Roman Shades - Standard and Traditional Shades

Most Popular styles of Roman Shades

Roman Shades

Panels of fabric attached at the top of the window frame, Roman shades are controlled by a pulley cord system that raises and lowers them over the window. The defining characteristic of a Roman shade is that it gathers into soft folds when raised (resembling a fabric waterfall) then lays smooth or slightly gathered when lowered down over the window.

There are two popular types:

The standard (flat) shade lays smooth when fully lowered.

The traditional (hobbled) shade does not lay smooth when lowered. Instead, the fabric is lightly gathered to convey a more relaxed version of what the shade looks like when raised.

Roman shades are available in every material from bamboo to suede, making them popular for any room in the house. Aesthetically pleasing with a soft look, these shades are regularly stocked in the window treatment departments of most major department stores.

Easy to find and purchase, pull-cord Roman shades are also relatively simple to make. Patterns and templates can be found in sewing books or through your local fabric, craft or hardware store. When making your own Roman shades, be sure not to use a fabric that is so heavy it doesn't gather into the trademark folds. Your best option is to use a light or medium weight fabric, preferably one that is lined to help the shade keep its shape.

Roman shades can be purchase with extra features according to your individual needs. For example, add blackout lining for that extra bit of light protection or try a reverse top down/bottom up pulley system for windows without much room above them. Lowering downwards, the fabric gathers at the bottom of the window.

Roman shades can be found in a variety of styles:

Fresno style is where the fabric end in a flared, fan-shaped embellishment at the bottom of the shade

Belaire is when the shade is finished in a curved arch shape

Belaire with a center pleat a typical Belaire with a vertical pleat running up the middle of the shade

Roll-up with ties this allows the shade to be rolled to the top of the window and fastened with ribbon or cloth ties

Slat front shade has cloth 'ribs' running across the front of it in a horizontal pattern

Cluster pleat is where multiple pleats are placed in horizontal groups in a repeating pattern across the front of the shade

Shirred the fabric is ruched, or gathered into close-together tight pleats, across the front of the shade in a repeating pattern

Dog-eared shades flare out slightly at the ends towards the outer frame of the window.


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