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A modern home has solar shades at night that you can see through from the large deck with a firepit that abuts tall windows
December 8, 2023

What to Expect with Solar Shades at Night

Solar shades offer a fantastic solution for softening natural light and reducing heat in bright and sunny rooms. They also allow you to maintain your view of the outdoors to varying degrees based on transparency level. Despite all these great benefits, you may still be wondering, how effective are Solar Shades at night? Do they provide privacy and prevent outside light from filling your home?

To get the answers you need, first learn about what Solar Shades are and how they work. Then, find out how this affects Solar Shades privacy for both the night and day. Finally, explore solutions for Solar Shades at night so you achieve the right level of light and privacy control for your home.

Understanding Solar Shades & Transparency Levels

Solar shades are a type of window treatment made from unique material designed to block out the sun’s UV rays while still allowing light to enter a room. They come in different levels of transparency, generally ranging from 1% to 10%. The lower the percentage, the opaquer the shades, and the more UV rays they will block. The higher the percentage, the less opaque the shades and the less UV rays are blocked.

A solar shade made with material featuring 10% transparency shows a nearly clear view to the building beyond the window

10% Transparency

10% means the shade blocks 90% of UV rays and is the most transparent, providing you with minimal privacy.

A solar shade made with material featuring 5% transparency shows a somewhat clear view to the building beyond the window

5% Transparency

5% means the shade blocks 95% of UV rays and is semi-transparent, providing you with less privacy.

A solar shade made with material featuring 3% transparency shows a muted view to the building beyond the window

3% Transparency

3% means the shade blocks 97% of UV rays and is less transparent, providing you with a bit of privacy.

A solar shade made with material featuring 1% transparency shows a very clouded view to the building beyond the window

1% Transparency

1% means the shade blocks 99% of UV rays and is also the least transparent, providing you with some privacy.

Understanding Solar Shades Privacy: Night & Day

When thinking about the level of transparency for your Solar Shade, it’s important to understand how that transparency affects your privacy from day to night. Solar Shades are designed to let light through and since our eyes are adapted to see light, that’s why we can see through the shades to the sunlight outdoors. However, for Solar Shades at night, that effect gets reversed when your interior lights are on.

A modern home has Solar Shades made of 10% material in Black that you can't really see through during the day from the deck

Solar Shades Privacy: Daytime

During the day, all Solar Shades provide a good level of privacy with opaquer shades (1% or 3%) providing the best privacy. When looking into your home from the outside during the day, someone won’t be able to see through your Solar Shade.

A modern home has Solar Shades at night made of 10% material in Black that you can see through during the night from the deck

Solar Shades Privacy: Nighttime

Solar Shades at night have the opposite effect than during the day. At night, you won’t be able to see through your Solar Shade from the inside to the outdoors, but someone may be able to see through the shade from the outdoors into your interior if you have your lights on.

While Solar Shades at night may not provide you with the best privacy, these shades still have a lot to offer. Learn the major benefits of Solar Shades, then discover easy solutions for getting more privacy with Solar Shades at night.

Solar Shade Benefits: Why Choose Them

Solar shades at night may show some of your home's interior like a living room with a low coffee table and modular furniture
Pictured: Solar Shades, 10% in Black

Solar Shades are a great choice for rooms with lots of windows and sunlight streaming in, whether a living room, sunroom or bedroom. Their benefits include:

  • Glare reduction without room darkening – Solar Shades cut glare without blocking the light, so you can enjoy sunny days year-round while on your computer or watching TV.
  • Heat mitigation with the inviting glow of the sun – Solar Shades block UV rays while still letting the natural light filter through so you can enjoy a bright, inviting space without the heat buildup. That means potentially lower energy costs for you, too. 
  • Fade prevention without covering your furnishings and flooring – UV rays are the cause of fading in furniture, flooring, paintings and more, so by blocking UV rays with Solar Shades, you keep your prized possessions richly hued for longer without having to cover them up or block the sunlight.
  • Maintain a view to the outdoors while still enjoying some privacy and light control – Solar Shades allow you a view to the outdoors while softening the sunlight in your room and providing all the benefits above. Plus, during the day, you’ll enjoy privacy with your Solar Shades as well, since anyone looking in won’t be able to see through your shades from the outdoors.

Solutions for Solar Shades Privacy at Night

While Solar Shades are excellent for softening light, maintaining a view, and protecting your furniture from sun damage, Solar Shades at night don’t offer the best privacy. However, you have a few great solutions for achieving the privacy you need.  

Layer Your Window Treatments

One great solution to Solar Shades privacy at night is to choose additional window treatments to layer over your Solar Shades, such as Drapery or another style of shade. Layering your window treatments not only gives you greater control over your light and privacy, but it also adds design dimension and style to your windows.

Common combinations of layered window treatments include:

If you don’t want to layer your window treatments, or your window can’t support two types of window treatments, you have another solution for Solar Shades at night: Choose an alternative to Solar Shades that offers better privacy at night.

Choose an Alternative to Solar Shades

There are several similar light-filtering window treatments that provide many of the same benefits of Solar Shades while also giving you better privacy at night.

Roller shades made of Tea Leaves in Brown offer light filtration and privacy for an alternative to Solar Shades at night

Light-Filtering Roller Shades

Light-filtering Roller Shades have the exact same design and functionality as Solar Shades but feature different materials with tighter weaves that still allow some light through while providing excellent privacy. Light-filtering Roller Shades vary in opacity, color and patterns, so you can find the right fit for your preferences and needs.

Pictured: Roller Shades, Tea Leaves in Brown

Roman Shades: Unlined or Privacy-Lined

Lighter weight Roman Shade materials can give you similar softened natural light as Solar Shades while providing better privacy. For even more privacy without sacrificing all light filtration, add privacy lining.

Pictured: Flat Roman Shade, Victoria Hagan, Sankaty Stripe in Moon

Flat Roman Shades made of Sankaty Stripe in Moon offer light filtration & privacy for an alternative to Solar Shades at night
Woven Wood Shades made of Coastline in Oat offer light filtration and privacy for an alternative to Solar Shades at night

Woven Wood Shades: Unlined or Privacy-Lined

The natural woven fibers of Woven Wood Shades beautifully diffuse light on their own while giving you a good sense of privacy, day and night. And just like Roman Shades, you can add privacy lining for an extra comfort while still enjoying some light filtration.

Pictured: Waterfall Woven Wood Shades, Artisan Weaves, Coastline in Oat

Learn more at your Local Showroom

Now that you know the pros and cons of Solar Shades at night, as well as solutions for better privacy, you’re ready to explore your options in more depth. Visit your local showroom where you see the different levels of Solar Shades privacy firsthand as well as layering and alternative window treatment options. Plus, our Design Consultants are on hand to answer all your questions and guide you toward the perfect window treatments to meet your needs and preferences.

A round white table with cream chairs sits in a custom window treatment showroom with drapery, shades and blinds displayed.


Visit your local showroom for interactive displays of all our products, 1,200+ premium material swatches and helpful Design Consultants ready to assist you.