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I'm not a DIY home repair guy but I'm handy with tools. I have a semi-circular window about six feet in diameter. It's right above my home office desk. In the afternoon, the sun often shines through the window and makes a terrific glare on the desk and makes the computer monitors hard to see (due to the high contrast).

My question: Is there a standard way to block sunlight from a non-rectangular window? The desk looks out the window and I'd like to keep it that way. The problem is for a few hours in the afternoon. Ideally the shade would be somewhat translucent to block the sun.

This must be a commonly-seen problem. Any suggestions on where to buy a solution which I can install myself?

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I have this problem too. My wife and I have considered draping fabric across it, but neither of us is fully confident in our artistic abilities. (We're afraid it might look like crap.) –  Doresoom Nov 22 '10 at 14:36
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5 Answers

For something "off the shelf" you'll need to buy a blind that's a little bit wider than six feet and fit that "outside" the window which might not look very nice as you'll have a rectangle over your semi circle.

You could make a pair of shutters that you could fold out, but if the window is truly semi-circular they'd be a little difficult to hang.

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The most common solution I've seen to this is custom planation shutters. I've seen them build these type of blinds for almost any shape; The semi-circle is a very common shape for plantation shutters. Pricing typically depends of the materials you choose and the size of the window.

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I can think of a few things that might work:

  1. An awning. There are ones on the market that have an electric motor on 'em, and you can control from the inside, so you can put it out or bring it in as needed. (you don't want to leave them out all the time, as high winds or snow can be a problem ... although there are metal awnings that are meant to be left up all the time, but they're not so pretty) Unfortunately, not all styles work well for the late afternoon sun, where the sun's low in the sky, but they make 1/4 sphere ones that might come down far enough to block the sun for a 1/2 circle window.

  2. Plantation shutters, as Shane mentioned -- my dad had ones that had adjustable louvers to let in more/less light, and they were split top & bottom so he could just close off the top or bottom half of the window ... but well, they'd likely be rectangular, and you'd just close over the whole opening, which might not be the best look.

  3. Window screens. Not bug screens -- I'm not sure what else to call them. They were very popular in the Netherlands. It's a wooden frame, with a stretched material over it, normally something decorative like lace (or crocheted? my mom's are all white, but there's pictures kinda knitted into it). You set it in the window ... they were decorative, but they also help to block out the sun. You could make a frame that would fit into the window opening, stretch some sort of decorative fabric across it, and then just set it in the window or take out as needed.

... and in trying to find a better name for the screens, I somehow managed to stumble across items that might be exactly what you're looking for ...

If it's perfectly a half circle (you might be able to trim it, but it might look like crap) http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=16252255

And if it's not, custom blinds: http://www.solaceshades.com/

(It's possible there's other companies making 'em, but I also found a while lot of patents for sun shades, too, so it might be a limited number of vendors)

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I recently solved a similar problem by building a custom upholstered valance box. The total cost was around $75, including the matching curtain panel used for the upholstery fabric.

First, measure the window, and figure out the dimensions you need to cover. A 2-3 inches overlap on each side should be enough.

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Next, cut 1/4" plywood to shape, and make a frame out of 1x2's. (Note the dimensions of the window drawn onto the plywood for reference.) I ended up doing a framed design - an outer section with a cutout inset.

enter image description here

Determine where you want to place the buttons. You'll actually screw through the inset panel to mount it to the outer frame after you've upholstered it. You can hot-glue the buttons on afterwards to hide the screws. I almost forgot to mention - you'll need fabric covered button kits to make the buttons match. You can get them at Walmart for about $1 each.

enter image description here

Time for upholstering! Buy an electric staple gun for this. I ended up using about 1200 staples. Three layers of batting and one layer of fabric later, your hands will thank you for spending $30.

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You'll probably want to finish the back with a white fabric so it doesn't look like crap from outside. I used the leftover liner from the blackout curtain panel used to upholster the valance box. (I also added a screw in the middle for a support wire for the flimsy $3 Walmart curtain rod - it was designed to have a center support, but the window shape didn't allow for it.)

enter image description here

Install the valance box using metal brackets and wall anchors (or preferably screwing to studs if they're in the right location).
enter image description here

Tools used:

  • Cordless drill/screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Electric stapler
  • 18 ga. pneumatic brad nailer
  • Hot glue gun
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they make accordion style fabric shades for half-circle windows

http://www.amazon.com/Redi-Shade-3362548-Window-72-Inch/dp/B000LG7G0A enter image description here

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I was going to suggest this. –  msemack Jul 19 '11 at 13:38
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