Roman Shades – When In…When To

While traditional custom-made drapery has a richly renowned reputation for its dramatic flair…each room of your home has its own character and needs appropriate window coverings to match.  Roman shades are often preferred where the desired look is a notch more practical and clean.  Though they’re a fabric based window covering like draperies…Roman shades retract vertically and stack neatly near the upper portion of the frame.

Here’s how  a couple of noted designers describe Roman shades:

“Roman shades are stricter, less fussy, and more modern,” ~ Robert Couturier – AD100 designer


“They can provide more of a clean-lined architectural look than full-length drapery in most situations” ~ Abby Rodriguez – VP of New York’s Chelsea Workroom

Roman shades also have a more pragmatic appeal.  Sometimes, when you have customized built-in furniture or shelving…full-length drapery is simply not an option.  Roman shades fulfill such unique needs for windows coverings, when limited wall space specialized structures would otherwise pose limit your options.

But not all Roman shades are created equal. To help determine the best setup for a space, we asked Couturier and Rodriguez to share their thoughts on the many available options.

  • Fabric – this is the most critical choice when you’re in the design phase of creating custom Roman shades.  Aside from color, fabric also affects translucence as well as ease of operation when opening and closing the shade.
  • Relaxed vs Constructed –  Relaxed shades have no rigid supports inside and allow the fabric to sag gently under its own weight, which creates a curve at the bottom of the shades when they’re raised.  Constructed shades have sewn-in horizontal rods, dowels, or battens to create a more rigid appearance.
  • Lining –  Though not necessary  for all shades…but when used…lining can give blinds a more finished, luxurious look.
  • Controls –  There are three types of controls—integrated electric motors, a continuous loop system, or cord and cleat.
  • Placement – Whether to mount them inside or outside the window frames is largely determined by architecture

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