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Listen, we have nothing against long, sweeping curtains, but when it comes to crisp, luxurious window treatments, Roman shades are a favorite among HB editors and designers alike.
Roman shades have been popular for centuries—and they really are Roman! They can be traced back to the Roman Empire when the Colosseum had a system of pleated awnings that blocked out the sun, dust, and debris.
Unlike curtains, which can be bought off-the-shelf, Roman shades are often custom (or semi-custom—more on that later) because they are cut and installed either within or just outside the window frame. This is a real boon for anyone who has children and pets because while curtains kiss the floor and gather up all manner of dust, Roman shades sit tidily on the wall. And because they use fabric instead of plastic or wood, like blinds, they offer better acoustic control. The customization options are limitless: The fabric can be chosen to match your favorite chair or a room color, the mechanisms can be motorized or hand-operated, and you can use them on any size window.
Of course, all of these options do come with a financial commitment. While you can snag curtains for as little as $20 at mass retailers like Amazon, Roman shades can run several hundred dollars per window depending on the size and lining. They should be treated more like a permanent fixture of your home (like a sofa or a bed frame) rather than something you'll want to change on a whim. But don't fret, commitment-phobes! If you have relatively standard-size windows, off-the-shelf Roman shades are a great entry point. Places like The Home Depot carry bamboo Roman shades starting at around $40 a pop, which look perfectly sleek in a living room or kitchen.
Whether you're ready to dress your windows to the nines with a custom option or simply refresh with an inexpensive pick, try one of these five Roman shades below.
From curated fabrics to perfectly detailed customization, if you want something special for your home, consider investing in Graber’s Roman shades. They offer three distinct types of Roman shades, are motorized or come with a cord, and range from transparent to blackout. Overwhelmed by options? They have a handy app that allows you to upload a photo of the room and try out as many combinations as you want. Once you've made a selection, a Graber professional (they partner with local dealers) will come to your home to show you the samples in person and take measurements. The Roman shades will then be hand-tailored in the U.S., and the dealer will install your new window treatments effortlessly.
Flat Roman Shades
You’ve likely seen The Shade Store in your local downtown strip. It offers custom Roman shades with motorization options and frequently collaborates with designers like Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Aerin Lauder, and the Novogratzes on fabric lines. You can see transparent pricing online (typically starting around $400 per shade) as well as shop in-store or have someone come to your home to measure and install—perfect for those of us who inexplicably got a B in middle school wood shop.
Natural Roman Shades
Woven wood Roman shades are a beautiful neutral that can add texture to your home and come at a lower price point than their textile friends. However, they do punch above their weight in terms of how luxe they look for the price.
Custom Roman Shade
If you're really tight on funds, Roman shades might not be the way to go. However, if you have your heart set on gorgeous Roman shades, one blogger shared a great hack: Find the fabric you want (make sure it's 100 percent cotton in a medium weight), then find an independent maker to stitch them up for you. Etsy is a great place to find sellers—like Sew Lovely By Kelly, whose work is seen here—with a great reputation for making high-quality shades.
Cordless Lift Blackout Roman Shade
For a true blackout curtain effect, you'll want to install Roman shades on the outside of the window frame rather than inside it to avoid a light gap. However, while heavy blackout curtains can feel oppressive in a room, blackout shades fit neatly in any space.
How Should Roman Shades Fit in a Window?
Roman shades can be mounted on the inside or outside of a window frame, depending on the amount of light you want to block out and your personal style. This is why it's extremely important for measurements to be exact—and why many people opt for custom.
What Are the Downsides to Roman Shades?
There can be wear and tear with the constant pulling up and down, particularly if your shades aren't mechanized and you're adjusting them by hand or with a cord. That's why it's so important to invest in quality shades.
What's the Best Material to Use for Roman Shades?
A medium-weight 100 percent cotton fabric will lie smoothly and wrinkle-free in the folds of a Roman shade.
How Much Do Roman Shades Cost?
The cost of an off-the-shelf Roman shade typically starts around $120, while a custom Roman shade can cost $400 and up.
What's the Difference between Roman Blinds and Roman Shades?
Roman blinds are made from horizontal strips or slates, while Roman shades consist of one piece of fabric that's folded.
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