Blindster's Blog

Can You See Through Interior Solar Shades?

Solar shade opacity

There is a lot to consider when buying new window blinds for your home – color, style, function, price, options and more. Privacy and light control are two other major considerations when shopping for new window shades. While these two features are typically directly related to each other and easy to understand, there are a few styles of window shades that might need a little more explanation.  Solar shades are definitely one of them!

Are Solar Shades See Through?
Solar shade openness gradient

During the day, solar shades are see-through from inside the room but prevent viewing from outside the window. The amount you’ll be able to see through a solar shade depends on the shade’s opacity, which typically ranges from 14% to 1%. This "openness" factor refers to the amount of UV light that can pass through the shade, so the lower the number, the tighter the weave of the fabric and the more light that is blocked.

Shade's Openness Factor
Comparison of openness factors

As the shade's openness factor gets smaller, the fabric not only blocks more light it also reduces the view-through to the outside. A shade with a 1% opacity blocks 99% of UV rays, while a 14% shade only blocks 86% of sunlight. The larger weave of the 14% shade makes it easier to see through than the tight weave of the 1% shade.

Solar Shades at Night
Nighttime view from outside

You might ask, are solar shades also see-through at night? Yes, but not in the way you might think. Solar shades are see-through during the day due to the outside light coming through the window. At night, the primary light source is inside the home, so the situation reverses. Solar shades at night can be seen through from the outside but are opaque from inside the house looking outside.

Solar Shades Privacy

Solar shades do provide privacy during the day. However solar shades at night are see-through unless paired with another type of window treatment. The best use of solar shades is in rooms with excess sunlight, where you would benefit from daytime privacy but not need privacy at night. Because of this, solar shades are generally not the best choice for bedrooms or bathrooms when installed on their own. Where privacy is needed, we recommend adding a second window treatment for nighttime privacy or select a different style of shades or blinds.

See which Solar Shade is Right for You

Blindster provides top-quality, energy-efficient solar shades, blinds, and shutters. Browse the Blindster collection to quickly find the features you want in your window treatments, including blackout shades, motorized shades, and energy-efficient window treatments. Be sure to order a free sample today so you can evaluate the look and texture of our blinds and shades.