Everything You Need to Know About Roman Shades

Jul 11, 2023

Roman Shades are a type of window treatment that hang flat against the window when lowered and feature soft drapes or crisp folds of fabric when raised. They can be either functional or non-functional and they are more decorative than a basic shade or woven wood because they can be made from any fabric in a variety of styles.

So they’re a great option for those looking to integrate their own personal taste and style into their home’s decor. The options for fabric endless.Roman shades can be used by themselves to create a clean finished look OR they can be layered with other treatments like drapery. In an an interior design, they add softness to rooms with harder surfaces like kitchens and bathrooms. 

Are Roman shades right for your home?

Rich, full-length draperies can add drama and elegance to a room. But sometimes a clean streamlined look is best. Roman Shades can play a big role here. They are visually appealing and can be perfect for any room where you want a softer treatment.

So are Roman Shades right for you? 

  1. Do you have room for a stack back? A stack back is the amount of space the drapery takes up when fully opened. If you don’t have a lot of room, you might use a pleating style with a smaller stack back (like a box pleat). Or you might want to forego draperies altogether and choose Roman shades instead.
  2. Are your windows odd sizes or difficult to reach? Window coverings solve many functional issues and Roman shades are a convenient option for many different types of windows.
  3. Is the window in a small room or area? Roman shades don’t take up as much space physically as draperies, but can still add plenty of style.
  4. Do you have pets or young children at home? Because Roman shades don’t go all the way to the floor, you won’t have to worry about your children tugging on them as much or your pets rubbing up against them. If you do have pets or children, High Country Drapery Designs offers a large selection of performance fabrics to choose from.

And last but not least you may not want to use drapery in a high traffic area like a mud room or kitchen. In these instances Roman Shades can be the perfect option.

Different Roman Shades Header Styles

6 common styles of Roman shades

Roman shades can be dressed up or down to fit any style home. There are several different types of Roman shades, and we can help you choose the perfect option for you based on how you want the shade to look when it’s in a lowered position.

Here are six types we see most often:

1. Plain fold

When you think of a Roman shade, you’re probably thinking of a plain fold Roman shade, even if you don’t realize it. When the shade is lowered, the fold is visible. When raised, the fold becomes more pronounced. This type of shade offers a timeless look that brings more texture to your window.

Beige and light blue master bedroom with a bed and two chairs and wall of windows with drapery and roman shades

2. Soft fold

In a soft fold Roman shade, the fabric cascades in a rippling effect so that the window covering retains the loose folds in both the raised and lowered positions. It has softer, rounder folds while still maintaining a straight edge along the bottom of the treatment. A soft fold Roman shade (also called a looped or hobbled Roman shade) adds an informal aura and can create a romantic and airy feel.

3. Swag

Swag Roman shades have a tail on each end and a relaxed middle. They’re created from carefully crafted inverted pleats along the headrail to ensure a lasting look and shape. Swag Roman shades are primarily a decorative style and not ideal if you plan to open and close the window covering often. If you’re looking for a stationary treatment, though, these shades add an elegant statement to any room.

4. Tie

Like swag shades, tie Roman shades are more decorative than functional because they it takes effort to esnure they’re hanging properly. We used to see them a lot in kitchens, but now see them most often in nurseries and kids’ rooms. They are a lot of fun to design because you can easily add embellishments to the overall design.

Kitchen with flat fold Roman shade on a window

5. Flat fold

A flat fold Roman shade is made of a continuous piece of fabric and hangs flat against the window. When fully lowered, the shade looks flat (as its name suggests), but when raised, the fabric draws upward in a neat layer of folded fabric. These shades are highly functional and require little-to-no styling.

Flat fold Roman shades offer a clean tailored look. Because of their sleek appearance, these shades complement draperies beautifully. The majority of our clients prefer flat fold Roman shades.

Read also: Everything You Need to Know About Layering Window Treatments

breakfast table in front of windows with relaxed roman shades and a mountain view

6. Relaxed

Relaxed Roman shades, also called European Roman shades, do not have a rod sewn into the bottom. Because of that, the fabric drapes in a natural, soft curve and has an unconstructed look as compared to other types. This less formal style is mainly decorative and may require some styling. 

See how we used relaxed Roman shades in a Jasper Highlands kitchen.

Roman shades can be completely customized

Besides choosing a style that matches your home, you can completely personalize your Roman shades by adding details like inset borders,  contrast piping and/or embellisments. Our Roman shades are available in various customizable options, allowing you to choose the perfect product for your home.

You can also choose your operating system: corded, cordless, or motorized. Cordless and motorized Roman shades can greatly simplify your life and are great options if you have young children.

Roman shades also offer privacy, temperature control, and light control. You can use a Top-Down/Bottom-Up system to position your window coverings exacgtly how you like and customize the light balance and privacy in your home.

We can create Roman shades in the perfect fabric, trim, and style to fit your style beautifully. Contact us today to get started!

High Country Drapery Designs services the Southeastern United States including: Nashville Tennessee, Knoxville Tennessee, Chattanooga Tennessee, Jasper Tennessee, Ooltewah Tennessee, Greenville South Carolina, Asheville North Carolina, Cashiers North Carolina, Northwestern Georgia, Atlanta Georgia, Birmingham Alabama and the surrounding metropolitan areas.