Summer Pinterest Challenge: faux roman shade

It is that time of year again when some of the best home bloggers out there (including Sherry from YHL as well as Katie’s, Kate’s, Michelle’s blogs) challenge all of us to stop just pinning and start actually doing some of the wonderful stuff we’ve pinned to Pinterest!  Last Winter I ran out of time to do the cool paint-chip art project I had my eye on, but still did complete a cool sweater vase that was perfect for the holidays and beyond.  This time though, I was determined to do something for our house that I had been wanting to do for a very long time: make a roman shade for our kitchen (which I’ve been in the process of redecorating for several months now!).

I love the look of a roman shade, but custom ones are easily several hundred dollars.  Plus, the options for fabric are often limited.  Thus, I decided I’d have to DIY a shade for the kitchen.  I’d had my eye on some fabric from Spoonflower for some time, and I finally decided to go ahead and order it a few months ago.  You can see it here in my kitchen inspiration mood board:

This Pinterest Challenge was the perfect kick-in-the-pants that I needed to get moving on this project.  So last week I had to figure out which of the roman shade ideas that I’d pinned to use.  I was first thinking of this one:

Source: via Gillian on Pinterest

I’ve actually tried this one before (more on that soon!) but didn’t have the best luck with the raising/lowering mechanism.  Plus, after consulting with DH we decided that we actually only needed a faux roman shade–that we wanted to keep the wood blinds that are already on the window.  So I then turned my attention to this one:

I thought I might like the more relaxed look of this one, but after playing around with it a bit, it just wasn’t doing anything for me.  So, I moved on to option #3:


Source: via Gillian on Pinterest

Not only was this one the easiest, I love that if we move someday, the fabric is basically only sewn as a huge rectangle with finished edges so that if/when we finally move, I can easily just take it down and use the fabric for another shade or pillows or whatever else my heart desires at the time!

So without further ado, please meet my new kitchen “roman shade”:

To make this a true Pinterest Challenge item, I did alter it just a bit (but you should totally go check out the tutorial from here–it is brilliant!).  So my version was not a true “no sew” shade–I did finish the edges with a sewing machine rather than with hem tape, although this was in part due to my desire to spend as little time as possible with a hot iron during the 100+ degree heat wave we had over the past week!  I also love that I can easily change the overall shape of the shade if it doesn’t look just right because literally, as you’ll see if you read the tutorial, this is just a rectangle of fabric and four tension rods!  Seriously, anyone could do this.  I especially love this idea for renters because it is so low commitment but still high-impact!

Just to give you a sense of the evolution of this little corner of our home, here’s what this window first looked like when we moved in five years ago (before we remodeled our kitchen) with a weird valence thing we inherited from the previous owners:

Here is what it looked like post-remodel, but before all the new redecorating I’ve been working on (this is from about 2 years ago):

And now  the in-progress space, complete with new faux roman shade!

Why are things still “in progress?”  Well, do you see the paint cans at the bottom left of the above picture?  Even though I love the new paint color in the kitchen, I let the guy at home depot sell me on kitchen/bath paint (rather than just use the regular eggshell we already had purchased for the dining room) and it really bothers me how shiny it is.  Just look at how much the flash reflects in the picture above!  So I’m planning to do a coat of regular paint to help combat the unfortunate shininess.  I also need to trim the wood blinds that are behind the the new shade (do you see how the blinds are bunched at the bottom because there are about 1.5 feet of extra ones?).  I can’t believe that the previous owners never did this and that I still haven’t after 5 years!

Finally, looking back at the mood board, there’s one big change coming up: painting the kitchen door gray.  What’s that?  Gray you say?  I know I had toyed with the idea of a black door for a long time, but DH was more than not on board with that idea.  Now though, I’ve now sold him on the gray door as a compromise, and I’m super excited to see how it turns out.  I think it will really help add some visual interest to this part of the kitchen and bring together the new color scheme:

Once the door is painted, I plan to make a matching shade for the window on the door.  I’d love to leave it as-is, but DH really misses having a shade there (read more about that here!).

So that’s my Pinterest Challenge for this Summer.  What about you?  Have you recently tackled one of your pins?  Please share!


23 thoughts on “Summer Pinterest Challenge: faux roman shade

    • I definitely recommend this method if you don’t need the shade to be functional. If you need to be able to raise/lower it, I’d go with the first option (basically using mini blinds as the skeleton of the shade). I completed the project over several days, but only because things were crazy busy for us. In total this took less than 2 hours, and that probably includes going to target to pick up the tension rods! Let me know if you try it! Good luck!

  1. Looks great! I especially love how the blues work together and your little coffee station (and the fact that you have a french press – people look at me like I’m an alien because I prefer my coffee from the press). Do you know what went wrong with the mini blind-turned-faux roman shade? I’ve been debating doing that for my kitchen window, but I just feel like I would mess it up!

    • Hi Gina! You’ve motivated me to get the post about my other shade up asap since others have asked too! I’ll try to post in the next week. I think the main issues I had were that I used a heavy fabric (outdoor fabric) and the wrong glue (hot glue instead of fabric glue). I fixed it with fabric glue over the weekend and it now works much better now. I think if you used a lightweight fabric and fabric glue that it would probably work just fine!

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  4. Hi there! I just found your blog and I love it (obviously). I was wondering if you still had the link or could point me to the exact fabric pattern you ordered from Spoonflower. i’ve been looking a long time for a pattern like that and would appreciate any help you could spare! Thank you – CHIP.

      • Gina thank you soooooo much! This is just what I am looking for. Thanks x mill. Unfortunately when I try to purchase this pattern the checkout page is telling me I need a “custom code” to use with the order. I hate troubling you AGAIN after you’ve been so helpful already but just wanted to know if you knew what this code meant. I’ve been trying on and off for a day or so. I’ll keep looking around the site but any further help is much appreciated.

      • Hi Chip! Sorry to cause any confusion with my previous comment. You’ll have to contact the shop owner directly via and have her set up a custom listing for you as well (that’s why you can’t buy my listing–I already did!). She’ll then ask you what type of fabric you want it printed on and how many yards you’d like to order. Then she’ll have a custom listing for you to purchase that is exactly what you need. Let me know if it works!

  5. Gillian you are THE best for being so helpful (x mill). You did not cause me any confusion that i did not cause myself. I went ahead and contacted the shop owner directly like you said and Yuko’s Garden is on the way. Thank you!!

    So sorry it took me so long to reply – my condo had a real bad fire at the end of last week and i lost most things. So if i could ask one more thing if you don’t mind – what sewing machine do you use? I only ask because i am trying to redecorate AND replace my things. Any help you can spare is much appreciated – CHIP!

    • Hi Chip-

      I just have a cheap Singer machine. It works okay but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it because it is a bit TOO basic. I’d recommend you at least get one that has that function that keeps the needle down–super helpful! I also wish my machine could do embroidery, but alas, it can’t. I hope that helps!


  6. Hi Chip I’m Jenny. Would’ve written you direct but no email on this comments board? Sorry.

    Sorry to hear about your fire and hope u are ok. Have you tried rummaging? We had a medium sized fire at our house a few days ago and all it took was a few days of rummaging to fill out my space. I found some good stuff. Jillian calls them “free scores ” – see seeing white post.

    Do you live near Tulsa? If so I can help.

    Sewing machines looks great…love.

  7. Jenny

    You are two kind! I appreciate such warm thoughts from such warm strangers. I do not live near Tulsa but yours words made me wish I did! Things are fine with me – finding the fun after the fire! Stay in touch! – CHIP!

  8. Amazing. Did you paint your door grey yet? Hope everyone is doing ok with their home fires–and I hope theyre not contagious on this post! You can email me for help too if still needed.

  9. WELL IT’S OFFICIAL–now MY home burned down! I don’t know what’s going on with this post but must be something. We think it was electric–we’re all at my moms house for time being. Just checking my mail and thought I’d see if you guys had any advice about where to find these “free scores” i remember you talking about…

    • Hi Amy- I’m so sorry to hear the sad news about your house. If you’re wondering about the side table I found to use in our nursery, that came from the storage area of our condo building. So that probably isn’t an option for you if you live in a single-family home. You could always try a place like the salvation army or other second hand stores or see if your town has a freecycle network. Good luck!

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