Behind the Blinds: Everything You Need to Know About Cellulars

Today, we’re going to talk about honeycomb cellular shades, or what I like to call them, just cell shades. They’re one of the most popular window coverings on the market today. Let’s start with the basics!

Cell shades are known for their narrow side profile, which is great for small spaces. They’re also super lightweight, which makes them effortless to operate and to install. And last but not least, they have superior insulation properties that helps to keep your space more energy efficient and helps to dampen the outside noise as well.

The defining feature of a cell shade is the shade material itself. It’s composed of some sort of woven polyester material that is folded and adhered together to create these hollow air pockets. This creates a buffer that helps to keep the outside temperature out and the inside temperature in; it helps to do the same thing with noise as well.

There are what seems like endless color options for honeycomb cellular shades. It is worth noting, though, that the color will almost always be just on the front. The back will be white in order to stay HOA compliant and to give it a more uniform look from the back.

There are a few different variations of the cellular structure, or configuration. Most cell shades are just going to be one layer of the honeycomb cellular structure; that’s known as a single cell, or just “SC” for short. However, some cell shades have double the cell layer. That’s referred to as double cell, or just “DC” for short. The double layer does provide extra insulation and extra noise dampening power as well.

You might hear, see or read mention of pleats or pleat sizes when you’re reading or looking for cell shades. The pleat size is going to be measured from this inner point here to this outer point here – think bottom of the valley to top of the mountain. For example, we can see here that this is a three quarter inch pleat size.

Smaller pleat sizes usually look better in smaller window openings, and larger pleat sizes usually look better in larger window openings. But honestly, that’s pretty much just personal preference. You do what you think looks best! It is worth pointing out, though, that larger pleat sizes will create a larger air buffer, which will create a little bit better insulation than a smaller pleat size.

Cell shades are offered in two different light control options: light filtering and blackout. Light filtering is exactly what it sounds like. It is designed to allow light to naturally filter in through the shade while still allowing you to have privacy. At most, you’ll only see shadows on the other side of the shade. To maximize the amount of light that’s passing through the shade, if you’re going with light filtering, you want to go for larger pleat sizes, like a three quarter inch or a two inch.

The other light control option is blackout. I will mention that there is no functional window covering that will 100% blackout your room. However, cell shades get really close to that effect. Blackout cell shades are lined on the inside of their cell structure with a silvery material known as mylar. This mylar lining prevents any light from passing through the actual shade material itself, which maximizes that room-darkening effect.

Any light that you see passing through when the shade is down will come in around the sides and edges of the shade. Due to the lightweight and simple construction of cellular shades, they fit really snug inside the window openings and inside panels. This means that there will be a very minimal gap between where your shade ends and the side of your casing starts – maximizing that room darkening ability, giving you better light control, privacy and insulation. The gap is usually only about an eighth inch.

If you plan to mount the shade above the window opening as an outside mount, the shade will still sit really close to the window or opening that you’re looking to cover. For the best light control and privacy, when it comes to an outside mount cell shade, it’s recommended to make the shade quite a bit larger, than the actual opening or window itself. Traditionally, it’s recommended to add anywhere from 2 to 4 inches to both the width and height of your window opening. But I usually recommend adding a little bit more just to maximize the overlap that the shade will have on the surrounding walls.

The more overlap the shade has, the better light control, privacy and insulation you will gain from it. If you do need the shade to set a little further out from where it’s being mounted as an outside mount, you can use things like spacer blocks or extension brackets to bring the shade further into the room to clear things like window trim or door handles.

Cell shades offer a ton of different lift style options so that you’re able to customize the way that your shade functions. We offer everything from Corded to Cordless to Motorized, so that you can even make compatible with things like Google and Alexa.

We even offer something called a Top Down Bottom Up lift style, which makes it so that you can, of course bring your shade down, but you can also bring the top of the shade down to leave the top of your window opening exposed while the bottom half of it is covered for privacy.

The only possible downside to cellular shades is that you might not be able to put them in every single room in your home. The woven polyester material is very susceptible to moisture and does not hold up well when it gets damp, so it’s not recommended to place cell shades in places like bathrooms or kitchens where the shade might get wet.

But in all honesty, my parents have had cell shades in their bathroom for about 15 years, and they’re completely fine because they live in a really dry climate and the bathroom is very well ventilated. So do with that information what you will – just make sure your cell shades don’t get wet!

I could go on forever about all the nitty gritty details and options for honeycomb cellular shades, but I’ll save that for a future video. But for now, I hope you learned something today! And if you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to help.

Thanks for watching Behind the Blinds. I’m Caity. See you!

Behind the Blinds is our series where we dive into the finer details of everything shades and blinds. For more information about cellular shades, call or chat with one of our Design Consultants at (888) 257-1840. They’re easy to talk to!

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