The Window Covering Lady
The Window Covering Lady
talks window coverings and
various window treatments

Sheer Shades -- Window

If you want to simplify your window treatment creation by combining two coverings into one window covering, sheer shades window coverings are the way to go. There are several styles of these blinds or shades so shop around to find the one you like best.

Sheer shades give any window a look of luminous softness. Sheer shades are also known as sheer blinds, and there is a reason for the dual names. Sheer shades are a combination of shades and blinds.

Horizontal sheer shades consist of two panels of sheer, stretchy fabric sandwiched around soft fabric vanes that are arranged exactly like window blinds. They can be opened fully for softened light and a blurred view, or closed fully or partially for greater privacy and darkness.

Vertical sheer shades are generally used over patio doors and other large windows. The fabric vanes or slats hang vertically in this case, and are again sandwiched between two layers of sheer, stretchy fabric. Vertical sheer shades can be drawn back to provide egress through a patio door.

Two of the biggest names in the sheer shades window treatment market are Hunter Douglas and Comfortex. Indeed, Hunter Douglas invented the horizontal sheer shade in 1991, and its horizontal brand still goes by the name Silhouette. Comfortex named its horizontal sheer shades window treatment the Shangri-La, and calls the vertical version Stardust.

The standard width of the vanes or slats in horizontal sheer shades window treatments is 2-1/2". But thinner vanes can be used to create a sleeker window treatment that does not bulge out beyond the window casement's edge.

Sheer shades window treatments cannot serve as blackout curtains in a home theater room or bedroom where absolute pitch blackness is required. The many spaces between vanes simply allow too much light to enter a room no matter how tightly the sheer shades are closed. However, sheer shades window treatments can be ordered with vinyl vanes or slats instead of fabric ones, providing an extra degree of room darkening.

There is not much more insulating value to sheer shades window treatments than there is to normal horizontal or vertical blinds. The sheer fabric covering the vanes is too porous. If you want insulating shades, cellular shades are recommended instead.

Cleaning is not much of a chore with sheer shades window treatments. A feather duster does the trick most of the time. For extra cleaning power, the upholstery brush of a vacuum cleaner can be used. Any stains that may get on sheer shades must be cleaned with warm or cold water and a mild detergent. Harsh cleaning chemicals can fade spots on the sheer fabric. Comfortex's Shang-La horizontal sheer shades’ vanes can be removed for extra cleaning, although this should seldom be necessary since the vanes are protected by sheer fabric.

Prices of sheer shades window treatments can be fairly inexpensive or breathtakingly exorbitant. It depends on how fancy you wish to get with fabric textures and colors, and how much you want a famous name brand. Hunter Douglas horizontal sheer shades start around $230 for a 30 x 60 inch panel, while Comfortex's Shangri-La is about $260 in the same size. But there are many shades and blinds manufacturers, and a lot of them make their own sheer shades. BlindsChalet.com, for example, sells its house brand of sheer shades for $210.

Sheer shades window treatments are one of the most popular innovations in many, many years. You can go wrong with the softness and elegance of sheer shades.

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