Window Shades

By HomeAdvisor

Updated December 12, 2016

Window Shades

Window shades are one of the most common forms of window treatments, and for good reason. They can provide the same soft quality as curtains and the concise and controlled appearance of window blinds. In other words, for homeowners who might find a combination of curtains and blinds too busy, window shades provide a nice alternative as a single window treatment. Whatever window treatments you decide upon, picking them out should be an exciting process where you get to shape the quality and atmosphere of your home. They are great final touches to many home improvement projects including installing replacement windows, home furnishings, and home remodels.

Window Shade Features and Design

You may be slightly surprised to realize just how many options you have for window shades. Some involve a mechanism that allows you to open and close the shades; others involve the fabric and texture of the shades themselves. Here’s a list of some commonly installed window shades:

  • Roller Shades: These basic pull-down rolling shades are inexpensive but can fall into disrepair or become difficult to use.
  • Roman Shades: An extremely popular window dressing, Roman shades have sections that fold under one another for easy operation and excellent insulation properties.
  • Pleated Shades: Pleated shades are, just what they sound like they would be. Extra layering at the pleats is sometimes present to provide extra insulation. This type of window shade is called a cellular shade.
  • Hard Window Shades: Most people think of window shades as being made from a soft fabric, but some harder materials can also make great window shades. They are superb at both energy-efficiency and light control. For a distinctive touch, consider bamboo or wood grain shades. For comparable benefits with a softer look, you can also choose wood-woven shades.
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Decide What You Want from Your Window Shades/Treatment

Different homeowners have different needs for their window treatments. They can be decorative, functional, or both. If you already a good amount of wall decor in your home, for example, you may want a simpler window shade that filters the light that comes into the room. If you have a double-glazed replacement window already in place, fewer wall hangings and more lavish window treatments may be in order.

Reliability and convenience should also make it on your radar when choosing a window treatment. Roller shades probably aren’t for you, if you need to know that it will operate as it should each and every time you use it. Automatic window shades that open and close at the touch of a button make for truly hassle-free operation. Some of these automatic shades can even be programmed to open and close at specific times during the day to help use the energy-efficient qualities of light and heat filtering.


  1. Scott Lougheed, May 22:

    Window shades are an excellent choice when you want to have the look of window blinds but want to spend less, or have a softer material. Excellent article that really conveys the benefits of shades.

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