Sheer drapes and rollers don’t provide significant insulation from outside temperatures but can protect furniture, art, rugs, and even wood surfaces from damaging UV rays. This makes sheer fabric ideal for spaces where diffusing light evenly tends to be more important than blocking it, such as kitchens, living and dining rooms, and bathrooms. When layered with room-darkening or blackout treatments, sheer fabric is also appropriate for bedrooms, home offices, and media rooms.
Lutron’s solar screen fabrics are available in different openness factors: 1%, 3%, 5%, and 10%. “The looser and more open the weave, the more light it lets in,” explains Gray. “The tighter it is, the less light enters. I usually pick 5%–7% to maintain a view outside. If the artwork is very expensive, and the window faces east or west, then I'll use a bit of a tighter weave, just as I would in a bedroom.”
To control glare and improve visual comfort, choose a fabric with an openness factor of less than 5%—ideally with a dark color facing the interior. If you want to maintain a view outside, use a fabric with an openness factor of 5% or more, also in a dark color. To optimize energy efficiency, try a dual-sided sheer weave with an openness of less than 5%, with a light-colored fabric facing the glass.
Gray recommends using a tighter weave in spaces like bathrooms, for privacy, especially if neighbors or passersby can see in. “I’d use a 1% or 2% openness, so they can really only see a silhouette. If there are no neighbors, then you can do whatever you want—no one can see—so you might choose 5% or 10% openness.”
For windows that get a lot of direct sunlight, select durable fabrics. “When you use a natural linen or a natural silk, you have to put a blackout lining behind it,” explains Gray. “Even so, the drapery returns can still get bleached.” Instead, use more delicate fabrics in spaces that don’t receive as much direct sunlight or rooms with northern or southern exposures. All Lutron fabrics are engineered and tested to be durable for over ten years, so designers can be confident that their Lutron shades will last.
Layer sheers with room-darkening and blackout treatments to create versatile ambient lighting scenes during the day. For example, a room-darkening honeycomb shade might be tucked under an elegant sheer Roman in a home office. The reverse approach also works: pair a sheer shade with a blackout drape in a bedroom to provide more ambient light options. Then, program automated shades to open the blackout gradually in the morning while lowering the sheer shade to keep light diffuse and gentle.
You can also layer two sheer fabrics to create different ambient light environments throughout the day. A room that gets a lot of direct afternoon sunlight would benefit from a sheer treatment in a dark color to reduce glare and improve visibility. At night, a lighter treatment would give this same room a cozy ambiance and offer greater privacy. A dark sheer roller paired with a light sheer Roman would allow for these scenarios in a living room, kitchen, or other room where room darkening is not a priority.