Window Shade Fabric Opacity Explained

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Window Shade Fabric Opacity Explained

When selecting roller shade fabric, a major consideration is the amount of light you want to pass through the shade. This will determine how much privacy you will have and the level of light that enters the room when the shades are closed.

Shade Fabric Comparison

You can select solar shade fabrics that have varying degrees of "openness", This openness factor effects the light opacity in the window. Openness selection starts with see-through sheer fabric styles and is offered in a progression of light filtering options including a total black-out selection.

What is Fabric Openness?

Shade Fabric Openness Chart

When manufacturers design shade fabric, they determine the openness in terms of the percentage (0%, 1%, 3%, 5%, 10%), of light that will pass through the fabric.

Fabric Weaving

By increasing the density of the fabric during the manufacturing process, shade fabrics can be produced in varying degrees of openness.

This will contribute to how much of an image can be seen through a shade. This openness factor can vary with each manufacturer as you compare fabric material, style, and consistency.

See through fabric

It is good practice to select swatches of the shade fabrics you are considering from your manufacturer. Then examine each swatch by holding it up to a light source to determine if the opacity meets your desired effect.

Another consideration is the UV protection that your shade will provide. Most of us want a shade that will knock-down the UV rays so that upholstery and pictures in the room won’t fade over time. Solar shades serve this purpose, and many people prefer these PVC coated fabrics when they have windows in their home facing the afternoon sun.

Interior Designers

Preview Fabric Openness Online

The Menagerie website has a shade configuration tool that allows you to place your shade fabric selection into a simulated window, thus enabling you to view the light opacity of the shade. Additionally, you may order shade fabric samples directly from the Menagerie website and we will mail them to your home or business.

Configure Roller Shade
Our online roller shade configurator provides previews of fabric openness

If you have any questions, use our live chat (8am to 5pm EST M-F) or send us a message.

Posted in: Window Treatments

Published: November 8th, 2021

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