Not Martha

consider yourself warned

(Advance apologies for the caveat emptor victim nature of this entry. If you are not planning on buying cellular shade window coverings any time soon I encourage you to skip this one altogether.)

Earlier this year I began looking into getting top-down cellular shades for an oddly sized downstairs window. I chose Levolor because I like the woven fabric look of the Driftwood Linen option, and I went with cords (as opposed to cordless) because I cannot reach the top of the window. After a few months I went ahead and bought them from an online store in order to keep myself from procrastinating any further. I probably should have paused a little and done some research.

I installed them a week ago and I was a little dismayed to find that the top of the shades is sort of shoddy looking:

I would have expected a cleaner look to the top. Thinking back I realized that I never actually saw a cord controlled top-down version of these Levolor shades, all the examples in stores are of the cordless option.

I happened to be at a Home Depot the other day and asked the window coverings associate about these, she admitted that she discourages people from getting the corded top-down Levolor cellular shades. She said that a while back Levolor took away the clean top bar and replaced it with a plastic bar that they slide inside of the top cell. They poke holes through the shade fabric to attach the cords:

However, the cordless top-down Levolor shades are just fine, they have a sturdy top bar.

Despite the not so great look of these I’m happy with the privacy they offer while letting in lots of light, I like the insulation, and I like the texture of the Driftwood Linen fabric option*. But, if you’re thinking of getting Levolor top-down cellular shades, I encourage you to go with the cordless option.

* (I am glad I didn’t go ahead and splurge by buying shades for all six windows I eventually want to cover. Suddenly drapery has never looked so good.)

· comments [18] · 06-13-2007 · categories:the home ·

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 maman // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Thanks… I was looking at those for my house. I guess that I have dodged a bullet there.. Thanks!

  • 2 missval // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Since I know you’re real crafty, and they look to depend on gravity to work, would it be difficult to attach a nice piece of wood at the top?

  • 3 megan // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Maman – If you can reach the top of your window the Cordless version is really very nicely finished. You can see samples of the cordless at Home Depot and JCPenny.

    Missval – I’ve considered it but I’m afraid of disturbing where they sit when the blinds are fully closed. This is a ground floor window and I don’t want to leave any peeping room from the outside. This is my workroom so the less than perfect window treatment isn’t a huge downer.

  • 4 laureg // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:42 am

    I just had to post a comment. After being in a similar situation, I decided on Hunter Douglas Duette blinds. They were more of a splurge than I wanted, but I’ve had mine for a few years now and am incredibly happy with them. If you only need something for a few windows, they are really worth checking out.

  • 5 Donna // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:47 am

    If you are going to get more of these you should look into the cordless remote controlled feature. We have one on our very high entryway window and it was well worth the money.

  • 6 barbara // Jun 13, 2007 at 8:54 am

    I have bought top-down cellular shades with cord controls several times from Smith & Noble ( They do have the top bar and I have been very pleased with the looks. The prices are competitive and they usually have 20% off or other specials via email. I swear I am not affiliated in any way, I just enjoyed shopping there and thought you might like to check it out! Thanks for your blog, I’ve been reading it for years.

  • 7 tango // Jun 13, 2007 at 9:46 am

    I outfitted our irregular sized (wide and tall) living room windows with top down/bottom up cellular shades from – no affiliation at all. I’m just pleased with the cost and the look. They do have the top bar and are easy to use. Best of all, I didn’t completely break the bank!

  • 8 megan // Jun 13, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for the recommendations everyone!

  • 9 shari // Jun 13, 2007 at 10:57 am

    We had very good luck with Select Blinds (…we got a great price for top down/bottom up cellular blinds (under $200 for a big bedroom window). And yes, they have the top bar. Highly recommend them!

  • 10 rachel // Jun 13, 2007 at 11:42 am

    why are blinds and curtians so difficult to shop for? not to mention pricey!

  • 11 erika // Jun 14, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Could you sew a cover flap of fabric – thin, narrow, that could hide the cord knot? In a fun fabric that matches your room?

  • 12 anton // Jun 14, 2007 at 5:25 am

    Love your comments.
    People should be more aware about the problems when shopping for cheap blinds.
    Why did you not visit a local Retailer.
    If I(local Retailer) compare my prices
    with the discount places, we are not that far apart on price. Further, you the customer gets better service in case something goes wrong with the shade. I offer my customers a free repair service if they purchase the blinds from our store.

  • 13 megan // Jun 14, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Anton – I did visit a few places carrying these to check out what the different materials looked like, however they only displayed top down shades with the cordless option. Each place I went to charged a whole lot more then the online shops, and I didn’t get good service in the regular stores (I was ignored for a long time, the people acted rushed, and in hindsight, they didn’t offer information about the look of this particular brand option).

    Call it bad luck with my first trek into interior design, but my interactions with humans were discouraging so I ordered online. (I believe much of the internet exists for this very reason!)

  • 14 SAWII // Jun 14, 2007 at 11:16 am

    What online store did you buy from? Are you by chance researching sliding glass door window coverings too?

  • 15 Carrie // Jun 14, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Ditto what Tango said about We’ve had ours (top-down, cord, cellular)for a year and they work and look great.

  • 16 thatbeegirl // Jun 16, 2007 at 8:59 am

    i only wish i’d have read this before i bought and installed mine! i, too, ordered them online and have had them replaced once, looking into getting them replaced a second time. ugh!

  • 17 drapedude // Jun 17, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    As a professional windowcovering installer for over twenty years I have never seen anything so tacky in my life. It is no wonder they don’t have samples of the corded prodduct in their showrooms, I wouldent either. Levolor should be ashamed to put out such an eye sore of a product. What trash. And if one can’t see an actual sample of what one is buying, find out the return policy or keep shoping.

  • 18 Jeff // May 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Stories like this always keep me a little skeptical when it comes to buying blinds online. Has anyone had luck buying window coverings online?

    I’ve heard about and but didn’t know if there were any other good online retailers for blinds out there.

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