Roman shades are known for their tailored and minimalist look. They are often used in design when a space requires the functionality of blinds and the softness of fabric. Roman window shades are the best of both worlds. You get the privacy and the clean look of blinds with the warmth of drapery fabric without the added adornment. Roman shades have a varied style all their own. These styles are nuanced, and you can use them in a variety of spaces. They work to bring the whole room design together. Most Roman shades begin with the classic construction and add seams, fabric, or structural elements to get a varied look. Below are the six main Roman shade designs and tips on how to use them in a space.
The Classic Roman will lay flat when the window shade is all the way down, and will have horizontal seams or panels across the fabric. One of the great aspects of a Roman shade is the transformation of volume when the shade is either up or down. It converts from stacked to flat, giving a very different look depending on the position of the shade. Because of this, the Classic is a great opportunity for a bold pattern or a design element that pops. Alternatively, a simple neutral will also work, allowing it to blend in with the surroundings. A great variation to the classic is an Unconstructed Classic, where there are no visible seams or stitching. This creates a monolithic look which is a great opportunity for a bold fabric choice.
The Hobbled (sometimes known as the Teardrop or Waterfall) Roman has soft pleats or cascading folds as the panel extends fully down the window. The added fabric creates a softer drape to the shade, yet the symmetrical folds create a structure to that softness. These window shades will have a tighter stack at the top of the window in comparison to a Classic style. It lends itself to a space that has a blend of both strong lines and soft edges, due to its uniform construction. It is a great choice for a bathroom or kitchen window, bringing softness to these spaces.
Knife Pleated Roman
Similar in style to the Classic, the Knife Pleated Roman embraces structure and strong lines. The pleat in this design is in the form of symmetrical ribs or dowels constructed into the back of the shade. While it does lie flat when lowered (like the Classic), these pleats break up the monolithic style. These tailored seams down the front of the shade are a great design element for a modern or eclectic space.
Ribbed Pleated Roman
With striking styling, the Ribbed Pleat Roman is the reversed construction of the Knife Pleat. It takes the dowels or ribs on the back of the Knife Pleat and has it constructed on the front of the shade. These ribs create a horizontal standing seam across the fabric. The pronounced seams are a design element that are almost architectural in feel. These window shades are perfect for a modern or transitional space.
Unlike the previous shades, The London Roman (or sometimes the Relaxed Roman), really emphasizes the vertical gathers on the shade. The structure of a London allows the fabric to balloon gracefully between two lift cords, creating a butterfly effect on either edge of the shade as it unfolds down the window. This style of Roman shade is great at enhancing the height of a tall space and works well in longer windows. With a clear sense of elegance, this shade type is often seen in traditional design settings, but could be bold and unexpected in a more modern space.
Like the London, the Balloon Roman truly celebrates fabric, it is a shade with volume and verticality. It emphasizes the way fabric drapes and folds as it raises and lowers over a window. Traditionally this shade is created by two or more inverted box pleats, forming the dramatic ballooning effect in the fabric. These shades are great for rooms that lean towards a sense of comfort or softness, such as bedrooms or living rooms. Like the London shade, they would be great in a traditional space or a surprising element in a modern setting.
The nature of these window treatments makes it a versatile option for nearly any space, it all depends on the detail and look you are going for. Check out our Drapery section and click through to our gallery to see our latest designs.