossible. It’s the equivalent of parallel parking the way I see it. It’s much easier to just remove the extra slats, and be done with it. It’s quick and painless. Really!

These blinds belong to Sheri, my BFF. Sheri and I are like Oprah and Gayle only without the money. She had these blinds installed after she bought her home over a year ago, and now it’s time for me, as the designated BFF slash handy-woman, to step up to the plate and help her out. Here’s how we removed all those extra slats.

How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

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Step one is to remove the plugs on the underside of the bottom rail. We used a flat-head screwdriver, and they popped right out. If you have an air vent on the floor nearby, cover it up because we all know where that little plug is headed if it gets dropped.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After removing the plugs, we lower the blind. If we don’t, we may be re-threading some slats later in the process. Next, we look for a knot inside the hole that we just took the plug out of, pull the knot out of the hole and cut it off. We use some needle-nose pliers to grab it, which gave me a flashback of the “Operation” game we used to play as kids–without the annoying buzz sound.

Important tip: Do not pull on the cords (like you would to raise the blind) after you’ve cut the knots or you can mistakenly pull the cords all the way out of the blind mechanism, and that could make you very, very sad. Keep the kiddies away from them!

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After cutting the knots off, we tilt the slats to the open position. Then we remove the bottom rail and all of the unwanted slats.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now we’re left with these nifty “Barbie ladders” as I call them.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

We reinserted the bottom rail where Sheri wants the blind to end lengthwise, and cut off the excess ladder strings, leaving a couple extra rungs just because.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

To make the next step easier, we take a one-inch piece of scotch tape, and wrap it tightly around the end of the string that we cut the knot off of earlier. After wrapping it around the string, we give it a twist. This will keep us from going crazy trying to thread the cord in the next step.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now we thread the taped string back through the hole that we previously removed it from, pull it through and re-knot it. We double-knot all of our strings to assure that the knots don’t work their way back through the holes.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now we grab the string, and pull it up so that the knot goes back up into the bottom rail hole where it was originally. We twist the excess rope ladder that’s dangling below the bottom rail, stuff it up into the hole where the knot just went, and replace the plug.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Tip: When putting the plugs back in, we push down on the bottom rail, making sure it’s level as we insert the plugs, or the bottom rail will be crooked and we’ll have to re-do it. Meaning, the bottom of the rail has to be facing the floor and in the position we want it to rest in, when we put the plug back in. If we tilt the rail towards us to put the plug in, that’s exactly how it’ll sit after the plug is inserted.

Since several slats were removed, we decide to shorten the pull strings on the blinds because now we have several extra inches of cord. To shorten the pull strings, we take the knots out of the bottom of the little wooden pulls, cut the strings to the desired length, and re-knot the strings. Having long, dangling pull cords is a safety hazard–especially for young children.

 How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here we have blinds that fit! How magical. I didn’t realize until recently that removing extra slats in blinds was something that many people actually don’t bother to do. Maybe all the non-slat-removing people of the world will find this post, and we’ll have a slat-removing revolution on our hands!

How to Shorten Window Blinds / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Another way to improve the look of your windows is to bulk up the trim around your existing windows by adding extra trim pieces. For a tutorial on how to accomplish this, see my previous post, “Window Trim Ideas–How to Add Bulk to Small Window Casing“.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.


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