Two of the most popular types of shades, roman, and honeycomb, are alike in many ways. Both types of shades form a single wall of fabric when lowered, as opposed to the many horizontal or vertical slats used by other types of shades. Both types of shades work well for tall or hard-to-reach windows, and the translucency of both types of shades is decided by selecting thin or sheer fabrics rather than by mechanical means.
A lot of people have the impression that honeycomb shades (also known as cellular shades) are not as stylish as roman shades. While it’s true that roman shades are more traditional, honeycomb shades have the potential to be very stylish when used in combination with other modern design elements and can contribute to a clean, minimalistic style.
As with any style choice, there isn’t a clear answer as to whether one of these options is better than the other. However, there are a variety of factors worth considering that can help you to decide which variety of window treatment works best for you and your home.
Honeycomb shades are a somewhat modern invention, consisting of two layers of thin paper or fabric folded into honeycomb shaped cells that can be stacked nearly flat. Most honeycomb shades are raised and lowered using a drawstring attached to the top of the installment, however, there are some honeycomb shades that actually start at the bottom of the window and can be pulled up. These shades, known as “bottom-up” shades, are renowned for their ability to allow light in while still blocking the bottom portion of the window from outside view.
One of the greatest benefits presented by honeycomb shades compared to other styles is that these shades have a lot of thermal resistant properties and can almost double the resistance value of some windows! This means that less heat gets in during the summer and more is trapped during the winter. Honeycomb shades are made so thermally resistant because of the fact that air gets trapped in the space between the cells, forming a sort of barrier between the interior of the house and the window. For many people, this is a major factor in deciding to use honeycomb shades for large windows or in main areas of the house.
While these shades are great for many applications, there are a few notable drawbacks. Because they consist of a single piece of continuous fabric, there is no way to alter how much light gets through the shade other than by raising or lowering them. There are translucent fabrics available, but you’ll need to combine them with additional curtains if you want to have the option to block out more light.
Another potential drawback of using honeycomb-style shades is that many people dislike the paperlike appearance of the shades. It comes down to personal taste, but some would argue that these shades look “cheap”, and they only come in a few color/style varieties. However, for others, the simple and clean appearance of honeycomb shades is part of the appeal. Honeycomb shades go well with other modern or minimalistic design elements.
Roman shades are easily one of the most popular traditional styles still in widespread use today. They have lasted this long for several good reasons: they are reliable, stylish, and available in a huge variety of fabrics to match any design. Roman shades generally consist of a single piece of fabric that drops down into a smooth piece, but when raised stacks into an evenly-spaced ribbed structure.
These shades are very versatile and come in almost any fabric or pattern imaginable. There are sheer options to let more light through, as well as thick fabrics that block almost all outside light. The greatest benefit of roman shades is their versatility and simplicity, and they can pair with just about any other design elements you wish to incorporate in your window treatment.
When fully raised, most roman shades create a fabric stack at the top of the window that eliminates the need for an additional valance in a lot of situations. However, for people who would rather be able to raise the shades without any obstruction to the window, there are options that allow the shades to roll up and take up less space.
Roman shades do not offer the same level of thermal resistance as honeycomb shades, however, some fabric will still offer some amount of heat retention/blocking. Much like honeycomb shades, one drawback of roman shades is that there is no way to adjust the amount of light let through the shade without using an additional curtain. Luckily, it should be relatively easy to find roman shades that go well with your curtains, given the wide variety of styles available.