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Roller Shades and Roman Shades: Which Should You Choose?

You know you want shades for your windows, but you’re not sure whether to get roller shades or roman shades? Shades are shades, right? Not quite. 

The main difference between the two is the kind of fabric/material used to construct the shade and the look that lends to the finished product and the decor. Today’s window treatment lesson is on tips to help you choose between roller shades and roman shades for your space. 

Barn & Willow roller shade with patterns

Roller Shades

Roller Shades are one of the newer introductions to the window treatment industry. They are made mostly with polyester and vinyl-based materials which are either coated with blackout material to make it 100% blackout or comes without any coating for a semi-transparent function.  

As the name suggests, Roller Shades roll up and down parallel to your windows via the rolling mechanism you would attach to the top of your window or frame. They’re often paired with drapery or curtains for added texture. 

Roller shades use a polyester material, creating a more structured feel to the shade and a neater, tighter look to the windows. If you’re looking to achieve a modern, clean, and minimalist look with shades that completely block out the sun when rolled down, roller shades would be the way to go.  

Roman Shades

Roman shades, on the other hand, are constructed with fabrics like Linens, Cotton, or a blend of soft materials. Typically, if you want a blackout roman shade, you would select a blackout liner to be added onto the main fabric as a second layer. Alternatively, if you want to keep the shade semi-transparent and allow sunlight to filter through, privacy liners would be added, or the shade would be left unlined, just like how you would customize your roman shades at Barn & Willow.

Gray pleated Roman Shades against a white bedroom wall


Since roman shades are made with softer fabrics, the overall look achieved is on the softer side. If you’re looking to achieve a timeless look paired with soft textures, roman shades are your best option. These shades come in different styles like the Flat style, which overs a clean, modern look or a cascade style which is more classic. Our
pleated style is great for adding some drama to your space.  

Roman Shades fold in a stylized, neat manner to the top of your window. With much of the fabric still visible when drawn all the way up, they can really tie a room together via texture or color. 

Barn & Willow has Roller Shades! Our newest line features our first patterned material which we know you’ll love. Check out our Roller Shades here! Want something more timeless and softer? Check out our Roman Shade line here!

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