In certain situations, less is better. In other situations, more of the same could be considered ideal. Coupled roller shades allow you to accomplish both. Many designers, purchasing agents and hotel owners when presented with the idea of coupled roller shades are excited to jump on board. Yet, usually it is at the impetus of drapery manufacturers to recommend coupled shades because they are simply a caveat to regular roller shades that aren’t usually considered. That is why we are taking the time to discuss coupled roller shades, to define exactly what they are and to share some tips for when to use them and why.
Coupled roller shades, simply put, are two or more roller shades that are linked together with what is called an ‘intermediate’ bracket that allows one clutch system to control all of the shades linked together by that type of bracket. The roller shades are considered to be coupled because both shade bands move up and down in tandem instead of simply being installed next to one another. This allows for a separate clutch system and subsequently separate controls.
Coupled roller shades are a great asset to use in a few different unique situations but there are important factors to consider:
Coupled shades should always be considered when a roller shade fabric is not wide enough to cover a bay of windows with a single shade, yet the effect of a single shade is desired. In this case, two or more shades could be installed across the bay of windows to coincide with the width of fabric being used. All would work as one, giving the effect and function of a single shade.
Coupled shades should be considered as an aid to design, especially when a window is designed with mullions at set positions for a pattern sake. If you have gone to the trouble of having windows broken up at a specific points with mullions, using roller shades in coordination with those windows will bring about the best aesthetic. Yet in that situation you don’t want to see multiple chain pulls at each mullion, so coupling the entire system eliminates the extra.
Coupled shades do have limitations as far as weight and the span to which they can extend. For any bay of windows, or multiple windows in a row, in which coupled shades are desired you will need to check with the roller shade manufacturer to make sure that the combination of roller shades does not extend beyond the combined weight or width limits.
As a safe estimate you should be able to couple up to 3 shades together and to a width of around 150”, but this should always be confirmed with the specific manufacturer.
Most battery-operated roller shade systems do not have enough power for coupled shades. So, if motorized and coupled is desired, the shade system will usually have to be hardwired or plug-n-play.
Here’s a great example of a project that used coupled roller shades: AC Hotel, Louisville, KY. We added a few of our Installer’s pictures to give you more of an idea of what these look like on a window:
Coupled shades can truly aid design and make for some beautiful uses of roller shades sans those pesky chain pulls. So armed with this knowledge think about using coupled shades on your next project.