Window treatments are an essential part of any interior design plan that provide an aesthetic covering to a home’s windows.  However, window coverings are a very complex design decision because they value both form and function equally.  In terms of function, window treatments filter natural light and provide privacy. Additionally, they improve energy efficiency and absorb sound. In terms of form, the many available types of window coverings offer a unique aesthetic or style to complement their practical side. This NYC designer’s guide provides an in-depth look at the many different types of window treatment styles.   

Window Treatments: Shades vs. Blinds

There are two main categories of window treatments: shades and blinds. Shade options include honeycomb shades, cellular shades, pleated shades, roller shades, double roller shades, and Roman shades.  Blind options include Venetian blinds, panel blinds, and vertical blinds.  Custom blinds and shades allow you to balance your design style with your need for light control, privacy, energy savings, and sound absorption. 


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Realistic Design NYC Fabric Shades

Shades are window treatments made from fabric.  Fabric shades create different aesthetic styles and moods with textures and patterns and varying fabric weights. They are designed of continuous panels of material that are raised and lowered to balance light control and privacy, often competing goals in urban areas like NYC.  Custom shades are made to measure for the specific window size in the home.


window treatments - venetian blinds
Realistic Design NYC Venetian Blind Slats

Blinds are window treatments made from individual slats.  They include both horizontal blinds and vertical blinds. Often made from aluminum, horizontal blinds are raised and lowered like shades. However, the individual slats can be rotated to control light and glare more precisely by adjusting the angle of the slats.  Certain styles of custom blinds are also available in fabric.  Vertical blinds can be made of fabric as well as of aluminum.

What are the different types of window shades?

When interior designers refer to shades, they are considering several options.  Window shades have several different styles.  These options include pleated shades, honeycomb shades or cellular shades, roller shades, and Roman shades. Each type of shade offers its unique advantages and styles as well as functionality. 

Pleated Shade Window Treatments

Realistic Design NYC Pleated Shades

A pleated shade is a horizontally folded (or pleated) length of fabric secured by tension cords running between a top rail and a bottom rail. When shut, pleated blinds provide you with privacy screening, light filtering, and a fascinating pattern of pleats. The light that gets through pleated blinds takes on a soft hue. When opened, the pleated shade merges discreetly into its surroundings.  Extensive fabric options for pleated shades can match any design style.  

Honeycomb shades or Cellular shades

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Realistic Design NYC Honeycomb or Cellular Shade

Honeycomb shades and cellular shades are both terms used to describe the same construction of shade.  Honeycomb shades consist of two pleated layers of fabric joined together and fixed between the top rail and the bottom rail.  The honeycomb-shaped cavities (a hexagon shape) between the fabric panels form an air cushion acting as a layer of insulation against heat and cold. Honeycomb shades can have a single cell or a double cell configuration. As a result of this structure, the honeycomb shade produces soft incoming light and a special mood within the room. 

Pleated shade vs. Honeycomb shade window treatments

Both pleated and honeycomb shades use tension cords to raise and lower the shade.  However, the tension cords of a honeycomb shade run inside the two panels whereas the tension cord on a pleated blind is visible because there is only one layer of fabric.  The hidden tension cord of the honeycomb shade means there are no punched holes visible around the cord that the sun can shine through.  So, honeycomb shades, in combination with blackout fabric, can be used for room darkening in bedrooms and living rooms.  Since pleated shades are a single layer of fabric, they can be a more economical choice while still offering a beautiful, custom design.  Choose honeycomb shades for greater functional benefits.  

Roller Shade Window Treatments

Realistic Design NYC Roller Shade

A roller shade is a fabric shade that that wraps around an aluminum or steel shaft mounted at the top of the shade.  With roller shades, privacy and light are regulated by lowering and raising the shade.  The shaft mechanism allows the roller shade to hold itself in place in very small increments when raised or lowered to the desired place in the window. Roller shades offer a straightforward way to add a stylish textile in an array of colors and patterns to any style room. They are simple to use and constructed from an array of fabrics to suit any design preference. 

Double roller shade

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Realistic Design NYC Double Roller Shade

The double roller shade is a unique type of roller shade. Unlike the roller shade’s single layer of fabric, the double roller consists of two layers of fabric wrapped around the shaft at the top and around a weighted rod at the bottom of the fabric.  The fabric of the double roller shade is also unique.  It consists of alternating woven fabric stripes that can vary in transparency from black out to transparent. This means that when the shade is lowered or raised, the different transparencies create a stunning striped or wave look.  The double roller shade is a designer favorite as its textile aesthetic can combine with the functionality for room darkening, light control and privacy protection.  

Roman shades

Realistic Design NYC Roman Shade

A Roman shade is a form of roller shade where you do not roll the fabric onto a top shaft like a roller shade, but rather gather it vertically via cords.  When the Roman shade is down and fully concealing the window, the fabric hangs flat like a roller shade.  However, as the Roman shade opens, the fabric folds horizontally into pleats guided by the cords.  As a result, the blind fabric drops like arching clouds, creating a textile, sensual atmosphere.  Roman shades are another designer favorite because they provide a sophisticated elegance to suit both modern and traditional decor using a variety of different fabrics. 

What are the different types of window blinds?

An interior designer knows that there are three types of window blinds.  Venetian blinds are the most common type of window blind.  However, blinds also come in panel blinds and vertical blinds systems.  Venetian blinds have horizontal slats while panel blinds and vertical blinds have vertical slats. Choosing the best blind will depend on several factors including the size of window, the use of the room, the amount of light and glare from outdoors and the overall design look and mood of the room.  

Venetian Blinds

Realistic Design NYC Venetian Blind

Venetian blinds originally come from France. Today they are regarded as the classic internally fitted blind. As window grills, they make it possible to see out, while simultaneously preventing people from seeing in. This feature makes Venetian blinds a popular option in cities like NYC. Venetian blinds consist of horizontal, adjustable slats. Their angle can be finely graduated to flexibly regulate the incoming light.  Venetian blinds are versatile and come in an array of colors and slat widths. Venetian blinds are also excellent choices for home and commercial offices because they permit subtle control of incoming glare on computer screens.  

Panel blinds

Realistic Design NYC Panel Blind as Room Partition

A panel blind is a flat, vertical window decoration that moves from side to side on tracks. Wide fabric panels attach to glide carriers that run concealed inside the carrier track. Panel blinds seem to float in aesthetic, ornate fashion from the ceiling. Where necessary, they can quickly push to one side.  The panel blind system makes an equally effective room divider or partition.

Vertical blind window treatments

Realistic Design NYC Vertical Blind as Room Divider

A vertical blind is a system of linked narrow lengths of fabric or aluminum that hang from an overhead track. The vertically arranged slats can be infinitely adjusted to offer privacy and flexible light control. Vertical blinds are excellent choices for very wide windows, tall windows, sliding doors, in doorways and commercial spaces.  They can also be effective room dividers or partitions. 

Realistic Design NYC LLC offers honeycomb shades, cellular shades, pleated shades, roller shades, double roller shades, Roman shades, venetian blinds, panel blinds and vertical blinds that combine form and function with unique designer fabrics and high-end custom manufacturing.