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Sun blocking shades made of 10% material in Black are drawn at different heights in a sunny, minimalist living room
March 28, 2024

Best Sun Blocking Shades to Prevent Sun Damage

If you’re looking for sun blocking shades, you’re likely interested in shades that protect your interiors from harmful UV rays. Sun blocking shades can prevent your furnishings from fading, reduce glare and mitigate heat buildup from the sun for a more comfortable interior. These types of UV blocking window shades come in several different styles from light-filtering Solar Shades to light-blocking blackout shades. Finding the right one will depend on your individual preferences and light and privacy control needs.

Cover Photo: Solar Shades, 10% in Black

Benefits of Sun Blocking Shades

UV shades made of 5 percent Metallic in Zinc cover tall wide windows in a modern grey living room with light grey furniture
Pictured: Solar Shades, 5% Metallic in Zinc

While different types of shades will have slightly different benefits, overall, all sun blocking shades offer these main benefits:

  • Blocks up to 99% of UV rays for excellent sun protection.
  • Reduces harsh glare for a more pleasant experience no matter the time of day.
  • Prevents fading of furniture, flooring, art and décor for your peace of mind in your interior design investments.
  • Minimizes solar heat buildup and may help you reduce your energy consumption and costs.
  • Different transparency levels of UV blocking window shades range from maintaining your view to the outdoors to giving you excellent privacy.
  • Light filtering, blackout and combination options allow you to achieve the right level of natural light and privacy control.

Sun Blocking Shades: Product Options

While all shades provide some level of sun protection, these window treatments are most often chosen as sun blocking shades thanks to their ability to either soften light or block it entirely. Learn more about each of these UV blocking window shades for a better idea of which will work best for you.

Solar Shades: UV Blocking Window Shades

Sun blocking shades made of 3% Thermo in Cloud soften the light in a modern southwestern-styled living room
Pictured: Solar Shades, 3% Thermo in Cloud

Solar Shades are a type of Roller Shade made with unique material that blocks UV rays while still letting natural light filter through. When shopping for Solar Shades, you’ll notice materials are categorized by different percentages. These refer to the shade’s UV-blocking ability as well as its transparency (how well you can see through it).

Understanding Solar Shade Percentages

As UV blocking window shades, Solar Shades come in variety of materials with different UV-blocking abilities as well as transparency levels indicated by percentages.

A solar shade with 10% transparency covers a window looking out to a building to show how well you can see through the shade

10% Transparency

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

A solar shade with 5% transparency covers a window looking out to a building to show how well you can see through the shade

5% Transparency

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

A solar shade with 3% transparency covers a window looking out to a building to show how well you can see through the shade

3% Transparency

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

A solar shade with 1% transparency covers a window looking out to a building to show how well you can see through the shade

1% Transparency

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

What Shades Block the Sun but Not the View?

Love your view, but need some sun protection? Solar Shades are made with an open weave that allows you to see through, but still blocks harmful UV rays. For the best view of the outdoors, choose 10% Solar Shades, which still gives you excellent UV protection as well. For UV blocking window shades that give you a little more privacy while still offering a decent view outdoors, consider 5% or 3% Solar Shade materials. 1% will give you the best privacy but not the clearest view through your window.  

Light-Filtering Roller Shades

Roller Shades made of Tea Leaves in Brown hang over classic French doors and soften light in a mid-century modern lounge
Pictured: Roller Shades, Tea Leaves in Brown

Light-filtering Roller Shades are similar to Solar Shades, but their material is opaquer and will block some light. And while they don’t offer the same transparency levels as Solar Shades, these sun blocking shades are available in more colors and patterns, giving you more choice in design.

What’s the Difference Between Roller Shades & Solar Shades?

While both shades are technically the same in style and functionality, the main difference comes down to material. Solar Shades are UV blocking window shades made from unique material in open weaves that allows natural light to filter through while blocking up to 99% of UV rays. Roller Shades are made from material that effectively blocks some level of light, from light-filtering materials that soften light to blackout materials that block it.

A mid-century modern dining room features French doors covered by a Roller Shade made of Techno in Linen which filters light

When to Choose Light-Filtering Roller Shades vs Solar Shades

Light-filtering Roller Shades are a better choice when it comes to privacy. The opaquer material will provide a better level of privacy than Solar Shades, while still letting some natural light through to warm and brighten your space.

Pictured: Roller Shades, Techno in Linen

Blackout Roller Shades

A modern bedroom is darkened thanks to Roller Shades made of Cora Blackout and Ripple Fold Drapery with blackout lining
Pictured: Roller Shades, Cora Blackout in White and Outer Layer: Ripple Fold Drapery, Canvas in Natural, photography by John Bessler

Blackout Roller Shades offer a room darkening effect by blocking up to 99% of the light entering your room. These sun blocking shades offer excellent privacy as well, creating a tranquil, relaxing space. They are especially useful for bedrooms where privacy and light control are essential for a good night’s sleep. Blackout Roller Shades also make a good choice for a home theatre or media room where a room darkening effect is ideal for atmosphere as well as better screen visibility.

What Are the Best Shades to Block Out the Sun?

If you’re looking for sun blocking shades that block the sun completely, Blackout Roller Shades are your best bet. The materials used for these shades block up to 99% of sunlight, giving you a relaxing room darkening effect.

Cellular Shades

A contemporary bedroom has Cellular Shades made of single cell blackout material in Midnight to contrast the white walls
Pictured: Cellular Shades, ¾-inch Single Cell Blackout in Midnight

Cellular Shades, or Cellular Blinds, are a simple sleek shade with unique honeycomb cells that expand and contract like an accordion when lifted and lowered. The cells trap hot and cold air at your window, making them excellent insulators. These sun blocking shades are available in both light-filtering and blackout options so you can get the right level of privacy and light control.

What Blinds Block the Most Heat?

Cellular Shades, or Cellular Blinds, provide the best insulation of your shade or blind options, thanks to their honeycomb cells that trap hot air, keeping your interior temperatures cooler. Choosing blackout Cellular Shades will also minimize the heat-generating sunlight from entering your home for even better insulation.

Additional Sun Blocking Shades: Roman & Woven Wood

If you’re looking for more options for sun blocking shades, consider Roman Shades or Woven Wood Shades. Both offer the option of adding privacy or blackout lining. Lining is made from white or off-white fabric sewn to the back of your shade that reflects sunlight and provides greater privacy and light control in your home.  

Flat Roman Shades made of Wool Blend in Charcoal with blackout lining cover tall windows in a dark warm grey bedroom

roman shades

Available in six styles, Roman Shades offer a lot of design and functional versatility. From modern, easy-to-use Flat Roman Shades to charming decorative Relaxed Roman Shades, you can get the right look with the right functionality.

Pictured: Flat Roman Shades, Wool Blend in Charcoal, photography by John Bessler

Waterfall Woven Wood Shades made of Coastline in Oat beautifully filter sunlight in a sunroom with lots of potted plants

woven wood shades

Made of natural fibers like grasses, reeds and bamboo, Woven Wood Shades add an inviting organic element to your space. Available in four styles, all of which are functional and easy to use, you can find the perfect one to suit your aesthetic.

Pictured: Waterfall Woven Wood Shades, Artisan Weaves Coastline in Oat, design by James Huniford

Order the perfect Sun Blocking Shades with an Expert

Visit a local showroom to explore your options for sun blocking shades for yourself, including styles, materials, control types and more. Plus, our expert Design Consultants will answer your questions and help you make your final selections to place your order and bring your project to life.

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.