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Motorized pleated shades on windows in a living room.

Types of Window Treatments

A Basic Guide to Blinds, Shades, Shutters & Drapery

Windows are a home’s primary source of natural light and views to the outdoors. Window treatments provide the light control and privacy that makes windows fully functional elements. Without window treatments, you and your belongings are unprotected from bright sunlight, UV rays, and prying eyes. Window treatments are an integral part of a well-functioning home.

Each kind of window treatment provides a different look, and all provide some level of light control and privacy—the two main jobs of any window treatment.

The four main types of window treatments are blinds, shades, shutters, and drapery. Each category has its own strengths and weaknesses. This article will give you a quick overview of the different window treatments so you can know where to start your search for the right ones for your home.

Understanding the Role of Window Treatments

A window treatment is simply a way to cover a window. Window treatments provide light control and privacy. There’s a huge range of window treatment options, from a simple roller shade to a luxurious drapery stretching to the floor.

Because all window treatments control light and privacy to some degree, the first element you should look at when choosing a window treatment is appearance. You should love how your window treatments look!

Graber motorized pleated shades on windows in a living room.” width=

First Select for Look and Color Preference

Window treatments can complement the colors of a design scheme, knit together visual elements, or boldly transform a room. Blinds, shades, shutters, and drapery have immense power when it comes to creating a look.

Formal — You’ll find formal, even stately options among Graber’s drapery collections. And Graber’s cellular shades, tailored Roman shades, and roller shades all offer fabrics that create a sense of formality. Cellular shades in luxury woven fabrics can evoke elegance.

Sturdy Good Looks — Graber’s wood shutters, composite shutters, wood blinds, and natural shades and drapery all convey a sturdy, classic character.

Fashion-forward Casual — Graber’s solar shades, layered shades, sheer shades, and sliding panels are modern window-treatment solutions that look fresh and provide a sense of confidence and ease.

Reliable Blinds — For a window treatment that functions flawlessly and gives you years of easy, reliable use, you can’t go wrong with affordable aluminum or vinyl blinds.

The Range of Light Control and Privacy

All window treatment categories offer excellent options for light control and privacy. For gentle light filtering, try sheer drapery, sheer shades, roller shades in sheer fabrics, and cellular shades in sheer fabrics.

At the other extreme, there’s blackout fabrics. Cellular shades, roller shades, natural shades, and drapery all offer blackout options for maximum light control. Blackout shades are perfect for bedrooms and entertainment rooms—or any room where you’d like to take a nap, from time to time.

Graber top-down bottom-up cellular shades in a living room.

Window Treatments That Excel in Energy efficiency

The king of energy efficiency is the cellular shade. Cellular Shades are made with a honeycomb-shaped design that traps air. This creates an insulating barrier that reduces the transfer of heat, cold, and even sound. Other top performing insulators are drapery, wood blinds, shutters, natural shades with liners, and tailored Roman shades with liners.

A Brief Overview of the Different Types of Window Treatments

There are many ways to cover a window. Which window treatment you choose depends foremost on what style you like, but factors like light control, privacy, and energy efficiency should also be considered. Here’s the full list of window treatment types. When you’re done reading this list, you should know enough to start selecting window treatments that you will enjoy seeing every day and meet all your requirements.

Curtains and Draperies—Simplicity

Draperies are the original window treatment. Their design is simple: pieces of fabrics hung from a rod over the window. Slide the curtains to the middle and you shut out the light. Swing them open and you have sunshine and a view.

Graber custom fabric curtains on windows in a bedroom.” width=

Custom Fabric Drapery—Hundreds of Options

That simplicity combined with hundreds of fabric options makes curtains and drapery at home in nearly any room. Choose from elegant sheer fabrics that filter the light and allow for a view to the outdoors. Or pick a room-darkening fabric that stops much of the light and come in a range of colors, patterns, and textures. Try a blackout fabric (or a room-darkening fabric matched with a blackout liner) for maximum light control.

Install drapery over roller shades, cellular shades, or Roman shades to create an opulent look and a wide range of light control. And if you’re looking to create a very specific style, you have hundreds of fabrics to choose from. For design versatility and practical function, custom fabric drapery can’t be beat.

Explore Custom Fabric Drapery

Graber natural drapery in a living room.

Natural Drapes—A Sustainable Option

Natural Drapes are made with hand-harvested, sustainable materials. Wood, bamboo, wild grasses, or rattan are woven into attractive fabrics that bring the beauty of nature into your home. These drapes make a statement.

Explore Natural Drapes

Graber sheer shades on windows with valance.” width=

Valances and Cornices—Elevate Your Décor

There are many ways to enhance and elevate the look of your Graber drapery. Add valances, swags, cornices, and custom pleating to your custom fabric drapery create window treatments that that ooze elegance. Choose a Deco-Trim valance for your natural drapery or choose a 60% fullness for an opulent look.

Explore Valances & Cornices

Blinds—Reliable Standard

Window blinds are a stack of wood, aluminum, composite, or vinyl slats, linked by cords, that can be tilted to adjust light control and privacy. They are found in millions of homes and continue to be the go-to solution for many homeowners.

The popularity of blinds is their dependability and their easy control. A simple twist of the wand and you have instant privacy. And with a gentle lift of the bottom rail, your cordless blinds can be raised up in seconds.

Graber blinds come in six different varieties, giving you options for every situation. All are available cordless, and all offer the same dependable, highly versatile light control.

Graber real wood blinds on a window in a living room.

Wood Blinds—Classic

Real wood blinds from Graber are truly classic. They’re made with North American hardwoods and are built to last. You’ll find a variety of finishes and paints, meaning you’ll find a color for any room you’re designing.

Explore Real Wood Blinds

Graber faux wood blinds on a window in a laundry room.

Composite and Faux Wood Blinds—For High Humidity

These are the solution for your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Not only do they look quite similar to real wood blinds, but they are also just as sturdy. Composite and faux wood blinds stand up to heat and humidity and come in smaller range of finishes than Graber Wood Blinds, but you’ll still find plenty of options.

Explore Faux Wood Blinds

Graber vertical blinds on a sliding door in a kitchen.

Vertical Blinds—Tried-and-True Solution for Patio Doors

If you have a wide window or a sliding glass door, consider vertical blinds. They’re a time-tested solution for patio doors and come in a variety of styles, including fabric and durable vinyl.

Explore Vertical Blinds

Graber vinyl blinds on windows in a rec room.” width=

Vinyl Blinds

If you’re looking to cover the windows in an entire home or a large room, vinyl blinds are a great option. Vinyl blinds work in kitchens, bathrooms, rec rooms, or any room in the home. Graber’s 2” slats have a contemporary look that works in a modern interior.

Explore Vinyl Binds

Graber aluminum blinds on windows in a laundry room.” width=

Aluminum Blinds—Durable

A sturdier option than vinyl blinds is aluminum blinds. Choose from ½”, 1”, and 2” inch slats, all finished to resist humidity, dust, stains, and scratches.

Explore Aluminum Blinds

Graber sheer shades (soft blinds) on windows in a home office.

Soft Blinds—An Elegant Option

Sheer Shades are soft blinds—essentially a set of blinds made entirely of fabric. They’re an elegant solution for rooms where you would like the functionality of blinds with the gently filtered light. Available with continuous-loop cord lift, cordless lift, or motorized lift.

Explore Soft Blinds

Shades—Clean and Sleek

A shade is a solid piece of fabric or layers of fabric that is pulled up or down to provide light protection and privacy. Some shades, such as roller shades and solar shades, are mounted on a roller. Other shades, such as Roman, cellular, natural, layered, and sheer shades are mounted on a headrail.

The biggest reason why shades continue to increase in popularity is their clean, sleek appearance and simplicity. Shade down for light control and privacy, shade up for light and a view.

While all shades do basically the same thing, they all operate differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. Here’s your guide to the wide world of shades:

Graber classic roman shades on windows in a bedroom.” width=

Roman Shades—Age-old Design

Classic Roman Shades and Tailored Roman Shades share the same age-old design. A simple mechanism of hidden control cords and rings raises and lowers the shades. Tailored Roman shades allow you to use a Graber Custom Drapery fabric to create window treatments that perfectly achieve your design goals. And classic Roman shades come in a range of neutral tones that make them one of the most popular of all Graber window treatments.

Explore Roman Shades

Graber cordless cellular shades on windows in a living room.

Cellular Shades—The Most Popular Option

Cellular shades combine simplicity, elegance, and energy efficiency to create a window treatment that is among the most popular in the world. Choose a sheer fabric to add a soft touch to a living room. Select a cellular shade in a blackout fabric for your bedroom or entertainment room. These versatile shades work in nearly any room.

Explore Cellular Shades

Graber cordless natural woven shades on windows in a bedroom.

Natural Woven Shades—Natural Beauty

Made with wood, bamboo, wild grasses, and rattan, natural woven shades bring the beauty of nature into your home. Pair them with privacy or blackout liners or configure them unlined for graceful light patterns filtering through the natural fibers.

Explore Natural Woven Shades

Graber motorized roller shades on windows in a kitchen.

Roller Shades—Simple Roller Design

The simplest of all window treatment designs is the roller shade. Graber Roller Shades come in an array of colors and patterns, from formal to playful, sheer to blackout. Pair a roller shade with drapery to create a finished look for a living room. Or select a simple neutral tone for a peaceful bedroom.

Explore Roller Shades

Graber cordless solar shades on windows in a living room.

Solar Shades—Great for Sunny Windows

For your sunniest windows—or any window where you want a touch of sleek, modern style—choose a Graber Solar Shade. Solar shade fabrics come in a variety of openness levels. Pick a higher openness fabric for more light and view. Select a lower openness level for greater privacy and light control.

Explore Solar Shades

Graber outdoor solar shades on a patio.” width=

Exterior & Outdoor Solar Shades—Stop the Heat Before It Enters Your Home

Do you have an outdoor area that gets so heated up by the sun that it’s almost unlivable? Try an exterior solar shade. Graber Exterior Solar Shades stop the sun before it can enter your space, all while still maintaining a view to the outdoors.

Explore Outdoor Solar Shades

Graber cordless zebra shades on windows in a living room.

Layered Shades—Bold Bands of Color

Sometimes called zebra shades, layered shades are to layers of fabric with alternating opaque and translucent bands. By aligning or contrasting the bands, you can change the level of light control and privacy. These shades have a modern look that goes well with contemporary or modern design schemes.

Explore Layered & Zebra Shades

Graber tailored roman shades on windows in a bedroom.

Tailored Roman Shades—Hundreds of Fabric Options

Handcrafted with the same fabrics you’ll find the Graber Custom Drapery collections, tailored Roman shades offer endless possibilities. Pair you tailored Roman shades with matching drapery for a stunning look.

Explore Tailored Roman Shades

Graber motorized sheer shades on windows in a bedroom.

Sheer Shades—Soft Blinds

Fabric vanes set between layers of sheer fabric make sheer shades one of the most attractive window treatment solutions on the market today. You get the easy control of blinds with the beauty of sheer fabric. Perfect for living rooms, dining rooms, or anywhere you want to capture the glow of soft light.

Explore Sheer Shades

Graber real wood shutters on windows in a living room.

Shutters—Architectural Elements

Made with the same materials as Graber wood and composite blinds, Graber Shutters are of the highest quality and offer solutions for any room. They are especially easy to operate—just lift or lower the louvers directly with your hands. And because of their heft, they can help protect against heat and cold.

Shutters are unlike any other window treatment. They are more like built-in architectural elements than window coverings. They’re such an upgrade to your décor that they might even add to the value of your home.

Wood shutters add a touch of old-world charm to living rooms, dining rooms, and studies. You’ll find wood shutters in countless finishes and colors. Composite shutters are available in a narrower range of color options, but they’re the shutter you should go to when decorating a bathroom, kitchen, or other high humidity area.

Maintaining your shutters is simple. Brush them with an upholstery attachment on your vacuum. Use a feather duster. Or simply wipe them clean with a cloth.

Explore Shutters

Making Your Decision: Factors Influencing Window Treatment Choice

Window treatments are a way to express yourself through color, pattern, texture, and design. No matter the shape, size, or location of your window, Graber has a window treatment to meet your needs.

  • Want to evoke a sense of grandeur? Choose luxurious fabric drapes, cut puddle length so they pool on the floor.
  • Trying to create a sense of casual fun? A solar shade in colorful fabric is a great option.
  • Need to match a modern décor? The Graber Layered Shade, with its bold stripes and color blocking, is an ideal choice.
  • Looking to match your existing décor? Look at the long list of Graber Custom Drapery fabrics and choose from hundreds of colors and patterns.

Get a better idea of all the possibilities Graber has to offer—check out our Color Books & Look books.

Special Considerations and Features

Lower Your Heating and Cooling Costs: Energy Efficient Window Treatments

The two best window treatments for insulating against heat and cold are cellular shades and fabric drapery. Energy efficiency can be boosted in natural shades, Roman shades, and drapery by adding a liner. But even wood shutters, wood blinds, and natural drapes can help protect against heat and cold coming into your home through your windows.

Graber cordless blackout cellular shades on windows in a bedroom.” width=

Light Control & Blackout Shades

Almost any window treatment can be ordered with a room-darkening fabric that can provide ample light control and privacy. However solar shades, one of the most popular shade options on the market today, do not provide complete privacy at night—which means they’re not generally the top choice for bedrooms and bathrooms. Aside from that, almost all window treatments fulfill the top jobs of all window treatments: light control and privacy.

But room darkening is not enough for some people. For people sensitive to light or those looking for an optimal sleep environment, there are blackout shades. Graber cellular, tailored Roman, and roller shades can all be made with fabrics or liners that block out light. And, to create an even darker room, a Graber Cellular Shade can be paired with a room-darkening side channel to further decrease light coming into the room.

A Word About Opacity and Openness

Opacity refers to how opaque a fabric is—that is, how much light the fabric blocks. A higher opacity means more light is blocked.

Openness refers the weave of a solar shade fabric. The greater the openness of the weave, the more light comes through. A higher openness allows more light into the room.

Then there are the terms sheer, room-darkening, and blackout. Sheer fabrics allow a lot of light to come through. They also provide minimal privacy. Room-darkening fabrics cut down on the light but allow some light through even when closed. Blackout fabrics are just as advertised: they block the light. Blackout fabrics are ideal for bedrooms.

Child & Pet Safety

All Graber window treatments are built to be safe for children and pets. Nearly every type of shade and blind on this list are available in a cordless configuration, and motorization is available on all our most popular shades. On window treatments that use continuous-loop cords, tensioners keep the cord taut for safety.

Noise Reduction

Graber cellular shades and custom drapery excel in dampening sound. Heavy window treatments such as natural shades and drapery can also help insulate against noise from outside. Any window treatment can reduce sounds and vibrations from outside and in the room. You’ll notice that in a room without window treatments, there’s significantly more sound from outdoors.

Somfy smart home system that integrates with Graber blinds and shades.

Graber Motorization & Smart Home Integration

If you’re looking to upgrade your home technology, motorizing your window treatments is a great place to start. By installing motorized shades in your home, you simplify your daily routine and ensure that you’re creating the optimal environment. Graber motorization lets you do this by allowing you to control your shades from anywhere in the world with the Graber app and optional hub. You can set schedules that save you time and ensure maximum energy efficiency. Graber technology can be integrated with the most popular smart home systems.

Window Treatment Solutions for Everyone

Graber has a massive range of window treatment options and technologies for you to choose from. Whether you’re decorating a grand ballroom or a rustic cabin, Graber has a shade, blind, shutter, or drapery to fit your needs, and you’ll have no trouble turning your design into reality.

Now Pick Your Window Treatments!

There’s a window treatment for every window. Knowing all the options empowers you to pick a window treatment that looks great and matches your décor and routine.

Start with window treatments and colors that look good to you, then learn about how they function and what level of light protection and privacy they provide. Follow these steps and you’re sure to find the blinds, shades, shutters, and drapery that are right for you.