What Are Top-Down Bottom-Up Shades?

What Are Top-Down Bottom-Up Shades?
When you’ve worked in one industry for years on end, the jargon becomes second nature. We bet your workplace has a bunch of words and phrases that would make us scratch our heads! And you’re certainly not the only ones. We have our own bits of jargon, too.

If you’re renovating your home, we know there are a bunch of terms that have you puzzled. Not anymore! Our experts are breaking down everything you need to know to purchase the best window coverings for your home. First up: the mysterious top-down bottom-up shade.

What are top-down bottom-up shades?


The top-down bottom-up shade, or TDBU as we also call them, actually does have a rather straightforward name. These shades are ones that can be opened and closed at both the top, near the valance or the top of the window frame, and at the bottom, near the window sill.

See? The top goes down and the bottom goes up. Thus, top-down bottom-up.

You can find TDBU shades in a variety of styles, from traditional cellular shades that filter out the light to basic pleated shades to elegant roman shades.

How do they work?


Top-down bottom-up shades work almost identically to other corded window coverings. The difference is that TDBU shades have different cords that are attached to two different rails. (FYI: A “rail” is the horizontal bar that you attach to the top of your window. It holds the window treatment up.)

One rail is the mounting rail. This is the same as any other window treatment. This rail has its own cord. When you pull on that cord, it raises the bottom portion of the shade. This is the “bottom up” portion of the treatment.

The second rail is the floating rail. It has another cord that controls it. When you pull that cord, the floating rail detaches itself from the mounting rail and lowers the top of the shade. This is the “top down” portion of the treatment.

Is there such a thing as a cordless top-down bottom-up shade?


Our window treatment experts are asked this question a lot. The answer is: yes and no.

Yes, you can find cordless top-down bottom-up shades. These shades will eliminate the dangling cords on the sides of your window treatment. They’ll typically be replaced with tabs that release the top-down portion of the shade. You’ll be able to raise and lower the sections by hand, as you normally would a cordless blind or shade.

Also: No, top-down bottom-up shades aren’t 100 percent cord-free. Right now, there aren’t any TDBU designs that eliminate the strings that connect the floating rail from the mounting rail, which is what allows the top section of the shade to lower.

When should you use top-down bottom-up shades?


What we love most about top-down bottom-up shades is that they’re endlessly versatile. They’re appropriate for nearly every window and shouldn’t be considered only for use in certain circumstances. However, there are some situations where a TDBU blind makes perfect sense:

First-floor rooms and ground-level apartments


Struggling to find a balance between privacy from passersby and letting light into your home? Top-down bottom-up blinds let you keep the bottom half closed, where pedestrians could peer in, and open the top half, letting unfiltered light pour in.

We like:

Vibrant Prints and Solids Roman Shades

(Vibrant Prints and Solids Roman Shades)

Rooms that get full morning or afternoon sun


Top-down bottom-up blinds let you block out glare of head-on sun without missing out on the brightness, color and warmth you crave in a sitting room, office or kitchen. They’re a fantastic alternative to sun shades that would otherwise block the entirety of the sunlight coming in.

We like:

Premier Woven Wood Shades

(Premier Woven Wood Shades)

Bathroom windows


We love the idea of having natural light in a bathroom. Flashing the neighbors? Not so much. The TDBU blind lets you shield your body and your business from anyone who might be looking in while still enjoying the sunshine.

We like:

Single Cell Light Filtering

(9/16” Single Cell Light Filtering)

What we love about the top-down bottom-up shade design is its versatility. Because it can have loose strings, it might not be appropriate in all areas with children. However, it’s a practical solution for many environments, whether you live on the first floor, the second or the 22nd.

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