Choosing the Right Opacity for Solar Shades

Solar shades are a great interior décor choice—especially for those living in hotter climes. Such a window feature provides a multitude of advantages, ranging from the practical to the environmentally friendly.

One aspect that often confuses is that of solar shade opacity. The following guide demystifies the commonly-used terminology and can be used to help determine the perfect solar shade to suit your vibe and lifestyle.

The Different Types of Solar Shade Opacity

  •     Numerical solar shade opacity
  •     Solar shade opacity: Sheer
  •     Solar shade opacity: Semi-sheer
  •     Solar shade opacity: Semi-opaque
  •     Solar shade opacity: Opaque
  •     Blackout shades

Numerical solar shade opacity

Sometimes the opacity of a shade (how much light the fabric allows to shine through) is expressed as a percentage. This tends to be from 0 – 20, with 0 percent letting no light through at all and 20 percent letting a lot through.

However, the most popular way of describing solar shade opacity is to use the terms, sheer, semi-sheer, semi-opaque, and opaque.

Solar shade opacity: Sheer 

Sheer is the least dense of all the categories, allowing a fair amount of glare and daylight to enter the room. These are a popular choice for naturally dark rooms and areas that benefit from a good deal of natural light. 

When viewed from the interior, sheer shades will gently soften the focus of the world outside. Sunrooms are another location that this level of opacity particularly flatters. 

Solar shade opacity: Semi-sheer

One step up from sheer, this ‘in-between’ choice allows less light through but still doesn’t provide a high level of privacy. While it suits some rooms, the semi-sheer option tends not to be as popular as the other options. This is because, in most cases, the choice of solar shades is either to let in a lot of light (as in sheer) or to go for the options below that provide more of a barrier to the elements. 

Solar shade opacity: Semi-opaque

If you’re looking for an option that blocks a large amount of glare but you still require a little natural light, then semi-opaque could be the answer. They will block your view (although you can see shadows) but still allow a little natural light through. They provide a high degree of privacy as people can’t see in from the outside.

Solar shade opacity: Opaque

Sometimes described as ‘room darkening’, opaque solar shades block almost all light from entering the room. These offer considerable privacy as they completely stop any view from the outside. While some natural light will seep in around the edges, the only true way to allow daylight in is to have them partially or fully open.

Blackout shades

A quick word on blackout shades which, as the name implies, prevents any light whatsoever from entering. These are a good choice for media rooms or perhaps bedrooms for shift workers who need to sleep during daylight hours.

Advantages of Solar Shades

  •     Physical and environmental advantages

Physical and environmental advantages

Solar shades offer many advantages. Some of these are:

  •     Keep the heat out of a room/home: By blocking the sunlight and glare, solar shades are very effective at keeping the interior at ambient temperature.
  •     Reduces the need for air conditioning: Thanks to their effectiveness at blocking heat transference, most people find they can use their air conditioning less, therefore reducing energy costs and benefiting the environment.
  •     Blocks harmful UV rays: Not only good for your health but also prevents premature fading of interior décor.
  •     Blocks glare: Meaning no annoying light shining on screens or in your eyes at certain times of the day.
  •     Aesthetically pleasing: They look great, both from the inside and the outside.

Contact Regency Window Shutter & Shade for the Best Advice on Solar Shade Opacity

With so many options, it can be a challenge to determine the ideal solar shade opacity for your needs. Regency Window Shutter and Shade provide a preeminent service that covers all aspects of window dressings: from choosing the ultimate solution through to the creation and installation of your dream look.

Discover more at and give their friendly team a call for a no-obligation chat.

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