If you are thinking about adding shades to your windows or replacing some existing window treatments with shades these tips and descriptions could help with your selection process.
Light Filtering – this means that the shade even when closed will still allow light into the room and some could be sheer enough so that can also see an obscure
View of the outside [also would provide an obscure view to the inside].
Privacy – this means that the shade even when closed will still allow some light
Into the room while it blocks to view from the inside to the outside and vice versa.
Room Darkening – this means that the shade when closed will block light from coming into the room and thus will “darken” the room.
Blackout – this means that the shade when closed will completely shut out all light to the room; in order to achieve this the shade needs to be an outside mount or have another layer so that there is no light leak.
Inside Mount – the means that the shade is mounted inside the window opening. In order to achieve this type of installation you need to make sure that there is enough depth in the window sill to accommodate the style of shade you choose.
If your window sill area is at least 4 inches deep [has a 4 inch recess] then most shades will work as an inside mount installation.
Outside Mount – this means that the shade will be mounted to the outside of the window opening and in do this you need to calculate enough of an overlap on either side of the window frame as well as enough height to allow the shade to be
mounted above the window frame.
Types of Shade Styles:
Cellular Shades or Honeycomb Shades. These do not allow for there to be a view to the outside when they are closed so if you do not want to block your view while the shade is closed then this is not a good option UNLESS you upgrade to a bottom up/top down mechanism which allows you to have the shad drop down
from the top of the window so that you could still have some privacy while not blocking your view entirely.
Blinds. These come in wood, faux wood, aluminum, plastic and pvc. They also come in different widths/sizes of slats from ¾” up to 2 ½” or even 3” in some cases. This type of shade will allow you to tilt the slats so that you can have a view even when the treatment is covering the entire window. You can leave the blind down and just tilt the slats to control the amount of light and/or privacy you need for your room.
Natural Shades. These come in various different fibers and wood materials; most are natural products such as grass weaves or bamboo, etc. These types of shades depending upon the material might allow some view to the outside while the shade is closed and could simply be light filtering and there are several styles which allow for complete privacy.
Roman Shades. These are typically fabricated from some sort of fabric and you can select either a sheer fabric; a light filtering fabric, privacy or black out. Roman Shades refer more to a style than to the material they are fabricated from.
Silhouettes. This is a trademark name from Hunter Douglas for a style of shade that for lack of a better term is like a blind but is made out of fabric. It is a fabric shade that has internal fabric slats which open and close to allow for the control of light and view. These come in privacy and black out.
Verticals. These are panels of fabric, pvc or plastic which are mounted to a track so that they can be opened [pulled] to the left or right [or will split in the middle and stack to both the left and right]. Verticals allow you to have privacy or view even when they are closed much in the same manner as blinds. The difference is that blinds are a horizontal type of window treatment.
Sliding Panels. These are “large” verticals; which will slide and stack to one side of the window when opened. They do not turn like verticals do; they just slide out of the way when you want to open them. They can be sheer, privacy or room darkening depending upon the fabric or material you use.
Solar Shades. These are a mesh type fabric which not only filters out light but they also block UV Rays while still allowing you to have a view to the exterior when the shades are closed. There are different types of filtering fabric from 3% to 10%. The lower the number the more the shade will block the UV Rays. These are typically a roller style shade.
Roller Shades. These can be fabricated from numerous types of fabrics and materials. The material you choose will be applied to a roller mechanism which is just lowered or raised over the window. Depending upon the type of fabric you choose roller shades can be either light filtering, privacy or room darkening and if applied properly as an outside mount they can also become room darkening.
There are several other types of window treatments including custom made options from almost every type of material or fabric imaginable. Custom fabricated window shades are great when you want to create a unique look and individual style to your room.
No matter what you choose be sure to take the time to do your measurements properly so that they fit your window opening correctly. Nothing looks worse than a shade that is too narrow and too short and any item which is custom ordered cannot be returned so if you are going to have window treatments made I would suggest purchasing them thru a company that will come and do all of the measuring and installation for you.