Making functional Roman shades in our custom window treatment workroom has gained quite a bit in popularity over the last few years. Not only are they beautiful, but they also help with heating and air bills and usually require quite a bit less of fabric than full size panels. It is a different, more minimalistic look, but are a great solution for some windows, especially when combined with full size draperies in other areas of the house. The three most common styles of Roman shades are either a flat Roman shade, a hobbled Roman shade, or a pleated Roman shade. They can also be light filtering or blackout (room darkening) which are very desirable for bedrooms, living rooms or movie rooms.
Of course another option would be to make your Roman shade motorized, or to accessorize it with a stainless steel chain versus a plastic continuous cord loop. The consideration usually is if your Roman shade is going to be an inside mount with in your window frame, or an outside mount. If it is an outside mount, then I recommend to create a valance on top of it in order to hide your Roman shade. As you can see in the attached picture, the Roman shades are mounted inside the frame and do not require a decorative top treatment.
Fabric choice with Roman shades can be a little bit of a challenge. You do you want to make sure that the fabric has a certain thickness which is appropriate to create folds, but not too thick where the cords on the back are not able to handle the weight of the fabric. Also heavy and bulky fabric will not be able to stack nicely when the shade is completely opened.