3 new styles of shade that are both elegant and easy on the pocketbook – PART 2 – Dual Shades

Rahul Mehrotra - April 28, 2014

It is a beautiful morning in Calgary today, and the Sun is shining bright. It is a perfect day to feel inspired and soak in the natural light.

I had the pleasure of seeing a homeowner this morning – obviously for blinds and shades in her home. She is soon going to be a mom for the first time. Both, soon to be mom and dad, are excited. I knew right away that it has to do with the bright day today – a day of good omens for me. It is another exuberant moment to cherish the origin of life. Thanks for the grace!!

The discussion with the homeowner gradually moved along the lines of the same questions that I cited in the PART 1 of this post. If you haven’t read it, please give it a quick look.

In short, how can I strike a good balance between letting lots of light in and blocking the light – when the baby is sleeping or when I need it?

Before I forget, we also discussed at length the question of child-safe control systems. I know for fact that all the quality suppliers of shades and blinds had made child safety a prime focus on design. It was only last year, when a major big box store did a nationwide recall on its line of shades. They found the shade control system was using some sub-standard part – not suited for child safety.

Let’s not lose our grip on an earlier question to find a good balance. You want a shade that filters light in or even let you enjoy the view outside. Yet, you want the control to block the light at your will. It is safe to say that you are asking for dual shades.

Dual Shades

Fabric shade by its very nature is light filtering or translucent. You make the shade block the light by putting a liner onto the fabric itself. The fabric and liner are fused together into one shade that we call light blocking shade. In most cases, we go with either light filtering shade or light blocking shade – a single shade.

That is all going to change with the new style of shade – Dual Shades. So, you have both light filtering and light blocking shade built into one system as part of the same unit.

Dual shade concept is nothing new. The marvels of making it a reality without making it look too bulky at the top is certainly refreshing. Do I feel the effect of bright day and freshness in the air here?

We did dual shades in one form or another in the past. In the drapery world, we had sheer fabric drape for the day time and then the light blocking fabric or heavier drape for the night time.

In case of blinds and shades, I assisted homeowners put a blackout roller shade behind the existing blind or shade. The mute discussion point was always the looks and smooth operation of two shades. Is there enough room or window depth available to fit two shades? Will that make it look too bulky? Will the two shades operate smoothly? You can guess where we needed these dual shades the most – bedrooms and media rooms.

In few of these scenarios, we had put a blackout liner based pleated shade behind the light filtering shade at the front. Pleated shades have a compact profile at the top. This allowed them to be a viable choice for this kind of application. But, pleated shades were not well suited for these scenarios and we may discuss all that some other time.

 Silhouette shading with a room darkening roller shade – Dual shades taken to a new level

After dealing with so many bedroom shades and media room shades situations, I embraced this new design and style in a big way. Out of all the shade options available, Silhouette style shading is the most desired style by our homeowners.

Silhouette Style Shades - Most open view through


Silhouette style shading lets you enjoy your view outside, control harsh Sun rays and allow lots of light to filter in. What did the new design and style do to Silhouette style shading?

You can now combine Silhouette style shading with a room darkening roller shade appearing from behind. The real beauty is in the common head-rail or compact integrated system at the top.

Silhouette Dual Shades - Light filter and light blocking


Room darkening roller shade can be raised completely during the day time when you wish to let lots of light filter in. It can be lowered down fully to provide a true sense of light blocking or room darkening. Needless to say, it can be left anywhere in the middle of the window to let you control light and view – the way you want it.

Dual Shades - Perfect for bedrooms - Light with room darkening


Earlier in the day, Silhouette style shading did offer the light dimming capability. Fabric vanes had liner built into them. When you tilt close the vane, you were able to block out the light. However, it was not completely blocking the light. Some light always seeped in from the edges where fabric vanes overlap. So, dual shades concept made it possible to have independent room darkening roller shade appear from behind.

The sleek design at the top did not take a big hit either. It is slightly bigger and that is to be expected. The supplier is putting dual rolls inside. But, I have seen bigger and bulkier bracket systems in the past. This style of dual shades managed to keep it compact, sleek and streamlined at the top.

Dual Shades - Top Cassette Sleek profile headrail design


You will come across many names for this new design in the marketplace. One of our suppliers, Maxxmar, is the proud owner of “Opera” System. Hunter Douglas branded it as “A Deux” system. I am sure there are other variants of names out there as well. Whatever the name may be, the dual benefit of translucent fabric and room darkening roller did answer our question of finding a good balance. Babies can sleep. Moms and dads can find some free time while babies sleep. Grandparents can look out for the stars or glance around when they come for baby sitting. All is in harmony!! Did we say that we needed balance or harmony or both? Are they not the same?

Does this new style of shade have a child safe control system?

You bet. As I said earlier, child safety is the prime focus for all reputed suppliers of blinds and shades. Please disregard the temptation of getting a shade or blind made with substandard parts at a price too good to be truly safe.

The two operating systems recommended for child safety are cordless control system and motorized control system. Both are available with this new style of dual shades. Both the front shading and the back roller shade will have its own control system. You can make both shades operate using a battery powered motorization system or cordless control system. You can also do the combination. You get to see and discuss all this during our In-home consultation. You will be amazed how quiet the motorized system is.

In case you don’t opt for either motorized system or cordless system, the standard control system that comes with these shades is continuous cord loop control system. You have used this system when you roll up the beaded chain at Starbucks or your doctor’s office. You will get cord instead of beaded chain. Please let our professional installer install the cord-tensioner for these cords. It is one extra hole on the side of your casing. Just like a true golfer, our installers don’t miss putts.

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