Opacity is just a fancy word used in the window covering business to describe the different amount of light that comes through a blind or shade. Sometimes the choices can be confusing but don’t worry, they really aren’t! In this article I will discuss the different window treatment opacities available and when they make the most sense for you and your family!

Light Filtering Opacity Roller Shade

Opacity Options

Sheer – Sheer fabrics are mostly for aesthetics, and provide no privacy. Sheer shades can help soften a room, or soften direct sunlight, but know that any sheer fabric is also see through. Sheers can be a great choice in a living area where privacy is not a concern, but a soft window treatment is desired.

Light Filtering – Light Filtering blinds or shades can cover a large range of opacity, from an open weave screen or natural shade that you may be able to almost see through, to a tightly woven fabric which provides complete privacy, but allows sunlight through during the day. Light Filtering products are normally best for general living areas and offices, where privacy may not be the most important factor. A blind or shade that is light filtering can be the perfect solution to control direct sunlight, but still allow light to brighten up a room when they are closed.

Semi-Opaque – Semi-Opaque fabric is the next step from Light Filtering. A Semi-Opaque shade will still allow some light through, but you can be assured it will provide you privacy as well. Even someone directly outside a window at night will not be able to see through a Semi-Opaque material. Semi-Opaque shades are perfect for a living space which requires privacy or a bathroom where total light control is not necessary, but privacy is.

Room Darkening – Room Darkening shades or blinds do just that, provide complete light control and the utmost in privacy. With a Room Darkening fabric, no light is transmitted through the material. This allows you to block out direct sunlight, perfect for a bedroom application. It also will not allow anyone outside to see if a light is on in a room at night. Room Darkening shades can also work well for a living room or home theater room, where controlling light is necessary for a projector or television screen.

Solar Screen Openness – Openness is another term used in the custom window covering industry, referring to solar screen material. Openness is relayed in a percentage, with the number being the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the screen. For instance, a 5% Openness will block approximately 95% of the light and allow 5% through. Screens are generally available between 1% – 10% openness.

Another thing to remember with screens is they literally have tiny holes in them. This means the amount of light allowed in can also be seen outside at night when the lighting is reversed. Solar screens are tremendous for living area and office applications, but we never recommend them for bedroom or bathrooms.

We understand opacity can be tricky, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our friendly customer support people who can give you individualized advice.