From Solar to Roller, Roman to Woven – window shade options are practically endless and often times overwhelming. With so many shade design combinations available, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Our proven path to providing window treatment solutions starts first with assessing your goals and design style. This means first deciding on a shade style before considering color or texture. Two of our most popular window shade styles are Roller Shades & Solar Shades, both of which sound very similar but offer very different window covering solutions.

When it comes to function, Solar & Roller Shades are essentially the same. Both can be operated with a continuous loop chain, cordless pull, or motor. Both shades are also available with or without a cassette valance.

Today we’ll investigate their differences, explore color options, and highlight my favorite Solar Shade fabric, Graber’s Standard Weave 1% Calcite. 


Solar Shades | Standard Weave 1% Calcite


Solar Shades

Composition: Typically 76% PVC / 24% Polyester Fabric

Cleaning: Easy to clean, making them a great window treatment for doors, nurseries, and play rooms.

Features: Not available in blackout. Multiple shade textures. Privacy and light control varies. Compared to roller shades, solar shades are capable of larger single panels boasting a maximum width of 116 inches.


Solar Shade Privacy and Light Control

The transparency of solar shades is measured by their “openness” or rather, how tight the material’s weave is manufactured:

1% Openness – The crowd favorite of most residential homes, 1% openness is the most private shade option providing the least amount of outward view.

3% Openness – Recommended more for high-rise penthouses or condos where privacy is of less concern, 3% openness provides a better view of the exterior, but offers less privacy.

5% Openness – This level of openness pairs well with patio windows and spaces where homeowners are less concerned about privacy, wanting to embrace the outside view a bit more.

10% Openness – A popular choice for exterior shades and commercial applications, 10% openness offers the least amount of privacy, but is ideal for maximizing exterior views.


Motorized Roller Shades | Harmony Shiplap


Roller Shades

Composition: Typically 100% Polyester Fabric

Cleaning: Not as easy to clean as solar shades due to the material composition. Stains can be cleaned in the same manner you would clean a shirt.

Features: Unlike solar shades, roller shades can be blackout, have more texture options, and are available in warmer hues. Maximum Panel widths are less than Solar Shades due to manufacturing restrictions, with a maximum single panel width of 107.5”


Roller Shade | Broadcast Gourmet


Roller Shade Privacy and Light Control

Like their solar counterpart, roller shades have various privacy and light control options to compliment your lifestyle:

Sheer – Sheer roller shades offer the least amount of privacy with the most outward view. While you will still enjoy significant privacy during the day, your neighbors will most certainly see what you’re watching on Netflix at night.

Light Filtering – Light filtering roller shades offer the industry standard in privacy, gently filtering light while providing slightly more privacy than solar shades.

Room Darkening – Room darkening roller shades are really nothing more than light filtering shades in darker colors. They are an excellent choice for reducing light in a room while also providing significant privacy.

Blackout – Blackout roller shades, like all roller shades, are made of polyester fabric. However, blackout shades have PVC applied to the street side of roller shade. This added feature achieves optimal room darkening light control and offers the most privacy. However, the name “Blackout” can be deceiving. See what we mean in our blog, “The Dark Truth of Blackout Shades.”


Shade Colors

When considering colors, there are an endless array of options from whites to grays to tans and more. White is overwhelming the most popular color for both roller and solar shades. Spatially, white window treatments make a room feel larger and more open overall, while darker window coverings can make a room feel smaller.

The color of your shades isn’t just an aesthetic choice either. The color of solar shades also affects their transparency in turn changing the level of privacy offered. White solar shades tend to be the most private while black solar shades are the least private.

Worried that you may change your wall colors in the future? Well no worries! Nearly everything goes with white, and since Acadia’s shades are built to last, it’s much more economical to change the accent color of your walls, pillows, or area rugs than it is to change your custom shades.

Gray window shades are also a crowd favorite amongst Acadia Shutter clients. However, we always like to warn our clients that grey solar shades tend to take on a brown hue when sunlight filters through. Gray Light filtering roller shades, on the other hand, do not have the same effect, holding truer to their color than solar shades.


Solar Shade | Standard Weave 1% Calcite


Window Shade Spotlight – Standard Weave 1% Calcite (47901)

Ah yes, my favorite Solar Shade fabric, the Standard Weave 1% Calcite (47901). High end, yet affordable, this window shade fabric is extremely practical and versatile. What can’t it do? It’s white, so it compliments every home décor, and it naturally makes a homeowner’s space feel larger. It’s energy efficient! The shade’s white color reflects the most amount of light, helping to keep heating costs down. Additionally, since it’s made of 76% PVC (Plastic), it’s incredibly easy to clean making it a game-changer for high traffic areas like doors and children’s bedrooms.

If you’re looking to cover massive openings in a condo or storefront, this fabric is the go-to. It comes in the largest fabric spans available from Graber’s Solar Shades and Roller Shades Collection. While it offers view from the inside looking out, the view from the outside looking in, especially at night, offers similar privacy control as a light filtering roller shade.


The Bottom Line

Both roller shades and solar shades are popular with Acadia Shutter clients. In some cases, both are used in the same home, depending upon the functional requirements of the space. Solar Shades and Roller Shades offer a clean, minimal appearance. They’re one of the best choices for doors, due to their minimal projection, and are also the only product that offers control for glare on televisions and computer monitors. They’re both aesthetically pleasing and offer practical and easy-to-use functionality.

With thousands of color, texture, and design combinations available, our window treatment specialists are trained to expertly guide you through the selection process – helping you to discover window shades that compliment your home décor while making your space not only beautiful, but functional.

Written by Acadia Shutters Nashville Sales Consultant, Ben Stephens



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