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Types of Roman Shades & How They Work

Bali Classic Roman Shades in a home office.

First, What Are Roman Shades?

Roman shades refer to a family of window coverings that are both sturdy and elegant. Roman shades are made of a single piece of fabric, and are raised and lowered using a simple system of cords and rings sewn into the fabric. These rings are positioned in such a way that the fabric neatly folds up as the shade is raised.

From this basic structure, Roman shades branch out into a several variations, each with its own special look. This huge variety makes it easy to find just the right solution for your window.

Three Basic Types of Roman Shades

1. Classic Roman Shades: Simple & Strong

Bali Classic Roman Shades in a living room

Classic Roman shades are made from a single, continuous piece of fabric. You’ll find no vertical seams in these shades, and they convey strength and sophistication.

People choose classic Roman shades when they are looking for a time-tested design and a strong look. There is a sturdiness and beauty that sets this style apart from other types of window treatments. A classic Roman shade will work quite well on its own, but it pairs nicely with traditional drapery for a luxurious, formal look.

Types of Classic Roman Shades

Classic Roman shades are available in two different styles: flat and looped.

  • standard roman shades

    These sleek-looking classic Roman shades have pleats that form flat horizontal lines.

  • Looped Roman Shades
    Looped style

    This graceful shade boasts billows of fabric that fall down the face of the shade.

2. Tailored Roman Shades: Amazing Fabric Selection

Bali Tailored Roman Shades in a living room

Why choose a Bali Tailored Roman Shade? Options—and lots of them. The four different styles of tailored Roman shades, combined with the huge catalogue of fabric options that are available for tailored Roman shades, makes this the design choice for someone seeking to create a very specific look.

Bali Tailored Roman Shades are available in a cordless configuration that provides outstanding performance. Cordless ONE Controls, a patented lift system operated by a hidden control ring, eliminate unsightly cords, and make raising and lowering shades smooth, easy, and reliable.

Types of Tailored Roman Shades

Tailored Roman shades are available from Bali in four styles: looped, flat, seamless, and relaxed.

  • standard roman shades
    Flat style

    Flat horizontal panels for a modern look.

  • Looped Roman Shades
    Looped style

    Features cascading folds.

  • relaxed shades
    Relaxed style

    No folds or panels; features a gentle curve along the bottom.

  • seamless
    Seamless style

    No folds or panels.

3. Natural Roman Shades: Each Shade Is Unique

Bali Natural Roman Shades in a bathroom

Natural Roman shades, as the name suggests, use natural materials to create window treatments that are as beautiful as they are practical. Natural Roman shades combine an age-old window-treatment style with interesting materials to make a big statement. 

Types of Natural Roman Shades

Similar to classic Roman shades, natural Roman shades come in three styles: standard, looped, and old style.

  • standard roman shades
    Standard style

    When in the down position, standard style natural shades are flat. That means the intricacies and unique markings of the natural materials are showcased.

  • Looped Roman Shades
    Looped style

    These shades feature the same bold loops of material that their classic Roman and tailored Roman cousins feature. However, in the natural Roman shade, the looped style has a tremendous visual heft that gives it an especially strong character.

  • old style roman shades
    Old Style

    The natural fabrics cascade off the front of the headrail for a more modern look.

What is the difference between standard and old-style Natural shades?

Old-style natural shades cascade off the front of the headrail and are a compromise between the flat standard Roman style and the brawny looped Roman style. And the old-style natural shades have the advantage of not needing a valance.

So, why choose Natural Roman Shades?

The materials. All of Bali’s natural shades and drapes are made with naturally grown, hand-harvested materials. The bamboo, jute, reeds, grasses, and rattan that go into these natural shades are exquisite. And, because they utilize natural materials, each shade is unique.

The Advantages of Roman Shades

  • Versatile and Well Designed Style: Roman shades make a bold visual statement, showcasing fabrics with striking colors or patterns while maintaining a timeless elegance.
  • Durability: The simplicity of their lift system—strong cords and rings sewn into the fabric—gives them easy operation and a long life.
  • Privacy and Light Control: Whether you desire gently filtered kitchen sunlight or prefer a darker ambiance in your bedroom, our range of sheer, light-filtering, and room-darkening fabric choices cater to all your lighting preferences.

Find What Fits Your Own Unique Style

If that sounds like a lot of choices—it is. But this huge variety gives you the opportunity to choose something that truly fits your home and your style. Bali offers a full selection of shades, including cellular, roller, solar, sheer, layered, and pleated. For some people’s tastes—and maybe yours—a Roman shade is the obvious choice. Spend some time on and look at what’s available—and find what’s right for you.

Order free swatches or start building your Roman shade now in the Bali Visualizer.