The Complete BRAVAS Guide to Window Shades
How to Find the Perfect Shades That Work for Your Home’s Aesthetic
Few design elements can bring a room together like window shades. Whether you want to accent a wall, complement the decor, or control the amount of daylight that reaches your room, shades are the perfect way to accomplish every goal.
Modern, automated shading systems are even compatible with smart control technology so that you can adjust your shades, lights, and other electronics with the touch of a button. How your shades look and function is important, along with how you control them. So, here's how to choose shades the BRAVAS way. Keep reading for more.
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Shades can come in a variety of styles, from the purely practical to the exclusively aesthetic. Here are a few of the most popular styles:
Drapes: Heavy curtains are a bit archaic, but they can still provide benefits to your home -- mainly if you live in a cold climate. The dense fabrics and distance between shade and window pane can create a small pocket of air that keeps warmth from escaping in the colder months.
Sunshades: These shades sit close to the window and can help control the amount of light and UV rays that get into a room, while still offering high visibility. They’re available in styles like “roman” (soft-looking), “pleated” (structured-looking), and solar screen. Contrary to popular belief, white sunshades aren’t the most effective. Instead, darker colors -- gray and black -- can reduce glare and increase privacy, while offering the clearest views from inside the house.
Blackout: Blackout shades usually sit close to the window and are made from opaque fabrics that minimize outside light. They sometimes feature tracks along the sides to ensure no ambient light filters in through them.
Cellular: Also known as honeycomb shades are perfect for controlling temperatures in basements and attics. Their unique accordion-like design traps air within the shade’s pockets, creating a temperature buffer. They can help take some pressure off of your thermostat.
Blinds: Blinds consist of a series of slats, typically made from wood and held together by string. They’re designed to control the amount of light that gets in and out of a room, though they’re less effective than other shading options. However, they can help create a classic look in any space.
Of course, choosing shades is more complicated than finding the right style. These are the terms you need to know to find the right ones for your room:
Opacity: Opacity refers to the amount of light let in by roman, pleated, and cellular style shades. Lower opacity means more light -- the fibers are less dense. Completely opaque shades block light entirely.
Openness: For solar screen shades, the term for the amount of light let in is “openness.” Often expressed as a percentage between zero and 14 percent, openness is a great way to determine the amount of privacy and light you’ll enjoy with these types of shades.
Railroading: This term refers to the direction of the pattern in relation to the roller. “Railroaded” patterns appear perpendicular to the roller, while non-railroaded patterns are horizontal.
Roller Motor: As part of an automated system, shades’ rollers are motorized. Motors exist within the casing or curtain rod. It’s not uncommon to hear a slight hum while the motors are in use, but higher-end options will operate more quietly.
Hembar Alignment: Another factor of motorized systems, hembar alignment refers to the way shades on different windows operate simultaneously. A professional installer can program your system so that each shade works in unison with the others.
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