How to Choose a Roman Shade

white Roman blind with vertical stripe
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-2,000

Roman shades are a beautiful, multi-purpose window treatment option. They add texture, vibrancy, and color to a room. They are also a practical choice, providing insulation, light filtration, and privacy. They can turn a bland room into a fabulous room. DIY enthusiasts are adding roman shades to their decorating arsenals.

A key style characteristic of a roman shade is whether it is flat or hobbled. Flat roman shades create a clean, uncluttered look, perfect for a modern home. They are often used in casual settings as well. The pleats in the shade lie completely flat, and stack up into each other when the shade is raised. Hobbled style is more ornate; it is often used in formal sitting and dining areas to create a look of grandeur, or to add texture. Though they are often interchanged and decorating rules are never set in stone, deciding if your roman shade will be flat or hobbled is your first step.

The most popular roman shade styles are flat and hobbled; however there are lots more to choose from. Take a look at these lesser-known but equally beautiful roman shade styles:

Reverse Fold Roman Shade

Living room with drop lighting, green couch, and Roman blind

A close relative to the Flat Roman Shade. It is flat when fully extended. The shade features dowels (or straighteners) that are built into the body of the fabric, creating clean, crisp folds as the shade is raised or lowered (the Flat Roman Shade does not have dowels/folds).

Tuscany Natural Grass Roman Shade

A favorite of Interior Designers. Often used on HGTV and DIY Network shows, this shade has the functionality of a roman shade, but is made from woven wood materials like bamboo, sisal, sea grass, rattan, and reeds.

Relaxed Roman Shade

Large windows with Roman blinds

Works well in more casual rooms, as a stand-alone window treatment or in combination with side panels. This style features a flat shade with permanent rounded folds at the bottom. The body of the shade is flat when it is fully closed.

Next, consider what options you want. “Top down/bottom up” is the most popular option – it allows you to lower you shade from the top as well as raise it like a normal shade…great for letting light in without sacrificing privacy. Or, some shades now come with a “Cordless” option. Also, decide if you want your roman shade to completely block light, or if you want light to come through, even when it’s closed.

If your room is filled with neutral colors, choose a bold, colored pattern for your roman shades. This will add depth and energy to a room utilizing a muted color palate. Plus, should you get sick of them, they are easier and cheaper to replace than brightly colored walls or furniture. If your room is already filled with bright colors, opt for neutrals. Instead of color, stimulate your sense of touch by choosing a neutral fabric with texture, like linen.

Roman shades are a nice break from standard wood or aluminum blinds. Try them in one of your rooms and see the transformation. Odds are, you will be adding Roman shades to more rooms once you see the difference.