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Pros and Cons of Pleated Shades

Pros and Cons of Pleated Shades

Pleated shades bring softness to a window, while allowing filtered sunlight to brighten a room.  Although they are similar to cellular or honeycomb shades, there are notable differences you should be aware of before deciding which treatment is right for you…

Unlike honeycomb shades, which feature a double-wall construction forming tubular “cells” along the width of the shade, pleated shades are made with only one layer of fabric.  This seemingly insignificant difference in the construction of the shade makes a big difference in the insulating qualities and appearance of a pleated shade.

Hunter Douglas Brilliance Shade

Brilliance Pleated Shade by Hunter Douglas

Pleated shades, while they do offer some insulation at the window, are not as energy-efficient as honeycomb shades.  The cells in a honeycomb shade trap air, offering enhanced protection against heat loss and solar gain at the window.  The pleats of a pleated shades protect against solar heat gain in the summer, but are less effective at insulating against the cold in the winter.  The single layer of fabric is just not as effective an insulator.

With crisp pleats, pleated shades have an appearance which is very similar to cellular shades.  The main difference between the two types of shades comes down to the cords that control the lifting of the shade.  While the cords of a cellular shade are hidden inside the cells of fabric, the cords of a pleated shade are clearly visible – both inside the room and from the outside of the home.  The cords cause pinholes of light where they go through the fabric of the shade, which may be objectionable if you are trying to block out all the light from a room.

Hunter Douglas Brilliance Pleated Shade

Brilliance Pleated Shade by Hunter Douglas. Note that the cords running through the shade are clearly visible.

Pleated shades typically come in a wider array of fabrics than cellular shades do.  From woven grass-look fabrics to crinkle silks, there are dozens of fabric options available in pleated shades.  Sheer, semi-opaque and opaque options offer something for every light control and privacy need.  Lifting systems include standard cordlock options, continuous cord loops and cordless lifting – the most popular.  And, pleated shades can be made in a variety of shapes – including trapezoids and arches for those tricky windows.

Most pleated shades come in a 1″ pleat size.  However, there are larger pleat options available, such as the 2″ option featured below from The Shade Store.  They also feature a very small stack when raised fully to the top of the window.  This is ideal if you are looking for a shade that is there when you need it, but out of sight when you don’t.

XL Pleat shade

XL Pleat Shade by The Shade Store

Pleated shades tend to be less expensive than some other types of window treatments, making them ideal if you are working with a tight budget.  Unlike other less-expensive window treatment options, such as wood blinds or aluminum blinds, pleated shades bring softness and texture to the window in the way a hard surface simply cannot.

While pleated shades may not be ideal for every home, their wide array of fabrics, lifting options and shapes – as well as their affordable price – make them well worth checking out.


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