How To Choose The Right Window Shades

Author: JillynnPlain white or ecru roller shades were what most people had under their curtains in times past. Now, like blinds, shades have come into their own as a functional, yet attractive window covering.
In addition to being used as a decorative element, shades perform a variety of functions which include privacy, insulation and room darkening. In contrast to blinds, which use slats to create a window covering system that controls light, window shades are usually made from a single piece of fabric.
What To Ask Yourself

There are several main types of window shades, each available with properties you may need in your home. Some types are better suited to particular rooms or configurations of windows.
Before you select the best type of shade for the windows in your room, ask yourself these questions:
  • What is my budget?
  • Do I want the shades to completely darken the room or allow light to filter in?
  • How much installation space (depth) do you have?
  • Do you need shades with insulating properties to keep heat in or out, depending on the season?
  • Do you need to cover a door, a transom, or another special opening?

Types Of Window Shades
Roller Shades: Available in a variety of materials that start with inexpensive vinyl and includes cloth or sheer weave material, a roller shade literally rolls up on a cylinder mounted above the window. The spring action in the cylinder is what controls the up and down movement of the shades. Depending on the material, roller shades can be used to darken a room or sheer versions can let the light in. Because they have no cords, roller shades are safe even for children's rooms. There is also a motorized version for large windows.
Roman Shades: This versatile type of fabric shade, which resembles draperies, folds up into a stack of pleats when raised. In a lowered position, you can create many looks including a cascading effect or a flat pleated effect. Most styles have cords, but many accommodate a cordless lift system. Due to the depth of the pleats, they require more space at the top for installation.
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Cellular Shades: if you want an attractive, versatile shade that also has insulating properties, a cellular shade may be what you need. Also called honeycomb shades, they are made from a poly cotton fabric that has been treated for stain resistance. Because they contain little pockets created when the cells of the shade are fastened together, they trap air and can add an R-value of 3 to 5 for winter and from 2.8 to 4.0 in the summer to make the room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. You can obtain 1/2", 3/8" and 3/4" cells in a wide assortment of colors. You can even order cellular shades in lighter colors at the top and darker colors at the bottom for improved privacy. They come in either horizontal or vertical styles with horizontal shades offering several opening options such as top-down, bottom-up, or a combination of both.
Woven Wood Shades: Similar to what was used on porches in years past, natural woven shades are made of woods, grasses, reeds, etc. and woven together with heavy threads. Because light can enter the room through the tiny spaces between the rows, you'll need a privacy or blackout liner to keep light out if that is important to you. Woven wood shades are a perfect complement to an Asian, Island, or other casual décor.
Pleated Shades: Available in many fabrics, pleated shades feature 1" or 2" deep accordion pleats that add dimension, yet stack flat when raised. The larger pleats in particular are well-suited for larger windows. These shades last for years and blend with many home styles.
Sheer Shades: Sheer and light filtering shades are available in horizontal or vertical styles and provide a degree of light control similar to blinds. You can buy them with different sized vanes, depending on the look you want. (The smaller 2" or 2 ½" vanes provide a sleek look on small and medium-size windows, while the largest 3" size offers a less obstructed view on larger windows when the vanes are in the open position.) Sheer shades are elegant and energy efficient; like other shades, they are available in light filtering and blackout styles in addition to the sheer fabrics that give them their name.
Special Shades: You can order some types of window shades shaped to fit a transom or other oddly shaped windows or doors. When installed on doors, they can give a soft look without the noise blinds sometimes produce when they bang against the door.

The beauty of window shades is that you can have whatever look you want at almost any price you want, even if you are on a budget. They can be used with curtains to add a decorative touch, let the light in or keep it out, and even improve energy efficiency.
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About the Author
Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D., MSW is a writer with a vast array of subject matter expertise. With extensive experience in social welfare policy, nonprofit management, and government operations, she also writes for the private business sector. Recent articles include a focus on travel, home and business products, and consumer services.

1 comment:

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