Fabric Shades – Practical and Beautiful

By Reba Byrd and Kathryn Mayer

Commercial window coverings, such as woven woods, wood blinds, or the various pleated and cellular shades are wonderful choices for the basic needs of privacy and light control. Often, however, a splash of color is required to pull a room together and fabric side panels are needed to provide a finishing touch.

If the added expense of window dressing is prohibitive, or the scale of the room doesn’t allow for the panels, a custom cloth shade should be considered.

Cloth shades are available in many styles. Careful consideration of the chosen fabric pattern is needed to determine the best application for each window.

The flat roman shade offers the best stacking height. It is flat when down and pleated in flat folds when open. It is best to avoid strong horizontal patterns, but, vertical stripes are an excellent choice. The relaxed roman shade is similarly flat when down, but, offers a soft rounded bottom shape with softer folds.

The hobbled shade has soft cascading folds even when down. Since that treatment uses twice the amount of fabric, heavy or very bold prints should be avoided. For a more romantic feminine look, the balloon, Austrian or London shade is used. They offer soft draping both vertically and horizontally.

Semi sheer or fabrics that drape very well are good choices for these shades. All of the above can be lined with either light filtering or black out as needed.

As with commercial shades, the opening mechanism needs to be considered for both safety and convenience. Heavy or very wide shades need a continuous loop cord for smooth operation and durability. Smaller shades can use a cord lock mechanism but care should be given to have excess cord out of harms way through the use of a cleat mounted to the wall. Continuous cord loop is always considered the safer option.

Carefully chosen window coverings are a valuable asset to any home. Cloth shades are definitely both beautiful and practical in the right situation.

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