Alone or as a dramatic accompaniment to another treatment, shades come in all shapes and configurations. Clean edged and neat, shades can take a back seat to beautiful architectural details when up and out of the way, or add stunning emphasis. Best, they are typically an economical alternative to draperies, providing the beauty of fabric (such as with soft shades), with less volume yardage. Plus, in areas where full-length draperies are not practical, shades are ultimately suited.

Today’s Shades

Today, there are so many shade choices, it’s literally staggering. From roller shades to honeycomb to pleated to woven wood to fabric, there’s a shade to fit every room. You should first determine whether you want a “hard” shade (categorized primarily by the lack of soft fabric) or a “soft” shade — a shade billowier and more fabric pretty than stiff.

Helpful Information About Shades

Advantages: Bottom Up/Top Down features in some applications add to the flexibility, such as in areas like bath and bedrooms; can work in difficult areas such as skylights, angled windows and arches; option of cordless draw makes shades a good choice for safety; inside or outside mount on window frame; multiple shades can be installed on one headrail

Disadvantages: When closed, there is no capability to manipulate the shade to allow light to filter in; maximum/ minimum widths cannot be over or under stepped; some archtop shades are stationary; woven wood shades are mostly transparent unless they have a privacy backing

Cost: Can vary widely depending upon the type of shade selected

Lifespan: Years+. Technology has vastly improved the mechanisms

Most Appropriate Locations: Just about any location in the home from a living room or den to a bedroom or bathroom

Care & Cleaning: Depending upon the shade type careful judgment must be used. Wipe clean any flat surface-style shade when needed; use a feather duster on products such as woven woods. Never use water or other cleaning solvents unless specifically mentioned by the manufacturer.