Shades control the light you let in your home by using material that you move up or down. Different types of material and methods of moving material up or down offer you a great variety of shade options. Three of the most common types are:
- Roller shades
- Roman shades
- Pleated shades
All three are ideal for use as a window treatment.
A roller shades is the type of shade made of vinyl or fabric that is rolled on to a spring roller. The roller is then mounted either to the inside of the window casement or to the outside frame. The roller can be fully lowered to cover the entire window, or lowered to cover part of the window.
White vinyl roller shades with wooden rollers used to be the standard window treatment. But roller shades have come a long way. The rollers are now made of steel and you choices range across the color and fabric spectrum – vibrant colors, pastels, sheers, textured, and more. They also come in opaque options, which make them similar to solar shades in their ability to block out heat.
These shades come in a variety of sizes and offer different types of mechanisms for raising and lowering them. For creating a layered window treatment, roller shades are often used as the base window covering.
Roman shades are made of fabric that is drawn up from the bottom using a cord or string. When completely lowered, its panels are flat. When the cord raises the fabric, the panels show what look like folded, horizontal pleats at regular intervals.
The folds come in many different styles to create different visual effects.
The balloon roman shades, when lowered, let the folds overlap vertically, creating what look like bulges at the bottom. This creates a rich, full look, but tends to use a lot of fabric. Consider lighter fabric when choosing this type of fold.
Another option allows the folds to overlap horizontally in a “waterfall” style in which the folds cascade one on top of the other. When raised, the folds rest uniformly on each other providing a window treatment that adds dimensionality to your window.
A flat roman shade will show no folds once it’s lowered. This is better if you are trying to show off the design or pattern of the fabric.
In terms of materials, roman shades are available in both plain and patterned designs in soft materials or heavier fabric. They are even available in bamboo or reed.
Roman shades provide a classic and popular window treatment that blocks light and provides good insulation.
Pleated shades are also made from fabric. It is usually one piece of fabric that is pleated into folds of the same size. The shade then looks like an accordion from top to bottom.
For this type of shade, choose a material that will resist sagging. That helps the shade hold a sharp pleat which enhances its look. Most manufacturers will offer various materials in a wide variety of colors. These shades can be sheer to allow more light in or they can come with a backing or liner to filter the light coming through them.
Depending on the fabric you choose, pleated shades can provide you with an economical solution for your window treatments.
Click here for more detail about more specialized shades: roller, solar, and bamboo shades.