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The most appealing thing about woven Roman shades made with natural materials is the variation in color and texture that you just don’t get with synthetic alternatives. They are also a great complement to pinch pleat linen drapes.
My new Roman shades are from Two Pages – the same Amazon seller that I partnered with to create my branded collection of printed drapes Stefana Silber X Two Pages. With so many homeowners being drawn to this look, I’m sharing the process of installing woven shades from start to finish.
Difference between blinds and shades
The purpose of both of these window treatments is to filter or block light and to provide privacy. However, they do have a few features that set them apart. Blinds are typically made from plastic, metal, faux wood, or natural wood. They have small louvers that can be tilted to let light in–even when the blinds are fully extended.
The louvers are strung together and connected to each other at the top of the frame. When you pull the cord down, the blind louvers are drawn up and can be locked in place. This mechanism can break easily, especially if it’s used on a large window and made from flimsy material.
Cleaning small louvers can be difficult, but if you prefer this look over shades, opt for interior shutters instead. They look more up-to-date and sophisticated than blinds and actually add value to your home. Check out my post on shutters to learn more!
Contemporary fabric shades give your home a custom designer look and soften a space much like drapes. Woven shades add warmth with natural elements like seagrass, bamboo, or rattan. The color and texture variations of woven fibers I mentioned earlier create that visual interest that interior designers are after.
The window above my kitchen sink is actually three separate windows. Instead of having three individual shades, I chose to use one large one instead. This shade is the Lea Desert shade from Willowbloom Home.
Depending on the size and materials, shades can be expensive. If you have unique window sizes or exceptionally large windows, you’ll likely have to go the custom route which adds to the cost. More affordable options are available at retailers, but many are limited to standard sizes.
Two Pages woven shades
My love of drapes from Two Pages is no secret. I was searching for the perfect pinch-pleat linen drapes for my home and was thrilled to find a more affordable option on Amazon. With the amount of windows I needed to dress, it would’ve cost me a fortune if I had gone with custom drapes. I ordered a couple of panels on a whim and was blown away by the quality.
Two Pages offer standard sizes and fully customizable options at a reasonable price point. Check out these posts if you are interested in learning all about hanging drapes or how I ended up teaming up with them for my own collection!
The latest release from this company is a line of woven Roman shades also available on Amazon. Once again, they are offering a product with an expensive look that won’t break the bank. They are DIY friendly and have custom cordless options that fit just about any window.
As with their drape collections, you can purchase a sample book that has current offerings plus examples of different lining options. Like wall paint colors, product images of woven shades can look completely online compared to reality. Seeing the colors and patterns in person is the best way to ensure you are ordering the best choice for your home. My office is color-matched to the perfect greenish-gray – Storm Cloud Gray by Benjamin Moore.
When choosing a liner, consider what purpose the shade will have for each room. There are typically three categories for the lining. For bedrooms or nurseries where you need it to be dark, go with a blackout lining that blocks light from entering through the shade. On the other end of the spectrum are light-filtering shades that don’t have any lining. These are used in rooms where you want to tone down the bright sunlight when needed but don’t need privacy.
The level between blackout and filtering is privacy lining. It lets light in during the day but prevents anyone from being able to see through your windows at night when you have lights on inside. This mid-level lining is perfect for rooms where you need privacy but don’t mind that some light gets in. I chose privacy lining for the windows in my office which is situated in the front of my home. Did you notice my hydrangeas? Check out this post to find out which variety I use!
Cordless vs. corded shades
When given the option, cordless is the way to go. Especially, if you have small children or curious pets. You may not think anything will happen, but it can and it’s not worth the risk.
Besides, cords can be unsightly and annoying. When you pull down to draw up the shades, the cord gets longer and can drag the floor or need to be looped. Depending on the material of the shade, the cord can also get tangled between the fibers and eventually cause damage.
The Two Pages cordless woven Roman shades are a breeze to open and close. There is a removable clear plastic clip at the bottom that you can use to raise and lower the shade without touching the material, preventing wear and tear.
Roman shades vs roller shades
It may sound obvious, but there are different mechanisms that allow a shade to be opened. Roller shades do just that…the material gets rolled and unrolled inside the top of the shade. Woven Roman shades work in a different way. Instead of rolling, the material is lifted in sections and stacked when drawn up. Often, part of the shade will still cover the top portion of the window but in my opinion, that adds a luxurious touch.
How to measure your windows
An inside mount means a shade is installed inside and doesn’t extend beyond the window casing. This method looks very clean and streamlined making it the preferred choice for modern and minimalist designs. The downside is that your window casing has to be at least 2″ deep in order to hang them inside.
Measure the width and length of the casing precisely, from the inside edge to the inside edge. Make a note of each measurement – especially if you are ordering shades for several different-sized windows.
An outside mount refers to when a shade hangs on the outside of the window casing. The good news about this method is that precision measuring is not necessary. However, at the very least, the shade should be wide enough to cover the window molding. It’s perfectly fine to go an inch or so wider but you’re paying for those extra inches.
The same applies to how high above the window to hang a woven Roman shade. It should at least cover the upper window molding but going a little higher creates the illusion of a taller window. I recommend only going up the same length as the shade’s valance piece. Otherwise, the wall above the window will be obvious through the shade.
What you need to order shades
With the help of the sample book, you’ve found the perfect color! When ordering woven Roman shades online, you’ll need to indicate which color or material you’ve chosen, the level of lining, and whether you’ll be using an inside mount or outside mount for each shade.
You’ll also need to indicate what your measurements are for each window so it’s crucial to get these right! Take your time and recheck all the numbers before you submit your order. Measure to the nearest 1/8th.
For an inside mount – measure the exact window width on the inside of the window casing where the shade will be installed. Do the same for the height of the window.
For an outside mount – measure the width of the window to include the casing (trim) that sits on the outside of the window opening. This is your width measurement. Measure the height of the window from the top of the window trim down to the sill. You can add a couple of inches if you want to install your shade higher and create the illusion of a taller window.
Once you finalize the order, you will get a notification as to when to expect your new woven shades. This is the perfect time to do any prep work that needs to be done prior to installing the shades–filling old holes, painting, etc.
Once your new shades arrive, check to make sure you’ve been sent the correct products. Each shade should come with the proper hardware to make installation a breeze.
If you measured properly and ordered the correct size for an outside mount, the end hardware should coincide with the studs. You will need to use wall anchors if the studs don’t line up.
Before you start drilling holes, let the shade down and hold it up to the window to ensure proper placement and to see where the brackets should be. The shades will have a bracket on either side and one in the center. This is the drill I use.
As you can see, mounting the shades on the brackets is simple. All you have to do is slide it onto the brackets and tighten the bolt that holds it in place. If your brackets end up slightly off-center, it’s okay! With the Two Pages shades, you have a couple of inches of leeway to work with. They created a groove that allows you to slide the shade in order for you to get it in the perfect spot.
One of the little details that I like about this particular brand is the little flaps of material they send with their products for outside-mounted woven Roman shades. They velcro on and cover the shade mechanism so it’s not visible from the side. If you pair shades with drapes you shouldn’t be able to see that part, but it’s a nice detail.
Yes, the shades come with brackets that attach to the wall. It’s a DIY-friendly installation. Refer to the images above.
The shade should be wide enough to cover the window casing from the outside edge to the outside edge.
Unlined (light filtering), Privacy lining, and Blackout lining
The shades come with matching material flaps that velcro to the side of the shade to cover the mechanism. This makes the shades attractive to stand on their own on the outside of a window. See the photo above.