So Many Choices for Roman Shades, Part 3

May 25, 2018

In addition to classic and hobbled, there are other styles of Roman shades. We have the London shade, relaxed Roman, Austrian shade, balloon shades, and the mock Roman.

London shade: There are several styles of London shades (sometimes called dog ear shades), as you can see in the illustration below. The shade is strange on the sides, leaving few inches on each side, which will cause the sides to stay loosely hung, resembling a dog’s ears.

The shade is used as a valance, depicted here with a cellular shade.

Austrian shades:  This type of shade has fabric “falling” in a series of puffy swags that are created by vertical rows of shirring.  Take a look at these videos for dramatic demonstrations of beautiful “fabric in motion.”

Austrian shades are formal, traditional, and expensive to create because they are laborious to construct. They represent a combination of two popular types of window covering – swags (or festoons) combined with the Roman shade style, to enable the shade to be lifted.

Note:  One point I would like to make is that the sides of the shade have the tendency to cave in, creating bowing on each side of the window. To remedy that situation, side panels are often used to hide the not-so-pleasant look of the caved-in sides.


The photo above depicts Austrian shades with side panels. The bowing of the sides is hidden under the panels. (Photos by Bay Decorators.)

The relaxed Roman shade:  Relaxed Roman shades look very similar to the flat Roman shade, except the lower edge has about three pleats, and a bar is inserted to allow the pleats to hang in a relaxed manner. The top remains flat, and it will lift up and down easily, leaving the pleated bottom to bow and creating a valance-like effect.

One can be creative with these shades by adding fabric trims, beaded trims, and fringes of many different types to enhance the décor and reflect the homeowner’s personal taste.

Note: If using banding, one must make sure it does not disappear in the folds. Personally, I might add the bands to the sides and leave the lower edge without any banding.

A relaxed Roman Shade.

A final note for all shades:  Most fabrics are 54 inches wide. If the window is larger than 52 inches, the shade will have a seam. To remedy that, here are two tricks of the trade that I can share with you:

  • Add banding, tapes, or braids on the seams to hide them.
  • “Railroad” the fabric (use the width of the fabric for the length). That will give about 52 inches for the length. If the window is longer than 52 inches, extra fabric can be added and seamed together. That will work with hobbled Roman shades and the flat Roman shades with bar inserts. In this case, the seams are easily hidden, and the finished product looks clean and elegant.