Roller and screen shades have become popular over the last couple of years. You may have been aware that the trendy new screen shades are shades made of opaque, sheer weave. They let in enough light to avoid turning on the lights and let you see outside while screening out the uv light. What’s a roller shade, though?
Roller shades are shades made of stiffened polyester or similar materials that you pull down, or unroll, in order to close. These shades can be thicker and block all the light out, depending on the material used. Roller shades might have been the first type of window shade used. They first appeared in Holland, and by the 18th century, folk in France, Holland and England were using them to control lighting and make their windows prettier. The Victorians were particularly big on painting opaque roller screens. They loved frames and floral designs. Then they went all crazy with the decorations and covered up the lovely roller shades. The spring roller was invented in 1855, which made rolling up the shades easier, and that pretty much guaranteed the popularity of the shade.
What sort of window would look good with a roller shade? Pretty much any window that doesn’t interfere with the roller shade dropping. If you want to join the venerable tradition, the first thing you do is measure your window. However, this takes some decision-making on your part. You can install roller shades so that they face the window when you pull them down, or you can have them face away from the window. You will be able to keep out more light if you have the roll facing the window, but it may be easier to handle if the roll faces out, and you won’t need as much fabric.
You will also have to decide if the roller will be mounted in the window frame or above it. Mounting it above the frame means getting a longer roll in order to cover all the window. If you are mounting it inside the frame, you will have to be absolutely sure of the width and depth that you are working with. It may be worth the extra work: a shade that exactly matches your window will block the light from outside more efficiently than one that doesn’t match. Also, when picking roller shades that will be mounted outside of the window frame, you will make mounting and centering easier by adding a half-inch to the width of the shade.
After you have measured your windows, the sky is really the limit when it comes to colors and materials. A light-colored shade can let in more light and brighten up a room. A dark shade can cool a room down and completely block out anything you don’t want to see. You don’t see so many painted roller shades these days, and that’s a shame, but perhaps they will make a come-back.
Roller shades have survived since the 1700’s because they are elegantly simple. There aren’t any flat surfaces to collect dust and they don’t need laundering. They are a class act and our ancestors knew it. If you are considering new window coverings, consider the roller shade.