Truth be told, this is a swag and jabot traditional valance that I fabricated for the “Ford Room” at the historic Wayside Inn in Sudbury about 8 years ago, and it’s still okay to have swags in deliberate period rooms with period architecture…..But this is an example of a style that was all the rage until 2010 or so, and then it just went out (along with Tuscan detailing…but that’s another blog post altogether). If your room décor needs some updating you might want to consider Roman Shades.
Roman Shades you say? Roman shades are way more “timeless” than you think - centuries old in fact - and can be both casual, formal, or in between. It all depends on the fabric used, since the styling of the roman shade is clean and crisp. Roman shades also look remarkably proportional at any length, whether lowered to provide light control, or raised to a valance height to allow the sun to flow in. The functional (light control) and aesthetic (pretty) combination in Roman Shades pack a powerful design punch!
It’s no wonder Roman Shades are so popular, especially with our current quest for “clean lines.” How many decorators and renovators on TV use that expression of “clean lines?” Seems like all of them, really! I can’t recall the last time I heard, “Let’s put in those fussy valances with all the pleats that were popular 15 years ago…” Enough said, let’s get to the photos of some Roman Shades so that you can consider how fresh they might look in your interior.
Below are photos from some recent Center Stage Interior Designs projects that included Roman Shades. The first photo features motorized woven wood roman shades in a client’s master bedroom in Weston, MA, installed in 2017. There are 4 windows in this elegant master bedroom—imagine the convenience of closing all the shades with the touch of one button on the remote. The woven wood (bamboo-like) material is a natural for Roman Shades, and serves to impart a nice texture without dominating with a distinct pattern.
Next are some banded Roman Shades in a Sudbury boy’s room that show how multiple shades in an inside-mount configuration can showcase the window architecture while also remaining neatly behind side panels. These banded shades were fabricated for Center Stage by Jayna at JM Custom Creations LLC. You can see Jayna's Houzz page at: https://www.houzz.com/pro/jmanzelli/jm-custom-creations-llc
Jayna does exceptional work, and has really perfected the details and precise craftsmanship of Roman Shades.
Since today’s Roman Shades are available in a variety of lift mechanisms (cord loop, cordless, and motorized) the next photo shows three Roman Shades fabricated with cordless control, installed in a bay window. Bay windows are particularly tricky for tethering of cords, so cordless and motorized controls are highly recommended.
Faux Romans. What exactly is faux about a faux Roman, anyway? Perhaps you don’t require an operable Roman Shade (meaning you don’t need it to lift up and down), but you enjoy the look of the folds of a Roman Shade as a valance on your window. A Faux Roman is just the thing, like in this family room featuring a soft Ikat fabric on the Faux Roman, hiding the gray cellular shades underneath.
The combination of a Faux Roman valance (for decoration) and cordless cellular/roller shade (for function) is a true winner. Below are more treatments with a combination of a privacy treatment (shutter and motorized Shangri-La horizontal shade) with a Faux Roman valance. A Faux Roman can be either flat fold (straight across) or relaxed (sometimes called a soft Roman, with a gentle curve at the bottom).
That’s it for our quick review of Roman Shades – both operable and faux.
So, when you get the urge to update your interiors quickly and effectively by eradicating older pleated swag treatments, consider the Roman Shade as a perfect substitute. Roman Shades will undoubtedly stand the test of time…..and panels and Roman Shades make a nice combination, one you will see time and again in the finest interiors.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.