Your rooms are a “stage” for your life or business. Having the right setting – the room’s decorating elements – supports the “performances” of those living or working in the space. This setting consists of your walls, floors, furniture, lighting, accessories, and window coverings. They affect your mood and comfort, as well as your use of that room; the décor has to suit the room’s purpose and the way you live or work.
Window coverings can be one of the most difficult elements to select (along with paint color, which we’ll talk about another time). You select carpet by feel, furniture by what is most comfortable, and accessories as they catch your eye – but what is the best window treatment for your room? This choice depends on window type, the room’s purpose, the style you are seeking to create, your lifestyle, and issues such as privacy, light control, security, and heat gain/loss.
Roman shades are, perhaps, the ultimate window covering, because they meet so many needs all in one solution and are so versatile. There is also enormous variety in Roman Shades; options that add color, pattern or texture to your room, or are subtle enough to fade into the background. The variety of styles possible with roman shades ranges from old-time rustic to opulent formality.
Here are some of the variations on Roman Shades:
Flat Romans are essentially a flat, lined piece of fabric with back bars for lifting the shade evenly in neat folds. Linings can range from sheer or muslin to blackout or insulating fabrics. They can be embellished a little or a lot, with accent fabrics, ribbon, braids, fringes, tassels, embroidery, etc. This casual style shade best suits a primitive, colonial, or rustic décor, though it also works in traditional or modern spaces. They are also a softer, “warmer” feeling alternative to horizontal or cellular blinds.
Pleated Romans are similar but with folds sewn across the fabric at consistent intervals, giving a pleated look even when lowered. This style of roman has an Asian or modern feel and, due to the tailored look, works as well in offices as it does homes. The pleats require careful fabric selection.
Looped Romans are the softer version, using small rings in place of back bars to raise the shade, and giving a relaxed and slightly bowed fold when raised. These are great for casual spaces, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms, or home offices.
Balloon Romans are a more elaborate version, utilizing inverted box pleats or shirring the width of the shade onto a rod to give volume to the fabric. This extra volume and the use of loops rather than back bars allow the fabric to “balloon” softly. Like other roman shades, the fabric is raised in folds but with a softer profile. Pleats give a more tailored effect, while shirring gives a more feminine or casual look. This also largely depends on the fabric chosen. Balloon Romans are great for bedrooms (especially little girls’ rooms), powder rooms, formal living areas, and very formal retail and office spaces.
Butterfly Romans closely resemble Balloon Romans, but lack the inverted pleats, and are often used with softer fabrics, such as sheer/semi-sheer, or lightweight cotton or silk. This is the softest of the roman shades and works well in either informal or semi-formal rooms, but less so in office or commercial spaces.
Faux Romans are stationary shades that give the appearance of roman shades in a raised position. These are generally constructed to a length of either one-third or one-quarter the window height and used in cases where decoration is the only need. This is a less expensive option, as less fabric is required for its construction, and no operational hardware is needed. They are an excellent choice for young children’s bedrooms, play rooms, family rooms, kitchens, entries, libraries, home and business offices, and many other spaces.
There are many more variations on roman shades (even variations on variations) and a good designer can create the perfect design for your room. Fabric choices – from woven natural materials to sheers or brocades – make an enormous difference in the style, and a wide variety of trims can be added to further customize them. You also have options like incorporated valances, top-down operation, motorized controls, and more.
Roman shades are a great choice for setting the stage of your room’s décor. They can stand alone, or act as a great first layer under drapes. For a coordinated look, use the same fabric on your Romans as the other window treatments in a room. These shades suit many decorating styles, room types, and lifestyles. Maybe Roman Shades are perfect for setting the stage in your room!