Screen shades have been used for years in commercial spaces such as restaurants and office buildings. Their sleek, modern look makes them perfect for those environments. Over the past several years, however, these shades have become popular for residential spaces, too. Will they work in your home?
Screen shades are typically fabricated as a roller shade, which winds up on a spindle at the top of the window. The roll can be concealed by a “cassette,” which creates a cleaner look at the top of the window. They are also available in a Roman shade option that raises in even folds to the top of the window. In either style, they are made of woven or perforated fabric or vinyl.
The screen shade fabric is rated according to the amount of UV light that gets through the fabric. So, a 5% fabric allows 5% of the sunlight into the room, meaning that 95% of it will be blocked by the fabric. The lower the percentage, the better the shade will protect your home’s interior.
Screen shades are fantastic for spaces that receive a lot of sun and homes with a great view. While they cut the glare, UV rays and heat from the sun, they do not block the view entirely. Using a screen shade on your window will significantly reduce the heat that enters your home through the windows – a great option for homes in warm-weather locations. Cutting the UV rays permitted into your home will help to protect the investment you have made in your furniture and finishes; these rays damage fabrics in very short order.
However, the same characteristics that make screen shades wonderful in some homes, make them the wrong choice for others. Screen shades do NOT offer privacy; at night, passersby will definitely be able to see into your home through a screen shade. In addition, screen shades offer little insulation against the cold at the window . In colder climates, or on older, leaky windows, using a window treatment with some insulating factor (like a honeycomb or cellular shade) will help keep the cold air out of your home.
Since screen shades tend to have a more contemporary look, they may not be appropriate in a very traditional space. However, some newer screen shade fabrics look more like woven grass than perforated vinyl, offering new style options. The photos here, courtesy of Hunter Douglas, show that screen shades can work in a variety of spaces.
Screen shades work very well in some situations, and not so well in others. Knowing the pros and cons of the product will help you make an informed choice the next time you shop for window treatments.