tl;dr rather than spending £300 per window to get electric blinds put into my house, I took advantage of the blind company’s minimum order to do it for £59.99 per blind.

How I cheaply upgraded the blinds in my house.

Over the last few years we’ve covered the house with custom blackout blinds from Swift Direct Blinds. They do accurate measurements and have reasonable costs (they take a while to arrive: I assume they get manufactured overseas).

We splashed out and got an electric blind for the last one. I love it, and I decided to upgrade the rest of the blinds in the house.

It’s hard to find the motors online to upgrade the existing ones. This was the best option I could find:

a blind on ebay

..and £120 feels expensive.

The opinion of the Swift is that you can’t get an upgrade kit and fit them yourself, you have to buy a whole new blind. I don’t fancy spending another £300 per (large) window to replace blinds that are less than two years old so this is what I did.

Swift Direct Blinds advertise their electric blinds as being ‘from £59.99’.


Now obviously, the £60 version is for a uselessly small blind of 30cm by 30cm

30 by 30

You get the impression that the only reason that offer such a small blind is so they can say ‘from £59.99’. But that uselessly small blind does come with one of those motors that appear to be £120 on eBay. So I ordered the minimum possible size for £59.99.

It fit into one of the blinds perfectly and we were away! A few weeks later I ordered another.

The impression that they don’t expect anyone to order a £59.99 blind is strengthened by emails like this:

an email from swift

(I assume this is a change in the manufacturing, as the first one was fine)

One of the blinds (in our bedroom) couldn’t do a direct replace because the tube had a larger diameter (because it was across a very large window) so I had to do a little bit more work. I took the material off the smaller tube, and measured it against the existing blind. The small tube very nearly fit inside the larger one, so I took the motor out and squashed the end of the smaller tube slightly in my vice.

Slightly squashing the tube in the vice.

That made it mostly fit: Nova helped by pounding the tube in with a hammer.

Nova Hammering

…and it had a really good fit:

One tube inside the other

That did make it a little tight to install the motor: this problem was solved by Vaseline.


Now everything works beautifully and we’re woken by the daylight in the morning as the blind automatically comes up. It’s lovely (and it will be super handy for keeping the home cool in the summer)