Roman Shades: Ancient Style in Your Modern Home


Roman curtains in the interior

Adding new window treatments to your home can be an easy way to give your place a facelift. While window treatments aren’t always the first aspect thought of when home upgrades are talked about, they can really add some fantastic depth, style and practicality to your home. Vertical and horizontal blinds are often the most popular but if you are looking to add a unique style to your home, check out Roman shades.

First appearing in the Roman Coliseum, these shades have survived centuries due to their practicality and design flexibility. These modern shades offer a cleaner look and many more style and color options than traditional window treatments.

If you’re unclear and find yourself asking, “what are Roman shades?”, don’t worry. You’ve almost definitely seen them in action at some point but just never knew what they were called. Roman shades are different than traditional vertical or horizontal shades in that when they are opened they are visibly smooth and not ribbed.

Typically, Roman shades are opened with a cord mechanism that gathers the shade material and horizontal stiffener rods (or eyelets) up in bunches when pulled. When being pulled up, the top portion of the shade remains smooth, while the bottom is gathered and stacked neatly. When raised all the way up, Roman shades provide a decorative valance to your windows.

While once considered old-fashioned style, Roman shades have made a real comeback to mainstream home décor. While multiple styles and materials to choose from now, they can truly match just about any style you are looking for. From bright, cheerful and patterned centerpieces to subtle and complimentary, the options available may seem limitless.

Types of Roman Shades

These are just a few of the most popular types and each has different variations depending on the exact style that you like.

  • Flat– if you are looking for an option to showcase bold patterns, then flat is the way to go. Made from one solid piece of fabric, any designs will be uninterrupted by horizontal seams.
  • Waterfall or Hobbled- one in the same, this type of Roman shade creates a soft, cascade of folds that flow or ripple down the face of the fabric. While less strict in design, this style offers a less rigid look to accommodate a more subtle, classier style.
  • Balloon or Swag– probably the most decorative and elegant style of Roman shade, this style features sophisticated fabric gatherings that create a focal point in any room.

How to Install Roman Shades

Deciding between an interior or exterior mount really depends on the type of window frame/windowsill you have. An interior mount is typically suggested if your windows have a deep recess. Interior mounts will be attached to the ceiling part of the window frame rather than the walls.

Measuring is quite simple, regardless of what type of mount you choose. You will need to measure three heights and three widths (top, middle, and bottom of the window frame). If you are doing an interior mount, then the measurements will need to be down inside the window frame. For an exterior mount, the same measurements will need to be taken except to the outside edge of the window frame. Remember to round down to the nearest 1/8” to ensure a proper fit.

Check if your window frame is level. Sometimes due to settling or poor construction, window frames might not be exactly level. To correct for this imperfection, a small shim (thin, angled piece of wood) may be used to make it level for attachment.

Depending on the shades that you have, you will need to mark where the brackets will be attached based on where the cords run through the shades. Most often (aside from large ones) the brackets will be mounted about 3 inches in from the sides of the shade.

If your window frames don’t allow for an interior mount, an exterior mount is required. This process is quite simple as well. Just hold up the shades you have to measure and mark across the top of the window frame where the brackets will need to be attached.

Easy as that! Measuring and installing Roman shades is the easy part of the whole process. Choosing the style that you want will be a challenge. At Next Design, we offer an outstanding selection of fashionable window treatments that fit nearly any design or style. Come check out our 2,000 sq. ft. showroom in North Miami to see our great selection for yourself.

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