By: Brandon Albertson
Roller shades are a type of window shade crafted from fabrics or types of vinyl that hang flat when in use. This is different from other designs, such as slats (like blinds) or ripples (like drapery and some roman shades).
Roller shades also have one of the smallest stacks, meaning the amount of space the window treatments take up when the window treatment is opened. This is due to the shades being rolled around a tube at the top of the window treatment. This minimal, barely-there style is a fan favorite, for sure.
In fact, roller shades are one of the most popular window treatments today. These low-maintenance window treatments are attractive to homeowners because of their versatility, streamlined look, and multi-functional design.
First, their construction is simple. Roller shades have 3 key parts:
When the window treatment is rolled up and not “in use” the whole mounting is unobtrusive and inconspicuous — such a small “stack” makes roller shades ideal for sliding glass doors, french doors, and patio doors. Its low profile is a fantastic benefit for a more subtle window treatment option.
Roller shades are also extremely low maintenance because of their materials. Depending on the material you choose for your roller shade, roller shades can be extremely easy to care for. Wiping them clean is very easy when necessary, but is also rarely needed. Their flat construction doesn’t allow as much buildup of dust that occurs on slatted window blinds, as there are no horizontal surfaces.
Their low maintenance quality makes them ideal window treatments for high traffic areas, and areas where there’s a chance the window treatment may become dirty — such as a frequently used patio door, a nursery or kid’s room, or on the window above the kitchen sink. With roller shades (made out of the right material) you’ll be able to wipe dirt, grime, and splashed water off easily.
If you’re looking to take advantage of this low-maintenance benefit, make sure you mention this to our design experts during your consultation. They’ll be sure to share all the best options for low-maintenance materials to use for your custom roller shades.
With such a versatile window treatment, you might be wondering what disadvantages roller shades might pose to homeowners.
The good news is that there’s only one drawback to roller shades, and it’s very insignificant compared to the major advantages roller shades offer — but it is worth taking into account. The disadvantage?
Roller shades are sometimes used as a light-blocking window treatment. However, even with proper mounting and fit, there can be a slight gap of up to 5/8ths of an inch between the window frame and the fabric. Because of this, roller shades can’t block or control 100% of the light coming through a window.
If you’re concerned about this small “light gap,” there are trims available to add to your windows to make the room completely dark. You can also discuss this with our expert design team, who can help find exactly what you need from your window treatment.
We spoke with Jason, one of our design experts out of Houston, about the light gap and how it affects clients. “This is only an issue for people who want total darkness. Most clients find the light bleed to be acceptable. But for those who don’t want it – go for the trims that minimize or completely eliminate the issue.”
Even with the tiny gap of light on the border of the window treatment, roller shades are an effective window treatment for controlling the light entering a room.
Despite the light gap, the advantages of roller shades are numerous.
The advantages truly outweigh the disadvantage. Let’s dig into all of these benefits more.
The simple materials and clean edges highlight the easy-to-use design of roller shades. Available as a cordless window treatment, you can simply pull or lift your roller shades to the desired height. If you’re looking for even more convenience, roller shades can also be upgraded to a motorized window treatment.
Sound intimidating? It’s not! A small, subtle motor is installed within the window treatment for hands-free manual control. So what does that mean? You don’t need to touch your roller shade to control it. Instead, motorization empowers you to open and close the shade from a switch mounted on the wall, a handheld remote or wand, or even an app on your phone.
To take it a step further, you can set up your new motorized window treatment to automatically open and close by connecting it with your home automation system. Imagine waking up and walking to the kitchen, relaxed and enjoying your coffee — with the window treatments already open to start your day with the morning sunshine. No walking through the house opening shades one by one or maneuvering through furniture to access your windows.
Motorization is a growing trend — the ease it offers, along with the extra safety benefits, make it a top contender for homeowners, parents, and grandparents. It’s also a great feature for tall windows or transoms where glare is uncomfortable throughout the day. At the touch of a button, you can adjust your shades when needed. The rest of the day? Enjoy your views and sunshine.
With roller shades, the options seem endless.
Want a window treatment for a modern space? Roller shades have clean lines and minimal frills. Unlike window treatments with more intricate or dramatic detailing, such as drapery or roman shades, roller shades have a clean, flattened look that creates a perfect subtle backdrop for a modern space.
Looking for something to match your more traditional or eclectic interior? Roller shades come in a variety of materials and textures to pair well with any decor. Stoneside designer Jason says there’s something for everyone. “The textures for roller shades run the gambit from smooth simple cottons and polyesters to thicker ‘grass-cloth like’ natural textures — even some pleated fabric that give the look of a multi-dimensional layering.”
Because of the options available for roller shades, you’re sure to find exactly the right match for your space. (Roller shades are also a fantastic choice for layering with more traditional drapes!)
Have you ever wanted a window treatment to cover your windows, but didn’t want to sacrifice the gorgeous natural light in your home? You want to feel secure and have more privacy, but shutting the shades or blinds only to have to turn on your lights while it’s still bright out seems like a waste.
Roller shades are the solution for just such circumstances. As stated above, roller shades are often used as a light-controlling window treatment and are available with varying opacities. Depending on the opacity of the material you choose, roller shades can have a subtle light dispersing effect with varying degrees of strength. At their most intense, roller shades have the capability to be room darkening or blackout.
This makes them ideal for rooms with high-intensity light exposure such as living rooms or dining rooms, or rooms such as bedrooms or nurseries where peaceful sleep is a priority. Solar shades are a subset of roller shades that can be even more effective for your home office.
Solar shades have many of the same advantages as roller shades, but if you opt for an open weave, you’ll still be able to see through your window treatment to the outside. While this does limit your privacy, it may be exactly what you want for certain rooms.
With solar shades designed with an open weave, you still get the light dispersing effect, more climate control, glare control, and UV protection, all while still enjoying your view out the window.
Most Stoneside customers prefer classic, airy neutrals. A white or off-white roller shade allows for more ambient light to enter a space, but still provides the desired privacy of an opaque window treatment. It also keeps a space looking fresh and clean.
If matching your interior style is a concern or desire, consider how different neutrals (including white) would suit your home’s design and decor. Neutrals are often longer-lasting and an excellent long-term solution, as your home decor can still evolve with color palette trends without clashing with your window treatments.
Roller shades are used most often for privacy and light control. However, roller shades are a very dynamic window treatment and have many qualities that make them a top choice for homeowners.
While most window treatments have some form of light control, roller shades shine in light control because of the multitude of material options available. The options really are impressive — there are all sorts of different colors, textures, opacities, and materials in general. This makes them optimal for any room, including nurseries, offices, living rooms, and bedrooms.
Roller shades are also used for specialty windows or doors. They’re a wonderful solution for sliding glass doors or french doors because of their low profile and maintenance.
Roller shades work exceptionally well in open-concept spaces, too. It can be difficult to find the right window treatment for such spaces — you don’t want a space that looks cluttered, but you do want a cohesive look. The clean, straight lines of roller shades help keep open-concept layouts crisp and intentional, but also functional.
In summary, roller shades are used for a variety of reasons, rooms, and situations, making roller shades one of the most versatile window treatments around.
Now that you know all the impressive benefits of roller shades, it’s time to figure out what options will be perfect for you.
Looking for more light filtering? What about your roller shade’s color? Do you think you’d rather have a fresh neutral or a rich, moody style?
When you book an appointment with one of our design experts, you’ll get personalized customer care to discuss all your options. This free consultation will help you narrow down your ideal window treatment to find the one that truly belongs in your home.
Reach out today, and get a custom roller shade made just for you.