THE GREAT ROMAN EMPIRE:
The Roman Empire prospered from 753 BC to around 1461 AD. The Romans as a race were very advanced in all spheres of life. Their government, which was democratic, their lifestyle, entertainment and even their architecture, has had an everlasting influence on our contemporary world. Their classical style evolved through mathematical calculations on proportions and styles and were applied to the construction of domes, arches, columns, bridges, roads and even aqueducts. A more detailed study of their contributions throws light on the origins of the Roman Shade. If we go back to the days of the famous Colosseum, the ancient arena for many Roman spectacles, the usage of retractable canvas shades to shade the spectators from the hot Mediterranean sun is mentioned. The system of ropes and pulleys were used to move these flexible screens. So endearing were their practices to the rest of the world that the present day Roman shades that we use for our window dressings is a sheer tribute to them.
THE CLASSY ROMAN SHADE:
A Roman shade is an uncomplicated and straightforward window dressing used to block out the sun from our homes. With their simplicity comes the elegance of a room, and this makes them a very popular choice. When open they stack up evenly and smoothly into folds or pleats at the top of the window, letting in sunlight. When closed, they give a flat, smooth appearance, and the bottom of the shade gets stacked evenly. The cords at the back of the shade run through horizontal stiffened rods fitted with eyelets and enable the user to adjust the height of the covered area and adjust the amount of light coming into a room. An outside mount provides more blockage of sunlight and privacy the shade being slightly wider than the window and attached to the wall outside the window frame. This prevents gaps and light entry.
TYPES OF ROMAN SHADES:
If you decide to use Roman blinds as window dressings, there is a choice between the Classic or Flat Roman shade, and the Hobbled or looped Roman shade.
FLAT ROMAN SHADE
It has a fabric panel that lies flat against a window space when lowered and forms a neat stack of folds like an accordion when raised. The look is neat and uncluttered. They can appear as a single solid piece or have pleats visible when the shade is raised fully. A closed Roman shade is anything but dull. Light filtering through it reveals patterns and textures that would have been hidden in gathered drapes.
LOOPED OR HOBBLED ROMAN SHADE
It has folds or pleats that cascade down the face of the shade and help create depth on the otherwise flat surface of the fabric. The seamed style features a smooth flat finish that works best with smaller patterns or a solid color fabric.
There are several variations on these two basic types. Using the right design for the right setting gives the room an appeal that cannot be matched by any other kind of window treatments.
• The Relaxed Roman shade, when raised, has a relaxed, soft draped smile shape. When lowered it lies flat with a straight bottom edge
• A Top Pleated Relaxed Roman Shade has a simple pleat at the top that falls into a relaxed swag at the bottom of the shade. • A Butterfly Roman shade is a very fashionable version of a flat Roman shade. It has the sleek softness of a Roman shade with draped softness at the edges. An excess length of fabric is folded up and secured forming a swag at the lower hem when the shade is down. As the shade is drawn up, the folds stack in the center and flare at the sides creating a beautiful butterfly effect. Lining the fabric gives the shade extra body and protects it from the sun. • Depending on the number of rods inserted at the back of the fabric, we get variations like the Austrian Sheer shade which is a classical style of a formal setting and looks particularly elegant when made up with a Sheer fabric.
• A Balloon Shade is an eye-catching window treatment that can be stationary or functional. The stationery kind covers the top third of a window in generous folds of fabric creating the effect of a skirt with a hem tucked up. The functional kind is similar to a Roman shade but with a voluminous amount of fabric. When closed, the balloon shade poufs out. As the cord pulls up the bottom rail, the poufs become lighter and more gathered. This shade is excellent for showcasing an elegant fabric that has a shiny luster like silk. A Gathered Balloon Shade and a Pleated Balloon Shade are additional variations.
• The Dog-Eared Roman or Londyn Shade is typical of the Victorian era. This relaxed Roman shade is a perfect complement to any boudoir. For extra full appearance. The combination of formality and tailored elegance gives them a slightly softer look than Roman shades. They are flat at the top, and board mounted. The inverted pleats of this shade form gentle swags at the bottom with fanned wings on each side.
The choice of fabric for a Roman shade depends on the preference of the amount of light filtering into a room.
A Thermal or Blackout liner, when used behind the fabric, makes it more energy efficient, obscuring light providing complete privacy. It is an excellent alternative to Cellular shades.
An array of colors, texture and designs from classic weaves and natural fibers to bold prints can be used.
A neutral backing will give a consistent view from the outside.