So Granny Chic: The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades

Ever hear of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? It’s more commonly known as the “frequency illusion,” as coined by Arnold Zwicky to describe the syndrome in which a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere.

Well, I’ve been having a lot of frequency illusions lately when it comes to feminine Roman shades. And I don’t mean a feminine-themed choice of fabric, I mean a feminine shape.

Let me explain:

As I detailed in my Thursday post about Home Glow’s newest One Room Challenge, “The Ultimate She-Shed,” I want to do some sort of  feminine Roman shades to balance all the masculine history of the project (the building used to be a blacksmith’s shop). You can read more about the colors and patterns (which are also slightly girly) in that post, but here I want to talk about the style of shade.

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades

When you think of a feminine line stylistically speaking, most people think of curves and softness. Now apply that to Roman shades.

The easiest is a relaxed Roman, which I use often in my design work.

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades

Relaxed Roman shades by Sarah Bartholmew

These are simple, casual, and yet still lovely in the most formal settings.

However, for the Ultimate She-Shed I want something even more feminine. I loved this example by Ashley Whittaker.

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design


In fact, Ashley uses this look a ton! (all photos from Ashley’s portfolio.)

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow DesignThe Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow DesignThe Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow DesignThe Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Ashley kind of straddles the line between a relaxed Roman with dogs ears and a full-on London Shade.

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Shades with “Tails” or “Dog Ears” by Cheryl Tauge, via Laurel Bern Interiors Blog

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades

London shades by Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey


In the dog-ear style, the draw cords are inset a certain amount, but the panel is still essentially flat. In the London shade, the cords are centered in two pleats at the top. In either style, the length of the dog ear is totally up to the designer, the longer creating a more formal feel.


I’ll bring up the picture of Ashley’s favored style again, so you can see how she blends the two.

The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design


Her pleat is at the corner of the window, creating a return to the wall with a shorter dog ear. You get the fullness of the London without the fussiness. I LOOOOOOOOVE it!!


And so began my frequency illusion with these more feminine Roman shades.



The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Meg Braff


The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Marie Flanigan via One King’s Lane



The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Source unknown. This room was a big inspiration for this dining room.



The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

In a modern setting and sheer fabric by Cullman & Kravis, via Pinterest


The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Source unknown


The Resurgence of Feminine Roman Shades Home Glow Design

Casabella Home Furnishings via Home Bunch


Or course, I recommend working with a designer on custom window treatments. 😉 He/she will have access to more ideas, fabrics, and trims than you can dream of, and you’ll have the confidence in knowing that your measurements will be right. However, if you want this kind of window treatment and you’re serving as your own designer (like in this post), I highly recommend Lynn Chalk on Etsy. She does gorgeous work.

Now, some Big Box outlets like Loom Decor and The Shade Store call this style “Tulip Shades,” probably because they’re afraid “London shade” many sound too formal to xennials and millenials. However, just note that when you go big box, you lose the ability to customize fabric, dog ear length, pleat depth, return, width of banding, contrast fabric on the inverted pleats, etc.  without really saving any $$ in return.


So what do you think of these feminine shades? Yea or nay?


If you like granny chic topics, you might enjoy these posts:


4 Fresh Ways to Use Your Parents’ Formal Dining Set

That’s a Wrap! Matching Your Walls, Windows, & More… and Sources!

So Granny Chic: High Quality Brown Furniture is Always “En Vogue”


Check back in on Thursday for an update on my One Room Challenge and to see which of the dueling schemes I chose! I’ll have some juicy info in there, too. I promise.

Stay warm!


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  • Patti Memsic

    Might I suggest you take a look at the website Finnian’s Moon Interiors. The designers portfolio has a lot of examples of Roman shades in an array of fabrics, trims and designs.I also am considering a Roman shade for one window in my master bedroom. The large window (10 feet wide) in the master will be white silk taffeta, with some kind of blue trim, probably silk. The smaller window (40 inches), I am considering the Roman shade. Also, Phoebe Howard uses a fair number of Roman shades in her work, and she has excellent examples. I, personally, am on the fence about the roman shade, for 2 reasons. Operation…..they are not as easy to operate as a drape. Seems like you always have to fuss with them, to get them right when you pull them up. My second concern, which sort of goes with the first is …..messy. They don’t have a clean look, unless you never use them. There are some faux or stationary versions, but I need coverage. Just some thoughts.ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Hi Patti. Thanks for the tip about Finian’s Moon and your other thoughts. I will certainly check FM out. Yes, Phoebe Howard does this look a lot — and impeccably! Drapes are best for ease of opening and closing, absolutely, but they aren’t always right for all situations. And yes, Romans require a bit of fussing, but I’m ok with that because I’m the type that loves making a perfect bed. 😉 If you like the look but don’t want the fuss, consider using a Roman valance (you still need enough fabric to make them convincing) with some sort of operable shade underneath — either something that actually looks good, like in Meg Lonergan’s room, or something purely functional and hidden, like in this post:

  • Becky

    I like them very much and think you should go for it!ReplyCancel

  • Irene

    This posting is such perfect timing. I am redecorating one of my bathrooms and have been looking at roman shades. I love how beautiful, classic and simple the ecru with blue trim is. This would work wonderfully with what I have in mind. Thank you for posting.ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      You are most welcome! Happy decorating!ReplyCancel

  • Sam

    I love the roman shades, but the main reason that makes me reluctant to use them is, how hard is it to clean and wash them?ReplyCancel

    • Amy

      Would you all be horrified if I said I didn’t clean my window treatments? 🙂 Well, if you feel you need to, I would just give them a light vacuum with an attachment. Fabrics like silk have been used for all types of window treatments for centuries, and I don’t think they get sent to the cleaners all that often. However, I know that mildew can be a concern in moist environments like bathrooms and/kitchens. If a client is worried about that, I can send my fabrics to be treated with an anti-mildew application. You can also use an indoor/outdoor fabric that is antimicrobial and bleach-cleanable — just be careful. Some of those indoor/outdoor fabrics (especially the less-high quality) meant for upholstery can be really thick, too thick to make a nice Roman shade, which needs a soft fabric.ReplyCancel