We like to think we’re masters when it comes to Roman blinds – patterns, fabrics, linings and headrails, we know it all. So when one of our sister companies, Custom Curtains, recently explored the history of curtains, we decided to take a look at the origins of our own product.
With Roman blinds, the clue’s in the name. They came to be over 2,000 years ago at the peak of the Roman Empire, and as with most household items in the ancient world, the blinds were created for the sake of function rather than fashion.
It was another one of the Roman civilisation’s most impressive features that inspired the invention of blinds: Roman roads. When you think of a Roman road, you imagine long, straight, well-made routes that have stood the test of time. But the pre-paving roads of ancient Rome were known for something else; they were renowned for producing dust.
A recent photo of a Roman road in Turkey, built circa the 1st century AD
A combination of hot weather and horse-drawn carriages created a huge amount of dust, which proved tiresome for homeowners whose windows faced the street. The solution was quite simple, and the Romans began to cover their windows with pieces of dampened cloth, keeping their homes dust-free as well as cool in the midday sun.
Over time, the window blinds became more elaborate. The Romans were meticulous about impressive home decorations, such as complex mosaic designs and wall paintings. Their blinds had to be just as fancy!
Intricate mosaic flooring of a Roman building
Roman blinds were now stylish homewares, and the industry flourished. Drawstring mechanisms were also attached to the slats, making for easy raising and lowering. This allowed people total control over the amount of light and air into their home. Now, Roman blinds remain one of the most popular, stylish window dressings, and there is a huge choice of fabrics and patterns to suit every room – just take a look at our selection.