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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.

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Laura Ashley

Looking for a roller shade that will set the style for you room rather than just coordinate with it? The new Laura Ashley Roller S...hade comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns that no description can do justice. See the color swatches to be blown... read more

Blinds.com

The Grasscloth roller shade collection offers a unique selection of 20 fashion forward colors and patterns, to make any room look ...remarkable. Fabrics are woven from combinations of cellulose, polyester and jute, in complex weave patterns that create... read more

Bali

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

Blinds.com

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

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.

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H.c. International Inc.

These fine, floral-embroidered window tiers naturally invoke warm memories of the past. Simple in design, this classic look will f...it gracefully into any room. read more

Room Essentials
$19.99
at Target

Find window curtains, panels and valances at Target.com! We guarantee you'll get tied up in this shade. Beautiful dobby weave in a...n earthy tan shade makes this tie-up shade a unique way to finish off a window. 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

Room Essentials
$19.99
at Target

Find window curtains, panels and valances at Target.com! Tie up a fashionable look in your home that will accent your dcor, and de...clare your personal style. This chesapeake tie up shade from room essentials comes in a selection of colors, so you can... 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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Lorraine Home Fashions

Our distinctive Lace Balloon Shade boasts an intricate soft old world, jacquard lace with scalloped edges. Featuring penny flower ...like, 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

Simply Shabby Chic
$24.99
at Target

Find window curtains, panels and valances at Target.com! Simply shabby chic faux silk balloon shade - true white

Simply Shabby Chic
$24.99
at Target

Find window curtains, panels and valances at Target.com! Simply shabby chic faux silk balloon shade - snowflake

Simply Shabby Chic
$24.99
at Target

Find window curtains, panels and valances at Target.com! A simply shabby chic faux silk balloon shade will add a sweet finishing t...ouch to your window treatments. You can adjust the length of this balloon valance to cover your window and change the amount of light coming into your room. Match it with other shabby chic furnishings or mix it up with other pieces for a completely new look. 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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Levolor

Levolor Classic Roman shades offer a luxurious look with an affordable price. The richness of the solid collection has the color ...you 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

Norman

Norman Roman Shades from Blinds.com offer high quality woven fabrics with soft, luxurious style and is our only completely cordles...s roman shade option making it a safer for homes with children. These shades feature a Flat Style that has a simple elegant d read more

Bali

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

Blinds.com

Deluxe Roman Shades by Blinds.com 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

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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Blinds.com

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

Graber

Graber EvenPleat Pleated Shades from Blinds.com are available in a beautiful array of textures and colors in both 1 inch and 2 inc...h pleat sizes. They feature a back ladder support that ensures perfectly sized pleats from top to bottom. When opened,... read more

Blinds.com

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

Blinds.com

Signature 1-in Pleated Shades by Blinds.com offer a beautiful range of 85 fabrics in a stylish spectrum of colors and an array of ...textures. Each shade is custom-made to your size specifications. Pleats are crisp, and the pattern on the face of the... 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.

Material

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.

Size

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.

Privacy

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.

Safety

Install only cordless shades in homes with small children.

Decor on sale
Kohl's
$45.49 $69.99
at Kohl's

Keep the compliments coming with the rich and exotic intrigue of these Havana Roman shades. In cocoa. Features 23'' x 72'' Handcra...fted woven bamboo Light filtering design Matching 6'' long valance Easy installation & care Mounting hardware Construction... read more

Havana Light Filtering Bamboo Roman Shades - 23'' x 72'' (Brown)
Kohl's
$87.74 $134.99
at Kohl's

Adore your home even more with the warm and rich beauty of these Havana Roman shades. In pecan. Features 70'' x 64'' Handcrafted w...oven bamboo Light filtering design Matching 6'' long valance Easy installation & care Mounting hardware Construction &... read more

Havana Light Filtering Bamboo Roman Shades - 70'' x 64'' (Brown)
"Select Blinds"
$279.70 $430.30
at Select Blinds

"The Good Housekeeping Light Filtering Panel Tracks take traditional vertical blinds to a whole new level. Instead of traditional ...vanes, these blinds have wide panels, giving them a modern, chic look. Available in 40 designer colors and patterns, you... read more

"Good Housekeeping Light Filtering Panel Track "
"Select Blinds"
$55.04 $84.67
at Select Blinds

"The American SheerWeave 5% Solar Shades are custom-made from high quality sun control fabrics. These fabrics are Greenguard Certi...fied, so you know you?ll have better indoor air quality, free from chemical emissions. They also have Microban... read more

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

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

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

"The 3/8? Double Cell Blackout Shades were a designer favorite on ABC?s hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and it?s not hard... to see why. Because they?re made from blackout fabrics and have a double cell construction, these shades are the pinnacle... read more

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

"The Select Sheer Weave 10% Solar Shades will give your space a flattering glow without compromising your view to the outside. 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"
$73.30 $112.77
at Select Blinds

"The Select Single Cell Blackout Shades are the most affordable blackout shades in our entire cellular collection. With 12 availab...le colors, you can find the perfect design to match your style. These shades are made from 100% polyester, so they?re... read more

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

"The Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Pleated Shades combine the best of everything. The top down/bottom up lift style comes standard, ...so you don?t have to pay extra. 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"
$107.06 $164.70
at Select Blinds

"HGTV designer Carriann Johnson has done the hard work for you, so all you have to do is choose the options you want. The @Home Co...llection Blackout Roller Shades are functional and stylish, and, of course, they have that special designer touch. They?re... read more

"@Home Collection Blackout Roller Shades"
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