Selecting the perfect window shades can be a daunting task, especially with terms like opacity, openness, light filtering, and blackout floating around. This article simplifies these terms and guides you in making an informed decision for your home.

What is Opacity in Window Shades?

Opacity in the context of window shades refers to the amount of light a shade allows to pass through. It plays a crucial role in determining the lighting, temperature, and visibility both inside and outside your room. The terms light filtering, room darkening, and blackout are all related to opacity.

Decoding Light Filtering and Blackout Shades

  1. Light Filtering Shades: These shades, when closed, diffuse light, casting a soft and warm glow in the room. They don’t block out light entirely but reduce its intensity to create a cozy ambiance.
  2. Blackout Shades: If you desire complete darkness, blackout shades are the way to go. They block out all light, making them perfect for bedrooms, media rooms, or any space where total darkness is preferred. However, it’s essential to note that there might be light gaps on the sides, especially with inside-mounted shades. To counter this, consider adding light gap blockers. These adhesive strips block the gaps, ensuring no light seeps through.

The Appeal of Solar Shades

Solar shades stand out because they block sunlight while still allowing visibility from the inside. However, there’s a balance between visibility and light blockage:

  1. Openness Percentage: This term, also known as opacity, determines the amount of light a solar shade lets in. offers shades with openness ranging from 1% to 14%. The lower the percentage, the more light it blocks, and vice versa.
  2. Visibility and Light: A 5% openness is a popular choice, striking a balance between light blockage and visibility. If you prioritize an unobstructed view, opt for a higher percentage. However, remember that increased visibility from the inside also means increased visibility from the outside. If privacy is paramount, stick to shades with a lower openness percentage.


Choosing the right opacity for your roller or solar shades is all about understanding your needs. Whether you want a room bathed in soft light, complete darkness, or a clear view with some heat-blocking benefits, there’s a shade out there for you. Remember to consider factors like privacy, UV protection, and the room’s purpose when making your decision.