We shed some light on the most versatile of all window dressings
Why should I choose them? Roman blinds give a more decorative look than other types of blinds, forming soft pleats when raised and hanging flat when lowered. The pleats are kept in place by dowel rods or slats sewn into casings in the lining, and a chain or cord allows the blind to be raised and lowered. They can also be motorised for a cordless look. What styles can I choose from? Several are available, from the very simple and minimal to the more elaborate. The most common is the flat fold or classic style, where a fabric panel lies flat against the window when extended and forms a neat stack at the top when the blind is up. Other types include pleated Roman blinds – which have folds all the way up, even when the panel is extended – and hobbled or looped shades, which have a soft, draped feel. ‘Flat shades pair well with curtains, and are equally useful if you don’t have the wall space either side of a window for drapes,’ says Nicola James, home designer at John Lewis. ‘They can also be used with or without a fabric valance.’ What kind of fabric can I use? Most made-to-measure curtain fabric is suitable for a Roman blind – however, it’s best to avoid anything too heavy, embellished or rigid, as it won’t stack as neatly. Thicker fabrics work well as a flat shade, whereas softer materials will suit a more relaxed design. If you’re using a large-scale pattern, choose a flat blind to show it off properly. ‘Roman blinds can also be lined in thermal or blackout fabric,’ says Emily Clarke, brand manager at Curtains.com. Although there is much debate around the subject of the positioning of blinds, Clarke advises that ‘if the blind is fitted inside the recess, light may still seep through. Fitted on the wall surrounding the recess, however, it will cover the entire window and completely block out the light’.