Horizontal Sheer Shades

Horizontal sheer shades combine two basic window covering styles -- sheer curtains and blinds -- into one unit. As with everything, there are pros and cons to these shades. They work well alone but combine nicely with other window covering elements to create great window treatments.

Horizontal sheer shades are also called sheer blinds. To say these horizontal window shadings are unique is not far off the mark. In any case, they are beautiful as well as practical. Horizontal sheer shades have characteristics of cellular blinds and traditional shades. They consist of two panels of sheer fabric facings over soft fabric vanes or slats. Horizontal sheer shades provide soft, gentle light filtering when open, darkening when closed, and privacy at all times.

Popular brands of horizontal sheer shades include Hunter Douglas Silhouette and Comfortex Shangri-La. A 36 inch by 60 inch Shangri-La horizontal sheer shade can cost around $260, while the Hunter Douglas Silhouette version starts at about $230. Besides the Comfortex and Hunter Douglas brands, Grabor makes horizontal sheer shades. Indeed, many shade and blinds manufacturers make their own versions of horizontal sheer shades, and this can be a money-saving opportunity for you. BlindsChalet.com has its own horizontal sheer shades starting at just $210.

All brands of horizontal sheer shades combine the softness of knitted fabric sheers and significant darkening power from their heavier fabric vanes in the room-darkening fabric options. However, horizontal sheer shades should not be used to achieve a blackout effect, such as you might want in a home theater room. For that type of application, it is better to use blackout honeycomb shades.

Horizontal sheer shades were originally introduced by Hunter Douglas in 1991, and swiftly became one of the most popular window treatments of all time. The basic design has not changed in all this time. Hunter Douglas horizontal sheer shades feature 2-1/2 inch vanes sandwiched between knitted sheer fabric. They provide a diffused view when opened and complete privacy when closed. These horizontal sheer shades also screen out 98 percent of harmful ultraviolet rays.

You might expect horizontal sheer shades to be good insulators. In fact, they are only fair due to the thinness and gauziness of their sheer panels. Cellular shades are better insulators and light blockers

Furthermore, cleaning can be a chore with horizontal sheer shades. The best method entails dusting with a feather duster or blowing off dust with a vacuum cleaner. One other possibility is to vacuum the sheer fabric panels with an upholstery brush attachment. Spots or stains must be treated in place with a damp sponge and mild detergent. Strong chemicals may change the color of the treated are and should be avoided.

For children, horizontal sheer shades are fairly safe. The enclosure of the vanes leaves no openings for kids to stick their heads into. The most important safety feature is the cord, which should end high enough above the ground to avoid tangling little heads and necks.

Horizontal sheer shades are beautiful, practical, versatile, and only moderately expensive. They can provide the privacy you desire while admitting soft, glowing light to a room. As an investment, horizontal sheer shades are a good one because despite their delicate and airy appearance, they are made of very tough, durable synthetic fibers. They’re good choices for any home.