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What Are Roman Shades & How Do They Work – A Complete Buyer’s Guide

Roman shades have been a classic choice for window coverings for centuries. But don't be fooled by their traditional reputation - today's Roman shades are anything but outdated. With advancements in fiber, sewing techniques, and...

Roman shades have been a classic choice for window coverings for centuries. But don't be fooled by their traditional reputation - today's Roman shades are anything but outdated. With advancements in fiber, sewing techniques, and design, Roman shades have evolved into a contemporary and elegant window treatment option. In this article, we will explore the different styles, materials, and functionality of Roman shades, giving you a complete buyer's guide to help you make an informed decision for your home.

Roman Shades: An Introduction

Roman shades are soft window treatments that feature a fabric panel that gradually folds up as you pull the drawstring. They provide a touch of elegance and softness to any decor. Although they can be made from various materials and come in many different styles, the folding mechanism is what sets Roman shades apart. These versatile shades can be customized to fit any window size or shape, making them a popular choice for homeowners.

Different Styles of Roman Shades

Roman shades come in several unique styles, each offering its own aesthetic appeal and functionality. Here are the four main style options:

Soft / Hobble Fold:

Soft or hobbled fold Roman shades are known for their traditional look, characterized by soft fabric folds that cascade from top to bottom, creating a waterfall-like effect. This style is an excellent choice if you prefer window treatments with more weight and bulk.

Flat Fold:

Flat fold Roman shades are made from a single piece of fabric, which means there are no horizontal seams across the face of the fabric. This makes them ideal for showcasing bold patterns, as there are no interruptions in the design. Additionally, flat fold shades take up less space when fully raised.

Batten Front:

Roman shades with a batten, also known as tunnels, feature tubes of fabric with a stiff strip of solid material (wood, plastic, or metal) sewn at regular intervals into the outer side of the shade. This style is perfect for striped or patterned fabrics, as the battens won't interfere with the design.

Batten Back:

In batten back Roman shades, the battens are inverted and sewn into the side facing the window or door. This creates a refined and delicate look when the shades are lowered and adds defined folds when raised.

Materials Used for Roman Shades

Roman shades are typically comprised of three parts: the fabric panel, cord, and ring system. The fabric you choose for your shades is essential, as it affects both the appearance and functionality of the window treatment. Some common materials used for Roman shades include grasscloth, simple polyester, woven woods, cotton blends, and silk. Keep in mind that certain materials may have minor wrinkles after installation, but these will typically smooth out within a few days.

Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount

When it comes to installing Roman shades, you have the option of an inside mount or an outside mount. Inside mount shades are installed within the window frame, allowing you to showcase your window casing. On the other hand, outside mount shades are mounted outside the window frame. Homeowners may opt for outside mount shades when there is inadequate space for an inside mount, when more light control is needed, or when using multiple layers of shades, such as a roller shade. Both options have their advantages, so choose the one that best suits your preferences and space.

Roman Shades - Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount Roman Shades - Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount

Are Roman Shades Expensive?

The cost of Roman shades can vary significantly depending on the fabric selection and the way they are constructed. A simple Roman shade typically consists of a fabric panel, a pull cord, and a basic lifting system. This option is more economical and suitable for those on a budget. On the other end of the spectrum, handmade Roman shades are more traditional and expensive. These shades feature hand-stitched liners, durable batten systems, and heavy-duty lifting mechanisms, ensuring longevity and durability.

Liners for Light Control & Privacy

Roman shades offer various options for liners to enhance light control and privacy. For a soft and see-through effect, you can choose shades without liners, allowing light to filter through the fabric. If privacy is your primary concern, shades with self-liners provide a suitable solution, allowing some light to pass through while maintaining privacy. For complete room darkening, blackout liners can be attached to the shades, preventing any light from penetrating the fabric itself. These options give you the flexibility to adjust the amount of light and privacy according to your preference.

Innovative New Options for Roman Shades

In addition to the traditional Roman shades, there is a new option on the market: modern Roman shades. These shades offer a similar look to traditional Roman shades but with a unique twist. Instead of folding, modern Roman shades roll up into a canister, minimizing stacking and creating a sleek appearance. The fabric used for modern Roman shades is thinner and lighter, often with a self-liner for privacy or light control. Some modern shades even offer the top-down or bottom-up feature, allowing you to adjust the shade according to your needs.

Control Options

Roman shades come with a wide range of control options to suit your convenience and lifestyle. From motorized lift upgrades to home automation capabilities, the possibilities are endless. Motorized shades offer the convenience of remote control operation, allowing you to operate multiple shades simultaneously. This option is perfect for child safety and hard-to-reach windows. Cord-free features are also available, enabling you to raise and lower the shades with ease by using your hand. Manual systems, where the cord gets longer as you raise the shade, are the most common and straightforward control option.

Expert Advice on Roman Shades

If you still have questions or can't decide which Roman shades are right for your home, don't hesitate to consult the knowledgeable window covering consultants at 3 Blind Mice Window Coverings. They are experienced professionals who can assist you in choosing the best option based on your unique requirements and preferences.

Several Options to Choose From:

  • Deliver The Show Room: Schedule an in-home meeting and let us bring the showroom to you. Our window designers will deliver samples to your home, help you measure, and guide you through every step of the process. Enjoy a stress-free and exciting remodeling experience with results that you'll love. Rest assured, we prioritize your safety during in-home appointments, implementing necessary precautions as COVID-19 circumstances evolve.

  • Virtual Consultations: We now offer virtual design services, streamlining the entire process for you. Our new program allows you to work remotely with our world-class design team through a virtual appointment. It's a convenient way to achieve a unique look for your home that is tailored to your preferences. Simply use your phone or computer, and our experts will guide you through the rest.

Remember, when it comes to selecting the perfect Roman shades for your windows, it's essential to consider your personal style, functionality needs, and budget. By following this comprehensive buyer's guide and seeking expert advice, you'll be on your way to transforming your windows with elegance and sophistication.