Window Shades

Unique ideas for window coverings

For many years, curtains were the most common window covering in homes, but not any longer. The new offerings in window shades and blinds have opened up a much wider array of options for window treatments. Even for nonstandard windows, it's possible to find the perfect window shade that both enhances the look of the window and controls the level of light.

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Type of Window Shades

There are several types of window shades, each with its own distinct look and advantages:

  • Roller shades are manufactured from a soft fabric or polyvinyl material that is wound around a roller. When rolled up, the roller shade rests at the top of the window, allowing full light into the room. A simple pull on the attached cord draws the roller shade down, allowing it to close fully or rest at some point in between, blocking out some or all of the light.
  • Roman shades offer the look of curtains but in a more convenient form. Made of fabric, these horizontally pleated shades become a flat panel when closed and offer a smart pleated look when open. They are drawn using the cord that is woven vertically through the shade. Almost any color or print can be used in a Roman shade, which makes it a great choice for complementing the decor in any room.
  • For an elegant look, balloon shades use more fabric than traditional Roman shades, resulting in a billowy effect. As with Roman shades, almost any fabric can be made into a balloon shade.
  • Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, are made from layers of light-filtering fabrics that create small air cells within the shade. These shades offer insulating benefits; since the cells can help to keep a room warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer, they can save on heating and air conditioning costs. Cellular shades come in sheer varieties, which offer privacy while allowing light in, or blackout varieties, which are excellent for bedrooms because they completely block light when closed.

Bamboo Shades: A Greener Option

A relative newcomer to the window shade market, bamboo shades are manufactured from natural bamboo fibers. The resulting bamboo fabric is soft and naturally beautiful, and can enhance the look of any room with a natural flair.

Measuring Windows for Shades

Window shades are either hung inside the window frame (inset) for a modern look or outside the window frame (outset) to obtain more coverage and a look similar to fabric curtains. When measuring for inset shades, it is important to be very precise, while outset shades are more forgiving if the measurements are not exact. For outset shades, be sure to add an extra 2 inches to the top measurement to allow room for the mounting brackets.