Everything You Need to Know About
Cellular Shades

By Beth Krietsch

Looking to upgrade the interior of your home? Cellular shades improve the aesthetic appeal of your house and can save energy and keep utility bills low. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing cellular shades.

What are cellular shades?

Cellular shades—also known as honeycomb shades due to their folded and pleated pattern—are made from spun lace and bonded polyester, materials similar to soft paper or cloth. With their unique shape and design, cellular shades filter light and insulate your living areas. These benefits provide additional protection from thermal energy loss that occurs when interior air comes in contact with a windowpane.

Cellular shades are an opportunity for huge savings, given how much energy loss occurs through windows. In fact, they can reduce heat loss by as much as 25%.

How to choose cellular shades

Cellular shades come in many patterns, colors, and designs. Here are four factors to consider when determining which cellular shade is best for you and your home:

1. Color

The shade color you select will determine how much light is able to enter your home and how much energy you’ll save after installation. In warmer climates, darker hues are more beneficial for reducing the amount of sunlight that seeps through the shades. In cooler climates, darker shades may actually increase energy costs, as less sunlight would be able to enter the home and raise the temperature of a room.

Some homeowner associations require or restrict specific colors of window shades. If you’re in a neighborhood with a homeowner association, consult your property manager and determine the policies regarding cellular shades before making a purchase.

2. Operation

Many cellular shades are installed at the top of a window and can be drawn like standard blinds. Some cellular shades open from the top, allowing sunlight into your home without sacrificing privacy. Other cellular shades can be drawn without cords—an attractive design feature for parents with young children.

3. Energy efficiency

Cellular shades come in three standard varieties: single cell, double cell, and triple cell. Every cellular shade manufacturer will rate shades for energy efficiency using an R-value, which is a calculated number of resistance to heat loss. Better insulation is provided by shades with higher R-values. Some triple cell varieties will provide an R-value of up to 7.18, a better rating than the 2.5 R-value average for pleated shades.

4. Light

Some shades are designed to filter light, whereas others are designed to block it. If you’re seeking to block as much light as possible, some cellular shade manufacturers offer a blackout shade model that could make sense for your home.

Price and installation of cellular shades

Cellular shades vary in price—low-end models will cost $18–$30 per shade and high-end models can run between $100–$140 per shade. Price depends on the quality, design, and color of the shades. Some states still offer tax credits for installing cellular shades due to their energy efficiency. 

Most varieties of cellular shades are simple to install on your windows. Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour when installing a single cellular shade. Of course, you always have the option to call a handyman to help.

How to conserve energy with cellular shades

Two common practices will help you conserve energy and maximize the value of your cellular shades:

  1. In winter—Raise the blinds on cold, sunny days to take advantage of the sun’s warmth as a way to heat your home. Lower the shades after the sun goes down to keep the heat and warmth in.
  2. In summer—Lower your shades on windows that receive a ton of sunlight, especially on hot days. This will block some of the sun’s rays, keeping your home cool.

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