What Are Transitional/Zebra Shades?

The custom window coverings industry is buzzing about transitional – or zebra – shades. They’re one of the hottest products on the market currently, but what the heck are they? As the name would imply, a zebra shade is a roller shade made of the finest hand-woven zebra hair.

Ok…not really!

A zebra shade is in many ways a hybrid of a venetian blind and a roller shade. A transitional/zebra shade features much of the same componentry as a roller shade, and it functions much in the same way that a roller shade does. From a purely functional standpoint, a transitional shade is very, very similar to a roller shade.

From a light control standpoint, a transitional shade is vastly different from a roller shade, and is much more comparable to a horizontal blind. This is due to the dual layers of fabric and the alternating sheer and opaque bands (illustrated by the picture below). A zebra shade features a front layer of fabric with alternating sheer and opaque bands and a layer of fabric that sits less than 1/8″ behind the front layer of fabric. The result, from a light control perspective, is that the fabric bands can be aligned to be fully closed, partially closed, or fully open. This essentially mimics the ability to tilt horizontal blind slats to varying degrees of openness.

As with a roller shade and a horizontal blind the treatment can be lifted to the fully open position, exposing the entire window pane. In terms of light control, transitional shades are one of the most versatile window coverings available.

Going beyond practicality, zebra shades are creative, contemporary window treatments that truly transform a home. They offer a look that is unique. As such, it isn’t surprising that they’re one of the hottest products around – even if they aren’t made with actual zebra hair.

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