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What are Roman Shades?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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Roman shades are a type of window covering designed to help block out the sun and shade a room. They are different from other types of window coverings, such as vertical blinds, in that they stack up in evenly sized panels when the shade is lifted. When the shade is lowered, however, they create a relatively smooth appearance. Alternatively, roman shades may be created to maintain a somewhat “hobbled” look, with the vertical panels still being evident when the shade is closed.

Typically, roman shades are raised and lowered with a cord system. The cord can be pulled until the shades reach the desired height, allowing portions of the window to be exposed while blocking out other areas. In this case, the top portion is stacked, while the bottom portion remains extended in the same way it would be if the shade were completely closed.

Roman shades are available in a wide variety of colors. In addition, they can be made with a design or picture that is revealed once the shade is lowered. These shades may also be purchased or made in colors to match other items of decor within a room, such as tablecloths, upholstery, or pillowcases.

A wide variety of materials can be used to create these shades, including different types of fabrics and even wood. The type of wood that can be used is also varied, with common options being reed and bamboo. Wooden roman shades are capable of creating a natural look in a room while also adding a touch of warmth.

A set of roman shades may also be made by weaving several different materials together. Woven wood shades may be created by weaving together rattan, weeds, bamboo, jute, and other types of wood. Similarly, several different fabrics may be woven together to create a unique look.

Roman shades serve more than just a utilitarian purpose in a room. In fact, the bold look makes them a focal point of a room. Therefore, much care should be taken in selecting the right materials and colors.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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