This Old-School Curtain Trend Is Back and Better than Ever — Here’s Why

published Jul 4, 2023
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Credit: Ana Kamin

If you’re attuned to design trends, you may have noticed a recent uptick in a classic window covering: Roman shades. While this style is nowhere near new, it’s currently having a major interior renaissance — but why now? Piqued by this recent resurgence, I reached out to Haley Weidenbaum, designer and founder of the Los Angeles-based custom window treatments company Everhem, who explained everything you need to know about Roman shades. No matter your decor preferences — whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist, modern-leaning in aesthetic or more traditional — chances are you’ll love the look and functionality of these luxe window coverings. 

Quick Overview

What Are Roman Shades?

Roman shades are fabric window coverings that neatly stack into one folded or pleated layer when drawn up — either by a manual cord or motorized system. Of all the types of window shades, these tend to have the most design-forward appeal in any room.

Why Are Roman Shades So Popular Right Now?

Roman shades have been around since, quite literally, ancient Rome, and they have never gone out of style,” says Weidenbaum. “But even so, Roman shades have enjoyed increased popularity in recent years due to their timeless appeal and versatility.” Stylistically, she cites their clean lines as one of the main reasons people choose them. Additionally, Weidenbaum points out the practical benefits: light control, privacy, and options for thermal or blackout linings. 

Roman shades can also be more efficient and potentially more cost-effective than a traditional drapery and blinds pairing. Although custom Roman shades can cost you a pretty penny, you get a lot of bang for your buck decoratively: full window coverage that can be adjusted easily to let light in while delivering a hit of softness and pattern to a space, if desired. 

Where to Install Roman Shades

When choosing window coverings for a room, Weidenbaum encourages shoppers to consider the function of the room as well as the desired levels of privacy and sunlight filtering. “Roman shades are particularly popular in bedrooms, due to their ability to block out light when equipped with blackout linings,” she says. “They offer a cozy and peaceful ambiance, promoting restful sleep.” 

If you’re wanting to add a sophisticated touch to the living room or dining room, Roman shades will certainly do the trick, too. Even in a home office, these can help control computer glare. Plus, because Roman shades are often cordless or come with a motorized operation, they’re safe enough for child-proof spaces or nurseries. They also come in a wide variety of colors and prints to match any interior scheme.

What to Consider Before Getting Roman Shades

While window coverings are necessary, they’re often expensive. That’s why Weidenbaum suggests asking yourself two big questions before making a purchase.

  • What do you need out of the shades — light control, privacy, style, or all of the above?
  • What kind of window are you dealing with — short, floor-length, skinny, or wide? 

Answering these questions will help you hone in on the specific kind of Roman shade that might serve your budget and the needs of your space (and its inhabitants) best.

Where to Buy Roman Shades

Whatever room you’re looking to equip, Roman shades come in a variety of styles with plenty of practical and stylistic benefits. 

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Everhem allows buyers to fully customize their shades, from the fabric and color to the pleat style and lining, leading to the creation of a window covering that’s just right for your room. You can order swatches in advance, too.

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Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn’s bestselling Belgian Flax Linen Blackout Shade comes in a handful of neutral hues and sizing options, depending on your windows. Laidback and elevated, these include a built-in roller for easy pulling without a cord as well.

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Sun Zero’s Pryer Textured 100% Blackout Cordless Roman Shades from Wayfair are minimal, convenient, and well-priced. Not only do they block out light, but they also purportedly also help minimize noise by 50 percent and energy loss by 45 percent, according to the product description.