Soft fabric shades. This category includes diverse shade styles. One type is the stagecoach, a custom shade that you roll up by hand and secure with ties. More common are ones that draw up with the aid of cords strung through rings on the back of the shade. With some, the pull cord locks the shade at the desired height; with others, you stop the shade by winding the cord around a cleat. These familiar kinds include Roman shades, which draw up into neat horizontal folds; Austrian shades (scalloped folds); and balloon and cloud shades (billows).
Many suppliers offer variations of these classic shade types―for example, shades with deep overlapping folds, with a single scallop at the bottom instead of several, or with a flat top and a poufed bottom.
Fabric shades from the companies that make pleated and cellular shades are another possibility. They work like Roman shades, with folds available in several sizes. Be aware that the headrail into which the shade disappears may be bulky and protrude from the window frame.
Woven shades. These shades consist of strips of wood (matchstick shades have very thin strips), natural fibers, reeds, or grasses. You can usually order an optional lining as well as a fabric edging.
Most shades in this category are Roman shades, though some roll up with a cord-and-pulley system.
Many of the Roman types require lots of stacking space, so be sure that there's enough room and that the stacked shade can clear the window glass.
When buying woven woods, look for straight-grained, smoothly cut strips; wood that was kiln-dried is warp resistant.
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