Choosing fabric for roman blinds

Rochelle Anderson
Russells Consultant
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Choosing fabric is an exciting part of having your roman blinds custom-made. What that choice is will ultimately come down to your personal preference, but to help you along the way, here are our tips on choosing colours and patterns, as well as how lining and fabric type can alter how they look and perform.

Clarke & Clarke in Midnight Spice

Colour, pattern and texture

Due to the flat nature of roman blinds, a patterned fabric can create a beautiful feature point in a room, almost like having a piece of art on the wall.

As a general rule, dark colours can make a room appear smaller whilst light tones will make a room appear larger. However, choose just the right shade of dark fabric and it can also provide a lovely contrast with light coloured walls.

Coordinate your colour scheme by going tone on tone, that is choosing one colour and layering different shades of it throughout the room. Or get a colour wheel and pair up colours with complementary (the colours either side) or contrasting (the colours directly opposite) partners.

The room the blinds will be in may also influence your decision. For instance, the bedroom is a room that needs to be somewhat calm to promote relaxation and good sleep and excessively bold or bright colours and patterns could be over-stimulating.

Vertical stripes look great on roman blinds and they visually elongate the window. On the other hand, horizontal stripes, including check print patterns, can be troublesome. Also, choose a non-railroaded fabric to avoid your pattern looking skewiff; railroaded fabrics have the pattern running across, non-railroaded the pattern runs down the fabric. Roman blinds require the latter.

Bring in a little nature with botanical patterns like flowers, leaves, branches and trees. Botanical themed fabrics range from feminine vintage to opulent Victorian to retro inspired and contemporary abstract designs. Whatever your taste, pay particular attention to the scale of the pattern compared to the window and room size. Unless it is intended to be the main feature of a room, too large a pattern in too small a space could overwhelm the rest of the décor.

Textured fabrics can offer either a soft look or a bold statement depending on whether you go for something intricate and minimalist or large and noticeable. Be careful to choose something with a robust weave though; some delicate embroidered fabrics and velvets will rub when the blind is raised or lower ultimately damaging the fabric.

Or there are a million and one different geometric patterns you could choose from. A geometric pattern is one that depicts abstract shapes like circles, lines, triangles, rectangles, ellipses and polygons, even arabesque prints, repeating them over and over. These kinds of patterns bring structure to a room and are highly flexible, visually attractive and wide-ranging. Whether you want to achieve a contemporary or traditional look, you’ll find a geometric pattern to suit.

Savannah by Studio G in Oatmeal

Fabric type

As well as colour and pattern, the other factor that will affect how your roman blinds look and perform is the actual fabric itself. Each has its own benefits and best uses based on its weight, texture, light blocking or exposing qualities, durability and sun-fade resistance.

  • Cotton – very versatile, suits traditional or modern styles.
  • Silk – luxurious and sophisticated, adds romance and elegance to bedrooms or formal dining rooms.
  • Linen – made of natural fibre, creates an airy, casual, relaxed environment.
  • Polyester – hardworking, durable, affordable, easy to care for.
  • Acrylic - similar texture to wool, lightweight, provides decent insulation, hypoallergenic and resistant to mould and mildew.
  • Rayon - soft, strong and breathable and can be woven with natural fibres to achieve a variety of textures.
  • Brocade - an elaborately woven fabric that creates a lush and sophisticated tone.


Lining is a functional and sensible addition to your roman blinds and can be achieved in a number of ways. Here is what each means:

  • Thermal coated fabrics – available in one pass (light filtering), two pass (dim out) or three pass (block-out). We recommend adding a thermal lining for extra thermal efficiency.
  • Thermal coated linings – available in all the options above. This is a separate lining to the face fabric.
  • Block-out – this simply refers to the number of passes on a lining to ensure no light passes through the fabric. We recommend adding a coated lining for stability to keep your roman blinds structured.
  • Woven or triple weave linings – commonly only dim out and very rarely block-out. This is a soft falling fabric so will be less structured than using a coated fabric.
  • · Interlining – these fabrics are bumph (baby weight), interline (mid-weight) or bumph micro (thick like a duvet). Bear in mind interlining will add bulk to the folds; the thicker the interlining the deeper the stack (folds) needed.

To really ensure you get all the benefits we recommend fitting your blinds to the outside of the window frame (not the inside) and going wider and longer than the frame so that as much light and cold air as possible is blocked.

At Russells, we custom make roman blinds from an almost limitless range of fabrics in all colours, patterns, textures and fabric types to suit your needs. To see how they work in your space, book a consultation and one of our knowledgeable in-home style consultants will bring an abundance of samples to your home.

Get inspired now by downloading out free Fabric Inspiration Guide. Don’t worry if you don’t see quite the right thing. We work with our fabric house partners to find exactly what you need.

Everything you need to know to make the right choice for your home

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