Roman Shades Vs. Roller Shades (Which One is Better?)

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

When you need to choose new window treatments, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all the options. Some you may have never even seen or heard of before. But once you start to understand your needs more specifically you can narrow down your options. But when you narrow your options down to just a few, like roman shades and roller blinds, you might find it tough to decide which is better for your home.

Roman shades offer drama and elegance. They also come in a variety of designs, making them a great option for those looking to add style to the room. They are, however, more expensive and difficult to clean compared to roller blinds. Roller blinds are easy to use and clean. They are durable and available in many sizes, making them easy and affordable to install. They can, however, look drab.

As you try to decide between roller blinds and Roman shades, it is best to make a pros and cons list of each. Lucky for you, we have done that for you already. But before you dive deep into the pros and cons, you first need to understand exactly what the differences are between roller blinds and Roman shades.

Key Differences Between Roller Blinds And Roman Shades

Available Options

Roller Blinds

On one hand, you have roller blinds, which are essentially one style through and through. They roll up to the top, and unfurl. In this sense. They offer few options. They are, however, available in nearly every size you can imagine. This means you can easily find the roller blinds you need without the need for custom work.

Roman Shades

Roman shades offer numerous options when it comes to the style. There are soft fold, flat fold European fold and other types of Roman shade, all offering a different look and method. But unlike roller blinds, roman shades often require custom orders.

Overall Look And Design

Another main difference between roller blinds and Roman shades is the way they look. Roller blinds are generally one long sheet of material or fabric. It rolls up neatly on a rod above the window. Roman shades, on the other hand, appear to be one sheet when they are extended, but they are not. They are several pieces of material separated by pleats that fold up neatly as you pull up the shade.

Reasons To Choose Or Avoid Roller Blinds

Top Reasons Why Roller Blinds Are The Best Choice

Often A More Affordable Option

One of the best things about roller blinds is often the price. Roller blinds tend to fit in almost any budget. They are not very complicated, just fabric rolled up. The higher cost roller blinds tend to involve exotic and high quality materials with machine operated rollers.

Can Block Out Light And Glare Effectively

Since roller blinds are a singular piece of material in many cases, they are highly effective at keeping out light or glare. While this might not be the goal in every room, it is certainly something to consider in the bedroom and any room where there is a television or computer screen.

Simple To Clean

Roller blinds are also usually very easy to clean. If they are one piece of fabric, you can just roll it out and clean accordingly. There is nowhere for dust or dirt to hide. There are bamboo roller blinds and other dry-clean only fabrics, but for the most part, roller blinds are low maintenance.

Easy to Operate

Roller blinds are also very easy to operate. It often just involves a simple pull or crank motion. To close it is normally a light tug or the same crank motion. They are very user-friendly, and as long as they are made well, rarely snag.


Roller blinds also tend to stand the test of time. There are fewer parts involved. Also, generally the material is built to last. As long as they are not ripped or poorly handled, roller blinds can last many years.

Why Roller Blinds Might Not Be Right For You

Can Look Cheap

Roller blind fabrics and designs have certainly come a long way, but they still can look cheap on occasion. In many cases, a rolling blind gives an industrial office vibe rather than a warm yet stylish home. Often the only way roller blinds look expensive and chic is if they are, in fact, expensive.

May Have Operational Issues

Roller blinds are easy to use, but sometimes they can malfunction. Most commonly, they can roll up unevenly, causing the fabric to bunch up and even snag on one side. Be sure to read reviews on your roller blinds before you buy them to see if many users experience this problem.

Don’t Offer Much Design Appeal

While roller blinds and their simplicity have a lot of benefits, the simplicity can also be a detriment. They like versatility in the design department. There is only so much texture, drama, and volume you can obtain from one long sheet of material that essentially disagrees when not in use.

Reasons To Choose Or Avoid Roman Shades

Top Reasons Why Roman Shades Are The Best Choice

More Versatility

Roman shades are not just one simple type. There are all sorts of unique variations on the Roman shape. There are soft fold shades and European fold shades for example. These variations allow you to play more with the different options to see what suits your room best.

Great For Small Spaces

Roman shades fit great in snug spaces. They offer the style of a drape, but with no extra fabric. Roman shades are, in essence, a drape that contracts. They are also a good option for those who want drapes but also have a radiator below the window.

Take Up Minimal Window Space

While roller blinds take even less window space, a Roman shade takes up a small amount of window real estate considering the dramatic effect they offer. If you want to have stylish window treatments but not sacrifice the amount of window real estate that drapes would, choose Roman shades.

Generally More Aesthetically Pleasing

The main reason to choose Roman shades is their overall look. They offer a hint of classic elegance, but with a certain modern minimalism that has come back in fashion. They offer texture, design, and style, which can be very helpful when you don’t have much of that in the room already.

Why Roman Shades Might Not Be The Right For You

Require More Upkeep

Roman shades have more moving parts, which means more can go wrong. They also require a bit more maintenance than roller blinds. After all, roller blinds are one large durable piece of fabric. Roman shades have pleats, slats, and strings that all need to be cleaned and maintained.

More Expensive Than Roller Blinds

Unlike Roller blinds, which you can purchase at the click of a mouse in nearly any size, Roman shades are often custom made. This is due to the nature of their design, as there are more materials and measurements involved in Roman shades, especially where length is concerned, and how it relates to the pleats. This also means they tend to cost more than roller blinds on average.

Difficult To Clean

While the pleats and seamless gaps look great, they sure are a pain to clean. The invisible gaps and small folds often collect dirt and dust. They don’t wipe clean as easily as blinds, and often require a lot more time and TLC.

Which Is Better In The End: Roller Blinds Or Roman Shades

In the end, both roller blinds and Roman shades are great window treatments. They both take up minimal space while offering great protection for the sun. Roman shades offer more style and design variety. They are also, however, more expensive and difficult to clean. Roller blinds are more affordable and easy to maintain, but can look cheap or bland.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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