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An inviting bedroom features a flat roman shade which is one of the types of window shades or types of shades for windows
March 6, 2023

Your Guide to Types of Window Shades

Looking for new shades for your windows? Shades come in many different styles, each with its own aesthetic and functionality. So, with so many types of window shades to choose from, how do you know which is best for your space?

While there’s no wrong answer, choosing the right shades for your home will depend on your individual needs and wants for each room. To help you narrow your search, we’ve created a list of all types of window shades, as well as blinds, since the two are closely related. Plus, you’ll learn about features and benefits of each so you can better determine which is best for you.

Different Types of Shades for Windows

Explore all types of shades for windows, from sleek functional options like Cellular or Roller Shades, to more decorative options like Tulip or Pleated Roman Shades to find the right one for your space.

As you consider your options, keep in mind that you don’t have to choose just one shade. Many types of window shades can be layered for a multi-dimensional effect that also gives you greater functionality without sacrificing the aesthetics you want.

Roller Shades

An office features single window with a roller shade with a leafy palm pattern which is one of the types of window shades

Roller Shades are a sleek, modern option with lots of design versatility. Just as their name implies, Roller Shades feature simple functionality: The shade fabric is rolled up at the top of the window and is easily unfurled to whatever height you desire.

Benefits of Roller Shades

  • Ease of Installation: Thanks to their compact size, these types of window shades can work in nearly any window, either inside or outside mounted. Inside or outside mount refers to whether the shade fits inside your window frame or is installed outside of the frame on the wall or window trim.
  • Material Options: Choose from blackout materials ideal for room darkening to light-filtering options that reduce glare to sheers that soften the light, to suit your light and privacy control needs.
  • Design Versatility: Roller Shades are chic and modern, providing an unassuming aesthetic that fits in with nearly any aesthetic style from traditional to contemporary.
  • Ease of Use: Regardless of the control type you choose, whether a continuous loop cord option, cordless or motorization, functionality is a breeze.

When to Choose Roller Shades

These types of window shades are ideal for rooms where you’ll frequently be adjusting your window treatments. Choose Roller Shades for living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and dining rooms where you spend a lot of time throughout the day and need to control your light and privacy frequently.

Solar Shades

A hallway features a tall window with a semi-transparent solar shade which is one of the types of window shades

Solar Shades are very similar to Roller Shades in style and functionality. The main difference between the two types of window shades comes down to material. Solar Shades feature innovative material that blocks UV rays while still allowing you a view of the outdoors. These types of shades for windows come in four different transparency levels: 1%, 3%, 5%, and 10%, with 10% being the most transparent, while still blocking 90% of UV rays.

Benefits of Solar Shades

Solar Shades feature all the benefits of Roller Shades listed above, plus, they block harmful UV rays, which gives them even more benefits:

  • Transparency: With four different transparency levels, you don’t have to sacrifice your great view for a bit of privacy and light control.
  • Reduces Fading: By blocking harmful UV rays responsible for causing fading, Solar Shades help protect the rich color of your furniture, décor and flooring.
  • Softens Glare: Solar Shades soften any harsh natural sunlight, so you can view your TV and monitor screens without a glare.
  • Minimizes Heat Buildup: By blocking most of the UV rays entering your home, which are responsible for heat generation, Solar Shades help regulate your interior temperatures during the day.

When to Choose solar Shades

Solar Shades are ideal for full-sun rooms where you want to maintain natural light while softening the glare, cutting down on heat buildup and minimizing fading. Consider these types of window shades for your living room and dining room where you want to minimize fading of your favorite furniture and décor. And add them to any media or office rooms where you need to cut glare on TV and monitor screens.

Roman Shades

Roman Shades are a soft, tailored, versatile shade option with a range of both functional and decorative styles. These types of shades for windows are raised by folding into themselves, and lowered by unfolding in a beautiful cascading motion.

To decide if Roman Shades are right for you, it’s important to look at the benefits of the two main types of Roman Shades: The functional types and the decorative types. This is because the two have unique benefits and can serve different purposes in your space.

Benefits of Functional Roman Shades

A large living room with a cool color scheme features flat roman shades which are one of the types of window shades

The functional styles of Roman Shades include Flat, Aventura, Cascade and Pleated Roman Shades. While these styles offer greater functionality and ease of use than decorative Roman Shades, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing aesthetics, as these shades feature highly attractive, stylish looks, too. 

Specific benefits of these types of shades for windows include:

  • Ease of Use: These styles of Roman Shades are easy to lift and lower, whether you’re using a continuous loop control option, have cordless shades (only available for Flat and Cascade) or you upgrade to motorization (available for all functional styles of Roman Shades).
  • Design Versatility: Between these four styles, you’re bound to find the right look for your space. Flat Roman Shades and Cascade Roman Shades offer a modern, minimalist look with crisp, clean lines, Aventura Roman Shades add a touch of Zen to an otherwise modern look, and Pleated Roman Shades are luxurious and elegant with their full-body pleats.
  • Blackout & Privacy Lining: Lining will not only help you achieve better privacy and greater room darkening, but also provide the shade with protection from the sun and greater stability so the folds form and hold better over time.
  • Soft Look of Drapery with Greater Functionality: These types of window shades offer the softness of drapery but with greater functionality, especially in windows where drapery may not be ideal (like bay windows).

When to Choose Functional Roman Shades

These functional Roman Shades are ideal for rooms where you want to soften and elevate the look of your windows, while still being able to easily control your light and privacy. Choose them for any room where you need occasional or constant privacy or a room darkening effect.

Benefits of Decorative Roman Shades

A breakfast nook features relaxed roman shades one of the types of window shades with a checkered pattern

The more decorative styles of Roman Shades include Tulip and Relaxed Roman Shades. These types of shades for windows offer highly styled looks, but lack some ease of use. Tulip Roman Shades feature inverted pleats that resemble a tulip in shape, for an elegant, flowery look. Relaxed Roman Shades feature gentle swoops of fabric at the bottom of the shade that give it a more rustic appearance. Neither of these types of window shades is compatible with cordless or motorization control types, and lifting and lowering them will require dressing (adjusting the pleats) each time to make sure the folds look attractive.

Benefits of these types of shades for windows include:

  • Stylish, Character-Rich Aesthetics: These decorative Roman Shades are perfect for adding flare to your window treatments with their unique, inviting design that can truly transform a room.
  • Great for Layering: To get the looks you want with the functionality you need. Tulip and Relaxed Roman Shades can be layered with other more functional shades like Roller and Solar Shades.

When to Choose Decorative Roman Shades

Decorative Roman Shades are great for adding a final flourish to a room. Use them in places like the dining room, living room, and kitchen where family, friends and guests alike can admire your custom window shades and envy your impeccable sense of style.

Woven Wood Shades

A sunroom features one of the types of window shades, woven wood shades which adds a warm organic element

Woven Wood Shades are made with sustainable, eco-friendly fibers like bamboo, reeds, and grasses. They deliver a decidedly natural, organic look to any space. These types of window shades come in four styles. Waterfall, Standard and Cascade Woven Wood Shades resemble Roman Shade styles like Flat and Cascade Roman Shades. The fourth style, a Woven Wood Roller Shade, operates just like a Roller Shade, but features a woven fiber material.

Benefits of Woven Wood Shades

Woven Wood Shades, with their multiple styles and boho-inspired look have several benefits:

  • Natural, Organic Look & Feel: Made from environmentally friendly fibers, Woven Wood Shades bring a natural look and texture to your space, ideal for boho, coastal or Scandinavian-inspired interiors.
  • Work Well Alone or Layered: All styles of Woven Wood Shades look and function well on their own or layered with other window treatments like drapery, giving you install versatility.
  • Blackout & Privacy Lining: With blackout or privacy lining, you can achieve the right light control and privacy for your space. Lining can also protect the delicate natural fibers from UV light streaming in through your window.

When to Choose Woven Wood Shades

Add Woven Wood Shades wherever you want to bring a natural element to your space. The bamboo, reed and grass fibers add inviting organic color and texture to your room, which creates greater dimensionality and visual interest. Keep in mind that, as a delicate natural material, these types of shades for windows operate best in low-moisture, low-traffic settings so they may not be ideal for a bathroom, basement or child’s room.

cellular Shades

A cellular shade is one of the types of window shades and covers the bottom of a tall window in a dark grey foyer

Cellular Shades are a highly functional, chic shade option. With a unique honeycomb design, these types of window shades are excellent at insulating your room and regulating interior temperatures. Cellular Shades come in single and double cell options ranging from light-filtering to blackout options. Or you can get the best of both with Day/Night styles that feature an adjustable light filtering top and blackout bottom.

Benefits of Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades, with their honeycomb design, feature multiple unique benefits:

  • Superior Insulation: The honeycomb cells trap hot and cold air alike, keeping your room more temperate — and possibly helping to lower your energy costs over time.
  • Easy Functionality: Whether you choose a continuous loop control type, cordless or motorization, Cellular Shades are very easy to lift and lower, making them ideal for your most-used rooms.
  • Versatile Installation: With their compact size and small minimal depth requirement (the space required to inside-mount the shades within the window frame), Cellular Shades can be installed in nearly any window.
  • Minimalist & Versatile Design: These types of window shades feature a sleek, minimalist design that will look right at home in nearly any interior design style, whether classically traditional or boldly modern.

When to Choose Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades are ideal for windows that receive a lot of sunlight, are drafty, or both. These types of shades for windows can help mitigate heat buildup or chilling in the room, creating a more pleasant indoor environment year-round. From bedrooms to living rooms, media rooms, basements, and more, these shades are truly versatile and can work anywhere.

Dive Deeper Into Shades

Discover more details about your options for Shades, including customizations, cost considerations, material options and so much more in our comprehensive Buying Guide.

Now that you’ve learned about all the different types of window shades, it’s time to take a quick look at your options for window blinds. Blinds and shades are similar in a lot of ways, as they have common control types and often give you similar levels of privacy and light control. Have a brief look at the different types of blinds to discover which might be right for your space.

Or, if you’re convinced shades are right for you, dive deeper into your customizable shade options to narrow down your choice further.

Different Types of Blinds for Windows

Blinds for windows come in two main categories: Horizontal blinds with wood or metal slats, or vertical blinds with tall panels of fabric. Learn more about the features and benefits of each type to determine if blinds might be the right choice for your space.

Wood & Metal Blinds

A tall window in an office features Wood Blinds as an alternatives to types of window shades

All blinds, whether wood or metal, function in the same way. The horizontal slats are tiltable and the blinds can be raised or lowered, all to control light and privacy. Horizontal blinds are typically either wood or metal.

Wood Blinds come in 2” slats and can be made from real wood or faux wood. Both options give you a natural, real wood look, and are highly durable, but faux wood is often a better choice for moisture-rich environments like bathrooms and basements.

Metal Blinds come in 2” slats and are made from durable, affordable aluminum. These blinds are sleek and modern, and highly durable, being a great choice for high-traffic areas and moisture-rich environments alike.

Benefits of Wood & Metal Blinds

  • Install Flexibility: Just like certain types of window shades such as Cellular or Roller Shades, Wood and Metal Blinds can be installed on most windows — either inside or outside mounted thanks to their compact design.
  • Easy Light & Privacy Control: The slats of blinds are extremely easy to tilt with a wand to control your light and privacy. Lifting and lowering with cordless control is a matter of adjusting the bottom bar. You can also upgrade 2-inch Wood and 2-inch Metal Blinds to motorized tilt for every easier use, but keep in mind motorization does not lift or lower your blinds.
  • Durable: Wood and Metal Blinds are very durable and will withstand frequent use with ease.
  • Design Versatility: Choose from rich, natural wood looks ranging from exotic hardwood aesthetics to simple laminated or painted wood, or opt for industrial-chic Metal Blinds in multiple colors.

When to Choose Wood or Metal Blinds

With so many style options, Wood and Metal Blinds will suit most rooms and most interior aesthetic styles. However, blinds can get heavy and will be difficult to lift and lower on larger windows, so for very tall or very wide windows, another option like one of the types of window shades might be better. Also be aware of moisture-rich environments, and choose moisture-resistant materials like Faux Wood or Metal Blinds for such applications.

Vertical Blinds

Sleek white vertical blinds are one of the types of window shades and they cover sections of glass doors

Vertical Blinds, also known as panel track blinds, feature panels of fabric that run on a track system. Each panel runs independently of the others, allowing you the ability to let light in where you want it, and block it where you don’t.

Benefits of Vertical Blinds

Vertical Blinds are a unique choice with multiple benefits:

  • Ease of Use: Whether you choose a baton or continuous loop control system, Vertical Blinds are very easy to use, as they move smoothly on a track system.
  • Modern Aesthetic: Their sleek, minimalist design is decidedly modern, but can fit into other aesthetic styles with the right fabric choice.
  • Versatile Use: Thanks to their track system, which can be wall or ceiling mounted, you can choose to you use your Vertical Blinds as window treatments or room dividers.

When to Choose Vertical Blinds

Thanks to their panel track system, Vertical Blinds are ideal for covering large and wide windows or sliding glass doors. Plus, they can also be easily used as room dividers, making them a versatile choice.

Explore Different Types of Window Shades & Blinds Further

With an overview of the types of window shades and blinds, you likely have an idea of which options might be right for your space. Explore your options further online, or experience all the different types for yourself at your local showroom. Our showrooms feature interactive displays of all types of shades for windows so you can see and feel each option and experience how it works to help solidify your decision.

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.