Screen Roller Shades: How They Work, and Which Type is Right for You

I get a lot of questions about screen roller shades.

I’d like to take some time to go over different types of screen roller shades, how they work, and what you need to consider before choosing one.

What do people mean when they ask for a blind that they can see out, but people can’t see in?

The blind that most people ask for is screen roller shades.

These type of blinds tend to be called roller shades, or solar shades, screen shades or those kind of shades that Starbucks has.

They are basically a mesh or screen material and they all have a different openness factor. Openness simply refers to how tight the weave is, which directly reflects the amount of light that is let in through the fabric. Here’s another way of thinking of it: the tighter the weave, the smaller the holes in the material. There are a range of material types that have small holes (tighter weave) or larger holes (looser weave). The smaller or fewer the holes, the less you can see through the material. The larger the holes in the screen, the more you can see through. Larger holes mean more sun can shine through and people can see through more at night time.

outside looking in through a solar screen shade

Outside looking in through a solar screen shade

Another way to put it is that this type of blind only exists in the daytime. When you are inside and it’s light outside, you can see outside through the blind. This is because it’s brighter outside than it is inside your house or condo. But at night time, when it’s bright inside and its dark outside, people can see what is the brightest, which is inside your home or condo; the same way that you can see the outside through your blind during the day.

That openness factor is defined by a percentage.

Openness visibility guide for solar shades

The most common range is 0-10%. 0 means that there are is no weave (no holes); it’s a solid material. This is used when you want to block all the light, we call it a blackout material. This is a great option for bedroom windows or TV/media rooms.  1% openness lets light through, but you typically won’t see objects outside. The holes are so small that you can’t see through to make out any identifiable shapes.  2-3% has slightly larger holes. This option is a good one for letting in light and for you to see the outline or the shape of objects outside. It gives you some privacy.

1 percent openness solar screen

A solar screen with 1% openness. Photo by Nancy DeVries

Next is 5%, which is great for when you have a view you want to see, but you want sun protection. You might have a lot of sun coming through and you want to have sun and solar heat protection. This screen will tone down the glare that is coming through the windows, so you can watch TV and sit in your bright room without wearing your sunglasses.

5 percent openness solar screen

A solar screen with 5% openness. Reduces sun glare while preserving the view. Photo by Nancy DeVries

Open roll roller shades in 5% solar shade from Hunter Douglas

Open roll roller shades in 5% solar shade by Hunter Douglas

Next openness range is 10-14%. Bigger holes, bigger views, best visibility. This screen only diffuses the sunlight, it doesn’t block the sun. It will soften the sunlight.  I like to suggest going with a black fabric which really does help tone down the glare. The black fabric will absorb the light. When the fabric is white, it reflects more light, so you have more brightness. The great thing about black fabric with the solar shade is that the eye sees through the black mesh material a lot easier than when it’s white, because it’s bright outside. You can hold up the two different coloured materials to see the difference.

What are some other advantages of screen roller shades?

The great thing about having roller shades on windows where you have a view is that when they are rolled all the way up, they roll onto the tube so there is no stack hanging down covering your window. The roller tube can be installed as is or it can be covered with a painted metal fascia or a fabric covered cassette headrail. The painted metal fascia can be square or curved, great for giving windows a clean, simple appearance. The cassettes are typically curved and covered in the same fabric as the roller shade. It is a softer, more decorative look for windows that might have drapery panels and or decorative moulding around the window. Both of these coverings are either 3” or 4” high, depending on the size of the roller shade.

screen roller shades

Screen roller shades give windows a clean, simple appearance.

Roller shades can be manually operated with a pull chain or motorized. When I say motorized, that means the shade has a motor in the tube and the blind is operated by you pushing a button on a remote. Simple, right?

Now when I say the motorized shades can be automated, that means that you can purchase a Hub (like a router) which will allow you to operate your motorized shades through an app on your smartphone or tablet. Most manufacturers have created apps that allow you to schedule times when you shades will operate. How cool is that? So, when you are away from home and the sun comes out and is shining into your home, warming it up and fading your hardwood floors, you can open the app on your phone and close your blinds.  So convenient!

These are some quick guidelines about screen roller shades. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca

 

For all things related to window coverings, leave a comment below if you would like to receive the Hunter Douglas The Art of  Window Dressing brochure (British Columbia residences only).

Screen Roller Shades: How They Work, and Which Type is Right for You

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PowerView Motorization – Intelligent Shades that Simplify Your Life

The next step in window covering motorization technology is coming soon to a window near you. It’s called PowerView by Hunter Douglas and it’s all about two-way communication between you and your window coverings.

More details will come in July when it launches in Canada, but yesterday I, along with other authorized dealers, got a preview of how it works and how the new features, like the Pebble Remote and the Scene Controller, will transform how light and privacy can be controlled in our homes.

PowerView Motorization - Intelligent Shades that Simplify Your Life

PowerView Pebble remote is available in seven colours

Pebble Remote

The new Pebble Remote is ergonomically shaped and is very user-friendly, with buttons for a group of shades operation, shade up/down, vanes open/closed, and my favourite, a STOP button. Previous remotes had only an up or down button, and in order to stop the shade, you had to press the button that was the opposite of the direction of the way the shade was moving. The Pebble cover is available in ten stylish colours.

The Pebble Scene Controller lets the user create scenes to balance different lighting and privacy needs throughout the day. The user can create a scene that is called Good Night which can make the shades lower and close at a certain time or whenever it suits the mood.

PowerView motorization

PowerView App

Another great feature is the new PowerView App, (which is available for Apple, iOS, and Android). You can personalize how your blinds will operate on their own in line with your lifestyle.

For example, you leave your house for work in the morning when its grey and rainy, you turn your lights off but forget to open your blinds that are in the closed position from the night before. Around noon you see that the sun is out, and you want to make sure that your houseplants don’t die from light starvation because your blinds are closed all day. You can go into the PowerView App via your mobile device and open your blinds with a swipe of your finger.

Or, say it’s a Saturday afternoon and you are out doing your errands. Your teenager is at home still sleeping and you want the lawn to be cut before you get home. Use the App on your phone to open up the blinds in your teenager’s room! Now how have you lived without that powerful feature? LOL.

PowerView Motorization - Intelligent Shades that Simplify Your Life

For the energy conscious homeowner, you can schedule the operation of your window shades to optimize your home’s energy efficiency. So when the sun is beaming through your living room window during the afternoon, you can set the time for your blinds to close so you can reduce your solar heat gain. You can even schedule Scenes to operate with the sunrise and sunset based on your location.

This technology is unique and innovative, as well as fashion-forward. for you and how you live.

If you would like PowerView motorized window shades for your home, contact me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca to set up an in-home consultation.

For more information on the features and benefits of PowerView, check out the Urban Aesthetics-Hunter Douglas website 

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How remote control blinds can allow you to relax in your home

So you’re curled up on the couch with your favourite drink and your snuggle buddy (mine is my dog, Zoe) – ready to watch that highly-anticipated movie, ready to truly relax, when you suddenly realize that the glare on your screen means you need to close the window coverings! You could get up, ruining the comfortable little nest you’ve made for yourself on the couch. Or… you could close your motorized, remote control blinds without even leaving your seat! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Couple-Watching-UP-TV1

Automated motorized window covering products include drapery tracks (that roll from left to right across the window), solar screen or fabric pleated shades (that move up from the bottom), and even shades that move from the top down.

remote control blinds

Any motorized blind can respond to your command by the push of a button on a wall switch or a remote control.You can even move the shades with your favourite mobile device! For example, Hunter Douglas provides an app for Apple products that allows full control from your iPhone or iPad. hd_app_1_0

Some manufacturer’s automated shades can have a timer that can be set to respond to the time of day, a pre-set room temperature, or even the position of the sun. This means the blinds can:

  • automatically close to stop the sun’s glare from damaging or discolouring furniture and artwork
  • open in cold weather to keep your heating bills down
  • close in warm weather to keep your cooling bills down
  • open in the morning to provide a pleasant wake-up call
  • close when you’re away to prevent anyone from seeing in

The possibilities are endless. Just imagine if you have a motorized shade in your children’s rooms… While you are in the kitchen enjoying your morning coffee, you realize it’s late and you still can’t hear your kids getting up for school. To help them wake up, you pick up your iPad, and with a single swipe of your finger, voila!, their blinds are opened without you even having to step foot in their room!

In all of these great explanations why motorized shades are so convenient and easy to operate, the number one reason why most of my clients ask about motorized shades is that their furniture, or their teenager’s pile of clothes, is blocking the access to the blind’s pull cords.

Remote control blinds

In spite of all these benefits, you might think that the cost of automatic blinds would outweigh the practical application. However, over the years they have become more and more affordable, as well as user-friendly. Furthermore, their cost can be off-set by the long-term energy savings from decreasing both your heating and cooling bills. There are numerous companies that provide excellent automatic systems, including:

Whole-Home Integration

Along with controlling your Hunter Douglas PowerView® shades through the PowerView App and Pebble® Control, PowerView® Motorization also seamlessly integrates with other sophisticated whole-home automation systems. Synchronize your ‘Scenes’ to automatically activate in coordination with your other smart home devices to create picture-perfect settings throughout the day, every day.

With the right motorized blinds, you can make sure your home gets the light—or shade—it needs in a way most convenient for you.

If you would like an estimate on motorizing your window coverings, contact me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca

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Top trends in window coverings

The following blog post is taken from the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada blog website which features decorating tips, how-to’s and advice from experts who are accredited members of this association. This blog post features yours truly as one of the experts answering questions about the top trends in window coverings.

There are plenty of trends out there right now for people looking to spice up their windows. From textured sheers to roller shades, here are some of the top trends in the window treatment market right now.

Roller shades and screens

Roller shades, which are a straight piece of fabric attached to a roller that pulls it up and down, have come a long way from the vinyl fabrics of the past.

Coordinating fabrics on roller shades and gliding panels

Roller shade and Gliding panels in the same fabric.

“The industry has come up with trendier colours and patterns and made these window coverings affordable and less bulky-looking with improved function and operational hardware,” says Nancy DeVries of Urban Aesthetics in North Vancouver.

Modernized sheers

DeVries says that sheer-looking shades, such as the Pirouette blind from Hunter Douglas, are big sellers right now. “Clients love the function of the sheer shade when the vanes are open for sun protection and daytime privacy,” she says. “When the soft fabric folds are in the closed position, it gives the look of a roman shade and clients are attracted to the dual function of this type of shade.”

Pirouette sheer shades by Hunter Douglas

Pirouette Shades by Hunter Douglas

 Ana Gomes of Personal Touch Interiors in Ottawa says she’s seen sheers updated with interwoven materials and patterns, which creates an added texture and interest. “Embossed or printed patterns, with more colour choices, are also a trend right now,” she says.

Green window coverings

Gomes says that she’s found an increased focus on green design as more and more people are concerned about the chemicals found in traditional window shading and fabrics. “Some performance fabrics have gone green with anti-microbial, anti-fungal traits woven into the yarn,” she says. “Another option is to have it done as a top spray, added after.”

Woven wood shades by Hunter Douglas

 Provenance Woven Wood Shades by Hunter Douglas

Other green trends in window coverings include linen and cotton fabrics and bamboo blinds.

Delicate detailing and plenty of patterns

Fancy details such as ribbon, beaded trim and luxury fabrics are also a big trend right now, says Gomes. Similarly, strong patterns are making their way into the market, with large-scale florals, bold stripes and graphic geometric designs creating some eye-catching options.

pleated shades in fun patterns by Hunter Douglas

Pleated shades with fun patterns to dress up your windows.

However, despite this move to flashy patterns, clean, sleek, crisp lines remain the preferred choice for most window treatments.

If you would like to know more about any of these top window covering trends, click here to contact Nancy.

Have you signed up for the Urban Aesthetics’ newsletter where you can find out more about decorating and what’s currently trending? Click here for the link to the UA website where you can subscribe.

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