two side by side images showing light filtering and room darkening shades

Room Darkening vs Light Filtering Shades

With so many different shade options it can be confusing to know what works best in your space.  What are the differences between light filtering and room darkening?  Or the differences between room darkening and blackout shades? When and where should each fabric type be used? 

Light Filtering Roller Shades In Bathroom by Tub

Light Filtering Shades:  

Light filtering shades can vary in their individual opacities. From fabrics that are sheer enough to maintain a view to fabrics that only let a little passive light through and everything in between. Light filtering fabrics are normally used in main living areas. We typically recommend fabrics that have the opacities similar to that of a bed sheet for most areas. This opacity is great at blocking heat and harsh light but still providing privacy and ambient light. Solar shades or fabrics with micro holes can be used in rooms with a view. Special caution is advised when using any fabrics that can be seen though. At night in a lighted room the opposite effect will occur and people will be able to see through the shade and into your home. 

Room Darkening / BlackOut Shades:

Blackout roller shade showing halo light effect, room darkening shades

Room darkening shades are typically fabrics that do not allow any light through the fabric itself. At the Blind Spot we are careful to distinquish between room darkening and blackout shades. While the fabric itself is blackout, allowing zero light to pass through the fabric, the overall effect within the room is not truly blackout. As seen in the image, there is passive light that enters the room through gaps around the shades. Correct installation is key to optimizing the room darkening.  Keep in mind though, even with professional installation there will still be light that shows along the sides of your shades during the day on a standard room darkening shade.  It will often look like a ‘halo’ of light that seeps out around the outer edges.

It is nearly impossible to achieve a true blackout, however Norman’s new roller shade LightGuard 360™ is ever so close. Click here for more options on decreasing light with room darkening shades.  Room darkening shades work well in bedrooms and home theaters. Use Careful consideration when choosing room darkening shades. These shades create a dilemma of up and no privacy, or heat and light control or down and room darkening but no view or ambient light. For more flexibility, room darkening shades can be combined with light filtering shades. Cellular shades have an optional addition of top down bottom up function which also allows for more light flexibility. 

Norman LightGuard 360™ BlackOut Roller Shades in Bedroom

Room Darkening rollershades

With our FREE in home consultations our design experts can bring the samples into your home and discuss the perfect roller shade fabric for you.

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This entry was published on June 30, 2020.

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