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Solar Shades vs. Roller Shades: Which Is Right for You?

Cordless roller shades in a bedroom.

When you walk into our home, it’s clear that we have our favorites when it comes to window treatments. In any given room, you’ll likely find a pair of curtains (mounted near the ceiling and flowing to the floor) paired with either Bali Solar or Roller Shades. We continually turn to solar and roller shades for their clean lines and minimal look, and we’ve happily shouted our love for these window treatments from the rooftops.

Right now, you might be wondering: Aren’t a solar shade and roller shade the same thing?  Truth be told, we’re asked this question quite frequently. So much so, that I’ve gotten my reply down to a science.

Solar and roller shades use the same smooth roll up mechanism and control types, but their fabrics (and benefits!) are very different. Let's compare solar shades vs. roller shades, and my hope is that you’ll leave knowing which option is the best for your room!

All About Solar Shades

Cordless solar shades in a bedroom.

Block Those UV Rays

Solar shades protect your home from up to 99% of harmful UV rays that can damage and fade your furniture, rugs, and curtains. Have I sold you yet? I’m only mildly joking, but this has always been the biggest bonus for us. At the same time, lighter shades will reflect heat away from your home and provide you with valuable energy savings. Win-win(-dow).

Enjoy the View

Solar shades offer you the best of both worlds by providing you with a view of the outside while filtering the light you receive inside. Their see-through design is one of the reasons why we chose them for the windows on the front of our house. When drawn, we can still see the trees and passersby, and our home stays cool and free from harsh sunlight.

Cordless solar shades in a living room.

Openness and Privacy

If you’ve started collecting your free samples for solar shades, you may have noticed that there are different percentages of openness to choose from. This typically ranges from 1–14%, and in a nutshell, the higher the number, the more open your view. The smaller the number, the more reduced your daytime view.

All solar shades are see-through, and it’s important to keep in mind how this will impact your privacy at night. If your lights are on in the evening, this will give others a view into your home. So although the see-through weave of solar shades offers you a brighter outdoor view from your dark(er) interior during the day, the opposite is true at night.

All About Roller Shades

Let the Sun In (Or Don’t)

Unlike the openness scale that is offered by solar shades, roller shades have four opacities to choose from. Ranging from sheer to light filtering, room darkening to blackout, you can choose the amount of light that streams into your room. I love the idea of sheer rollers in an office; whereas, nothing beats blackout or room-darkening roller shades for a bedroom.

Cordless roller shades in a kitchen.

Get Creative!

Bali Roller Shades are available in a large range of textures, colors, and patterns. If you’re looking to make a statement in a room, roller shades are for you! Start by browsing the available fabrics and select a handful of samples to see in your space.

Put Your Personal Stamp on It

Make a roller shade your own by choosing from five different scalloped hems. This would be a really fun addition in a whimsical bedroom, or an unexpected touch in the family room.

For even more light control, consider combining a solar shade with a roller shade in a Bali Dual Shade! The color and light-filtering options feel limitless, giving you the freedom to be as minimal or vibrant as your heart desires, and to seamlessly transition from day to night.