Recessed shades are becoming a popular addition to outdoor living spaces, offering a sleek and functional solution to control sunlight and keep bugs at bay. These shades not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space but also provide practical benefits that elevate your outdoor experience.

Benefits of Recessed Shades

  1. Bug-Free Zone:Recessed shades help create a bug-free environment, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space without the nuisance of insects. This is particularly beneficial during the summer months when bugs are most active.
  2. Sunlight Control:These shades effectively block out sunlight, providing a cool and shaded area for relaxation. This is especially useful during peak sunlight hours, making your outdoor space more comfortable.  Some shades will completely black out a space, while others will allow for some sunlight to penetrate.
  3. Wind Protection:In addition to blocking sunlight, recessed shades can also serve as a windbreak, making your outdoor area more enjoyable even on breezy days.

Architectural Integration

Recessed shades are more than just functional—they’re also a sophisticated architectural detail that seamlessly integrates with modern design aesthetics. By installing the shades within a ceiling cavity or bulkhead, you achieve a clean and uncluttered look that enhances the minimalist appeal of contemporary spaces. This integration helps maximize natural light when the shades are not in use and maintains an open, airy atmosphere that is highly prized in modern architecture​.

Installation Requirements

To install recessed shades, there are specific structural considerations to keep in mind:

Framing the Pocket: You will need to frame an approximately 8″ wide by 12″ deep pocket for the shades. This pocket must be precisely constructed to house the shades and ensure they operate smoothly.  The brand of shades you choose will have specific framing requirements.  You may need to furr out the framing at the top of a column in the pocket to provide a secure fastening point for the shades. This step ensures the shades are properly supported and function reliably.

Electrical Outlets: Each section of the shade, typically placed between columns, requires an electrical outlet to power the shades.

Column Thickness: Consider the thickness of your columns after they are faced with finished material. The shades have a track that will run down the column, so accurate measurements are crucial to avoid installation issues.

Railing Placement: It may be optimal to face-mount any railing so it is not in the way of the shades’ path. This prevents any obstruction and allows the shades to operate without hindrance.

Cost Considerations

The approximate cost for a recessed shade with installation varies widely based on geographic location, size and brand, but a ballpark you can use is around $4,000 per shade.  This price covers the shade and its installation but does not include additional expenses such as framing the pocket or installing the necessary electrical outlets. These additional costs can vary depending on the specifics of your project, so it is important to budget accordingly and consult with professionals to get a detailed estimate.

Enhanced Control and Convenience

Recessed shades offer advanced control options, including the ability to operate them from your smartphone. This modern convenience allows you to adjust the shades from anywhere, providing flexibility and ease of use.

Comparing Brands: Phantom Screens vs. Hunter Douglas vs. Lutron

When selecting recessed shades, it’s important to compare different brands to find the best fit for your needs.  A few brands include:

Phantom Screens: Known for their durability and sleek design, Phantom Screens provide excellent protection against bugs and sunlight. They offer a variety of customization options to match your outdoor décor.

Hunter Douglas: Renowned for their innovative designs, Hunter Douglas shades offer superior light control and energy efficiency. Their products are designed with advanced technology for ease of use and long-lasting performance.

Lutron: Lutron shades are celebrated for their integration with smart home systems. They offer precise control over light and privacy, with the added benefit of seamless smartphone operation.

Alternatives to Recessed Shades

If recessed shades are not suitable for your space, consider exposed shades as an alternative. Modern exposed shades have significantly improved battery life, often lasting a couple of years without needing a recharge or replacement. This makes them a convenient option for those who prefer a simpler installation process.


Recessed shades are a fantastic addition to any outdoor living space, offering both aesthetic and functional benefits. By understanding the installation requirements and comparing different brands, you can make an informed decision that enhances your outdoor experience. Whether you choose recessed or exposed shades, the result is a more comfortable, bug-free, and stylish outdoor area for you to enjoy