Buying Guide

Top-Down Bottom-Up Shades

What are Top-Down Bottom-Up Shades?
A living room with blue cellular top-down bottom-up shades.

When you need a little extra privacy or better control of your window lighting, top-down bottom-up shades are a great option. Top-down bottom-up shades are window treatments that can be raised from the bottom, lowered from the top or adjusted from both directions at once.  


Top-down bottom-up shades are ideal if you want to let in light without compromising your privacy, or if you want to eliminate sun glare in your eyes without covering the entire window. Plus, if you have furniture that partially blocks access to a window, they can be easier to open than traditional shades. 


Consider adding top-down bottom-up shades to bathroom windows, ground floor windows and any room where windows frequently cast a glare on computer or TV screens.  

How do Top-Down Bottom-Up Shades Work?
A woman raising top-down bottom-up shades.

Top-down bottom-up shades can be operated with a standard pull cord, continuous cord loop, cordless or motorized controls. A corded top-down bottom-up shade typically has a cord on each side. One cord lifts the bottom of the shade, while the other cord lowers the top of the shade.  


A cordless top-down bottom-up shade has plastic tabs at the top and bottom of the shade instead of cords. To lower the top of the shade, pull the tab down so that the shade disconnects from the mounting rail and release the tab once the shade reaches your desired placement. To raise the top again, simply pull the tab back up and reconnect it to the mounting rail. To raise and lower the bottom of the shade, lift or pull down on the bottom tab or rail. 


When the top of the shade is lowered, the strings that support the floating rail are exposed. Although these strings are small and won’t greatly obstruct your view, you can choose to add hanging pleats at the top of your window. Alternatively, choose a top-down bottom-up shade style that will let in light while disguising the supporting strings, such as a Smart Fit shade or Trilight shade. 

Top-Down Bottom-Up Shade Styles
Cellular top-down bottom-up shades adjusted so they cover the center of a bathroom window.

Top-Down Bottom-Up shades come in many different styles and variations, including cellular shades, Roman shades, blackout shades, Smart Fit shades and Trilight shades. 


Cellular top-down bottom-up shades:

 

  • Also called honeycomb shades 
  • Most popular type of top-down bottom-up shade  
  • Available as blackout shades 
  • Most energy-efficient style 
  • Can be corded or cordless 


Roman top-down bottom-up shades:

 

  • Fabric shades that stack evenly into horizontal folds when open and are smooth when closed 
  • Clean, sophisticated look 
  • Has plain or hobbled folds, which have soft loops for a traditional look 
  • Available as blackout shades  
  • Can be corded or cordless with motorized controls 


Blackout top-down bottom-up shades:

 

  • Can be cellular or Roman style 
  • Best light control 
  • Makes room significantly darker, although some light may show through the sides of the shades 
  • Can be corded or cordless 


SmartFit top-down bottom-up shades:

 

  • Typically cellular style 
  • Strings that support the floating rail are on the outside edge of the window 
  • Offers a less obstructed view when top is lowered 
  • Minimizes light leakage at the top of the shade 
  • Can be corded or cordless 


Trilight top-down bottom-up shades:

 

  • Combines sheer shades with cellular or Roman shades 
  • When the top is lowered, a sheer shade fills the space instead 
  • No view when the top is lowered 
  • Offers more privacy, while still allowing in light 
  • Can be corded or cordless 
Top-Down Bottom-Up Installation Tips
A bedroom with top-down bottom-up shades adjusted so they cover the center of the window.

Follow these tips when you’re ready to choose and install your top-down bottom-up shades:

 

  • Determine whether you are installing inside mount shades or outside mount shades. Inside mount shades are mounted within the window frame and create a custom look. Outside mount shades are mounted to the wall outside of the window frame, which works well for windows that are too shallow for inside mount shades. Outside mount shades also have better light and privacy control. 
  • Measure the width and height every window you plan to install shades, even if they appear to be the same size.  
  • If you are measuring for inside mount shades, measure the depth of the window frame to ensure it can fit the shade’s mounting brackets. Also measure the window opening diagonally, from corner to corner, to ensure it is square. If the window is not square, choose outside mount installation instead for the best light and privacy protection. 
  • Never use an existing blind or shade for the measurements. Always measure the window opening. 
  • Top-down bottom-up shades have pleats that hang from the headrail, which are called a “bumper.” The bumper covers where the headrail meets the floating rail, blocking out any light that may seep through when the top of the shade is closed. Be careful not to trap the bumper in the mounting bracket when installing. 
  • Install cord cleats onto the window trim or to the wall just beside the window trim. Cleats will allow you to keep the shade cords tucked away and off the floor, so the shades look neat and the loose cords aren’t a hazard to children or pets.  

When you need window treatments that offer superior privacy and light control, top-down bottom-up shades are great option. Once you’ve found the best top-down bottom-up shades for your home, leave the rest of the work to our experts. Have your shades professionally measured and installed by our blinds installation services.