Having your window coverings open during the day isn’t problematic because it is difficult to see into your home during the daytime, plus the sun helps light up the rooms. However, once the sun goes down, neighbors, passersby, and even potential burglars can see into your home. Even if you close your window coverings at night, some don’t offer the privacy you need to keep people from peering into your home.
Roller shades block light effectively, and certain ones do a fantastic job of keeping prying eyes out. This buyer’s guide will help you determine which roller shades best ensure your privacy.
- BEST OVERALL: SUAKY Blackout Cordless Window Roller Shades
- RUNNER UP: CHICOLOGY Roller Window Shades
- INNOVATE PICK: Yoolax Motorized Smart Blind
- ECO PICK: Radiance Cord Free, Roll-up Reed Shade
- VERSATILE PICK: LUCKUP 100% Blackout Waterproof Roller Shades
- ALSO CONSIDER: SEEYE Blackout Roller Shades
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Roller Shades
When choosing the best roller shades, think about more than how gorgeous they are or how they improve a room’s ambiance. There are many other factors to consider, such as the type of material, the opacity, and how to mount the shade. This makes an immense difference when it comes to privacy. Here are some key things to consider when shopping for roller shades.
When it comes to improving the privacy from your window treatments, the material you choose can make a big difference. Modern roller shades come in more materials than the retro vinyl ones that were popular in the past. Materials include polyester, wood, cotton, bamboo, linen, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and PVC fiberglass.
When choosing the best material for shades in your home, make sure the fabric isn’t too sheer, since silhouettes will still be visible through sheer shades. Also, if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, it’s a good idea to choose a material that won’t agitate them.
Density of roller shades is another important consideration. The opacity of a roller shade controls light-filtering effectiveness in a particular room. Improving room darkening is excellent for nurseries to avoid disturbing babies as sunlight moves throughout the room during naptime. Room-darkening shades can also be great for those who have a home theater room.
To ensure that roller shades provide maximum opacity, look to see if their description says they are blackout shades. These shades offer maximum privacy and will help with noise reduction and temperature control.
Sizing and Installation
Once you have chosen the perfect window covering, it helps to know whether you want an inside mount or an outside mount for the shade. An inside mount hangs the shades inside of the window casing. This type of mount lets in a small amount of light. It might even compromise privacy by allowing someone to see through the space between the window casing and the shade.
When measuring your windows for inside mount shades, measure horizontally from the top, middle, and bottom, followed by vertical measurements from left, middle, and right. The final measurement needed for installation is the depth of the window. Make sure the frame provides 2½ inches of depth for the headrail and mounting brackets. Ensure that all measurements are precise within the nearest ⅛ of an inch.
With an outside mount, the shades attach over the window on the outside of the window casing or frame. Since there are no gaps, this type of installation is best for privacy and for preventing light from shining into the home. For those with shallow window casings, it might prove to be the only option.
For an outside mount, measure vertically and horizontally, and check to be sure the room has at least 2 inches of space between the window frame and ceiling. Also, add at least 2 inches of overlap on each side of the window opening for the best coverage.
Style and Color
Along with opacity and material, style and color can improve privacy. Darker colors will block out light, and this, coupled with the blackout feature, can darken rooms as much as possible. It will also make it hard for someone to see inside your home, especially if you install them with an outside mount.
Of course, you can also choose lighter shades for a room, but keep in mind that lighter shades might not provide the privacy needed unless they contain the blackout feature. Or shoppers can customize the look; some manufacturers allow customers to place a choice of images on the roller shades.
Features and Upgrades
Roller shades typically come with strings. However, some products offer other options, like a chain pulley style, which allows for a continuous pull forward or backward that opens and closes the shades. Keep in mind that both a chain mechanism and a string mechanism might present safety hazards for pets and children. See the safety section below for more details.
A spring mechanism allows users to pull the shades up and down with little effort, using a handgrip located at the bottom of the shade. These types of shades will lock into place as they are moved up and down. This cordless option is a good choice if you have pets and children in the home.
Shoppers can opt to get motorized roller shades which allow them to operate the shades with a single press of a button. For those who want to add flair to the look, consider adding a decorative valance that hides the rolling mechanism and gives the blinds a soft, chic look.
One great thing about roller shades compared to blinds and other window treatments is that they are easier to clean. Use a damp cloth to wipe the dust away from vinyl shades. If the shade is soiled, use a mild detergent and a microfiber cloth to remove the dirt.
A vacuum or a feather duster can remove dirt from fabric roller shades. Avoid submerging them in water, however. This might ruin the rolling mechanism inside the shade and damage the fabric. It’s also a good idea to avoid using water to spot clean them.
When choosing the best roller shades, keep safety in mind, particularly for users who have small children or pets in the home. Children and pets can get tangled up in the cords or chains on roller shades that open and close using this mechanism, leading to strangulation or other injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately eight children per year under the age of 12 die from strangulation by window covering cords.
Our Top Picks
When choosing roller shades for a home, the tips above will help narrow the choices of the best roller shades for privacy. The top picks below were selected based on these considerations and other factors, such as eco-friendliness and innovation.
For those who want a high level of privacy, this roller shade by SUAKY provides plenty—plus, it looks good and offers several great features.
For one, the eco-friendly fabric and multiple layers in this shade block out 100 percent of light and offer a high level of privacy. For another, the SUAKY shade is easy to install, as it can be mounted either inside or outside a window casing. (The latter choice provides an even greater level of privacy and light filtering.) Also, being cordless, this shade is a good choice for homes with pets and children.
If privacy is what you want, privacy is what you’ll get with this CHICOLOGY roller shade that can be mounted inside or outside a window casing. This cordless shade promotes the safety of children and pets, while its polyester fabric makes an excellent choice for those concerned about dust allergies.
Importantly, this shade is easy to clean with either a slightly damp towel or the upholstery attachment of a vacuum.
Those who love new home technology may want to add a smart shade like this one from Yoolax. Made of PVC, vinyl, and fabric, this roller shade is excellent for the office, the bathroom, or the kitchen, as it works to block out both sunlight and sound. It also provides some insulation.
The shade operates using a motor that can run for 3 to 6 months after an initial charge of 6 hours. The motor can be somewhat noisy when in use, but there’s a lot to be said for being able to open and close this smart shade effortlessly via Alexa or Google Home. Note that the Yoolax shade also comes with a convenient remote control.
Looking to maintain privacy with a shade that uses environmentally friendly materials? Consider this option from Radiance. Made of bamboo, the Radiance shade is eco-friendly and being cordless, it is safer than most for children and pets.
Roll up the shade by hand to any length and secure it with included fasteners to keep it in place. This shade lets in more light than others, but it’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, so you can add shade or a privacy screen to a patio. It is easy to install using an inside or an outside mount.
This chic polyester shade from LUCKUP provides privacy and blocks 100 percent of UV rays. It can also help keep a room comfortable thanks to its thermal insulation coating. As a bonus, the shade is windproof as well as waterproof.
Though it has a chain pulley, LUCKUP’s design is still child- and pet-friendly. If a child or pet gets tangled in the chain, the chain disconnects to prevent injury.
The many features of the LUCKUP shade may reduce its durability and require special care, but even so, the LUCKUP installs easily (using either an inside or an outside mount) and can serve a range of purposes in a range of room types.
This SEEYE blackout roller shade offers plenty of conveniences—including waterproof fabric, blackout capability, easy cleaning, and privacy—all at a reasonable price. Installed using an inside or an outside mount, this roller shade can add privacy to a kitchen, office, bathroom, den, nursery, or garage.
This SEEYE shade stays clean with its anti-static, dustproof, and waterproof properties. The shade also helps reduce noise from outside and can help balance the temperature in a room because of its thick fabric. It takes only a damp cloth or a feather duster to remove dirt and dust from this shade.
FAQs About Roller Shades
Roller shades come in a greater variety of colors, materials, and styles than they did many years ago. Some have excellent safety features, while others might effectively keep out heat, noise, and light. The top roller shades included in this guide offer help for making solid decisions about the best shades to buy. A few answers to commonly asked questions may also help you make a decision.
Q. Do roller shades roll over or under?
The choice of installing shades to roll over or under is up to you. However, keep in mind that installing shades to roll under is a better solution if privacy is a priority.
Q. Should shades be lighter or darker than walls?
It depends on your decor. Some people might choose a color that contrasts with their wall or even try to match the shades with the wall.
Q. Should all shades in a house match?
It is up to you. However, if privacy is your goal, make sure that all your shades have the same opacity. And, for the sake of curb appeal, aim to get roller shades that are white on the side that faces the street.
Q. Are roller shades light filtering?
Roller shades filter light, but light filtering depends on the type of roller shades. For maximum light filtering of nearly 100 percent, consider roller shades noted as blackout shades in their product descriptions.
Q. Are roller shades energy efficient?
Roller shades with higher opacity can block out sunlight, which can improve energy efficiency in the summertime. However, if the fabric is not heavy, it won’t offer much energy efficiency in winter.
Functional and stylish, roller shades offer a variety of features designed to suit homeowners’ needs. Made from vinyl, cotton, bamboo, and more, these window coverings can filter light or block light completely. They can also be mounted either inside or outside a window frame and offer both corded and cordless options. Roller shades are an easy, efficient way to add ambience as well as much needed privacy to any room in the home.