How to Choose The Right Shades, From Roller to Balloon

Window shades are a great way to provide privacy, room darkening and style. 

Girl's Bedroom: Grand Manor in Greenwich, Conn.

Girl's Bedroom: Grand Manor in Greenwich, Conn.

This fancy (and sweet) bedroom is fit for a little princess with its ornate silver and blue wallpaper, crystal chandelier and ruffled armchair.

Photo by: Houlihan Lawrence, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Houlihan Lawrence, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

There’s a reason window shades are so popular. They’re inexpensive, simple to install and can add style to a room, instantly. And if you have a free Saturday afternoon, there are even lots of fun DIY projects for making your own.

Window shades can be used in combination with other window treatments like curtains and valances, but they also look great when used alone. Different from blinds, which are made of vinyl or wood slats, shades are soft window coverings that are rolled up and down or drawn into place by cords.

You can’t adjust shades to filter light, like you can blinds, but you can buy sheerer shades for rooms where you want to let in more light. Because shades fit inside they window, they can help moderate your home’s temperature, as well.

Shades come in a variety of types. Some of the most popular are:

·         Roller shades

·         Room-darkening shades

·         Balloon shades

·         Tie-up shades

Roller Shades

Roller shades are shades that wrap around a rolling rod. They use a tension mechanism, which allows you to easily roll them up or pull them down. These are a very cost-effective window covering and they’re easy to install.

You can give roll-up shades a new look in an afternoon by stenciling them.  It’s also simple to replace the vinyl with your own fabric and trim for a custom look that won’t break the bank.

Room-Darkening Shades

Room-darkening shades, also known as blackout shades, are window coverings that are either made of heavy material or lined to keep out light. They’re great for media rooms, bedrooms and even nurseries – any place that needs to be kept dark.

But just because they’re practical, doesn’t mean you have to settle for unattractive. Room-darkening shades come in a variety of fabrics and styles, from roller shades to Roman shades.

Balloon Shades

A balloon shade gathers into a series of poufs when it’s raised. Strings or ribbons on the back of the shade, attached to the pull cord, gather the fabric as the shade rises, creating this distinctive, feminine look.

Balloon shades can be a beautiful, sheer window covering, perfect for door windows, kitchen windows or any place that privacy and light are not an issue. In heavier fabric, they’re beautiful in bedrooms and bathrooms, particularly in traditional homes where a tapestry-style fabric matches their elegance.

Tie-Up Shades

Tie-up shades are panels of fabric with ribbons or tie-backs running vertically the length of the cloth. Using the ribbons, you can tie the shade to any height you want. These look similar to balloon shades, but are more casual in style.

You can use these alone or over (or under) drapes. Silk fabric with self-ties looks rich and feminine, while stripes or polka dots are perfect for kids’ rooms or kitchens. Contrasting ribbons can be used to bring out a color in the shade and to coordinate with the rest of the room’s décor. These pretty, inexpensive window coverings suit a variety of styles, from traditional to country.

Shades are a fun, inexpensive way to instantly gain privacy and style in a room. Whether you choose roller, balloon, tie-up or room-darkening varieties, your decor is sure to be made in the shade.

Installing Window Shades 01:00

Here are the basics for installing window shades and blinds.

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