Let’s be real, roller shades have a tendency to recede into the background of your home’s decor. In some ways this is great, it lets the window itself, and more importantly the view, be the main focus. But the minimalistic style of roller shades can also tend to make the window look somewhat bare. A little underdressed, if you will.

 transparent grey modern roller shade in modern styled apartment with city view and brick accent wall

Not that we’re saying that’s always a bad thing. (Image Credit: Dreaming in Craft)

You can install our roller shades into pretty much any style of home decor and have them work, and gain all the benefits that roller shades have to offer. These include light filtering or room darkening, depending on your illumination needs, fabric or solar weaves, even temperature control, and most importantly, privacy, regardless of whether the shades are sheer or not. While all of these characteristics are good and allow roller shades to complement any style of decor, it can’t be denied that they are more complementary to some styles than others. Roller shades seem custom made to fit any kind of modern, sleek, trim aesthetic style, but what if your house is a traditional or Victorian style?

Teal blue Victorian-styled house with white and gold accents and stairs to the front door and closed curtains

Adorable? Yes. Sleek and trim? Not so much. (Image Credit: Ron Niebrugge for San Francisco Feelings)

Roller shades might end up looking a little too sleek and trim to function by themselves as a window dressing. It’s like that feeling you get when someone says you can come to their wedding wearing whatever, so you show up in jeans and discover that that was really, really not the whatever you should have worn. Sometimes, roller shades need a bit of a boost, an assist from another style of window dressing, in order to fit in.

Let’s take our Victorian example, for instance. Curtains are the natural choice of window dressing, but curtains by themselves come with their own set of drawbacks.

interior of a Victorian house with modern light fixture, geometric patterned floor, and a round table with fern in the foreground with sheer curtains on the window

This Victorian is actually doing a pretty good job of being modern, but, those are still curtains. (Image Credit: InteriorZine)

Put them together with roller shades, however, and you end up with functionally stylistic window treatments that complement each other, and together complement your home.

Curtains are an obvious choice to pair with roller shades for physical reasons; roller shades sit tight in close to the frame, while curtains expand both horizontally and vertically beyond the trim. An inside mounted roller shade would be the most streamlined fit, mounting them inside the frame gives each treatment its own space to operate in, and snubs even the possibility of the two treatments, or, perish the thought, their hardware, getting tangled. But an outside mount can work as well due to how slim the shades are, especially mounted in a reverse roll or “waterfall” style to give the shade a more finished look without a valance (check out the rest of our blog to learn about the benefits of inside vs. outside mounts!). With an inside mount, however, the mounting hardware of the two treatments would be physically separated by the frame, giving the roller shades at least a clear 3.25” (find out how about our slimmest mounted roller shades) to function in, plus whatever additional extra space the curtain rod, by necessity, protrudes from the wall.

Outside mounted cream roller shade with matching curtains on a black rod in a white bedroom with four-poster bed

These ones are both outside mounts, coexisting very happily together. (Image Credit: My Domaine)

Curtains and roller shades are physically complementary in another way as well; inside mounted roller shades inevitably leave a small gap between the shade and the frame, allowing a thin strip of light to come in (find out why).  Because curtains operate side to side, as opposed to roller shades’ up and down, you can slide your curtains over as much as you like to block that little strip of light, doubling down on the light control of each treatment. And, because roller shades do sit so tightly in the frame, this little gap occurs so close to the edge of the window frame that it shouldn’t take much from the curtains to cover it up, meaning that, in turn, they cover as little of your window trim, and block as little of your window, as possible.

Speaking of doubling down, let’s talk about light control. Let’s say, for example, that you have a room you really need to be able to black out sometimes. Maybe it’s your bedroom, or perhaps your home theater (I know, I wish I had one too). Lacking a full-on home theater, light controlling treatments work great in a dedicated media room, or even your living room if you’re not concerned about publicly divulging how often you binge watch Netflix to the rest of the household. Putting great heavy light controlling drapes on your window, on the other hand, might give you the light control you want, but might not be the aesthetic you’re going for. Enter the light controlling roller shade. Roll it down when you need to watch the entire new season of Stranger Things in one go, and roll it up to let your curtains do the aesthetic mingling with the rest of your room. With light controlling roller shades, your curtains can be as airy and gossamer as you like – which works especially well in smaller rooms.

 Insulating Room Darkening color choices-Dual sheer zebra shades with a view

Left Image: The blackout honeycomb shades at my last house had this gap, and somehow it was worse than if the shades hadn’t been blackout in the first place. With our airy Zebra Shades, it’s not really a big deal. Right Image: Just because they’re called blackout shades doesn’t mean they have to be black. Click here for more.

On the other hand, you can go the other direction with your curtains being the heavy-duty, light controlling treatments and your roller shades filling the gauzier, light filtering role. The benefit here is that you can control your light and privacy on a day-to-day kind of basis using the roller shade, and only unleash the curtains as needed. Roller shades come in a variety of sheer materials, fabrics, and solar shades that can be woven tightly or more loosely to allow you to see out while limiting how much the sun can get in. Even the sheerest roller shade, however, still offers more privacy than those transparent, breeze drapes can, and lets you choose how much of the window you want to be covered. Solar roller shades offer another benefit curtains can’t, they block UV light while still enabling you to see out the window (look for our Industrial to Individual posts to see how solar shades can work at home). This relegates curtains to a more decorative role, but gathering them off to the side can help minimize the weightiness of light controlling drapes.

Sheer dark grey curtains with lighter roller shade behind and two cream chairs around glass coffee table and light grey patterned rug in front- room darkening curtains over sheer curtains with white drawers and dark armchair in foreground

Left Image: Clever hotel designers have been taking advantage of similar ideas, like doubling up on curtains, for years. (Image credit: Ikea USA’s Pinterest) Right Image: Sleeker and classier together. (Image credit: Room & Board)

An unexpected third alternative exists, however. Say you want to darken your room, but don’t like the visual heaviness of some of these treatments. Say also you’re not invested in totally blacking out your room, just making it darker. Lucky you, you can put a light filtering style of roller shade under a light filtering style of curtain, and achieve a pretty reasonable level of darkness without either one ending up only being used on an occasional, as-needed basis. Let’s say you want it mostly dark, but your cat still really, really needs to be able to see the birds outside. Roll up your shade to just a cat-crack, and pull the drapes as closed as you want. Or, say the window one floor up in the condo across from you looks straight down into your bathroom. It’s always the bathroom, isn’t it?  Maybe you want to pull the roller shade down just far enough for privacy and use the curtains to adjust your light control on a more particular scale. Either way, combining light filtering curtains with light filtering shades gives you a completely custom level of illumination for your rooms.

Because Chicology offers a variety of both roller shade and curtain options, you know you’ll be able to find products with corresponding fabrics, colors, and patterns. Both of our products also come in a variety of pre-cut sizes, so ordering your drapes and shades together is as easy as possible. We also offer custom-fit shades and drapes, giving you nearly limitless options for combinations of window treatments to exactly suit your needs for your home.