A Guide On Custom Roman Shades
Yes, we know it’s true that custom, full-length drapery has a well-deserved reputation for richness and drama, but it isn’t necessarily the window treatment for every room in your home. If a more streamlined look is your style or space is at a premium, custom Roman shades that’ll stack neatly at the top of the window when raised—may be your go-to. Roman shades are less fussy, strict, and a more modern window covering.
But not all Roman shades are created equal. We wanted to share our thoughts on the many available options and help determine the best setup for space, so we brought you this guide on Roman shades.
Meet Our Fabric.
Your choice in face fabric is the most critical decision when using custom Roman shades, this isn’t just because the material will set the color and pattern of the finished product. The fabric will also affect the shade’s translucency, as well as how easily it will operate and stack when retracted.
Photo from Bria Hammel
When you’re selecting fabrics for your shades, light and medium-weight materials are perfect, but make sure you avoid rigid or heavily embellished fabrics. It’s best to have the folds lie nicely one on top of the other, and the thicker fabrics make it a bit more difficult to achieve this.
Fortunately, it’s really easy to test pliability with a fabric sample. Just fold it over a few times to get an idea as to how it reacts. If the fabric doesn’t cooperate and lay flat, it may not be the best candidate. Our recommendation – go with Belgian linen.
Photo from Brooke Wagner
What's Your Style.
While there are an abundance of details available, the overall style of a Roman shade generally falls into one of two camps—relaxed or constructed. Relaxed shades have no rigid support systems inside which allows the fabric to gently sag under its own weight, which creates a nonchalant curve at the bottom of the shade when its raised. And for this reason, the industry likes to call these “soft smileys”.
Constructed shades have horizontal rods, dowels, or battens that are sewn-in to create a stiffer appearance with a straight edge at the bottom.
Both relaxed and constructed shades function equally well on most standard-size windows. However, on windows that are wider, relaxed shades become more difficult to manage. You may have to do a little manual dressing after lifting them and smooth out the folds each time. On the hand, with constructed shade, once the fabric trains itself, it tends to function flawlessly.
Should I Add A Liner?
Not all shades need to be lined. For simple flax linen Roman shades, many designers choose to use the selected face fabric by itself for a visually aesthetic light appearance. But in some situations, using a lining—a secondary fabric that’s sewn to the back of the face material—can give shades an even more finished, luxurious look. Lining also helps to hide the lift strings at the back of the shade when light filters through from behind while also reducing the amount of sun that floods the space.
Photo from Bria Hammel
Privacy lining yields enhanced light control and improves privacy and blackout lining, which eliminates 99% of all sunlight coming through the shade. The choice depends on the room. If it’s a bedroom with a window facing due east, we typically recommend a blackout lining. But living rooms typically require only a lighter lining.
Positioning Your Roman Shade.
Now that we’ve covered fabrics and styles, it’s time we answer the next big question – the mount type. Should this be an inside mount? Or perhaps, an outside mount? At times this is purely a space question. Sometimes there is simply isn’t enough space within a window frame to hold a shade, which makes the decision easy. Otherwise, it all depends on the layout and architecture of your space.
If it’s a modern home and the frames are not particularly attractive, we recommend an outside mounted shade. On the other hand, If the frames are a focal point and the architecture is classic, opt for the inside mount.
A Roman shade can be raised and lowered with three types of control systems—a continuous loop system, cord lock, and cordless.
A continuous loop system is essentially a replacement for the traditional dangling cords of the past. The closed loop mechanism lets you easily & evenly raise, lower, and precisely position your shades. It’s also the most popular control because it’s easiest to operate and precise. For shades that are bigger, we’d usually always recommend the continuous loop system.
Photo from Crystal Palecek
The cord lock, an option where all the lift strings are combined into one single cord, held by what the industry calls a lock or cleat. Without a doubt this is a more traditional take on controlling a roman shade. We give it a thumbs up because of how quiet it functions. Be mindful though, sometimes a cord jams and will cause the shade to lift lopsided.
The main problem with strings leads us to the most modern of options – the cordless option. Just as it sounds, this system will disqualify exposed cords and easily lifts or lowers with a light push or pull on the shade.
Photo by Alva
As much as you might like to show off your modern home, you don’t want uncovered windows to invite prying eyes. However, you also don’t want to spend a fortune creating that decoration and privacy. Custom roman shades give you the look of costly window treatments at a price that will pleasantly surprise you! Roman shades, sometimes often called Roman blinds, are a beautiful blend of today's most popular home decor trends, colors, and fabrics that are suited for any occasion.
Feature Photo from Bria Hammel