Pleated Shades

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Pleated shades filter light beautifully, and are very popular as a simple, elegant window dressing. Lowered, they feature crisp pleats running left to right. Raised, these pleats fold neatly into themselves, accordion-style.

Pleated shades are available in a wide variety of colors, patterns and prints. Woven, neutral colored, natural fibers are available, as are whimsical prints perfect for meeting a young person's taste. It should be noted that most pleated shades do not have a "neutral" backing; the back looks like the front. Those wanting a neutral window appearance from the outside should consider pleated shades in neutral colors, or the installation of a roller shade set behind the pleated shades.

Buyers can choose from a wide variety of opacities, as well. Perfectly translucent fabrics reduce glare, but provide minimal privacy; slightly more complex fabrics soften light, and provide minimum to moderate privacy; more intricately woven fibers and materials either diffuse or completely block light, and provide maximum privacy. The higher the opacity, the higher the energy benefits, since the more light is blocked, the more heat is reduced.

Darling, Weave Me a Drape

Most pleated shades are made from actual fabric, woven on a loom. This is what allows for such great variety of colors, fabrics and prints. However, since looms can only accommodate up to 72 inches of fabric side to side, any custom ordered pleated shades over that width will feature a fabric overlap in the center where the two pieces are attached together. For some, this is a drawback, since this "doubling" of fabric will be noticeable when back-lit by the sun. Further, being made from a single sheet, there is no way to hide the hardware. As a result, little holes are punched in the fabric, through which the cords are run, and are clearly visible.

Though they are not as energy efficient as cellular shades, they are certainly more affordable. Contented buyers praise them for being great looking, and filtering light beautifully. Because of the variety of fabrics available, decorators on a budget are very enthusiastic about how well they can match the decor of nearly any room. Pleated shades are also considered very durable and easy to clean. For decorators on a dime, pleated shades deliver a rich look, at a price that's right.

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