Solar shades 101: What is openness?

It happens to all of us. You’re sitting in a coffee shop, and slowly the sun shifts until it’s in your eyes. You look up and ahh—rescued. The cute barista lowers the solar shades to make your coffee break enjoyable again.

But where Bali® Solar Shades really shine is in your home, helping to keep you comfortable by blocking heat and sunlight, but still allowing you to enjoy your view. (Who wants to work so hard on landscaping only to never enjoy it while you’re inside?) Solar shades also are perfect for any room with a TV or computer where you need to reduce glare, and for rooms that need sunblock for hardwood floors, carpets, and furniture.

Bali Blinds, solar shades
Openness deconstructed
All solar fabrics offer light control and UV-blocking superpowers, but how much is determined by their openness. Solar openness refers to how tightly the solar shade fabric is woven, so the lower the percentage number, the more opaque the shade.

  • 3% openness means fabrics block a high percentage of UV rays while still providing a good outside view
  • 5% openness blocks a high percentage of UV rays but provides a better outside view
  • 10% openness blocks a good percentage of UV rays, but provides an excellent view outside
  • 14% openness blocks a lower percentage of UV rays and provides the best view outside

So openness makes a huge difference when you’re choosing a solar shade fabric and your project needs might change your choices, too. When you’re planning to make your sunroom a relaxing refuge, it’s important to consider which direction it faces. If it faces south, the southern sun can be brutal, so choosing 3% openness might be your best option. Or, does your kitchen become overheated midday but you still want to enjoy your lovely view? You’d probably want to look for 10% or 14% openness.

Bali Blinds, solar shades
Color considerations
The color of your solar shades also is an important choice. Darker solar fabrics absorb the sun UV rays, while lighter-colored solar shade fabrics repel sunlight.

Darker solar fabrics:

  • provide better light control
  • enhance daylight view to the outside
  • reduce glare
  • provide less privacy at night

Lighter-colored fabrics:

  • reflect heat and UV rays, increasing energy savings
  • allow more daylight through the fabric
  • provide a less-optimal daylight view to the outside than darker fabrics
    Bali Blinds, solar shades swatches

Planning for privacy?
Let’s speak for a second about privacy, too. Solar shades manage sun and heat, but if you want privacy, stick with lower openness percentages and lighter-colored fabrics. Even at 3% openness, people outside can still see shapes within your house, so it’s important to make sure that the benefits of solar shades match your project to maximize your happiness. One way to achieve everything you want is to install drapery on top of interior solar shades, so at night you can pull the drapes for total privacy!

Bali Blinds, drapery, privacy, solar shades
Bali Blinds, exterior solar shades

Now that you’re an expert in solar shades, you can take back your sun-scorched porch, turning it into a cozy place to read, play a game, eat dinner, or even catch up on some much-needed sleep thanks to Bali Solar Shades.

Now It’s Up to You!
There are so many ways to enhance your home and show off your style with cellular shades. Shop Bali Solar Shades here or see how to order your own free swatches here!

One thought on “Solar shades 101: What is openness?

  1. Help!! I can’t operate my Bali Solar Shade with a smart pull. Love the color and sun control, but the instructions just say to pull down on the cord. It isn’t working. I must be missing some magic. Any tips would help. Thanks!

Leave a Reply