Design Confidently, Live Comfortably
Choosing Shades & Blinds
Types of Shades
(All price ranges quoted are from a single source, for a 30- by 48-inch window, excluding options.)
PROS Offer varying degrees of light control Priced well Available to match any decor
CONS Light gaps a problem in old-style shades No cold or sound insulation Boring; can make a room look unfinished
COST With a continuous-cord upgrade, $49$79; without, $34$64
TIP I love the continuous-cord lifting mechanism in newer shades. If I had to choose one treatment for a whole house, this would be it.
PROS Functional and attractive Insulating feature works in both summer and winter Take up little space when open
CONS Difficult to clean
COST Single-cell shades run $48$110; double-cell shades, $58$120
TIP Cellular shades are also known as honeycomb shades. I love these shades: They’re good looking, easy to live with, and versatile. As advertised, they really do insulate, both in terms of sound and temperature.
TOTAL VERSATILITY Window shadings suspend fabric vanes between sheer facings, providing total light control. (Silhouettes, from Hunter Douglas)
PROS Less expensive alternative to cellular shades Versatile Offer a wide range of light control
CONS Light gaps caused by cord holes Less energy-efficient than cellular shades Not durable; can flatten out easily
COST 100 percent polyester pleated shades are $47$68
TIP Because I think cellular shades are a better value, I almost never recommend pleated shades.
PROS Hang flat when lowered; fold up neatly when raised Good sound insulation Available in any fabric under the sun
CONS Expensive Folds require fussing Must be taken down for washing or dry cleaning Not suitable for high-traffic areas
COST Basic Romans are $120$214
TIP I love Romans, especially when they are interlined, which makes them hang better and appear fuller. Less minimalist and more “finished” looking than some shades, Romans act more like curtains.
PROS Diffuse light and UV rays Manage glare on TVs and home computers Keep rooms cool
CONS No privacy Limited range of colors Folds require fussing
COST Basic solar shades are $34$64
TIP In the industry, solar shades are given an “openness” rating, usually, 3.5 or 8 to 10 percent. The lower the rating, the more coverage you get.
PROS Appealing natural materials Cut-to-order option at some home stores Privacy liners provide more light control
CONS The more exotic weaves can be pricey Appeal somewhat limited to informal settings Can be delicate, not very durable
COST Basic woven shades are $106$167
TIP A leader in the field is Conrad, which offers a wide range of exotic weaves and materials in a full spectrum of colors.
PROS Available with both horizontal and vertical vanes Versatile; can be coordinated with furnishings Forgiving; they bounce back when jostled
CONS Expensive Difficult to clean Trendy
COST Window shadings are $175$239
TIP Children have been known to insert tiny objects into the sides, and once lodged, they’re nearly impossible to get out.
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PHOTO: COURTESY OF HUNTER DOUGLAS.