Decorative Shade Fabrics: More than Meets the Eye

When you’re talking window shades, fabric is always going to be paramount. In the solar shade industry, we’re usually talking about scientific and technical data like shading coefficients and visible light transmission, and even the impact of color and density of the weave. But man does not live by bread alone, right?

More choices and more opportunities with Decorative Fabrics

Decorative shades hold plenty of interest out there, and at Insolroll we’re proud to feature fabrics that fall into this category but still meet our stiff quality standards. Weave patterns, variation in yarns, and degree of translucence all figure in to the decorative fabric picture, often making them more difficult to pigeonhole into a single category like “translucent”, or “blackout” or “screen”.

Biscayne Cypress fabric swatch
Biscayne Cypress

Obviously, aesthetic is central to decorative fabrics, and function is an added bonus. Some decorative fabrics really are blackouts, and some really are solar screens that allow view-through along with some degree of translucence. The big thing in this category of fabrics is to evaluate any real light or privacy issues a project may have, and make a personal evaluation of the fabric and it’s visual properties and performance. One person might find that a decorative screen provides enough privacy, or just enough light filtering, and another might find that same fabric undesirable in that same application. The issue is made even more murky by the fact that mills and manufacturers have a myriad of ways of describing the same fabric! Help your customer make a decision on whether a decorative fabric meets their needs or not.


rattan umber decorative fabric
Natural Weave Rattan Umber

The real upside of decorative fabrics is the degree of variety and visual appeal they have. If you really want to feature a window shade, and have it play a more aesthetic role in a room’s design, you can find a fabric to do just that. Textures are huge, especially in our Natural Weave collection, going well beyond simple basket weaves and twills. Different yarn sizes, colors and textures in the same fabric create interest that might “read” as a texture from a distance, or as a discernible pattern, and in several of the weave patterns, you would swear you were looking at a natural grass or bamboo shade (but so much more durable, cleanable, and practical, not to mention functional).

Natural Weave Linen Cinnamon fabric swatch
Natural Weave Linen Cinnamon

Our Natural Weave Linen collection serves up a rich texture, with slubs reminiscent of dupioni silk.

Biscayne has a slight, organic roughness to the fibers, the weave pattern of a tropical shade, and a significant variation in the translucence of the fabric by color. Mountain Suede has the luxurious feel and nap of natural suede, with the benefits of being 100% polyester. Dakota, our newest addition to the lineup, has a gorgeous weave pattern of varied thread colors. I love the “hand” of the Dakota fabric… so luxe!


Sunrise- skin
Sunrise- Skin

There is an enormous, designer appeal in decorative translucent fabrics, and we offer something for everyone. Sunrise fabric in lighter colors brings a very feel-good glow to a space. In the more saturated colors, that glow becomes color casting, making a space warmer and even changing the appearance of the surroundings. It can run through spectrum from subtle to dramatic.

Daybreak has a subtle sheen, and a blackout fabric counterpart in Twilight, and the color choices will enhance a broad range of design styles. Baja Dawn also has a blackout coutnerpart in Baja Dusk, and an organic looking pattern of horizontal and vertical slubs with a bit more of a shine than the rest of the fabric, giving an overall tone-on-tone appearance.

Daybreak Mist fabric
Daybreak Mist

Sometimes, you have an application where it’s not about the view at all. Maybe the view is a brick wall in the next building, or something you just don’t want to look at. In cases like that, a translucent fabric shade can give you beautiful light flow and diffusion, privacy and even alter the mood or feeling of a room.

Don’t overlook the possibilities that decorative shade fabrics bring. They provide function as well as good looks, and the versatility we need in order to satisfy a broad spectrum of customers and applications.