Shades buying experiences
March 25, 2019 5:25 AM   Subscribe

We’re looking at buying Hunter Douglas Duette Literise shades that will open both top down and bottom up. We’re considering different shade fabrics and wanted your experience with this kind of window treatment, this specific make and model, and the types of fabric material available.

Really two different installations—a bunch of regular windows and also two skylights.

For the regular windows, our main concerns are privacy and maximizing light transmission. Some thermal insulation would be good, but not a major issue.

For the skylights, we want thermal insulation and light screening. There is a ceiling fan under the skylights, and it has a really annoying stroboscopic effect; we want the light to be reduced when the shades are closed to reduce or eliminate the strobe effect.

The installer is suggesting a three cell honeycomb material for the shades. A lower-priced two cell alternative is available. The three cell is more insulating, but perhaps transmits less light.

One approach may be to have the two-cell fabric in the windows where we want light and the three-cell fabric where we need the insulation and want less light.

Do you have experience with window treatments like these? Is there anything we should be mindful of? And in particular, do you have any perspectives on the two- versus three-cell materials in terms of light transmission and thermal insulation? Thanks!
posted by Admiral Haddock to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We have these exact shades in our house, and we LOVE them.

We did the three-cell version in bedrooms and our media room. They are blackout quality and great for both sleep and movie marathons.

We did the two-cell version everywhere else. They let in a good amount of ambient light, but offer complete privacy when closed. We leave them completely closed (or nearly completely closed) in almost all cases, and those rooms never feel dark. They let in enough light for your house to feel bright, but not enough for a houseplant plant to thrive.

I'm not sure about thermal insulation. As you know, allegedly the honeycomb style saves on heating/cooling costs, but we installed ours as soon as we moved in, so we weren't able to compare our electricity costs pre- and post-installation. And we haven't noticed a temperature difference in rooms with two-cell vs. rooms with three-cell.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:55 AM on March 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

They are a different brand, but we have some two-cell shades. They dim the light but are nowhere near black-out; if you want really dark rooms you will need thicker shades or a second layer of curtain.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:00 AM on March 25, 2019

The thermal insulation on the 2-cell blinds I've installed is quite noticeable - good enough that when it's really cold we get condensation on the bathroom window, and have to remember to open one portion of the blind a bit to let it dry out during the day. We have the bright white colour, and the light transmission is pretty fair - enough to keep the house well-lit, but not enough to let rooms warm up through passive solar heat... this is where the top-down function is handy, lets the sunshine in but maintains privacy on the bottom half.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:08 AM on March 25, 2019

I've had top-down/bottom-up two-cell shades in a light honey color for decades now (I replaced them all once, but got the same thing). They let in plenty of light even when fully closed, but the top-down feature means that I still have all the privacy I want even with the windows half open. Luckily I live on a pretty dark street, though, because they do let in a fair amount of light at night too. At some point they'll be switching our street light to one of these hideous prison-yard LED lights and at that point I plan to switch the bedroom shades to something more opaque. So, yeah, if you already have concerns with darkness at night, don't get two-cell.
posted by HotToddy at 7:09 AM on March 25, 2019

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