Roller shades are popular for their ability to provide the right amount of light and privacy that you want. However, their effectiveness and appeal hinges on the fabric they are made from. When adding roller shades to your design, you need to know how to choose the right fabric to get what you want.

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How Much Do You Want to See?

With any kind of window treatment, you have to ask yourself: how much do I want to see? The type of fabric and the degree of thickness will affect not just how much light can filter through when closed, but what can be seen through it as well. It is important to remember that what you can see out during the day is what people can see in during the night. If you go with a thinner fabric, but still would like to have privacy, consider layering your shades with additional draperies to allow for easy adjustment. Another option is to choose a fabric shade with a tighter weave, which will provide more of a barrier against outside light and passersby.

There are light-filtering shades that provide privacy, yet still allow light to enter the room. The degree of filtering can range from sheer to room darkening. Room-darkening shades are NOT blackout shades; for 100% blackout shades, you may need to have a roller shade with side channels. Side channels block out the halo of light that sneaks out the sides of a roller shade. This option is more of a custom design and can come in your choice of motorized or manual use.

Solar Shades vs. Roller Shades What’s the Difference?

Solar shades are specifically designed to block the sun without blocking the view. They are a great option if the room has a high exposure to sunlight. Many offices and other commercial buildings, which get a lot of sun as a result of their design, have solar shades to preserve the view for their customers and employees. Fabrics for solar shades have an “openness factor” to describe how much sunlight they filter. The higher the number, the more light the fabric will allow through.

Solar shades tend to be a popular option because they can also help you save on your cooling bill. The more direct sunlight enters the room, the warmer that room gets. While this may be nice in winter time, it can be unbearable in the summer months. Choosing solar shades over traditional roller shades can help keep excess heat out of a room, depending on the density of the fabric.

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Exterior vs. Interior

You may come across roller shades that are marked “exterior” or “interior”. They might look and function the same, but their difference lies in what they’re made of. As the name suggests, interior shades are to be used indoors. Exterior shades are designed for outdoor usage and are made with special hardware. The material used for exterior shades will be more durable and will better handle the wear and tear of the elements while still getting the job done.