Light Filtering vs. Blackout Shades: Which Is Right for You?

Did you know it’s a myth that you can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day? According to The WHO, up to 80% of solar UV radiation can penetrate light cloud cover. UV rays can be harmful to your skin and are known to cause cancers and speed up the process of skin aging. But they can also fade  your indoor furnishings,flooring and artwork. This is why installing the right shades in your home is important.

Keep reading to find out whether you should buy some light filtering shades or some blackout shades for your windows.

Shades, Curtains, or Shutters?

When it comes to covering windows, there are a range of products available. For example, there are shades,blinds, curtains, and shutters, Shades are most popular in North America, with 39.5% of U.S. households choosing shades over curtains or shutters.

Shades and shutters are also popular in European countries. Shutters were the original way to keep out the heat.  In recent years, consumers are able to take advantage of the advancements and purchase motorized shades with remote controls and weather sensor controls.

Whatever your preference for window coverings,

Why Do You Need Shades or Curtains for Your Windows?

In addition to protecting your and your home from harmful UV rays, shades and curtains can also provide privacy, heat reduction and glare protection from a too bright sun.  Window coverings help to provide better insulation in your home. This can ensure your home is more energy-efficient and a noticeable savings on your energy bills.

What Types of Window Shades Are Available?

An abundance of different window shades, materials, and styles are available.  They serve a range of either residential or commercial styles, preferences and rooms.

You can get:

  • Transparent solar shades
  • Transparent film shades
  • Light filtering privacy shades
  • Blackout roller shades
  • Insulating cellular shades (blackout and light filtering)
  • And skylight shades.

When looking for the right shade, you also need to consider the purpose of the room, the position of the window in your home to determine how much sun, and the shape of the window.  Windows need to be rectangular or square.

For more information on these different shade types, have a look at our indoor shades collection.

What Is the Difference Between Light Filtering vs Room Darkening Shades?

The main difference between room darkening vs light filtering shades is light control. Blackout shades block 100% of light, while light filtering shades allow in a little light to give diffused natural daylight, like translucent dimming.

Light Filtering Shades

Light filtering privacy shades provide day and night time privacy while still allowing light through your windows.Light filtering shades are made from textured woven materials in different colors. The whole purpose of this type of shade is to filter out sunlight and provide insulation. Colors closest to white provide the most heat reduction. Light filtering shades reduce the fade because they reduce the light and UV. The added bonus is, of course, the additional privacy during the day.

Solar shades are another light filtering type of roller shade. But they are a transparent mesh. They provide daytime privacy only. That’s because you always see through to where the is light greatest so during the day you can see out and no one can see in. However, at night when the light is reversed, you can see in. If you want a transparent solar shade but need night time privacy, you would need a second covering:  either a blackout shade or light filtering privacy shade. Dual brackets are available so you could put two shades on one set of brackets, or there are always curtains.

Blackout Shades

Blackout shades block out all sunlight. These shades provide total privacy both day and night. Blackout shades enhance sleeping. They work best in rooms that require total darkness. For example, people choose to install them in their bedrooms, in media or entertainment rooms, and in nurseries. They can be made as blackout roller shades or blackout cellular shades.

To ensure sunlight comes into your rooms if you have blackout shades, then you’d need to leave them open. This means that you lose your privacy.

Blackout shades are built from PVC Free materials that are Greenguard certified for clean air and have no off gassing.  Blackout shades made from vinyl do have PVC.

Combinations of Shades and Curtains

Throughout your home, you might decide that a combination of shades and curtains will work best.

For example, you might choose to have light filtering shades installed on your windows in your living and dining room. And you might also decide to have some blackout curtains put up too, so you get privacy and even better insulation at night.

If you live in a two or three-story house, then you might decide to have blackout shades installed in your bedrooms to provide the perfect environment for a restful night’s sleep. While in your upstairs home office, you might decide you need natural light to shine through and thus install light filtering shades.

Choose Between Light Filtering Shades and Blackout Shades

Use our helpful guide to determine whether light filtering shades or blackout shades are best for your home.

Remember to think about your room’s purpose and how much light and/or privacy you want in each part of the house. It might make more sense for you to use a combination of different shade styles and types in your home.

Get in touch with our team of experts to discuss your shade needs and to purchase the ones that are right for you now.