Roman Shades – In or Out?

Okay, roman shades – in or out is a trick question. They are always in. Unless they’re out. Wait, what? Of course, I mean inside mount versus outside mount and which is the better option.  I was discussing this very thing with a client for her bedroom romans – should they be inside or outside?

My recommendation for this project is that the soft roman shades are outside mounted, below the ceiling and slightly wider than the window moldings.

Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings Roman shade - in or out outside Mount
Design and Rendering by Linda Merrill
Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings Roman shade - in or out Inside Mount
Design and Rendering by Linda Merrill

Benefits of outside mount:

  • Windows appear larger/taller
  • Mounting closer to the ceiling draws the eye up and makes the ceilings feel higher
  • Better light blocking capabilities
  • Hides standard moldings
  • Window depth may not accommodate inside mount. You need generally at least 2 inches of depth that doesn’t impede the window function.
  • If buying retail store bought (not made to size) outside mount gives more flexibility

Benefits of inside mount:

  • Cleaner lines and more architectural in feel
  • Showcases interesting moldings


In this Cape Cod project below, we did outside mount faux flat romans because there were no privacy issues. This room had a mix of double windows such as these and single windows. We did outside because these windows are too shallow to accommodate inside. I could have mounted these to ceilings, which would draw the eye up. But the top moldings are pretty and I felt that the highly contrasting colors required the top of the window to be visible as they’d look almost bottom-heavy without it.  It’s hard to describe – I just liked it visually!

Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings Colorful Cape Cod Home dining and living area


In this Boston South End brownstone formal living room we did drapery panels over embroidered sheer London style romans. The sheers were used to provide a little privacy since the street isn’t very wide and the neighbors across the street are fairly close. The drapery were blackout lined for fullness and since this room doubled as a periodic guest bedroom. When we started this project, the walnut moldings were covered in layers of white paint. They were painstakingly stripped and re-stained to their original glory – so why hide them? Also, the romans were pretty but also more utilitarian. The drama was in the silk mini-strip panels that were mounted to the ceilings on dramatic rods.

Linda Merrill design Boston townhouse living room south end 02116 02332

We also did inside mount London style romans on the opposite room. Again, the moldings needed to take center stage and because the windows were large and the ceilings tall though the rooms are relatively small.

Linda Merrill South End Boston living room formal accent chair gold velvet

Here are other examples taken from photos I’ve shot at the various Newburyport house tours I’ve covered.

This cute inside mount roman shade below has a casual linen/burlap feeling with a little tape trim to punctuate the style. Inside mount works because of the casual nature of the design.

Newburyport Kitchen tour 2016 table with sunflowers

How amazing is this outside mount roman made with a sheer fabric with horizontal ruffley pleat? This could only be outside mount because this exuberant design cannot be confined! I wish I had a better photo of this treatment.

212 High Street Kitchen sink window treatment Christmas Holiday House Tour 2018


This kitchen and adjacent pantry closet featured inside mount flat romans. These maybe woven woods versus a fabric, it’s hard to tell in my photos. I wonder if they considered mounting these up to just under the top molding (like I did with my Cape Cod project above) because the diamond mullions in the windows are so beautiful and flat molding is plain. That said, it may not have been able to be done due to the corner placement.

Linda Merrill Photo Newburyport kitchen tour roman shade - in or out

And finally, I’ll always love a sheer treatment. The adjacent dining room had these inside mount relaxed romans that are so sweet and feminine. Given the height of the ceilings, outside mount wouldn’t have made sense for a sheer shade. An opaque fabric shade mounted to the ceiling would have resulted in a much more formal feel.

Linda Merrill photo Newburyport Kitchen Tour romans shades - in or out


So, what do you think? Roman shades – in or out?

24 thoughts on “Roman Shades – In or Out?”

  1. If you have two windows in a child’s bedroom where you are going to place Roman shades and one in a very deep inset window but one is a regular inset window, neither with fancy trim, does it look strange to do an inset mount on the deep window and an outer mount on the regular inset window?

    • Hi Amber – I’m not really following. When you say deep inset do you mean the inside frame is much deeper on one window than the other – perhaps one wall is thicker than the other? Can you outside mount both shades so they look the same? I do think one inside and one outside may not look right.

  2. I love a Roman Shade. I especially love them for bedrooms, on the outside. I really enjoyed your take on placing them in or out. The sheer ones are so lovely!

  3. Roman shades are always a classic! Beautiful examples here, Linda, and a great explanation of when to choose inside mount and when not to. I especially love that gorgeous city brownstone 🙂 think they’d notice if I moved in?

  4. Hello Linda, I have always disfavored Roman shades, but your post has convinced me that properly installed, they have their merits. I think what I objected to was the sagging look that some of them have, and those still are not for me personally. In a bedroom (at least my own) I need near-100% light elimination. I installed heavy black plastic over the panes themselves, which actually looks pretty “mod”, but at some point I might add curtains of some sort. At any rate, the next time I am near a showroom, I will give the Roman shades a closer look.


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