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A Cellular Shade made of 3/4 inch single cell material in Twilight in a modern foyer helps answer what are cellular shades
July 25, 2023

What Are Cellular Shades & When to Choose Them

Wondering what are cellular shades? Cellular Shades are a versatile type of window treatment with very easy functionality and a streamlined, minimalist design that makes them seem right at home in many different aesthetically styled rooms. If you’re looking to know what are cellular shades, you’re likely trying to decide if these types of shades are the right choice for your home. To help you decide, we’ve outlined not only the answer to what is a cellular shade, but also their benefits as well as guidance into when cellular shades are an ideal choice.

To answer what are cellular shades, an image shows a close up of 3/4-inch single cell light filtering material in Lace

What Are Cellular Shades?

Cellular Shades — sometimes called Honeycomb Shades or Cellular Blinds — are window shades composed of pleated fabric cells that expand and contract like an accordion when the shade is raised and lowered.

Cellular Shades are made with either single cells or double cells.

To answer what are cellular shades, an image of a single cell cellular shade made of Lace material shows the honeycomb design

Single Cells

Single cells are 3/4-inch wide and give you a more minimalist, sleeker aesthetic and often better light filtration thanks to the single layer of cells.

To answer what are cellular shades, an image of a double cell cellular shade shows the double-layered honeycomb design

Double Cells

Double cells feature two layers of 3/8-inch wide cells, front-to-back on your shade that create smaller pleats for a more linear, textured appearance.

What Are Cellular Shades vs Cellular Blinds vs Honeycomb Shades?

In your search for the answer to what are Cellular Shades, you likely came across other names, like Cellular Blinds and Honeycomb Shades. So, what’s the difference between these? The truth is that these are just two different names for the same type of window treatment: Cellular Shades.  

Which Is Better, Pleated or Cellular Shades?

While Cellular Shades are a type of Pleated Shades, not all Pleated Shades are Cellular Shades. Choosing between Cellular Shades and other Pleated Shade options will depend on your specific needs and wants.

For instance, compare a few key differences between what are Cellular Shades vs Pleated Roman Shades to get a sense of your options:

To answer what are cellular shades, an image of a cellular shade of single cell material in Lace adorns a bathroom window

What Is a Cellular Shade: Sleek & Efficient

Cellular Shades have a simple design and efficient functionality to them that makes them more utilitarian and ideal for everyday use.

A pleated Roman Shade made of Woold Blend in Fleece adds a luxe look to a window in a modern reading nook

What Is a Pleated Roman Shade: LuxE & Dramatic

Pleated Roman Shades feature luscious folds of excessive fabric for an elegant, luxurious aesthetic that makes them a strong statement piece.

So now that you know the answer to what is a cellular shade, you’re probably wondering, why would you choose them over any other window treatment option?

Benefits of Choosing Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades, with their unique honeycomb design, offer several benefits that elevate the look of your windows while providing greater functionality in terms of light and privacy control.

  • Versatile design – With their chic, simple design and neutral color selections, Cellular Shades look right at home in nearly any home aesthetic style.
  • Easy functionality – Whether you choose continuous loop, cordless or motorized Cellular Shades, you’ll enjoy easy-to-use shades ideal for everyday adjustments.
  • Energy efficiency – Thanks to their fabric cells that trap hot and cold air alike, Cellular Shades help regulate your interior temperature for a more comfortable environment — and maybe even reduced energy bills.
  • Nearly disappears when raised – Cellular Shades have a very small stack, which refers to the size of your shade when it is fully raised, making for a sleek, minimalist aesthetic.
  • Install flexibility – The small stack also helps with installation, as the shades can be inside-mounted (mounted into the window frame) in most windows, even those with a shallow depth.

Customizing Your Cellular Shades

To fully understand the answer to what are Cellular Shades, it’s important to also learn about their customization options that can deliver specific benefits depending on your choices. Discover your options for Cellular Shades to help you decide which is best for your wants and needs.

To answer what are cellular shades a Cellular Shade in a bathroom shows the light filtering material option in Lace

Light Filtering Cellular Shades

Made with semi-transparent to sheer fabric, Light Filtering Cellular Shades soften the natural light in your room for a soft, inviting glow. These types of shades also provide some privacy, but the more transparent the material, the less privacy you’ll have. Choose from single and double cell options, as well as 30+ neutral colors to find the right fit.

Blackout Cellular Shades

What is a cellular shade with blackout material? Blocking up to 99% of the light coming through your window with their fabric cells made of opaque material, Blackout Cellular Shades provide a great room darkening effect and excellent privacy that’s ideal for bedrooms. Choose from single and double cell options as well as 15+ solid colors.

To answer what are cellular shades, a Cellular Shade in a modern bedroom shows the blackout material option in midnight
To answer what are cellular shades, a Cellular Shade in a modern bathroom shows the Day Night version of Cellular Shades

Day/Night Cellular Shades

Get the best of both light filtering and blackout Cellular Shades with Day/Night Cellular Shades. These types of shades feature a blackout material on the bottom and a light filtering material on the top, both of which you can adjust for the right amount of light and privacy. Day/Night Cellular Shades only feature single-cell designs and come in several different blackout and light filtering colors for you to mix and match for the right combination.

Control Types for Your Cellular Shades

In addition to choosing the right style of Cellular Shade, you also have a few different control types to choose from. Control types refer to the mechanism used to open and close your shades. Your options include:

  • Continuous loop – With a continuous loop system, you have a looped chain that runs from the headrail of your shades and is kept taut at the bottom by a tension mechanism. To adjust your shades, pull one side of the chain up or down. Continuous loop control is only available for Light Filtering and Blackout Cellular Shades but is not compatible with Day/Night Cellular Shades.
  • Cordless – A cordless control system allows you to adjust your shade simply by pulling down or pushing up on the bottom rail. The tension control in the headrail does the rest, keeping the shade in its desired position.
  • Motorization – For truly effortless ease in your light and privacy control, opt for motorization. With motorized Cellular Shades, you can control the position of your shades with a remote, an app on your smartphone or tablet, or even the sound of your voice when the motor is paired with a smart home device. Motorization is only available for Light Filtering and Blackout Cellular Shades but is not compatible with Day/Night Cellular Shades.

Now that you know the answer to what are cellular shades, the benefits of these shades, and your customization options, you can better decide whether these shades are the right choice for your home. If you’re still not sure when it’s best to choose Cellular Shades — and when they might not be suitable — we have some additional guidance.

When to Choose Cellular Shades

A modern entryway features a Cellular Shade on the window next to the door, made from Napoli material in Natural

As you’ve learned when answering what are Cellular Shades, these shades have unique benefits like insulation, blackout capabilities and more, making them an ideal choice for several situations, including:

  • Sunny or drafty rooms – Any room that has temperature fluctuations with the changing of the weather and seasons is an excellent place for Cellular Shades. With their honeycomb cells, these shades will trap hot and cold air alike, helping to regulate your interior temperatures, even in very drafty or sunny rooms.
  • Rooms where you need privacy and/or a room darkening effect – Both Light Filtering and Blackout Cellular Shades provide you with privacy, as you can’t fully see through either type of shade during the day or night. However, for the best privacy as well as a room darkening effect, ideal for bedrooms and media rooms, choose Blackout Cellular Shades.  
  • Windows with a narrow depth for inside mount – If an inside mount application is the preferred or only viable installation method for a certain window or room, Cellular Shades could be the ideal choice. With a depth requirement of only 5/8-inch to 7/8-inch depending on your chosen control type, Cellular Shade can be inside-mounted in most windows.

When Not to Choose Cellular Shades

A bright sitting room shows a Flat Roman Shade made of Sankaty Stripe in Moon as an alternative to Cellular Shades

While there are plenty of applications where Cellular Shades are an ideal choice, there are a few situations where you might be better off with a different type of shade. Situations where you might not want to choose Cellular Shades include:

  • Formal rooms with elevated décor – Since Cellular Shades have a more streamlined, minimalist look to them, they may not suit rooms with luxurious furniture and décor like formal dining rooms and living rooms. For these rooms, it may be better to choose a more elegant style of shade such as Roman Shades (pictured above).
  • In high humidity, moisture-prone areas – Cellular Shades are made from a fabric material that’s vulnerable to humidity and moisture damage when exposed on a regular basis. Rooms like kitchens, bathrooms and basements typically feature higher humidity and moisture levels, so consider a more moisture-resistant window treatment like Roller Shades, Metal Blinds or Faux Wood Blinds.

Explore Your Cellular Shade Options Further

With the insight into what is a cellular shade as well as their benefits and when to choose them, you can decide whether these efficient, sleek shades are right for your space. To explore your options further, order free samples of your favorite types and colors to get a sense for which looks best in your space and provides you with the light control and privacy you need. Be sure to hold up samples to the light to see how well they block light or let it gently filter through.


Compare as many of your favorites from our collection of 1300+ materials at home when you order free swatches online.

A close-up image of white swatches featuing different textures and materials shows the declicate details of these designs