Sheer Brilliance: Window Sheers That Will Light Up Your Home

Why You Should Consider Sheer Curtains

Consider sheer shades or sheer draperies if you’re looking for a window covering that is timeless, fresh and bright. 

Sheers are window coverings made from light, fine, semi-translucent fabric that diffuses harsh sunlight yet still allows a view of the outside.

Sheer drapes come in a range of natural and neutral colours that bring a sleek, contemporary and appealing look to any room. Modern window sheers are versatile and protect your furniture and floors from UV rays and daytime privacy. Some sheer shade options can even retain the majority of privacy when it’s dark outside.

Read on to explore sheer window covering options and learn why they are a good choice for your home.

Types of Window Sheers

Now, sheers are available as draperies, shades and blinds and each style offers all the benefits of sheer window coverings.

Sheer Draperies

Panels of thin, polyester material in various colours which are used to dress a window, sheer draperies are often used more for aesthetics than function. They can be used alone or combined with secondary treatments or heavier drapes for a dimensional layered look.

Sheer draperies can be made as stationary panels for softness and dimension, or as full closing to allow for ambient light and daytime privacy/UV control, creating a light and airy look. 

Sheer curtains can also be used elsewhere around the house – these 6 practical and beautiful ways to use sheer draperies around your home will offer some inspiration.

Sheer Shades

Sheer shades are the perfect blend of the versatility of a blind, with the elegance of a drapery. Tilting fabric vanes are backed by, or suspended between, sheets of sheer material. What results is the ultimate answer to a desire for privacy while still enjoying some natural light.

The vanes work similarly to regular blinds in that they can be tilted open to allow a complete view through or fully closed for optimum privacy and light control. The difference with sheer shades is that no matter how open the vanes are, there are always one or two layers of sheer fabric that soften the light and prevent anyone outside from seeing in.

Options for sheer shades include:

  • Pirouette from Hunter Douglas – Soft fabric vanes are attached to a single sheer backing layer, giving the appearance of a Roman shade but with the additional softening and light filtering from the backing that can open like a blind.
  • Silhouette from Hunter Douglas – Unique S-shaped vanes are suspended between two sheets of sheer material resulting in a very soft and subtle look that gives the impression of folds in drapery. Available as horizontal or vertical shades.
  • Designer Banded from Hunter Douglas – Sheer and solid fabrics are layered, giving a  beautifully modern look while offering privacy and light control. Can be opened or closed like a roller blind. 

Sheer Blinds

Your window coverings expert can give more advice on which styles of blinds can best support sheer fabric.

One style of sheer blind that is a cross between a sheer panel and a vertical blind is the Luminette privacy sheer from Hunter Douglas. Internal fabric vanes and sheer backing material filter sunlight and the vertical style is perfect for doors and full-height windows.

The Benefits of Choosing Window Sheers

Whichever style of window sheer you prefer, they all offer the same advantages and bring together some very beneficial reasons why you should use them.

UV protection

Continued exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause damage such as fading and warping of flooring or furniture. This article by Seasons in Colour explains in more detail why the sun is bad for your home interiors.

Clear window glass can let in as much as 70% of the sun’s UV rays, so any furniture or flooring in the vicinity of uncovered windows is vulnerable to damage. Simply adding sheer window coverings can filter up to 88% of UV rays and when sheer shades like Silhouette and Luminette are in a fully closed position they can block up to 99% of the damaging rays.


If your home can be seen by neighbours or is located on a public walkway or road, you may want privacy but still wish to retain some natural sunlight. When seen from the outside, sheer coverings create an opaque effect that diffuses daytime view into the home. After dark, the vanes on sheer shades offer complete privacy when fully closed.

Light control 

While UV protection is important, there are health benefits of sunlight exposure, such as an increase in serotonin that can improve mood and mental health.

Because luminous sheers allow gently filtered sunlight into your home at a level you can control, you can still feel all the benefits of natural light without the damage risks.

Of course, if you do want to block out the light, simply close the vanes partially or fully for significant room darkening.

Beautiful style choices for every room

Whichever style of window sheer you prefer, they all offer a delicate and appealing alternative to other window coverings. Suitable for use in all rooms of the home, they are available in a range of neutral colours that will complement any style.

Easy to operate

Thanks to their lightweight fabrics, sheer shades can benefit from cordless operating systems that don’t impact the finished look. The shades can be controlled with static or travelling wands, or smart automation can be utilized for operation and programming at the touch of a button.

Sheer Drapes and Shades to Light up Your Home from Ruffell and Brown

If you’re looking for sheer treatments for your home, look no further than Ruffell and Brown Window Coverings in Victoria, BC.

Proud suppliers and fitters of Hunter Douglas products, Ruffell & Brown can help you find the perfect custom window sheers for your home and needs. Pop into our showroom on Bridge Street or contact us today for more information.


Opacity of Window Shades and Roller Blinds

Let in the Sunshine, Block the Glare

“Can someone see through my blinds?”

In layman’s terms, the level of opacity is the level at which light passes through an object. In rooms where more light is desired, shades with more opacity are often ideal.

To know what will work best for your family and home, it’s important to understand these different levels of opacity. For instance, many of our clients have been surprised to hear that if you can see out during the day with a sheer shade, it’s possible for people to see into the home when the interior lights are on.

In rooms where it’s important to be able to block out light and sound, like in a nursery, shades with less opacity often work best to let your sleeping beauty nap peacefully. In a media room, you’d want little opacity, to prevent any glare from interrupting movie night. At Ruffell and Brown, we have gorgeous solutions in every openness and opacity.

Window shades have come a long way. Gone are the cumbersome vinyl shades available in a narrow selection of neutral colours. As a true all-in-one solution, our extensive line of shades not only filter light beautifully, they can also provide maximum privacy, regulate the temperature of your home and dampen sound inside and out. Styles like our line of natural wooden shades can also block up to 88% of harmful UV rays even when open and as much as 99% UV protection when closed.

In fact, you can customize your window fashions down to every detail – from style, colour, texture and pattern to manual or motorized function and opacity and more.

From Sheer to Blackout

Light and Airy or Light Blocking

  • Sheer– Created from thin (but strong!) fabric, sheer window coverings provide the least privacy and let in lots of light. Objects are fully visible to and from the outside. Sheers are an excellent way to preserve your beautiful view while blocking some harsh glare.
    If you choose a sheer fabric, you’ll want to consider what level of privacy you’d like. If you prefer a more classic look, layering drapes or curtains with structured shades will soften the look while adding another level of privacy.
  • Semi-sheer– These provide some privacy and let in moderate amounts of light. Objects are less visible and typically a bit blurry. Semi-sheers help to provide more privacy while still maintaining the airy feel of a sheer.
  • Semi-opaque– These provide another level of privacy but still let in plenty of natural light. Your view will be mostly blocked and appear shadowy. Semi-opaque fabrics are a good bet for south facing windows that receive direct sunlight and glare.
  • Opaque– These provide even more privacy, and the least light aside from the blockout / blackout systems. When closed, the room will become darker and your view will not be visible.
  • Blockout system– These provide complete privacy and little light, aside from what might peek around the edges. If you’re after true blackout, optional side channels will block any light that would come in on the sides of the shades. Objects are completely blocked from view inside and out.

Once you know what level of opacity you want, it’s time to shop!

Whether your home design aesthetic is modern, Victorian, eclectic, country cottage or anywhere in between, we’ll help you discover the perfect blend of form and function.

Styles of Window Shades

Available in a Wide Variety of Opacities, Choose the Style That’s Right for You

  • Cellular Honeycomb Shades – These boost your home’s energy efficiency by insulating windows year-round, thanks to the air-trapping honeycomb shape. These shades are a best-seller and ideal for windows of any shape or size.
  • Natural Shades – These provide privacy and light control in natural light to dark toned wood finishes. Natural wood shades are lighter than you might expect and can complement the décor of any home.
  • Pleated Shades – Crafted from premium fabrics, pleated shades add a pop of extra dimension to your windows and are available in all opacities.
  • Roller and Screen Shades – Based on the original roller shade, today’s roller shades operate very smoothly thanks to the continuous cord loop and less bulky mechanics. Choose from a wide range of fabrics from high tech screen mesh to gorgeous wovens.
  • Roman Shades – Always a classic, these can be installed on the inside or outside of your window frame to provide a soft look with many options for light and privacy control.
  • Sheer Shades – With soft fabric vanes, sheer shades create a softened look like sheer curtains, but with the crisp lines and effectiveness of venetian blinds. They are available in three vane sizes and are suitable for windows of all sizes.
  • Transitional (Banded) Shades – A newer version of the roller shade, this has bands of sheer fabric that alternate with bands of blackout or semi- opaque fabric. When fully lowered, the vanes can be tilted open or closed for total or partial privacy. This creates the privacy feel of a blackout roller shade with the light filtering properties of a sheer window covering. It’s the best of venetian blinds and shades in one package.
  • Privacy Panels/Blackout Panels – Many of the shades we offer have the option for privacy/blackout panels. Once you’ve narrowed it down to style, you’ll want to decide on the opacity and whether you’d like blackout panels added.

Motion and Convenience – Choose How Your Shades Operate

Manual or motorized, there are many available choices designed for ultra-convenient living. A few options:

  • Cordless Lift – A best seller and ideal for homes where child and pet safety is paramount. Cordless lift lets you raise or lower the shade by pulling lightly on the bottom rail.
  • Top-down, bottom-up – These are another type of cordless shade. With a truly flexible configuration, you can leave the top or bottom sections open for maximum privacy and unobstructed views.
  • Motorized – We offer a wide selection of Hunter Douglas Motorized operating systems. Open and close your shades using a remote, your smartphone, Google Home or Alexa devices, or set up a schedule for your shades to raise and lower automatically. You can even use solar power to recharge your shade’s battery.


At Ruffell and Brown, we are one of the largest independently owned window covering centres in Western Canada. We offer a nearly endless selection of window fashions from top brand names like Hunter Douglas and Elite Window Covering Centre. Whichever you choose, our professional team will help design window fashions to fit your every need, from capturing as much natural light as possible to providing a greater degree of privacy. Visit our downtown Victoria showroom, or arrange for a complimentary consultation in the comfort of your own home.