With the entrance of the horseless carriage, and the incredible ease at which production lines can be streamlined for simple production, there came a great level of innovation in many industries and categories. Among these innovations was the great improvements to the blackout roller shades used to darken rooms worldwide. As one would have seen old style roller shades used ugly plain designs, now one can select among the many options of high quality and attractive treatments using higher quality roller shade fabrics, ensuring not only a great appearance, but a long-lasting product. The basic blackout roller shade uses a multiple-layer vinyl material which prevents light filtering into a specific room. Many new blackout roller shades also use a material which includes a fiberglass layer thus increasing the strength and dimensional stability of the shade regardless of height or width.
Top of the line roller shades include a chain/cord operated control system which facilitates the operation and widens the user's options. These controls allow the operator to raise or lower the shade to a specific point without ever having to touch the material thus keeping the shade material clean of finger prints and significantly reducing wear and tear thus prolonging the useful life of the product. The control systems presently used in this type of roller shades include a continuous chain/cord operated geared clutch allowing the smooth and gentle raising and lowering of the shade. These chains/cords are available in many colors thus expanding the color coordination of the hardware and the shade fabric material.
Chains are available in metal or plastic. It is worth mentioning that the use of plastic chains is fast becoming more popular than metal chains due to the strength superiority of the plastic chain over the metal chain. Plastic chains are generally able to withstand twice the pulling force of metal chain and are somewhat less obtrusive. As an evolutionary benefit, blackout roller shade materials are available in a variety of colors to match any decorative need and create a desired ambience. The new available collections of blackout roller shade fabrics also include many dual-color materials which provide a neutral color to the exterior while providing the desired color to the interior of the room. This very important feature allows the use of these materials whenever neutral exterior colors are mandated by homeowner associations, deed restrictions, etc.
Some suppliers of roller shades shades offer the ability to coordinate and decorate your shades by using a valance. A valance, in window treatments, is a top covering for a product which conceals the controls system. Usually these are not needed for roller shades, as the control system, or at least the tube, is covered by the fabric. However, some consumers like to hide their roller shade controls and brackets, for these people, a valance may help solve this desire. The appearance of a basic blackout roller shade can be significantly improved by the addition of decorative trims available in many colors and designs, deluxe bottom rails and color coordinated control chains/cords.
These optional features will add a softer look and help in the overall appearance and coordination of the room being decorated. In summary, blackout roller shades have evolved into a multiple option window treatment system that provide a specific appearance and simultaneously meet certain desired specifications which solve the unique needs and requirements of the consumer. Another point worth mentioning is the reliability of roller shades from an operational point of view and ease of operation especially by individuals with physical limitations.
Judith Persit is an interior designer specializing in window treatments. Judith writes about roller shades. Learn more about shades at her site.