The versatile combi shades (aka zebra shades or banded shades) have exploded in popularity. This post examines why they are so popular, what are the functional and design benefits, and the ideal window applications for this category of product.

When Trendy Blinds first established in 2012, Combi shades (or zebra shades or banded shades) were virtually unknown in the Canadian market.  Initially invented in South Korea, Combi shades popularity spread throughout Asia and then Europe before arriving in North America. At that time, we spent a lot of our sales process in demonstrating the Combi shades and explaining how it will look and work on our customers’ windows. Nowadays we get more people coming in knowing that they want these shades and wanting to quickly talk about price.  However, we feel that even today many customers are still not well informed or mis-informed about these shades, resulting in window decor results that does not match their initial expectations.  With the exploding popularity of this category of window shades, there are now wide range of product choices in terms of quality, pricing, styling and functional and technical details in the market.  Knowing the details and understanding the difference between Trendy Blinds Combi shades and other similar products from other manufacturers, will help you as a homeowner make the right choices for your windows.   Key Benefits of Combi Shades (Zebra Shades or Banded Shades): 1) Relatively Flat surface like a roller shade but with 3 main settings — Open, Closed, and Up — versus 2 main settings for roller shades (Up and Down); 2) Lots of fabric finish options for both light filtering and room darkening fabrics.  Can easily coordinate with other room furnishings and finishes including drapery and upholstery. 3) Lightweight so easy to lift large shades.  Easier to lift means that the shades will be used more frequently thus maximizing the benefits of having this shade; 4) Full day-time privacy in Open setting due to sheer layer — you can see out while people outside cannot see in.  (In comparison: open shutter louvers or horizontal blinds slats does not provide privacy.  They must be closed for privacy). 5) Fabrics are anti-static so does not collect dust — no cleaning required!   Limitations to Combi Shades (Zebra Shades or Banded Shades): 1) More then half the view is blocked in Open setting.  For more outside views, one needs to roll up the shade; 2) Limited ability to self-clean if get stained (this is true for all soft window shades.)  Thus need to get professional cleaning service. 3) Room darkening fabrics are not fully blackout.   What’s the difference between Trendy Blinds Combi Shades vs. other Zebra Shades? Trendy Blinds work in partnership with the South Korea manufacturer who invented the Combi Shades and owned the original patent.  We continue to source only the highest quality fabrics and components from South Korea.   Fabrics: – Environmentally friendly – no VOC – safe for kid rooms. – Banding sizes are very consistent (within + or – 1/16th of an inch).  We can specify SIDE-BY-SIDE – so multiple shades on wall-to-wall windows will have bands that line up. – fabrics are highly uniform in colour and texture.  Lower quality fabrics from China and elsewhere have blotches and uneven threading patterns.   Components: – Headrail, bottom bar, end caps, cords and safety handles are available in a wide range of colours to coordinate with shade fabric. – All metal parts except for screws and brackets are made of aluminium – lightweight and will not rust. – Square, Curved and even Round (for our deluxe line) headrail shapes are available. – Option for no fabric for headrail valance for a more modern look. – We use Channel tubes, which are stronger so no bowing in the middle of the shades.  Bowing causes excess waviness of the shade.   Assembly: Fabrics are mechanically attached to the tube through a slot channel in the tube.  (The cheaper method is just adhesive tape to stick fabric to tube surface.) What this means for the product is: a) Fabric shade will unlikely disconnect from the hardware and fall down. b) Allows us to do “Close when down” setting.  “Closed when down” means that when the shade is rolled down to the bottom of the window, the Combi shade is in a closed position.  This is particularly important for Room Darkening applications. c) We always provide more fabric for the height so that the tube will not be exposed and visible to users.   To learn more: visit our showrooms in Greater Toronto Area, call us at 905-604-1222 or email at