Roller Window Shades: Why is Their Fabric Width so Narrow?

So if you order roller window shades, they are going to have some fairly noticeable gaps that allow light through on either side.

But don’t think you got scammed!

This is how roller window shades are supposed to be manufactured.

How Roller Window Shades are Physically Configured

It’s pretty simple and straightforward how they work. To hold the shade itself, roller shades have fairly big mounting brackets.

Because these brackets are so big, they take up more space. This leaves a very noticeable “light gap” between the fabric and headrail on both sides of the shade.

If you don’t want to block a significant amount of light, roller shades work out just fine.

So Why Purchase Roller Window Shades?

If they don’t block light that well, there must be other reasons people purchase roller shades, right?

Well, here’s why they choose these shades over other window treatments:

1.Sophisticated Look

Their operation has not changed significantly over the years, but their look has. Your house looks beautiful with the most updated shades.


If you’re on a budget and need window shades that look great in your home, roller shades are the perfect fit. However, if you like more luxurious shades, there are plenty of roller shades that come in higher price ranges as well.

3.They Can Be Motorized!

If your blinds are hard to reach, or if you have achy joints, you can buy roller shades with motors. A remote control makes them easy to operate.

4.Keep Your Home’s Temperature Stable & Constant

If you need to keep your home a certain temperature, solar roller shades insulate the air between the glass and shade, preventing the warm air in your home from escaping outside.

5.Flexibility – They’re Suitable for Almost Any Room

Roller window shades can be made from a wide variety of fabrics and materials. And they have a large range of functionality that suits them for almost any purpose.

6.They’re Durable

Got kids that love to roughhouse or pets that love to go bonkers every once in a while? Roller shades may be the perfect solution for you.

They have strong steel tubes, fabric that’s generally high in quality, and methods of operation that have been tested extensively. They’re not invincible, but they can handle what many other window treatments cannot.

The Moral of the Story: You Can Get What You Want in Roller Shades

So if the fabric width ends up being less than the ordered width, don’t panic! Now you know beforehand so you can choose the right roller shade, or another window treatment, that works best for you.

You can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at

Inside Vs Outside Mount Blinds – What’s the Difference?

How should you mount your window blinds? Should they be on the inside of your window’s casing, or outside of it?

That decision is up to you.

For now, we’ll give you some tips so you know the pros and cons of each.

Why Mount Your Blinds Inside the Window Frame?

When you do this, your blinds are recessed and contained inside of the window’s casing. It’s the most popular way of mounting blinds.

That’s because when you mount your blinds this way, your windows get a clean, finished look. And if you have molding running around the edges or window casing that you just have to show off, inside mount blinds make that possible.

Inside mount blinds also make sense if you don’t want your blinds to catch on your drapes.

Their one drawback is you can’t use them if:

  • The depth between the glass and the end of the window casing is less than ¾ inch.  If you have less than 3 inches of depth the blinds and valance may extend outside the window opening they are open.
  • Obstructions like window cranks and alarm sensors make it impossible to install and use them

If you are the one installing them, make sure you order using the window opening width (smallest of the width measurements at the top, middle, and bottom of the window).  The factory will take a width deduction (varies by product) so that the blinds will fit inside the window and move freely.  There may be a smidgeon of light showing on each side of the blind.

Why Use Outside Mount Window Blinds?

These window blinds are generally less popular than inside mount blinds. You install them by fastening them either to your window’s upper molding, the wall just above it, the ceiling or out to the side of the window

Outside mount window blinds may make sense for you because:

  • You have an ugly window casing, molding, or glass you want to hide (much cheaper than installing an entirely new window)
  • You want to block more light than inside mount blinds block by covering the entire window opening
  • Your window casing is either too shallow or has obstructions in the way of installing inside mount blinds
  • You have doors you want to cover – they almost never have enough space for inside mount blinds
  • You like doing everything in a unique way

Because they are not protected by the window casing, one of the downfalls of outside mount window blinds is they can be damaged easier.

A Word of Warning!

With outside mount blinds, you have a greater margin for measurement error because there’s more room to mount them. We usually recommend that you add either 3 inches to the height of your window opening or 2 inches to the width (or both) to completely cover the window opening.  However, you need to make sure you have a flat space large enough to install the brackets (size varies by product ranting from 1 inch to 3 inches).

You still need to have accurate measurements with both types of blinds. However, width measurements are more critical with inside mount blinds because you have less room for error inside the window’s frame.

You should always aim to be very precise with your measurements because the more precise you are, the more light your blinds block out. Be sure to use a metal tape measure.  If you’re uncomfortable taking measurements on your own, you can always have a professional help you.

Anyway, hopefully that sheds some light on the issue of inside and outside mount blinds!

You can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at!

Room Darkening Vs. Blackout Shades

It’s tough to know what truly makes each of these types of shades different. People in the blinds and shades industry use these terms interchangeably all the time.

Here’s the difference in a nutshell:

Blackout shades use a fabric that blocks 100% of all incoming light, while “room darkening” usually refers to almost any shade that uses a fabric that blocks between 95% and 99% of the light that enters your room.  Anything that blocks less than 95% of the light is usually referred to as light filtering.

What You Need to Know about Blackout Shades

When they’re actually installed, blackout shades make your room almost completely dark. However, no shade can totally block out all light, so it’s impossible to make your room pitch black.  There will still be light that shows on the sides of your shades during the day.  With blackout shades, there’s a little “halo” of light that sneaks through around their outer edges.

Blackout shades typically use an opaque material like PVC or Mylar to line the fabrics used, and they’re also designed to fit tightly to your window casing. This drastically reduces light seepage.

Most often you use blackout shades for rooms like your:

  • Bedroom
  • Home theater
  • Nursery
  • Dark room (if you are a photographer)

Some types of blackout shades cut out almost all light, giving you the darkest possible room. They reduce the light that seeps through that little “halo” we talked about earlier. These include:

  • Roller shades with side channels
  • Blackout curtains with tracks
  • Multi-layer treatments that combine either side panels and a cornice box or valance

If the room you want dark gets direct sunlight when you want to use it, blackout shades make good sense.

A Little More on Room Darkening Shades

Because there is confusion when this term is used, let’s shed some light on the matter. Room darkening generally refers to any window treatment that dramatically reduces the incoming light to your room.

However, they won’t make your room nearly pitch black like blackout shades. They just make it noticeably darker than before.

Common types of room darkening shades include roller shades, sheer shades, pleated shades, and maybe even drapes. You can purchase all of these window treatments with opaque materials that block much of the light that normally enters.

You can also use room darkening shades for your bedroom or home theatre. But didn’t we mention blackout shades are commonly used for these rooms?

In reality, you can use either. What really matters is how dark you’d like it to be in each of these rooms.
Room darkening shades and blinds work best when direct sunlight does not shine into your room. Or, if you are a heavy sleeper and do not need blackout shades, they make a good fit for your bedroom.

Does that Clear Everything Up?

That should clarify the difference between room darkening and blackout shades for you. Now, the next time you’re ready to buy either, you can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at!

What are Routeless Blinds? Should You Buy Them?

You’ve seen the standard mini blinds many, many times. How closely have you observed them?

If you look at the lift cords near the ends of the blinds, you see a hole that allows the lift cords to pass through. Blinds with that feature are called “routed.”

So naturally, “routeless” blinds do not work this way. Instead, the lift cords run outside of the slats through small notches.

Why Should You Care about Routeless Blinds?

Well, the main reason is that your slats give you additional privacy. Someone passing by could theoretically still peek through your routed blinds, even when they’re pulled shut.

Also, they control light a little better because of the lack of holes. And because they control light effectively, they reduce glare moreso than routed blinds. So if you like your room a little more on the darker side, they help keep light out versus routed blinds.

If you are in a room where you like to be in the morning when the sun rises, you can catch a quick glare in your eyes. This is common in offices if you have to come into work early. But routeless blinds eliminate this problem because they don’t have holes for the lift cords.

Finally, they also look a little more decorative than routed blinds.

Can You Use Routeless Blinds in Windy Conditions?

You can, but only if the wind isn’t all that strong. If your blinds are banging around in the wind, then the wind is too strong for routeless blinds.

You can still install them, but you’ll have to either raise your blinds or close your windows to protect them.

Don’t Use Routeless Blinds If…

You’re a homeowner and you have pets or kids. They do cost a little more than routed blinds – about 15-20% more. So if they get broke, they’re a bit more costly to replace.

And they are slightly more fragile than routed blinds. Because of the small notches that hold the lift cords, it takes very little force to knock one of the slats out of the blind.

However, that idea is somewhat questionable. Even the best routed blinds over time will succumb to the same shifting problem. And if one slat goes flying out in your routeless blind, it’s not that difficult to replace it.

If Cost is an Issue, and You Really Like Routeless Blinds…

Then consider adding them only to rooms where light control is most important to you, like your bedroom. And you usually don’t allow kids to play in your bedroom anyway, so they would be protected from damage too.

Most importantly, now you know the ins and outs of routeless blinds, and when and when not to use them.

If they make sense anywhere in your home or office you can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at

Single Cell vs Double Cell Shades

You have so many decisions to make when decorating your new home. Or maybe you’re just updating your decorations. Either way, when you get into the details, there’s a ton of work to do.

What type of material should the countertops be made of? What colors will your rugs be? Should your rugs be soft and fluffy or coarse and thick?

What are your family members going to think about all the changes? And do you have the budget necessary to make all the updates you want?

Whew, that’s a lot to think about!

We can’t help you make all of those decisions. But we can help you understand whether single or double-cell shades will fit well in your home.

First of All, What Are Cellular Shades?

New to shades? No problem. Cellular shades have cell pockets. When you look at them from the side, they have a honeycomb shape.

But beyond the simple and obvious aesthetic difference, they perform four additionally important functions:

  • You get greater energy efficiency because of their insulating effect
  • More harmful UV rays are blocked out
  • They keep a little more noise out too
  • They block light and darken you room a little

What’s the Difference Between Single and Double Cell Shades?

Let’s start with the obvious one. Single cell shades have just one layer of cells. Double cell shades have one row closer to the window interconnected with one closer to the room.

Because of their two layers, double cell shades give you better insulation from loud noise. They also insulate you and increase your energy efficiency a little better than single-cell shades do.

Double cell shades usually come in smaller sizes – less than ½ inch. Single cell shades range in cell and pleat widths from 3/8 inch to 2 inches.

Typically, shades with a 3/8 inch cell measurement and less work well for smaller windows. The narrower fabric cells fit much better with shallower window openings. And these openings may or may not work with cells larger in size.

From an aesthetic point of view, if you use small rows of cells in a big window, you can get a “busy” look you and other family members may not like. Because they come in larger cell sizes, single cell shades look better in bigger picture windows.

The smaller shade sizes of 3/8 inch and under work well in bathrooms. The cells trap air inside the fabric pockets, and the higher humidity and dramatic temperature changes don’t impact them negatively.

Mid-Size Cellular Shades are Awesome Energy Savers

Most of the air your home leaks goes out through the windows. Mid-size cells around ½ inch – 9/16 inch are great insulators that keep your home the right temperature and your energy bills low.

That’s One Less Decision to Make…

Now you know the basics of single and double cell shades. So, that’s another decision off your plate.

Which makes most sense for your home? You can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at