Smart tips for selecting the perfect window shades

July 27, 2015

With so many window shades available, selecting the perfect ones can be a challenge. Here's what you need to know about window shades to make the selection and installation processes easier.

Smart tips for selecting the perfect window shades

General window shade information

The unassuming roller shade can range widely in price depending on the materials used.

  • Paper, vinyl and sized (stiffened) or laminated fabric are just a few of the choices.
  • Some shades have perforated surfaces, which allow in some light but block out harmful ultraviolet sun rays. Others have a laminated "black-out" backing, great for curbing the early morning sunrise for people who need to sleep in the daytime.
  • If you plan to use any shade as the single window treatment, consider one with a matching valance that covers the top roll. Or select a reverse-roll model, where the roll faces back.

The different shade options

Today's shades come in a wide variety of options, ranging from no-nonsense roller models to romantic balloon shades. All shades provide varying degrees of privacy and light control; pleated shades are the most energy-efficient. Bottom-up shades allow you to adjust for privacy while still letting the sun shine in.

  • Roller shade: Offered in many colours, textures and materials, roller shades have several roll-up options.
  • Roman shade: Usually made in a decorator fabric and lined, a Roman shade draws up into neat overlapping folds.
  • Balloon shade: Made of decorator fabrics, sheers and solids, a balloon shade pulls up into scalloped poufs.
  • Bottom-up shade: Offered in flat roller or accordion-pleated models, this shade pulls or rolls up from the bottom.
  • Do-it-yourself shades: Home decorating and sewing centres sell kits with everything you need but the fabric to make a custom window shade. Select a lightweight fabric, such as cotton, cotton blend or linen, that can take a hot iron setting, which you will need for bonding the fabric to the shade. Follow manufacturer's directions to laminate your fabric to the non-woven base.

It's easy to install roller shades yourself!

Roller shades are easy to install yourself, if these jobs come with the purchase price of the shades, however, have the professional do it to secure your warranty.You can install shades yourself, but it will go more smoothly, and you'll have better results, with two people to position and install the brackets. Before beginning installation, make sure you have done accurate measurements. To install:

  1. Slip the brackets onto the raised shade. Hold all the pieces temporarily where you want them mounted — inside or outside the window. While one person holds the shade in place, a second person uses a level to position it straight and marks the location of the screw or nail holes in the brackets on the window jamb (or frame).
  2. Take down the shade. Remove the brackets. Hold each bracket over its marked holes on the window jamb or frame and install it with the nails provided. (If the installation surface is metal, use screws instead. If it is drywall, use screws with screw anchors, even if they were not provided with the shade.)
  3. Insert the roller shade into the installed brackets, and test it for proper tension. Pull it up and down a few times to make sure it works properly. Adjust the tension as needed.

How to quickly install roman shades

While the Roman shade is measured the same way as other shades, it's installed quite differently.

  • The top fabric edge is stapled onto a 2.5 by five-centimetre (one by two-inch) board cut one centimetre (.5 inch) narrower than the shade's width.
  • Elbow brackets screw into the bottom of the board and to the window jamb or to the top face of the window frame for an outside mount.

Your first steps when getting started with shades are to research your options, decide what best suits your needs (and wants), then measure and install. Consider these tips before you begin installation, and learn how to install exactly what you want.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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