Roman Shades On a Budget

Do you need window coverings for privacy or decoration but a drape just won’t work? Drapes don’t fit every window and if you have kids or pets, they can get dirty. Roman shades are a more compact way to cover and dress up your windows.

Interior designers will tell you window shades are one of the five essential ways to make your room feel more cozy and decorated. The soft look of fabric folds can really add warmth to your room and enhance your home decor. There are many different styles of window shades, but here we will see what your options are for getting roman shades on a budget.

How to save money on custom roman shades

If you want to get custom roman shades they can be very pricey. Hands down the best, and least expensive place to get them is on ETSY.

I learned this after searching endlessly for 7 roman shades in one room (which adds up). The least expensive way to get custom roman shades is to find a seller that will allow you to send in your own fabric. Sellers will quote a price based on width and length measurements.

For custom roman shades you can save money with these three options:

  • Faux vs. Real – If you get faux shades they are less expensive, but beware. Faux shades don’t go up and down. They are purely for aesthetic purposes, they can’t be lowered. Faux roman shades are a great option in a kitchen or living room where you don’t need as much privacy or darkness. It is all up to your personal preference.
  • Cords vs. Cordless – If you opt for “with a cord” it is less expensive than cordless shades. If you have small children, getting shades with a cord may not be the ideal choice as they can be dangerous if they are in a child’s bedroom. The cords do make awesome cat toys though.
  • Lined vs. Unlined – The liner is usually extra. Blackout liner is the most expensive kind of liner and works well in bedrooms for room darkening. If you don’t get them lined, you may not get as much coverage as you want. I recommend holding the fabric up to your window so you can see how much light you will be getting through one layer of fabric. If it’s a room that can withstand light, or you want the shades to be light filtering this can be a money-saving option.

Best Etsy Roman Shade Suppliers

I worked with several ETSY sellers to get quotes for roman shade projects. ETSY is great if you are looking for customization options. It’s important to deal with sellers that have good ratings. These are the three I recommend:

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  • SewlovelybyKelly – Her custom shades start at $75 for blackout lined shades and go up depending on the size of your window. You provide the fabric, but that’s a GREAT price for a custom working roman shade. She has over 200 5 star reviews and responds quickly to emails. I purchased seven roman shades from this seller made using fabric I sent to her. They turned out great and the price can’t be beat. This photo is my room with these shades.
  • WindowsbyMelissa – Her prices also start at $75 and she has lots of fabrics to choose from or you can send your own. This doesn’t include lining. She has 5 stars and over a thousand reviews and responds very quickly to email questions.
  • KARUILUhome – Her prices start at $88 and she has some cute modern fabrics (like the one below). She has almost 400 5 star reviews and is also quick to answer questions by email.

DIY Roman Shades

There are several good tutorials for out there to teach you how to make your own roman shades. You can find tutorials for two types of roman shades; sew and no-sew fabric roman shades. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. so I’m going to share my favorites with you. They fall into two types, using mini-blinds as the base and using tension rods. I didn’t invent these, so I won’t pretend. I just want to give you options for getting roman shades for less!

Beginner No Sew Shades Using Blinds as the Base

You need some mechanism that allows you to create the folds in the fabric that give the shade the full texture you want. You can take mini blinds, which are inexpensive, and use them as the basis for making your own shades.

Here is a tutorial for how to use mini blinds to make your own shades. It doesn’t involve sewing and the end product is a fully functional shade. It does require cutting up mini blind, so it makes sense to use cheap blinds. Make sure you pay close attention to which strings you cut.

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No Sew Shades using Tension Curtain Rods as the Base

This type of diy roman shade is even faster and easier, BUT the shades are not as operational, they are more like faux shades. They aren’t made to move up and down unless you want to move the rods each time.

The flat fold in the fabric is set with the tension rods. If you don’t want to raise and lower them this is an excellent choice, maybe in a kitchen, living room or bathroom. Not as ideal for a bedroom.

Follow this tutorial for the Tension Rod Method

This is the option I used for my office where I don’t plan to move the curtains, I just want the fabric for texture.

How to Measure your Windows

How you measure your windows depends on how you plan to hang the blinds, inside the window frame or outside the window frame.

Inside mount

For an inside mount blind, you will want your blind to fit snugly in the window. Measure the width of your window at the top and bottom inside the frame (see the red arrows below). Subtract 1/4 inches and that’s the width you need. Next Measure the length of the window inside the frame and that’s your length.

Outside Mount

For an outside mount you will want to make sure you get the blinds wide enough and long enough to completely cover the window’s opening. See the blue arrows below.


Before you decide that you don’t need lining, I urge you tape your fabric up in the window and make sure that you are happy with the amount of light that comes through. It can save you both time and money not to line your shades, but they might not look like you expect. In 95% of the cases, lined roman shades have a more finished, high quality and full look.

Bamboo Shades

Bamboo shades are a great budget friendly option, if you want light filtering shades. I used them in my dining room with drapes. As you can see, they let in plenty natural light.

dining room light sources

If you decide to go this route, Overstock has some great choices including these shades used in the photo above. They are cordless, they come in many sizes and colors and are very easy to install.


If you think you want roman shades but you’ve heard they are expensive, there are affordable options that will still give you that designer look. There are sellers on Etsy that don’t charge an arm and a leg. There are also two DIY options that don’t involve sewing.

How to get roman blinds on a budget

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  1. Andrea, I did make Roman Shades (I think once) but I am so excited about the Etsy resources you have shared. I want to share this post on my Saturday Meanderings this week. I need some at our home…great post!

  2. I love this idea for Roman Shades on a budget! They are so versatile and can be dressed up or down.

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