Shades of Style

9 window shades that pop with style and will help keep your home cool.

Not all shades are created equal — there are sheers, woven woods, deco folds and graphic rollers, to name a few. Here we celebrate a window dressing that is often single-handedly responsible for that flutter you feel in your heart when you stumble upon a space so coordinated and customized you want to drop everything and run to the fabric store.

1. Faux

Nonfunctioning, or “faux,” shades like this one freshly launched by Prospect + Vine are perfect for those who want a pop of color in the window, but who don’t need the functionality of a shade that fully extends. As a bonus, faux shades can bring custom design into a more affordable price range, as less fabric is required and the construction is a bit simpler.

Good for: Offering a transitional alternative to valances and cornices.

Claudia Martin ASID, original photo on Houzz

2. Top-down, bottom-up

This darling sitting room is about as welcoming and comfortable as a space can be. It owes its allure in large part to the delicate filtration of light through the semi-opaque top-down, bottom-up shades that allow the homeowner to shut out glare without blocking all the light, no matter where the sun lies in the sky.

Good for: Eliminating glare by allowing maximum control over the amount and quality of light.

Margaret Donaldson Interiors, original photo on Houzz

3. Woven woods

Think beyond fabric when adding tailored custom shades to your bedroom. In this Kiawah Island, South Carolina, vacation home, the looming ceiling and the prim and proper skirted chairs could have lent an ostensibly formal vibe to this master bedroom retreat, but the savvy designer softened the look with woven wood shades that keep the space classy but still down-to-earth.

Good for: Adding a natural touch to your decor.

4. Fabric

To me and so many other decorators, shades have always reigned supreme as a way to personalize a windowscape. That’s because shades are nearly always custom-made to fit unique windows like a glove, and the range of available fabrics is nearly limitless if you shop around or hire a designer who has access to showrooms that sell only to the trade.

Good for: Banquettes, window seats and other nooks.

Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz

5. Oversized

Conventional draperies would have worked beautifully for these windows, but the shades create a completely different vibe. The beauty of shades is that they can be constructed to fit virtually any size window. Most home decor fabrics hover around 54 inches wide, so bear in mind that seams are often unavoidable in larger shades like these, but in the hands of a skilled fabricator, they can be made barely perceptible.

Good for: A feature wall effect that’s more easily changed than wallpaper. Also, an alternative to draperies for uniquely sized windows.

Heydt Designs, original photo on Houzz​

6. Deco fold

I can hear the objections already: “Won’t a shade inhibit the opening and closing of the doors?” While it is certainly true that we most often see shades mounted within the door frame, this designer’s intriguing placement of a single large deco fold shade above the French door serves as a most functional, if unconventional, alternative to draperies.

Good for: Boosting privacy and light control for virtually any type of door.

Amy Lambert Lee, original photo on Houzz

7. Within the frame

Shades are the cornerstone of a richly layered window. Since they, along with blinds and shutters, can be mounted within the window frame, the ample unused wall space above and beyond the frame begs to be hung with additional layers. Here, we see sheer curtains draped over more opaque shades, both of which inject texture into a neutral space.

Good for: Adding texture, dimension, movement and richness at a layered window.

8. Roller shades

Roller shades, which are essentially flat stretches of fabric that unfurl from a hidden roll mechanism, provide an ideal way to showcase a unique fabric. Others on Houzz have repurposed vintage sheets, hand-painted their ideas on a couple of yards of fabric, or designed and printed their own fabric through websites like Spoonflower. Roller shades and flat Roman styles are the best for showcasing special fabrics — the flatter the treatment, the more like a canvas your shade becomes.

Good for: Showcasing a special fabric in a playroom, game room, craft room or really anywhere.

9. Arched

Shades are one of the top strategies for dealing with a specially shaped window, like an arch. Nearly every type of shade, from energy-efficient honeycombs to billowy balloon shades, can typically be curved into an arch, angled into a trapezoid or otherwise fitted to unique window dimensions.

Good for: Oddly shaped, custom windows that are difficult to dress.

This article originally published on
For related articles see:
Choose the Right Fabric for Your Windows
See If Plantation Shutters Work for Your Room
Rock Turquoise for an Extra Bit of Flair

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Categories: Home Grown