How Do Roman Shades and Blinds Work?

With So Many Options, The Classic Lines of Roman Shades and Blinds Suit Every Home

Roman shades and blinds have been around for a very long time. In fact, it’s believed they were invented in their namesake Italian city over 2,000 years ago.

Yet, rather than becoming an obsolete fashion, they have remained a popular choice due to their simplicity and ability to transform to match any interior decor. From bold patterns to subdued neutrals and everything in between, today’s roman blinds still fit perfectly into modern life. Roman blinds and shades are also made in such a way that they retain a clean, simple look whether they’re open or closed. 

With a multitude of beautiful fabric choices and pattern options, the basic style looks beautiful in any home. Also, with a choice of sizes, fold styles and operation mechanisms ranging from corded to motorized, the roman shade is a practical choice for any windows or doors throughout your home. Whether you’d like to significantly darken an area or let in lots of natural light, our fashion experts at Ruffell & Brown have the perfect solution for custom-designed roman blinds and shades.

 The Main Features of a Roman Shade

  • A combination of soft fabric panel folds with the ease and convenience of a traditional roller shade
  • Folds sit neatly together when shade is raised
  • Roman shades can have a traditional, contemporary or relaxed look
  • They can be made with almost any fabric making them a versatile option
  • Frame a window and add décor to a room without the need for drapery
  • Lighting control – can offer anything from light opacity to complete privacy and blackout options

How Do Roman Shades Work?

All roman shades work based on the same simple design. They are made up of a single piece of material that gradually folds, or pleats, as the blind is raised; forming neat, decorative folds.

  1. In some types of roman blinds, the folds are formed by the insertion of dowels. These are made up of slim wooden, metal, or plastic rods. These dowels are then stitched horizontally into channels or tapes at the back of the blind. 
  2. A series of cords are then threaded vertically down the length of the shade material. This connects all the dowels and creates an invisible pulley system.
  3. When the cord is pulled to raise the shade, the dowels are raised up to meet the one above it, leaving behind a neat fold. 

 Which Ruffell and Brown Roman Shade Suits Your Style?

While modern roman shades are all based on the simple, classic design; a number of different styles are available.

Over the years, manufacturers such as Hunter Douglas have expanded on the traditional roman blind design, while developing products focused on customer needs and safety precautions.

  • Classic / flat – Features gentle folds when raised and lies completely flat when lowered. This style is good for patterned materials
  • Hobbled – Features gentle folds when raised and retains a folded appearance when lowered, adding a unique textured style to the shade. This style suits material that is un-patterned or has a small-scale pattern and works well for blackout blinds
  • Relaxed – Because these shades do not contain a dowel, the center of the shade hangs lower than the edges, resulting in a curve, or smile, at the bottom. This style works well with a softer, less formal material.
  • Knife pleat / Batten back – Features horizontal battens (dowels) sewn into the fabric to create texture and structure in the shade when open and closed. This style can suit heavier fabrics and linings such as black out lining

There are a World of Options to Fully Personalize Your Roman Shades

Ruffell and Brown’s knowledgeable team of window fashion experts can assist you in deciding which best suits your home and personal style. With a wide variety of opacities, textures and patterns, your roman shades will be custom made to suit your home’s interior decor.

Choose the Ideal Operating System for Your Roman Shades

The design possibilities are endless and deciding on the style of your roman shade is just the start. Once you have chosen a style and fabric to best enhance your living space, you should consider how you want your blinds and shades to operate. We offer a variety of convenient operating systems. Not sure what would work best for your lifestyle? We can advise which operating system will work best with the style of shade you have chosen. Operating systems include:

  • Corded
  • Cordless
  • Motorized

Over recent years, the demand for cordless blinds and shades has increased as awareness of safety risks associated with traditional loop cord pulls has grown. As of May 2021, the Government of Canada issued new Corded Window Coverings Restrictions which sets limits on the length of cord loops to reduce potential strangulation risks to children.

Window covering manufacturers, such as Hunter Douglas, have responded to this growing demand for change by offering a range of options, all of which are in line with the new restrictions; allowing customers to have peace of mind whatever option they choose.

Corded options: 

  • Easy rise – A continuous cord which is fitted snugly to the window frame
  • Straight pull cord-lock system – A single pull cord which is moved in an up and down motion to move blind into desired position
  • UltraGlide lifting system – A single retractable cord or wand which retains a constant length for ultimate safety

 Cordless options:

  • Cordless Lifting System – A simple spring-assist system for larger shades
  • LiteRise – A simple push up to raise and pull down to lower the system. Blinds and shades will stay at the level you choose, with no need to adjust
  • Simple Lift – A cordless option when combined with motorized tilting, just push a button on the bottom panel to lift and lower

 Motorized options:

  • SoftTouch – A budget-friendly motorization, SoftTouch uses a battery-powered system. Just pull or push the battery-powered wand to easily lift or lower the shade
  • QMotion – A battery powered lift and lower system which can be pre-programmed and remember pre-set opening positions
  • PowerView – Operate your shades though your mobile device, Pebble remote or smart home system. PowerView can be easily pre-programmed to adjust as light conditions change throughout the day

Add Classic Roman Shades To Your Home With Ruffell And Brown 

At Ruffell and Brown’s Victoria, BC showroom, you’ll find exceptional roman shade products and the reliable, personal advice of our team of local window covering experts.

Victoria’s window covering experts since 1987, Ruffell and Brown offers the complete Hunter Douglas collection including the exclusive Altrusa Collection. All our window coverings are custom assembled in Canada or the USA and are installed by our team of highly trained professionals. Contact us today to arrange an online consultation or a shop at home appointment, or drop into our showroom at 1-2745 Bridge Street, Victoria.