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Learn About Roller Shades

Updated on June 3, 2013

When it comes to window treatments, you have all sorts of options. You can go the elaborate route with fancy curtains all trimmed with lace and fancy valences and curtain rods to go with them. Or you can go with a more simple style, elegant and classic. One of the most simple and elegant, as well as economical, ways to dress windows is with old fashioned roller shades. These will probably remind you of your childhood home, and they will look great in your current home as they do.

These days, there are many kinds and styles of roller shades, and you might need a bit of help sorting through them all. Below you will find just the kind of help you need so that you can dress your windows in practical and elegant roller shades.

Bare windows can be nice when you have a nice view, but you may need roller shades during night time or if you need privacy.
Bare windows can be nice when you have a nice view, but you may need roller shades during night time or if you need privacy.

Varieties of Roller Shades

At their most basic, roller shades are paper, cloth, or synthetic window treatments that roll down over your window when you want privacy or to keep out light and retract when you do not need them. Most roller shades operate on a simple spring load action and require no cords or drawstrings. The benefit of this is that pets or small children cannot get caught in the cords, which can be a hazard with curtains or other window treatments. This simplicity is also extremely convenient when installing roller shades.

Within the general category of roller shades, however, there are many varieties. The type of roller shade many people might be most familiar with are the paper shades, usually made from a beige or off white paper. These paper rollers shades do come in many other colors however, from pure white to pink to blue to forest green. Roller shade are also made in a woven paper variety, which has become quite popular in recent years. Such department stores as Sears and JC Penny carry these woven paper roller shades at very good prices.

Roller shades are also made out of fabric for a bit different look. Again, the options in color for fabric roller shades are wide open, as are the types of materials that are used in their manufacture. These lovely roller shades provide a great deal of privacy while still letting in a beautiful, atmospheric light through the fabric. On a warm summer day, the effect is soft and gentle, giving any room in your home a sense of coolness and comfort. The Shade Store, an online retailer of window treatments, offers several varieties of fabric roller shades to dress up any room in your home.

One other type of roller shade that has become very popular in homes as of late are the solar roller shades. These shades utilize a type of special synthetic fabric in their makeup that you can see through but which filter out the ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. These types of roller shades are great for reducing glare in your home while still allowing some amount of sunlight to shine through. These roller shades also work to keep your home cooler, and save you money on your electric bill, by reducing solar heating of your house. The retailer at can custom make some types of solar roller shades in as little as one day.

Measuring Windows for Roller Shades

Whether you are purchasing factory made and sized roller shades or are considering having your roller shades custom made, you will need to accurately measure your windows for length and width. For both dimensions, it is best to use a steel measuring tape for the most accurate measurement.

To measure the proper height for your roller shade, measure from the top inside edge of your window down to the window sill. If you live in an older home, you may want to measure at both top ends of the window in case any settling or warping of the window has taken place. You will then use the longer measurement.

When measuring the width for roller shades, there are two options, depending on how you are going to mount the shades. You can mount your roller shades within the window casing if you do not want the shades to cover the window molding when they are drawn. To measure for inner mounted roller shades, measure from one inside window edge to the opposite inside edge. As an alternative, you can mount roller shades outside the window casing. In this case, measure from the outside edges of the molding on both ends of the window.

Once you have your windows measured, you will be well on your way to buying a beautiful set of brand new roller shades. You are certain to enjoy your roller shades for many years to come.


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