Whether you’re decorating a new home or just refurbishing your current residence, furniture and big-ticket decorative accessories—mirrors, artwork, lighting—are often the top priorities, with window treatments at the bottom of the shopping list. We get it: You know you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of a dramatic drape or tailored shade, but choosing the right kind can feel like a daunting task—there are so many colors, materials, patterns, and, of course, styles to sort through. Roman shades and roller blinds are two options that will likely pop up in your search. A Roman shade can offer an elegance and richness similar to drapes, but dust and debris can easily get trapped between all of those beautiful layers. And roller blinds may be practical, but they tend to lack a certain level of va-va-voom. Really, what’s best for your space comes down to opinion, so we enlisted two designers with different tastes to advocate for their positions.
Polka-dot Roman shades in a black-and-white bath designed by Bikoff.
Photo: Patrick Cline/Courtesy of Sasha Bikoff
“Roman shades are ideal when drapes are not feasible, especially for small windows, or if you don’t have floor-to-ceiling windows. While I always opt for the drama in my residential projects and thus prefer drapes, sometimes it’s best not to block a window. Or, if you have a heater or radiator in the way, you need something that feels more tailored than drapes, which is where Roman shades come into play—they’re seamless with a simple, serene look. They’re also great for small spaces because they don’t detract from the windows or light. I love to add trim to Romans, or a fun pattern and color to match the walls of the room, as if they are a continuation of the paint. But if you’re into a more layered look, it is also really nice to do Roman linen sheers with a drape over them.”