Shedding Light on Indoor Outdoor Solar Shades

Apr 20, 2022

Want to create a comfortable indoor or outdoor sanctuary, free from the glare and heat of direct sunlight? Then you’ll want to install interior or exterior solar shades.

Here is the short version of this article: there is absolutely, positively a solar shade solution for any scenario in which you need to control heat, block glare and protect a room from UV rays. But finding the ideal solution usually takes help from an experienced professional. Luckily for home and business owners from Lafayette to Baton Rouge, and Denham Springs to the North Shore, K to Z Window Coverings has you covered!

Indoor and outdoor solar shades – also known as sun screens, patio shades, & solar screens – are types of window shades specially designed to block glare, control heat, and provide varying levels of UV protection. However, the design specifications for each type differ depending on if they are for indoor or outdoor windows. So before you choose a specific type, you’ll have to determine on if a solar shade is going be most effective and attractive in the interior or exterior of the window.

Choosing an indoor solar window shade vs. an outdoor solar screen isn’t always a cut & dry choice. Interior solar shades and outdoor sun screens both come in a range of UV protection levels and varying levels of opaqueness, from semi-transparent shades to almost completely opaque blackout window shades. One of our trusted manufacturers, Insolroll, has an excellent resource explaining the basic science on how solar shades work. Read it here.


In addition to the technical specifications of the solar screen materials, there are other factors that must be weighed & questions to answer before choosing a type and style, including:

  • How long is the interior room is exposed to intrusive direct sunlight each day?
  • Is it more important to shield my interior room from UV rays or from the heat & glare? Or both?
  • Do I want to preserve the view outside the window?
  • Are exterior solar shades allowed by the homeowners or condo association?
  • Will I be combining my interior window shades with curtains or drapes for additional heat & light control?

Of course, the choice of solar shade is a no-brainer for many applications: shading patios, external balconies, gazebos, and outdoor kitchens typically require outdoor sun screens. While it’s often best to use indoor solar shades to cover windows in elevated rooms (apartments, condos, 2nd floor windows). In those obvious scenarios, you really just want to determine if the convenient motorization and/or automation options would be desirable!

Speaking of motorization, almost any window shade can be motorized and automated. This is especially convenient and useful for sun screens and solar shades covering exterior areas, installed on high-ceilings, spanning across large bay windows, or in rooms with a lot of windows that receive direct sunlight. Read more about motorized window shades and automated systems here.

Stylistic Features of Solar Shades and Sun Screens

Both types of solar shades are built to last. Solar shades for indoor use are designed to withstand the heat and UV rays without fading or looking aged like other window shades. Outdoor solar shades are manufactured with exterior-rated materials that stand up to weather, humidity, and the sun’s exposure.

Generally speaking, there is a fabric style and color combination available to match nearly any decor of a home or business. If you scroll through our solar shades image gallery, you’ll get an idea of just how versatile the options are. Whether it is pairing the shades with curtains or drapes to add color & beauty, opting for a sheer style to soften a room, or going with a textured material that projects a natural look and feel, our experts will help you find the right solution.

The manufacturers we use provide window shade solutions that are compliant with the new American National Standard for Safety of Corded Window Covering Products. This includes cord-free, single cord pull, continuous bead chain pull shades, and motorized window shades that meet and exceed the new standards. Plus, we are proud to use manufacturers like Insolroll, who produce solar shades in the United States by skilled American workers!