Cellular Shades

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Cellular shades are smart: smart-looking and smart-acting. Cellular shades, sometimes referred to as "honeycomb" shades, filter light, add privacy, and are energy efficient. They come in varying degrees of translucence, ranging from sheer to fully opaque, and are available in nearly every color under the rainbow.

Flipping through the pages of home decorating magazines you may have seen cellular shades without even knowing it. Cellular shades fit the window top to bottom. They can be raised from below, just like regular shades, but also lowered from the top. The impression is of a smooth, flush surface, through which passes varying degrees of light, depending on the material chosen.

Cellular Shades: Construction

Cellular shades are so called because they're made from multiple layers of material. Imagine a single, vertical line of honeycomb, and you've got the idea. Cellular shades resemble pleated shades from the front. But, unlike pleated shades, cellular shades act as insulation, and help control light considerably more effectively. They are available in single and double cell construction. Single-cell shades have slightly wider pleats than double-cell shades, and so may be more aesthetically appealing to some. However, the latter option offers more energy and light control.

Cellular shades may be hung via an inside-the-window-frame mount, or an outside-the-frame mount. In-frame mounts look more "finished" and sleek. However, exact specifications are required for this kind of installation, and in some cases, a custom order may be required. If people opt for an outside mount, exact measurements are less critical, and so pre-manufactured options may work just fine.

Cellular shades are relatively affordable. Even custom-cut options for a 36 inch by 54 inch window will run well under a hundred dollars. Pre-manufactured options may cost less than half that amount. For those to whom this sounds pricey, remember that cellular shades effectively pay for themselves over time, since they can raise the insulation factor of an exposed window up to five or six times. Regular shades usually increase the insulation factor (known as the R-factor) by one or two times, at most.

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