DIY Window Treatment Ideas: Roller Shades

As you all already know, window treatments can be ridiculously expensive. We definitely splurged on our roman shades for our living and dining rooms… but since I love them SO much every time I look at them, they were worth every penny.

But I just don’t feel like spending that much on window treatments for every room in this house. After all, we need to eat. We also need cute outfits for Baby.

However, I can’t just leave the windows here empty for long. My mom complained about not having any privacy in the guest room the last time she visited, so I really want to cover it up before she comes to stay with us for two weeks when Baby gets here (I’m 37 weeks now, by the way!).

There’s also the window in our master bedroom that used to have no shades until I got tired of flashing the neighbors and we put back up the cat-destroyed plastic blinds. It’s still there, mocking me every morning. And there’s the window by the stairs that’s right next to the front door. And the laundry window. And the window in our master bathroom. And that tiny window in our game room. Compared to some other houses, this isn’t bad, but I want to cover them up all very soon and CHEAPLY.

Enter the roller shade. I’m really happy with them in our nursery with the addition of a orange ribbon design, so I think I might use roller shades for the rest of our windows as a temporary solution until Baby grows up and becomes a rich lawyer and gifts us expensive and custom window treatments.

But I don’t want plain roller shades. Plain roller shades are ugly. Here are some ideas I’ve gathered from the interwebs how to turn plain roller shades into works of art.

1. Paint a roller shade.

This is such a fun roller shade! Jenny (who is a bona fide genius) from The Green Notebook painted this roller shade with latex paint for a client’s nursery. You could just paint a roller shade one solid, bright color if you prefer something simpler. Imagine a roller shade painted in pretty coral and paired with simple white curtains. Add a metal pull and you’ve got a sweet window treatment. Or go crazy with a chevron design – that would be very cool, too.

2. Use a stencil.

You see stencils everywhere in blogland on walls and ceilings, but what about on a roller shade? This tutorial from Southern Living seems pretty easy to follow and I would love to try this! Perhaps for that window near the stairs? I would do the stencil on both sides so it still looks pretty when you’re outside and trying to peer into my house. Stalker.

3. Cut out designs from the shade.

Isn’t this cool? Caution – the short tutorial for this project is actually written in some other language and translated into English, but the concept of this DIY is simple. You could even paint the shade and then cut out the designs that you want.

4. Cover it with fabric.

Blogger and designer Emily covered a roller shade with a nice striped fabric. She used fabric glue to do this project, but I think using a spray adhesive would result in a crisper job. If you do this, make sure that the fabric is thin and light enough so the shade can still roll up. Also, use a heavy-duty roller shade for this project.

5. Throw away the vinyl shade and DIY your own fabric shade.

If you’re handy with a sewing machine and have a heavy fabric that you just LOVE, forgo the vinyl shade and just remake the whole roller shade using your fabric and your mad skills.

My favorite out of all these is the stencil one. But they all are great, inexpensive solutions for naked windows. I might experiment with a couple of these soon. Which do you like the best?


17 Responses

  1. Elisa,

    These are great ideas and very inexpensive. Another idea that I came up with was for a window in a room that I didn’t use. It was a fabric shower curtain. We had a back room that needed something and I didn’t want to spend too much on it….so I had a curtain with a nice pattern that matched the color (blue) of the room…I used the shower rings to hang it up on the rod…it worked great…..I had many compliments…..

    Nicky’s cousin Angela

  2. Stencil looks GREAT— but I think it also helps that the window frame had a contrasting color painted on. Are you going to do the same?

  3. Wow, I didn’t realized there really are many ways to do this. Thanks for sharing! And I am so exciting for your baby. You sharing this made me feeling like I am being pregnant all over again. It sure was one of sweetest feeling. 🙂 I wish you the best luck.

  4. Great ideas! The paint one sounds the easiest.

  5. i love the idea of throwing away the shade and making it a fabric one! I never thought of that.

    I attempted the stenciled shade….it did not turn out well. I think using a large pattern might have worked, but my attempted small random pattern was stupid looking.

  6. Love these options! I’ve also seen some really cool no-sew roman shades that I keep telling myself I could make. Congrats on being 37 weeks! You’re in the final stretch! 🙂

  7. I don’t have any roller shades in our house. Just curtains….I know you will come up with something cute!

  8. Lots of great ideas! I love how yours turned out so much!!!

  9. I just did the roller shade stencil this past weekend (I read the same southern living tutorial you mentioned!) for my bedroom and it turned out beautifully! Easy afternoon project and not too painful for the pocketbook!

  10. I have a question-my white room darkening shade doesn’t darken the room enough so I can sleep. Can I just paint it black and what can I use to get an even coverage? Spray paint? Do I spray the inside or outside?Do I need sealer then? Will it stay on with raising and lowering the shade?

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  14. The blind idea is genius! I have something similar, but I’m constantly having to move stuff and I usually put a white sheet up that ends up having wrinkles. Thanks for sharing! Outdoor roller blind

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