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5 Tips Designers Use to Make Roller Shades Fabulous

5 Tips Designers Use to Make Roller Shades Fabulous

Compared to a set of custom linen drapery or roman shades, custom roller shades or solar shades are a deal  — a few hundred bucks versus a few thousand — and easily beat slatted blinds or verticals on look + function.

You’re probably nodding your head by now, thinking sure: some plastic-y or paper fabric on a roll that better suits a dentist’s office rather than your living room, right? News flash: Designers manage to make these babies look gorgeous in homes, with only a few small decisions, and we thought we’d share a few tips to help guide your roller shade selection.

Inside Mount is Preferred.

While there are different reasons and situations that might call for an Outside Mount, choosing to go inside the window frame is going to give you a more streamlined & discreet look. The best way to see if this will work for your window is to make sure you have at least 2 ¼” to make sure they are flush with the windows edge.

Details Matter: Roller Shade Hardware.

When you’re customizing your shade, you’ll likely notice an option for an integrated valance, which is basically a metal or upholstered box at the top to disguise the roller mechanism. If you match these to the color of the shade, you’ll conceal the shade and mechanism from view.

Roller Shade Valance or box used to disguise the roller shade mechanism

A carefully finished bottom is also essential if you want your shade to look as good on day 901 as it did on day 1. A sewn-in bottom bar or exposed metal option in various finishes

High Quality European Bottom Bar for Roller Shades & Solar Shades

Choose a “Waterfall” Roll.

If you can’t manage a valance box, make your shade not-so-ordinary by having the roller shade come down over the front of the roller, as opposed to underneath. Your result will be simple and pronounced.


If you can't manage a valance box, at least choose for the shade to come down over the front of the roller, mostly obscuring it, rather than from underneath, which will make it more pronounced.

Use Darker Solar Shades for an Understated Look.

For subtle black tones, solar shades and light filtering roller shades add color while still allowing natural light into the room. When raised, the shade retracts into a small roll that blends into the window frame. Black Solar and Roller Shades are an ideal choice if you like minimal window treatments that are practically invisible when raised.

solar shades and light filtering roller shades add color while still allowing natural light into the room.

If You Need to Add Color, Then …

While some folks think this decision is mostly about how the shades themselves will compliment the rooms aesthetic and feel, it’s just as important to carefully consider how the color of the shade will impact the color of light filtering through it. We suggest you hold up two or three colors of a “light-er” colored fabric and see how it changes the light’s color. We think you’ll be surprised at what you see.

Choose the Ideal Transparency.

When we are helping clients choose roller shades, we make sure to show them a range of opacities, generally 1%, 3%, 5%, & 10%. While blackout fabrics are excellent choices for bedrooms and a nursery — for all other rooms you’re probably going to look for something to diffuse and play with light!.

We Told You So!

While some may still associate Roller Shades with the old vinyl spring-loaded shades with scalloped borders — rest assured, these 5 tips will help you design a window treatment that is updated, stylish, and contemporary.

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Feature Photo by Alva

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