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Outside Mount vs. Inside Mount Roman Shades: What, When & Why

Shopping for custom roman shades offers a rather scenic journey marked by many decisions – big and small – to be made along the way. A common query from our clients on one such decision is whether to mount their shades inside or outside the window frame. 

Outside mount roman shades are mounted outside of the window frames/trims, affixed directly onto the wall or ceiling.

Inside mount roman shades, on the other hand, are installed inside the window frame, affixed to the ‘ceiling of the frame’. 


Inside vs. Outside Mount Roman Shades


Both positions have pros and cons of course. But which one is ideal?

To help you along your journey, in this blog post, we shed light specifically on reasons to choose one mounting position over the other, as well as disadvantages to consider before making a final decision.  

Let’s start with outside mount roman shades.


Benefits of Outside Mount Roman Shades & When to Use Them


Outside Mount Roman Shades

Outside Mount Roman Shades


For those who like the coziness that fabrics bring to your windows but equally love the clean lines characteristic of modern architecture, roman shades are the best option. While inside mounted shades have fans aplenty (more on this below), outside mount roman shades offer unique advantages such as:

Solution for shallow window frames: Many houses have windows with frames simply not deep enough to mount a roman shade inside the frame. Since outside mount roman shades are affixed directly onto the wall or ceiling, the hardware is not constrained by space, thereby offering clients an elegant alternative to meet their aesthetic vision. 

More coverage/Less light inflow: In rooms where you want marked restraint on light inflow, outside mount shades, when extended a few inches on all sides, provide extra coverage and barrier against light to flow in, and are recommended, therefore, for nurseries, bedrooms, patios, and high ceiling windows.

To expose the full window: Outside mount shades offer clients the option to mount them well above the frame so when folded up, the stack clears the window entirely, thereby letting in more sunshine and light. They leave the full window at your disposal – a perfect frame for a picturesque landscape and a top suggestion for east-facing windows so you can feast on the early sun rays.

Less stress about the exact measurements: Our roman shades measurement guide offers a crystal clear map for the measuring tape but for someone who is not at ease with measuring with high precision needed for inside mounts, outside mounts will prove a delightful escape. No worries if you slightly overdo or underdo the scale – it will still do the job wonderfully well. 


Outside Mounted Roman Blinds

Make Windows Look Bigger and Taller


Make small windows look bigger and low ceiling higher: Small windows look charming until it comes to draping. Curtains can overwhelm the small space, inside-mounted shades accentuate the small size, frosted glass fails to block light & blinds spoil the decorative interiors. Outside mount roman shades – on the other hand – tick a lot of boxes. If you let the stacked part of the shade slightly overlap the top of the frame, the view will trick the brain to imagine a higher starting point for the top edge. That vertical emphasis will also serve as a latent guide to the eye to grasp the vertical dimension of the room, thereby rendering an illusive height to the ceiling. Similarly extending the shades a few inches on both sides can give an illusion of wider windows and space. 

Cover-up for imperfect window frames: If your window frame and trims have imperfections like uneven finish or asymmetrical sizes, inside mounts will further highlight that defect. If your wall paints are getting dry or wallpapers are peeling off at the window trims or the architectural finish of the frame is anything but a clean line, you have an ad hoc solution in the outside mount roman shades – perfect for rentals.

For round, arched and triangle windows: For all the delightful whimsy an unconventional window can offer, there is a ‘how’ regarding window treatments that can chew away the bliss, worsened still if it is far above the door height. An outside mounted shade placed high enough to stack itself above the frame can let you capitalize on the architectural finery while providing a stylish filter for the incoming light when closed. 

The benefit of using spacer blocks available: Choosing an outside mount allows clients to mount spacer blocks or extension brackets to project the shades farther away from the wall or window. This is great for windows that have protruding cranks getting in the way of lifting or lowering the shades. It also lets the shades clear trim or molding around the window.

To cover a door: If you need to cover an entire glass door with a shade, the frame depth is typically not going to serve right for an inside mount. Metal doors especially can prove challenging for drilling holes and mounting brackets. Solve the problem by mounting your roman shades outside.


Outside Mount Roman Shade

Outside Mount Roman Shade Layered with Solar Shades


If you want to layer with a solar shade: Solar shades protect you from the harmful UV rays but fail to provide privacy at night when lights are on. If you mount the roman shades from outside, you stand a chance to layer solar shades within the frame.


The Flip Side of the Coin

There can’t be a coin with only one side. Outside mounted roman shades are not relevant in all cases. They have a ton of benefits and also a few considerations to be made before you opt for them. If you find any of the factors mentioned below relevant to you, then another window treatment may be the right option.

Outward projection: The outside mounted roman shades will project a few inches beyond the window frame and if your room is not spacious enough for you to ignore that bump, then consider other options.

Ornate window: For the love of that artisan who made your lovely window trim a grand feature, you may not want to hide that opulence with an outside mounted roman shade. Rather, show them off by placing shades or drapes within the frame.

Visibility of hardware: The hardware profiles are exposed at the ends in outside mount shades, while the placement of shades inside the frame allows the entire hardware to hide. If you prefer to not see hardware, we suggest mounting your shades inside frames.


Benefits of Inside Mount Roman Shades & When to Use Them



Inside Mount Roman Shades


For inside mount roman shades, hardware is affixed to the ‘ceiling’ of the window frame, fitting the entire shade neatly within the recess. Let’s see how this scheme can benefit you.

Customized look: A well-tailored inside mounted roman shade has an unbeatable charm. The shade size is pre-defined by the structure of the recess, necessitating precision in measuring. The result is a streamlined, tailored look, a one-of-its-kind window treatment that fits in exactly into the window frame and spills the beans on its made-to-order trait. That customized look builds immense character into your home and makes it uniquely special.

Stylishly sleek: For those who love the softness of fabrics and the clean lines of blinds, roman shades are a hybrid choice that offer the best of both. This stylishly sleek shade becomes even more minimalistic when perched within the window frame, taking nothing away from the room. No other fabric treatment can get this close to the minimalism of modern and contemporary decor.

Enhances the ornate moldings: When the roman shades are mounted within the window frame, the ornate moldings get to share the limelight. Inside mounted shades allow for an unhindered view of the entire window trim and frame unlike drapes and outside mounted shades.

Hidden hardware: Even though roman shades have very minimal hardware requirements, some would not prefer its exposition in the room design. In the case of inside mounts, the hardware is totally out of sight.


Inside Mount Shades Layered with Drapes

Inside Mount Roman Shades Layered with Drapes


Possibility of layering with curtains: Smooth, gliding drapes billowing with fullness are a fanciful element of anyone’s dream home. If you wish to include curtains in your decor for added light and sound control or for an ornamental layering, only mounting the shade inside the frame can keep that possibility alive.


Bathroom Roman Shades Mounted Inside Frame



Stays out of the fuss: In bathrooms, inside mounted shades are practically suitable because they can stay as far away as possible from the splashy affair. In kitchens, this ruffleless fabric when mounted within the window recess can escape the splatters from simmering sauces and pose less risk of catching fire. For narrow hallways and cramped rooms, inside mounts are relieving because they don’t project outward.

More insulation: Being located closer to the window pane, inside mounted shades are better equipped to keep the heat out of the room as compared to any other fabric window treatment. It’s an ideal choice for west-facing windows that are exposed to the blistering noontime sun.



Precluding Elements for Inside Mount Roman Shades

Despite the wows that inside mount roman shades have earned, there are situations that may preclude their use.  Some other charming window treatment is waiting to glaze these windows. 

Shallow window: The window frame should ideally be at least 3-4 inches deep to be able to host a roman shade. Spiffy Spools’ roman shades need at least 2 inches of flat surface to be able to secure the shade track securely. If the frame depth disqualifies, consider outside mounts or drapes. 

Rounded/ arched/ piked window: For a window that is not straight edged on the top end, inside mounted shades are not a viable option as hardware tracks only come as straight structures, not curved.  

Small window: For a small window, an inside mount may prove to be an overwhelming option, further emphasizing the small size of the window. The shade will have very little space to fall from its stacked top, possibly rendering a cloddish look.

Protruding window hardware: For windows with protruding handles or crank handles or lifts, inside mounts may not be practical or – at minimum – demand extra care while being operated. 

Light-inflow blockage: The stacking room of the shade is within the window frame, blocking away that much light inflow on a permanent basis. For rooms that need more natural light, consider outside mounts or drapes that can clear the window completely. 


In Closing

Inside mounting is a telling trait of a minimalist design besides the choice of fabric, color, pattern and stitching style. It is easily the most popular way of installing roman shades. However – if the precluding factors are your challenge –  and yet you’re keen on roman shades, consider outside mounting style which has advantages galore of its own. Mounting them outside of the frame can be so beneficial to your room’s practical needs besides being the aesthetically perfect add-ons to its structural features.

Both are equally good options, it is the room’s decor and the window’s characteristics that become deciding factors as to which is the right pick. We hope this blog helps you decide whether to mount your shades outside to suit your needs and Spiffy Spools is all-braced to see you through.



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