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).

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for even more design inspiration!

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Seven Stylish Window Treatments for your Kitchen Sink Window

Here are seven stylish window treatments for your kitchen sink window:

1. Valances: padded, awning and swag styles.

A valance is a window dressing that covers the top portion of the window. Styles range from fabric-covered padded boards to dressy swags to flat straight-cut valances. A valance is usually mounted on the outside frame of the window, allowing for a privacy blind or shade to be mounted underneath.

Valance photo collage

Pinterest and Urban Aesthetics

2. Roman shades

Roman shades can be made as a valance (decorative) or as an operable shade. This classic design works well in both traditional and modern kitchens. Custom Roman shades can be made with your choice of fabric to bring colour and elegance to your kitchen.

Maria Killam's roman shade

Maria Killam’s roman shade over her kitchen sink window

3. Bamboo/woven grass shades

This is a great way to add a natural woven texture to your kitchen décor. A bamboo or woven grass shade filters the light and provides privacy. It can roll up under a valance or fold up like a Roman shade. Made from natural woods, reeds, bamboo and grasses, they are unique in that over time they attain a one-of-a-kind finish, like other wood features in your home.

Hunter Douglas Woven Woods roller shades

Woven woods roller shades

graber-woven wood roman shades

Roman shade woven woods

4. Stained glass window panel

This idea is practical and beautiful.  Stained glass windows have been used as decorative accents for hundreds of years. Choose the panel in a size to cover as much or as little of the window as required to hide the view or provide privacy, and in a design that provides the colour and style that complements your kitchen. As my friend who provided this photo of her window says, “While I love the view of my neighbour’s yard, this allows them some privacy. I don’t feel like a Peeping Tom, and I still get beauty and natural light.”

Stain glass panel in window above kitchen sink

Photo by Sheilah H.

5. Shutters

Vinyl shutters are one the best options for window coverings in high moisture areas. They can be wiped clean and are incredibly durable in a kitchen environment. The second image below shows how this style of shutter can provide privacy when the bottom half is left closed, while still allowing light in by leaving the top half open.

shutters on kitchen sink window

Hunter Douglas Palm Beach shutters

 

Luxaflex shutters

Luxaflex shutters

6. Light filtering shades

While you may want privacy, you likely don’t want to block out all the light that comes through the kitchen window. This is where I recommend a light filtering polyester roller shade or honeycomb shade. They are easy to clean, easy to operate, and the honeycomb shades can be ordered with the top down/bottom up feature so you can lower just the top of the shade, allowing you still to see out your window.

Top down/ bottom up honeycomb shades

Top down/ bottom up shades

Sheer screen roller shade

Sheer screen roller shade

7. Shelves and plants

What I like about this option is that you can have plants do what they do best: grow in a moist area, provide shade and give you nourishment. Glass shelves secured to ledges in the window frame give you the perfect area to grow herbs or your plant of choice. And the best part is that you won’t forget to water them!

 kitchen-window-herb-garden orchids as window dressing

What’s on your kitchen sink window? Do you need to add a window covering for privacy or to block an unpleasant view?

If you would like more information or even a free estimate regarding a treatment for your kitchen sink window, email me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca

For more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.

For even more design inspiration, check out these ideas on the Urban Aesthetics/Hunter Douglas website

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