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The History of Roman and Venetian Blinds

Posted on 28th May 2014 by Gemini Blinds

As customers, there are many different blind types we can choose from when considering window dressing options for our homes. From plush, pleated blinds to effective roller blinds, the choices are many and varied.

Perhaps the two most popular styles, however, are Roman and Venetian blinds. Although both are classic designs, the fabric Roman and the slatted Venetian blind developed separately from each other, each going on a journey before becoming the recognisable style we know today.

So what is the history behind these blinds?

Roman Blinds

All the best inventions are borne from necessity, and the Roman blind is no exception. In the days of unpaved roads and hot, Mediterranean sun, residents of the ancient powerhouse struggled with the dust kicked up by horses and carts into homes through uncovered windows.

The natural solution to this was to hang a dampened cloth over the window covering, offering the inhabitants protection not only from the dirt and grit but also the heat of the daytime sun that might have otherwise disturbed those precious siestas!

What started as a practical answer to a common problem became an excuse for the Roman artistic sensibility to shine through, and many quickly started to decorate their “blinds” in a lavish fashion. The drawstring operation came later, allowing users to raise and lower permanently fixed blinds.

The basic design of the Roman blind has changed little in the centuries following its inception – testament to its simple and effective style – and it remains one of the most popular and adaptable window dressing options available worldwide.

Venetian Blinds

Unlike Roman blinds, Venetian blinds originated in a place far away from where their name suggests. It could be argued that using an arrangement of slats tied together with string as a window shade had been practiced in many civilisations long before the birth of the modern Venetian blind, with the ancient Chinese and Egyptians utilising bamboo and reeds respectively to keep their homes out of the sun.

It was actually a Persian creation that finally moved north and west through Europe however, making a big splash in the major European port of Venice where merchants spread the slatted design further west throughout the continent.

The style was particularly well received in France, where they were renamed (for that country, at least) ‘les Persiennes’ – a more accurate tribute to its true origins. Variations popped up everywhere from the UK to the USA throughout the 18th century, with wooden Venetian blinds proving popular with the latter due to the cost of importing fabrics from Europe.

Nowadays, countless variations on the slatted style exist, made from wood, aluminium, uPVC, wood-effect and other materials, and Venetian blinds can be found in home across the globe.

Gemini Blinds

Here at Gemini Blinds, we stock a wide range of Roman and Venetian blinds, with styles and designs to suit all needs. All of our blinds are available made to measure, with our expert team on hand to offer advice and free home visits to ensure your blind is a perfect fit.

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.


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