Rice paper window treatments

Written by heidi cardenas | 13/05/2017
Rice paper window treatments
Rice paper window treatments are adapted from traditional shoji sliding door panels. (Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Rice paper window treatments, shoji, are translucent window covers that screen views while letting in light in soft, muted, warm tones. Shoji is a term used for the traditional wood and paper screens found in Japanese homes for centuries. The screens are traditionally used as movable doors, but rice paper is used to make accordion and rolled shades, screens to fit any size windows, pocket shades and room dividers.

Rice Paper

The rice paper used in window treatments is not the edible rice paper used in Japanese cuisine. It is thick paper made from either mulberry trees or Japanese shrubs and fibres with special treatments to make it strong, shiny and translucent. It is available in different shades of light colours, from bright white to grey to tan, as well as pastel colours. Although it is available in laminated form and can be used encased in Plexiglas, it is not meant to be used around water, bathrooms, showers or sinks.


Simple rice paper window treatments include rolled, pocket or accordion shades. Shades provide uncomplicated covers for windows to provide privacy, beauty and softened natural light. Rice paper is thick paper that rolls, pleats and folds well to create attractive window covers as well as lamp shades and light sculptures. Make your own custom shades with rice paper, purchase them ready-made from window treatment suppliers and manufacturers who have paper shades lines,or have them custom-made for your windows by interior designers experienced with rice paper.


Traditional shoji screens are sliding doors and movable room partitions, but are also made to cover windows. They are made with natural, unfinished or lightly stained wooden lattice frames backed with rice paper. Rice paper window screens are easy to customise to any size window, creating elegant, unusual window treatments to complement a variety of decor, including modern, eclectic and Asian. They are hung in front of windows, mounted on floor stands to stand in front of windows or mounted with hinges to swing open and closed.

Other Considerations

Other applications for rice paper include luminaries, lanterns, lamp shades and light sculptures. Rice paper is adaptable in flat, linear form as well as in manipulated forms such as folding and rolling types. It works well around wire framing, between wood framing and folded into accordion and pleated shapes. Get creative with rice paper window and light treatments to bring a soft tranquillity to your living space. Use rice paper window coverings at a front entrance on foyer windows, in a dining room or den to soften the decor, or in a living room with south-facing windows that get a lot of light. Rice paper requires replacement annually unless it is laminated or enclosed in glass or Plexiglass.

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