When in Rome...
As you can imagine, I am a voracious consumer of interior design-related content, both online and in print. You should see the stacks of home magazines in my house – or maybe you shouldn't? It may be because of the gorgeous summer weather, or because of the many hours I've spent gardening on my little deck, or even because of an upcoming trip (more on that in a future blogpost), but all of a sudden during my hours of scouring Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram, a mini-trend appeared: the statement Roman shade in fresh, leafy botanical prints.
Custom, full-length drapery has a well-deserved reputation for richness and drama, but it isn’t necessarily the best choice for every room. Whenever you need a more streamlined look OR if space is at a premium (when you have built-ins and banquettes against the wall, you can’t always do a full-length drapery), Roman shades are the perfect option, and the perfect canvas for a truly unique design statement.
All the best inventions are borne from necessity, and the Roman shade is no exception. In the days of unpaved roads and hot, Mediterranean sun, home owners struggled with the dust kicked up by horses and carts coming into homes through uncovered windows. The simple solution to this was to hang a dampened cloth over the window covering, offering the inhabitants protection not only from the dirt and grit but also from the heat of the daytime sun that might have otherwise disturbed those precious siestas!
What started as a practical solution to a common problem quickly became an excuse for the Roman artistic sensibility to shine through, and many quickly started to decorate their shades in a lavish fashion. The drawstring operation came later, allowing users to raise and lower permanently fixed shades.
While there are plenty of details available, the overall style of a Roman shade generally falls into one of two camps—relaxed or constructed. Relaxed shades have no rigid supports inside and allow the fabric to sag gently under its own weight, which creates a curve at the bottom of the shades when they’re raised. For this reason, they’re often called “soft smiley” shades. If they are gathered at the bottom but away from the edges, I've also heard them being referred to as shades “with tails” or “with dog ears”.
Constructed shades have sewn-in horizontal rods, dowels, or battens to create a more rigid appearance with a straight edge at the bottom. Rods may be added at the bottom of the shade or in each fold over the full height of the shade, depending on the desired look.
Not all shades need to be lined. For simple sheer Roman shades, many designers use the selected face fabric by itself for a visually light appearance. But in other situations, using a lining—a secondary fabric sewn to the back of the face material—can give blinds a more finished, luxurious look. Lining helps to hide the lift strings at the back of the shade when light filters through from behind, while also reducing the amount of sun that enters the room.
If you're getting both inspired and daunted by all these options and ideas, don't fret. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day (see what I did here?). Just contact your Calico design consultant for a free and inspiring design brainstorm. You'll see, all roads lead to Rome (sorry, can't help myself) and for anyone passionate about design, they lead straight to your nearest Calico location :).