What does privacy mean to you? We all have our own ideas about privacy, and those ideas can shift depending on the circumstances.

Privacy, room darkening, opaque, and blackout are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably when talking about window shades. But did you know these terms refer to different shade characteristics and levels of privacy? Knowing those differences before you install shades in your home will help you select the best solution for your space.

How private is private?
What do you consider private enough? Do you want a complete blackout system, where no light gets through the shade fabric? Or is it OK if people outside can see basic shapes and shadows behind the shade?

Do your privacy needs differ from one part of your house to another? Or from one part of the day to the other? Do you desire more complete privacy during the evening hours, or during the day if you work from home?

Does mesh provide privacy?
A distinct advantage mesh shade fabrics have is their ability to block glare and heat while still allowing you to see through them to the outdoors. During the day, mesh shades do provide some privacy. Darker colors combine a measure of privacy from the outside while allowing views out to nature. At night, however, when the lights are on in the house, it is much easier to see in from the outside.

Lighter meshes and tighter openness factors, or duplex fabrics that are lighter on the outside and darker on the inside, can raise the privacy level but not as much as a privacy fabric.

Privacy and room darkening.
Privacy shade fabrics, also known as room darkening shades, provide an opaque covering over your window openings. They provide a higher degree of privacy, but they still aren’t perfect. That’s because of the small strips of light known as halos that are visible along the sides. Although difficult, a snoop could possibly use these gaps to get a restricted look inside, depending on how big they are.

Here are some ways to get the most out of privacy/room darkening shades:

  • Mount your shades so the fabric extends beyond each side of the window
  • Attach vinyl or aluminum angles to each side of the window
  • Insert the edges of the shade fabric into extruded aluminum channels on each side of the window

Maximizing your privacy.
Complete privacy can’t be achieved just with fabric. It requires proper installation of a light blocking system like our LightBloc ZIP. These systems include a headbox, fabric retention side channels, and a weighted hem bar to completely block one’s ability to see in from the outside. There’s also a “zipper”-style fabric retention system on the fabric panel’s edges to keep it in place and provide a complete privacy solution.

The best of both worlds.
You don’t have to sacrifice privacy at night for beautifully filtered sunlight and natural views during the day. Yes, you can have it all!

Dual roller shades stack two fabric shades inside a single recessed headbox. By having an opaque fabric on the roller closest to the window and a mesh panel on the front roller, you can choose which you want at any given time. And you can use light blocking options such as “L” channels, “U” channels, and “H” channels on the opaque shade to increase that privacy!

Click here to explore all our Draper@Home shading solutions and to contact your Draper representative.