Roll Up Shades

Your window treatment can be finished with simple roll-up shades. Window coverings have many purposes ranging from ornamental to functional, and ornamental isn't always enough. That's when the option of a roll-up shade, or other type of window shade can be a great solution.

Roll-up shades are what everyone thinks of when they envision window shades. A sheet of fabric or other flexible material rolls around a spring-loaded axle, providing shade when it's pulled down. This is the simplest window shade there is.

But anything simple is bound to come in a staggering variety of colors, sizes, and features. Roll-up shades are no exception to this rule. Just look at toothpaste, razor blades, and laundry soap for other examples of simple things that are available in a great variety.

Roll-up shades are noted for their light-blocking ability. When properly measured for a window opening, a roll up shade made of opaque fabric or vinyl will block out nearly 100 percent of the light. They provide excellent privacy, too.

However, roll-up shades are often made of sheer or translucent materials designed to filter light rather than block it out entirely. Such shades can be very beautiful when made of lace, crochet, or dotted Swiss materials.

Roller shades are always cut to order. You should measure the interior width of your window opening, assuming you want them to fit inside (you can opt to have them cover the outer face of the window opening too) to the nearest one-eighth of an inch. Do not make allowances for hardware brackets. The supplier will do this when he cuts the shade to the perfect width for your window. You will also have to specify whether you want the standard or reverse roll; that is, a shade that drops down from the back of the roll or over the top and front of the roll.

One of the biggest objections to roll-up shades is that spring-loaded axle. The shade too often fails to catch where desired, and sometimes it can get away from the user entirely to wrap the shade completely around the axle. Then a stepstool is often necessary to bring the shade down again. Also, very large roll-up shades may be difficult to lower on a spring-loaded axle. To address these difficulties some manufacturers offer continuous loop cord lift mechanisms, in which a chain of metal beads raises and lowers the shade. Motorized roll up shades are also available, though rather expensive.

Roll-up shades can be made in many different colors and patterns. Vertical stripes add a bold, cheery look to a room while whimsical patterns of cartoon characters look nice in children's rooms. Country scenes are popular in kitchens, while delicate lace patterns and pastel colors work well in bedrooms. The bottom edge of a roll up shade need not be straight and plain, either. It is very common to see scalloped, fringed, and tasseled roll up shades.

Some roll up-shades even roll up from the bottom. Often, this type of shade is found in outdoor shades, where the fully rolled up shade disappears inside of a protective housing. Outdoor roll up shades are often made from polyethylene fabric, making them extremely durable and weather-resistant.

Roll-up shades are simple, versatile, and are available in a wide variety of colors and styles. They can be used in the bedroom or on the patio, to provide dark privacy for sleeping or sun filtering with a view. Roll up shades will never go out of style.