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Window Shades Buying Guide

Shades have come a long way from the slippery white discount-store versions. Today's shades offer privacy, light control, and energy efficiency in a variety of styles and materials. Used alone or with other window treatments, shades are a smart choice for small spaces and evolving design themes.

Types of Window Shades

Types of Window Shades

Simply put, a shade is a window treatment that opens vertically rather than horizontally, like curtains. Beyond that, the differences aren't so simple. Some shades feature clean lines, while others make lavish design statements. Some are primarily decorative, while others work hard to create comfort.

Roller Shades

Classic roller shades are inexpensive and help create a consistent exterior view under window treatments that vary from room to room. Used on its own or with curtains or draperies, a roller shade is versatile and adaptable. Bottom-mount shades provide privacy at the lower part of a window but admit light at the top.

shop Roller Shades

These sophisticated and contemporary roll-up shades come in standard and premium colors and fabrics, with varying degrees of light... blockage, so you can choose what's best for your needs. Go with our casual and textured solids for a relaxed feel or... read more


Bali offers a variety of roller shades to fill your home with style, function and beauty. Choose Bali roller shades for their simp...licity, versatility & functionality - they're perfect for any room and are available in a variety of opacity levels,... read more

Choose Premier Decorative Fabric Roller Shades by to bring a designer look to your windows at a low price. This exclusive fabric s...election features many natural fibers, textures, stripes and prints not available in most roller shade collections. Shades... read more

Our Fabric Light Filtering Roller shades offer an updated fashion color palette in a sleek fabric that will gently filter light the room. Our top quality hardware system features easy operation with our Continuous Cord Loop. Roller shades offer... read more

Tie-Up Shade

If privacy isn't an issue, leave this shade up; to hide a view, leave it down. Because the shade is tied into position, it's less convenient than a roller shade to raise and lower. Take advantage of the large, flat exposure when the shade is lowered by showcasing fabric with a large-scale or graphic pattern.

shop Tie-Up Shade

If you need to darken a nursery to help baby sleep, or if you need to darken a bedroom to help mom and dad sleep, this tie-up blac...kout shade will do the trick. Block light with the shade down, or let light in with the shade tied up like a valance. read more

H.c. International Inc.

These fine, floral-embroidered window curtain tiers naturally invoke warm memories of the past. Simple in design, this classic loo...k will fit gracefully into any room. Coordinate with the matching valances (sold separately). read more

at Target

Find window curtains: panels and valances at! Give your windows the royal (window) treatment with a Room Essentials Che...sapeake Tie-Up Shade. This tie-up shade is made of soft fabric that creates an elegant drape when the sashes are tied up.... read more

H.c. International, Inc.

58 x 63 price shown. Allow light to filter into your room with the stylishly simple Nimbus Stripe Tie-up Shade. Polyester window a...ccent is solid color with sheer stripes, a 1.5" rod pocket, and two silky satin ribbon ties. Tie-up shade measures... read more

Balloon and Austrian Shades

These romantic fabric treatments can be installed as decorative, where it's fixed to act much like a valance, or functional, where raising the shade gathers the fabric into opulent poufs. Balloon shades hang flat until the bottom, where the fabric is gathered. An Austrian shade features soft shirring along its length.

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Educational Insights
$29.41 $32.99
at Walmart

Education Insights Whisper Classroom Light Filters, Set of 4, are made to reduce the flicker and glare of traditional fluorescent ...bulbs. They easily attach to standard rectangular ceiling light fixtures with the four sturdy built-in magnets. The color... read more

D Kwitman & Sons-exclusive Win

56 x 63 price shown. The Wisteria Arbor Lace Balloon Shade and Valances are 100% polyester lace with a floral wisteria design. delicate lace window treatments have hand-cut edges. Lace Balloon Shade, Lace Swag Valance Pair, and Lace Insert... read more

Lorraine Home Fashions

Our distinctive Lace Balloon Shade boasts an intricate soft old world, jacquard lace with scalloped edges. Featuring penny flower, circular designs and clip rings that allow for an adjustable height; you'll love the look of a shade like this in your window. Easy care 100% polyester with a cotton like feel, gives it a sophisticated yet cozy feel. The soft appearance of old world lace is created by the lofted yarns used. 1.5" rod pocket. To clean: machine wash with warm water in the gentle cycle, no bleach, line dry and warm iron if necessary. Specify: Cream or White. 58"W x 63"L read more

D Kwitman & Sons-exclusive Win

60 x 63 price shown. Inspired by a traditional Scottish lace pattern, the lovely Fiona Lace Balloon Shade adds grace to your windo...w. Made of easy-care polyester, the floral and vine design lends a special touch, along with the scalloped bottom. Balloon... read more

Roman Shades

Soft like draperies but structured like blinds, Roman shades use an arrangement of cords, pulleys, and wands to pull up from a flat panel into a stack of tidy horizontal folds. Fabric choice is critical in creating the look once the panels gather into place: Roman shades of natural canvas or muslin present quite differently from those using a classic stripe or cottage floral.

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at Blinds

Levolor Classic Roman shades offer a luxurious look with an affordable price. The richness of the solid collection has the color need, with its range of color from bold red and gold to warm, earth tones of the neutral palette.Or choose from the wide read more

at Blinds

Bali Soft Roman Shades offer an exciting chance for do-it-yourself designers to access the quality and options similar to those us...ed by professional designers. With many carefully selected, high quality fabrics and trims to choose from you can now create read more
at Blinds

Deluxe Roman Shades by offer quality woven fabrics with a soft look and casual style without the high price. This coll...ection includes both light filtering and blackout fabrics, and are available in sizes up to 120"x96". Fabrics are available read more
at Blinds Cordless Roman Shades offer the perfect combination of classic styling, affordability, and cordless operation. These sh...ades are the ideal choice for anyone looking for a clean, uncluttered look and the ease of cordless operation. Select from ma read more

Pleated and Cellular Shades

A soft alternative to blinds, these shades filter light and boost energy efficiency. Made of layers of permanently folded paper or fabric, pleated shades fold accordion-style. For privacy, some lift from the bottom up. The three-dimensional honeycomb-style construction of cellular shades creates air pockets that insulate without adding the weight of heavy draperies. Both types are available with varying translucency, insulation, and ultraviolet protection. Motorized shades are ideal for skylights.

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at Blinds

With clean, sharp pleats which come in many soft neutral and natural fabrics, Pleated Shades from will provide a clean ...and contemporary look. Shades will gently filter the glare of the sun and provide UV protection. These pleated shades are a s read more
at Blinds

Our Privacy Pleated Shades are manufactured with route holes recessed behind the pleats, eliminating the beams of light you get on... "old fashion" pleated shades. All colors are available as light filtering and room darkening, without having to add the expe read more

at Blinds

Bali Pleated Shades offer an exceptional array of beautiful fabrics, that can be customized in a variety of ways. Choose from a s...election of light filtering and room darkening fabrics. Add privacy with the innovative liner option. Choose NeatPleat, and read more
at Blinds

The Cordless Pleated Shade offers a great look for any room in your home. These stylish and practical shades are design...ed with an integrated handle on the bottomrail, so there are no dangling cords. Select from a simple palette of basic whites read more

Product Features

Product Features

Most shades are fairly straightforward window treatments, but features and options create choices that suit almost any window design and installation need. With shades, how they work is just as important as how they look. Shop for construction and design details that provide equal parts function and fashion.


Materials vary according to the shade type. Flat vinyl or laminated paper; woven plant fibers such as jute, cane, or bamboo; and lightweight fabrics are used for roller shades and tie-up shades. Silky, sheer fabrics in solids or small prints work best for Roman and balloon shades. Polyester is the most common material for pleated and cellular shades. Consider how each material complements your room decor.

Optional Acrylic Backing

Roller shades bonded with a thin layer of foam provide insulating value and boost privacy.

Lift Mechanisms

For roller shades, the simplest type to use is the spring clutch: Just tug to release the clutch, then position the shade as desired. An upgraded clutch mechanism and a continuous loop of metal bead chain make it easy to raise or lower wide or heavy shades. Pull the chain in one direction to lift and the reverse to lower the shade. Side cords are standard with pleated and cellular shades, but manual or cord-free motorized systems (hardwired or battery-operated) are handy. Roman and balloon shade options include cords threaded through rings sewn to the back of the shade; continuous-loop controls eliminate cord pools for safety.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Choosing your ideal shade involves several factors. Because shades are often installed beneath another window treatment, consider how the two elements will work together. Decide whether you want the shade to stand out or play a supporting role in the design. Other considerations include size, style, and the privacy or insulating value you prefer.


Shades of all materials are available in several ready-made sizes, usually 24-48 inches wide and 64 or 72 inches long. For an added cost, custom sizes are available.


Roller shades vary in translucency, and heavy vinyl or bonded-fabric styles are more effective at blocking the view to your interior. Room-darkening shades (similar to blackout curtains) offer the highest degree of privacy. Sunscreen shades made from PVC filter ultraviolet light that fades furnishings. A top-down/bottom-up option allows you to let the shade drop from the top and/or rise from the bottom for both privacy and light control.

Insulating Qualities

Light-blocking backing also helps to keep heat in or out. For additional insulation, look for densely woven fabrics, quilting, or the extra layers or volume inherent in the construction of Roman and balloon shades. Snug-fitting inside-mount shades prevent drafts.

Color and Style

Just as with choosing other window treatments, consider your overall decorating look -- casual or formal, contemporary or traditional -- when selecting shades.


Install only cordless shades in homes with small children.

Decor on sale

"Select Blinds"
$279.70 $430.30
at Select Blinds

"Taking traditional vertical blinds to a whole new level, the Good Housekeeping Light Filtering Panel Tracks have wide panels for ...a modern, chic look. Available in 40 designer colors and patterns, you can?t go wrong with these improved vertical blinds.... read more

"Good Housekeeping Light Filtering Panel Track "
"Select Blinds"
$55.96 $86.10
at Select Blinds

"Custom-made from high quality sun control fabrics, the American SheerWeave 5% Solar Shades offer many benefits. These fabrics are... Greenguard Certified, so you know you?ll have better indoor air quality, free from chemical emissions. They also have... read more

"American SheerWeave 5% Solar Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$64.64 $99.45
at Select Blinds

"Featuring the most popular fairies from Pixie Hollow, the Disney Fairies Cordless Cellular Shades are cordless. No matter if your... child is a fan of classic Tinkerbell or the newer fairies, like Rosetta, Fawn, Silvermist, and Iridessa, these shades are... read more

"Disney Fairies Cordless Cellular Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$96.83 $148.97
at Select Blinds

"The pinnacle of energy efficiency and a designer favorite on ABC's hit show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the 3/8"" Double Cel...l Blackout Shades are the perfect choice. They're made from blackout fabrics and have a double cell construction. Add the... read more

"3/8"" Double Cell Blackout Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$37.63 $57.89
at Select Blinds

"Give your space a flattering glow without compromising your view to the outside with our Select Sheer Weave 10% Solar Shades. The...y also reduce glare, making them the perfect solution for home offices and home theaters. These solar shades let you enjoy... read more

"Select Sheer Weave 10% Solar Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$71.84 $110.53
at Select Blinds

"As one of the most affordable blackout shades in our cellular collection, the Select Single Cell Blackout Shades are available in... 12 colors. With so many color options, you can find the perfect design to match your style. These shades are made from... read more

"Select Single Cell Blackout Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$66.29 $101.98
at Select Blinds

"The top down/bottom up lift style comes standard, so you don't have to pay extra. The Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Pleated Shades ...combine the best of everything. With this lift style, you can lower the shade from the top so you can let in beautiful... read more

"Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Pleated Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$109.19 $167.99
at Select Blinds

"Functional, stylish, and with that special designer touch, the @Home Collection Blackout Roller Shades were created and designed Carriann Johnson. With this shade, she's done the hard work for you, so all you have to do is choose the options you... read more

"@Home Collection Blackout Roller Shades"
"Select Blinds"
$64.64 $99.45
at Select Blinds

"Showcasing your favorite characters - Mike and Sully - the Disney Monsters Cordless Cellular Shades are a fun way to add personal...ity to your child's space. Choose from 4 fun patterns to bring the playroom or bedroom to life. Because these shades are... read more

"Disney Monsters Cordless Cellular Shades"

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