Softback shades refer to a shade whose liner is made from a fabric, while the exterior fabric can be silk, linen, or a variety of other fabrics. The liner fabric and exterior fabric are hand-sewn to a wire frame. The exterior fabric can have a variety of treatments such as pleating, shirring, smocking, stretched, stretched and piped and more. Because a silk shade is sewn on a frame, it is possible to achieve a wide variety of shapes including bells, scallops, rounded corners, v-notches and gallery bottoms. The luminance of a softback shade is always translucent. 


Hardback shades refer to a shade whose liner is made from styrene plastic onto which the exterior material or fabric is then laminated. The exterior material can be silk, linen, or a variety of other fabrics. The exterior can be made from various materials such as wallcoverings, natural wood, mica, parchment paper, or any other material that can be laminated to the styrene liner. Hardback shades can either be finished with a self-trim, welt or gimp or have a rolled edge. A rolled edge is most preferred for modern interiors. The interior lining can be white styrene, specialty options such as gold and silver foil, a contrasting paper, fabric, or wallcovering. The luminance can be either translucent or opaque. 


Hardback Shade with a Rolled Edge finish vs. Self-Trim Finish 

Painted shades refer to a hardback shade that has a hand-painted exterior. Illumé offers your choice of any paint color for the exterior of the shade. The finish can be either high gloss lacquer or smooth matte. The interior can be white or even specialty options such as gold and silver foil. Painted shades are typically opaque.


String shades refer to softback shades that are made by hand-wrapping silk cord onto the wire frame. The interior liner is fabric. Light shines through the silk cords casting a subtle iridescent light. The luminance of string shades is always translucent. 

Softback Shade

Hardback Shade

Painted Shade

String Shade