Roman shades can be both a stylish and functional addition to a living space. When closed, they filter (or completely block out) light to both maintain the privacy of your living space and offer shade in a room flooded with too much sunlight. Roman shades open in a unique way: Unlike standard shades, which bunch up at the top when opened, Roman shades fold or stack up evenly as you open them. As a result, they look sleek and smooth, as opposed to having the ribbed or bumpy appearance of other types of shades.
Since there is a wide variety of Roman shades on the market, it can be difficult to choose the product that will best meet your needs and preferences. This guide will help you identify the key factors to consider when shopping for Roman shades as well as highlight a selection of the best Roman shades available today so you can choose the ideal option for your living space.
- BEST OVERALL: Blinds.com Premium Roman Shade
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: CHICOLOGY Magnetic Roman Shades
- BEST LUXURY: Loom Decor Flat Roman Shade
- BEST WOVEN: Windowsandgarden Cordless Woven Wood Roman Shades
- BEST TOP DOWN/BOTTOM UP: Bali Casual Classics Roman Shade
- BEST THERMAL: Real Simple Cordless Cellular 72-Inch Roman Shade
- BEST BLACKOUT: Blinds.com Premier Roman Shade
- BEST MOTORIZED: Levolor Roman Shade
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Roman Shades
Roman shades are available in numerous colors, fabrics, and styles. They also feature different lift mechanisms and offer a variety of mounting options. Understanding all of these features will help to guide your search for the best Roman shades, regardless of your budget.
As with other types of window treatments, such as curtains, blinds, and cellular shades, Roman shades serve different purposes, depending on the type.
- Standard white light shades, often referred to as light-filtering, provide privacy while still allowing plenty of light into a space.
- Thermal sateen white light shades are designed to create additional insulation for a window by preventing cool or warm air from escaping or seeping in. They will also still allow light to filter into the space.
- Room-darkening Roman shades, as the name suggests, will decrease the amount of sunlight that is able to enter a room. They are generally made from thicker or heavier fabric and may also have an additional layer of fabric lining.
- Blackout-filtering shades are designed with a thick liner that allows them to completely block sunlight from entering a room.
When shopping for Roman shades, pay attention to the fabric for each option. In addition to the design on the fabric, consider the texture, as it can also greatly impact the overall appearance of the Roman shade and how it will look in a space. In general, both lighter and heavier weight fabrics are suitable to use for Roman shades, but rigid fabrics are not ideal since they won’t fold neatly.
Roman shades also offer a variety of fold styles:
- Flat fold shades have no seams, so patterns on the fabric are not interrupted. They have a very slim profile, making them an ideal choice for shallow windows or French doors. After raising this type of Roman shade, the folds may need to be adjusted a bit.
- Plain fold, also called knife pleat fold or classic fold shades, have horizontal seams going across the shade every few inches. While these seams may not be optimal for patterned fabrics, they can help make solid fabrics more visually appealing. They also have a slim profile. The folds stay even when raising the shade, so no adjustment is necessary.
- Soft fold, often referred to as hobbled fold shades, feature rolls of fabric that cascade down the shade to add depth and give it a more decorative look when lowered. The additional fabric used to create these shades can increase their room-darkening abilities. However, they are bulkier from the side view and are not a logical choice for shallow windows.
- Relaxed fold shades are also called European fold shades. Unlike the other types of Roman shades, these shades have a curved bottom. They are ideal for windows where the shade will be left at least partially raised; when the shades are completely lowered, it can make the base of the window look a bit sloppy. After raising or lowering these shades, the folds will typically require an adjustment.
- Front slat fold shades feature horizontal tucks along the front that resemble slats. These tucks can add some dimension to the shade, especially with solid color Roman shades. When the shade is raised, the slats fold over one another.
Colors and Patterns
With the customization options offered by many manufacturers, the color and pattern choices for Roman shades are very extensive. When choosing between the numerous colors and patterns, look for options that coordinate with the living space. Also, consider whether other window treatments, such as curtains or valances, are desired as well. If so, think about whether you’d like the Roman shades to complement or offer a contrast to the other window treatments in the room.
Roman shades feature different operation—or lift—types as well. One lift type is a cord lock. With a cord lock, users can raise a Roman shade by pulling on the cord. Once the shade is at the desired height, pulling the cord to the right side locks the cord. Pulling the cord to the left releases the lock and makes it possible to lower the shade. This type of lift mechanism is not recommended for homes with small children or pets, as the loose hanging cords can pose a strangulation risk.
A continuous loop lift features a circular beaded chain that users can pull in one direction to raise a Roman shade and in the opposite direction to lower it. Continuous loops are easier to operate than cord locks and remove the potential risk of strangulation for young children or pets since there are no loose hanging cords.
As the name implies, cordless Roman shades operate without any cords or wires. Users can manually raise or lower the shades by gently pushing them up or pulling them down. They are very simple to operate.
Motorized Roman shades are the easiest type to raise and lower. These shades are connected to a motor and operate via remote control or a smartphone app.
Determine whether you would prefer your Roman shades to have an inside or an outside mount. With an inside mount, the shades are placed inside the window frame. For an outside mount, they are placed outside of the window frame on the wall. Outside mounts are sometimes required if the window frame is too narrow; otherwise, the ideal choice is likely the one that is more visually appealing to the user.
Once you’ve decided on an inside mount or an outside mount, measure the window to determine the appropriately sized Roman shade prior to your purchase. For an inside mount, measure the length and width of the inside of the window to the nearest ⅛ inch. To ensure a precise measurement, take three measurements for length and three measurements for width, and use the smallest of the three measurements.
For an outside mount, measure the width of the area around the window that the shade will cover. In general, it is recommended to add about 1½ inches on either side of the window for a total of an additional 3 inches. This will help prevent too much light from coming into the room from around the sides of the Roman shade. Next, measure the length of the window and any additional space that will need to be covered by the shade. Finally, measure the depth of the window. As mentioned above, some fold styles are thicker than others; keep this in mind when selecting Roman shades for a window.
Our Top Picks
After extensive research and taking into consideration the above-mentioned features, these products, covering a variety of categories, represent the top picks for the best Roman shades for every budget. Each of the featured products boasts top-notch construction, offers quality fabrics, and can bring both style and function to a living space.
The Premium Roman Shades from Blinds.com offer numerous customization options to help users personalize them based on their needs and preferences. Over 150 color and pattern options are available to coordinate with different decor styles. Depending on the color and pattern selection, various fabric options are available, including 100 percent cotton, 100 percent polyester, cotton/polyester blends, rayon/viscose blends, rayon/linen blends, and a polyester/nylon blend. Choose your fold style from flat fold, classic fold, hobbled fold, front slat fold, and relaxed fold (for widths over 30 inches). Both inside and outside mounting options are available but may depend on the selected fold style. These shades are offered in any width between 12 and 115 inches and any height between 16 and 120 inches.
Also available are corded, continuous cord loop, corded top down/bottom up, cordless, and motorized lift options. These Roman shades can be purchased without a valance; however, a matching fabric valance can be included for an additional charge. These are standard white light filtering Roman shades, but liners are available to convert them to thermal sateen white light filtering, room darkening, or blackout Roman shades.
Chicology’s Roman shades feature a unique magnetic design. Rather than pulling a cord or pushing up on the shades to raise or lower them, users can adjust them by lifting the shade to one of the fixed heights and snapping it into place with the heavy-duty, built-in magnets. Since there are no hanging cords, these are a child- and pet-friendly option.
These reasonably priced, plain fold shades are 64 inches long, with eight widths available for windows between 23 and 48 inches wide. Choose either an inside or outside mount option; ½-inch is deducted from the stated measurement to allow for a proper fit for inside mounts. These light-filtering Roman shades are available in seven colors: daily white, daily gray, daily canvas, runway white, runway cream, runway gray, and runway tan. The shades are 100 percent polyester.
This flat Roman shade from Loom Decor can add a luxurious feel to any living space. The shade offers multiple customization options to match a user’s needs and preferences. Choose from an extensive selection of colors and patterns in an abundance of fabric choices, including classic linen, classic velvet, lush linen, dapper, metallic linen, and sunbrella canvas. A border or tape trim is also an optional add-on for select fabric choices.
Unlined, privacy, and blackout shades are available to suit different light-filtering preferences. The shades come in any width between 16 inches and 108 inches and any length between 12 inches and 126 inches. Choose either an inside or an outside mount option. A silver-beaded continuous loop cord raises and lowers the shades and features a clasp to anchor it to a window for added safety.
These Roman shades from Windowsandgarden feature woven natural materials that add a charming and inviting touch to a living space. The nine woven wood finishes include Ashbury camel, Eastfield ash, Eastfield teak, Eastfield umber, Hatteras camel, Hatteras cocoa, Sarasota camel, Sarasota cocoa, and Winthrop camel.
These cordless shades are easy to raise and lower by gently pushing the shade up or pulling it down. Numerous size options for windows between 29 and 72 inches wide and 36 and 72 inches long are available. Select the correct measurement based on whether an inside or outside mount is desired; ⅜-inch will be deducted from the width for inside mounts, so choose a shade size that matches the exact dimensions of the window.
A top down/bottom up lift configuration is one of the numerous options for these Roman shades from Bali. The other four lift options include a standard corded lift, a continuous cord loop lift, a cordless lift, and a motorized lift. Select either plain or soft fold as the fold style for the shades.
These Roman shades offer a wide array of fabric options as well: four sheer fabrics, 58 light-filtering fabrics, 13 room-darkening fabrics, and seven blackout fabrics. Choose from an assortment of material types, including satin, linen, and damask. Select any width between 16 inches and 192 inches and any height between 18 inches and 96 inches for a custom tailored look for both inside and outside mounts. Numerous trim options, including 1-inch teardrop crystal beads, 7/16-inch gimp, and ½-inch round bead crystal, can also be added to the shades.
Real Simple’s cordless Roman shades feature a cellular fabric and a thermal backing to add a layer of insulation to the windows in a room. The additional insulation can help prevent warm or cool air from escaping or seeping in, which can also lower energy costs. The thicker thermal backing also converts these to room-darkening shades in addition to blocking out some outside noise.
The shades include brackets for inside and outside mounting options. A valance is attached to the shades to make them more visually appealing while also hiding the headrail. These plain fold shades are 72 inches long and available in widths between 20 inches and 72 inches. Choose from five color options—chocolate, gray, khaki, navy, and white—that all feature a 100 percent cotton fabric with a linen feel.
Add a blackout liner to the Premier Roman Shade from Blinds.com to completely darken a room. Like blackout shades, these Roman shades can block out sunlight for sleeping or entertainment purposes. There are over 100 color and pattern options from which to choose to coordinate with just about any style of home decor. Numerous fabric options are also available, including 100 percent cotton, 100 percent polyester, 100 percent linen, polyester/cotton blends, polyester/viscose blends, polyester/rayon blends, polyester/linen blends, and a polyester/nylon/linen blend. These shades are available in any width between 12 inches and 100 inches and any height between 22 inches and 120 inches.
Select from corded, continuous cord loop, cordless, and motorized lift configurations for both inside and outside mount options. These Roman shades also offer additional customization options for both hobbled fold and plain fold styles.
Customize Levolor’s Roman shades by adding a motor for seamless and effortless operation. Users can raise and lower the shades using either the Levolor app on a smartphone or tablet or with the six-channel remote control (available as an add-on purchase). Two power source options include a standard battery and a satellite battery.
These Roman shades offer two fold styles: classic fold and soft fold. In addition to the motorized lift option, cordless and corded top down/bottom up lift types are also options. Select any width between 20 inches and 96 inches and any height between 18 inches and 120 inches, with additional width options for nonmotorized lift types. The shades offer both inside and outside mounting options. Additionally, users can choose from semi-sheer, light-filtering, and room-darkening opacity. When designing these Roman shades, the manufacturer selected fade- and fray-resistant fabrics from 18 unique fabric collections, featuring an assortment of colors, prints, and textures.
FAQs About Roman Shades
While we’ve shared a lot of information about selecting the best Roman shades for every budget in this guide, you may still have a few unanswered questions. Use the FAQs below as a resource to learn more about selecting and using your new Roman shades.
Q. What’s the difference between Roman shades and curtains?
While both Roman shades and curtains are made from fabric, Roman shades can be raised or lowered to provide privacy or let light into a space. Curtains, on the other hand, are hung from a rod above the window and open and close by moving side to side to create a private space or to either darken or allow light into a room.
Q. How do I choose a Roman shade color?
To choose the right Roman shade color for your living space, start by thinking about the other colors in the room, such as the furniture, carpets, valances, and artwork. Select a shade color that will complement these other colors, or choose a contrasting color for a pop of unexpected excitement.
Q. Where do you mount Roman shades?
In most cases, Roman shades offer both inside and outside mount options. Consider the depth of your window as well as your personal preferences to choose the right mount option for your space.