Bright living room with white honeycomb shades, a blue accent pillow, glass coffee table, and a unique ceiling fan, overlooking a scenic green landscape

In our upcoming “Explained” Blog series, we’ll be taking a closer look at various products. We’ll provide real-life examples of installation scenarios using our own photography, highlight special considerations, and discuss our and pros and cons to each type of window treatment.

Our series kicks off with one of the most widely appreciated and energy-efficient window treatments: Cellular Shades, also referred to as Honeycomb Shades. These innovative window coverings are designed to stack neatly when raised, tucking away completely into the headrail at the top of your window.

Honeycomb vs Cellular Shades

Is there a difference between the two? In reality, these terms are often used interchangeably to describe energy-efficient window coverings featuring honeycomb-shaped pockets designed to trap air. These pockets serve a dual purpose, keeping warm air inside during the winter and preventing the summer heat from infiltrating your space. But there’s a reason why we prefer the term “Honeycomb” when it comes to cellular shades.

A Blue Light Filtering Cellular Shade

Cellular Shades: A Stacking Product

Cellular shades are unique because, unlike traditional shades that roll fabric around a tube, they feature horizontal pockets that neatly fold and stack at the top of your window. This design allows for easy tucking away during the day, providing maximum visibility through your window.

A side by side comparison of a cellular shade when stacked closed

Light Filtering vs Room Darkening Cellular Shades

Cellular shades come in two primary fabric options: Light Filtering and Room Darkening. Light Filtering fabrics gently diffuse natural light, creating a soft glow within your space. In contrast, Room Darkening fabrics are opaque and effectively block out external light, ensuring a completely dark environment when necessary.

A light filtering cellular shade in a bedroom

Light Filtering

A room darkening cellular shade in a bedroom

Room Darkening

Light Gaps with Cellular Shades

With Cellular Shades, even when using Room Darkening fabrics, we avoid using the term “blackout” because it implies complete light blockage, which may not be achievable. Honeycomb or Cellular Shades excel in minimizing light gaps due to their stacking design. However, it’s important to recognize that most windows in modern home construction are not perfectly square. When combining them with a precisely engineered product like cellular shades, there may still be minor light gaps, inherent to the nature of these shades.

How to Fix Light Gaps with Cellular Shades

  1. Blockout Channels: One approach involves using blockout channels on the sides of the shade. However, this option may not be ideal in all cases, as windows and sills are often not perfectly square, and sheetrock mud can lead to irregular openings. Hunter Douglas Duette shades offer LightLock™ technology and are available in complementary colors to match your cellular shades.
  2. Drapery Panels: A more elegant and effective solution is to incorporate drapery panels. This approach not only enhances the room’s overall appearance but also achieves true blackout. Heavy drapery fabrics are excellent at concealing light and covering any light gaps that may occur with standard shades.
  3. One Large Shade: Instead of having multiple shades cover individual panes of a window, opt for one larger shade, which will reduce light gaps in between individual shades
Cellular shade blackout channels and draperies used for blackout

LightLock Blockout Channels or Drapery Panels can help minimize light gap on cellular shades

Using one Large Cellular Shade to Eliminate Light Gaps

When dealing with windows that have multiple panes, such as a 4-pane window as shown below, it is often a wise decision to opt for a single large cellular shade that can cover all three windows simultaneously. This choice minimizes additional unnecessary light gaps that might occur when using separate shades.

Comparison of one cellular shade covering multiple windows vs individual shades covering individual windows

By using a single large cellular shade, you ensure a more seamless and uniform coverage across the entire window, preventing any gaps of light between the panes. This approach not only enhances the overall appearance but also maximizes the light control and privacy benefits of cellular shades for your multi-pane windows.

Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades are a great inside mount product. They require minimal mounting depth, and in fact they are perfect for shallow depth windows. Inside vs. Outside mount options are totally dependent on the depth of your window. Often, inside mount shades can be completely recessed in common trim. However on zero-depth windows, an inside mount shade may still protrude.

A side by side comparison of inside mount vs outside mount cellular shades

Outside Mount with Room Darkening Fabric

When using a room darkening fabric, we advise against choosing an outside mount for your cellular shade. Here’s why: if your goal is to achieve complete darkness during the day, an outside-mounted shade can allow outside light to bounce off the reflective white backing of the room darkening fabric and then bounce back onto your walls. This can create an undesirable glowing effect that spoils the darkness.

Whenever feasible, opt for an inside mount, even if it means using multiple shades for a single window. Inside mounts are less likely to produce the unwanted halo glow effect during daytime use, ensuring better light control and a more pleasant atmosphere in your space.

Three room darkening cellular shades produce an unwanted halo effect on the surrounding wall during the daytime

Outside mounted cellular shades with room darkening fabric may create an unwanted halo effect during the day.