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Window Shades: An Alternative to Blinds

People often confuse window shades and blinds. Typically, window shades are one continuous piece of material that rolls or folds up. Lacking slats and vanes, they are either partially up, fully up, or shut. When closed, the amount of light that penetrates them depends on their material. Unlike window blinds, you sometimes can lower the top and raise the bottom independently and simultaneously.

Types of Shades

  • Roller shades, also known as roll-up shades, feature a continuous piece of material, a cylinder, and a mechanism that causes the shade to wind around the cylinder when raised. This classic shade is one of the most affordable.
  • Cellular shades, also called honeycomb shades, constitute a piece of fabric made up of single, double, or triple cells that trap air for insulation. The more cells a shade has, the greater its insulation, light control, and noise reduction. Cellular shades, which contain accordion-like pleats, come in sheer, semi-sheer, translucent, and opaque fabrics.
  • Pleated shades consist of a single-layer piece of fabric and pleats that nicely fold and stack when the shade is open. They are available in various colors and weaves, allowing for definition and texture.
  • Roman shades are made of fabric or other material and contain horizontal rods that allow them to fold in a flat, layered way when raised. Options include different colors, materials, and styles.
  • Solar shades are designed to reduce the sun's glare, block ultraviolet rays, and decrease solar heat transfer, all while preserving your view. Their percentage of screen openness, usually between 3 and 20 percent, refers to how much light can pass through and how much UV rays are blocked. The greater the openness, the more permeable the shade.

Consider your budget, and your main objectives when installing window shades. From roller shades to solar shades, there are many textures, colors, and styles to evaluate.