Top 5 Mistakes Homeowners Make When DIY’ing Roman Shades

“That looks easy,” said every homeowner ever. “I don’t need to hire someone to do that.” Hmm, maybe you do and maybe you don’t. If you decide to tackle the project yourself, be careful to avoid these common mistakes:


Mistake #1: Not knowing your different window treatment options & lookalikes

Roman shades are recognizable by their elegant arrangement and gathering of fabric, but they are also very similar to London and balloon shades. Know the difference before you begin.

balloon shades bhg
Balloon Shades via Better Homes & Gardens

True to their name, balloon shades have a more billowy appearance and require more fabric to create.

London shade bhg
London Shades via Better Homes & Gardens

London shades are simple, yet more elegant, in their design. As with Roman and balloon shades, they are made from one, continuous piece of fabric.

Roman Shades via Better Homes & Gardens

Roman shades are the modern cousin to London and balloon shades. With their minimalistic appearance and no-fuss design, they are the perfect solution to any transitional or modern space–and they work especially well in kitchens and dining rooms.

Mistake #2: Choosing the wrong fabric (or not enough of the right fabric)

Because Roman shades are made with gathered fabric as opposed to hanging fabric, like drapes, the pattern you choose needs to be large and repetitive. Otherwise, the pattern will be unrecognizable and cause visual confusion.

Additionally, when you buy fabric to create your shades, be sure to buy enough. If you need to purchase the same fabric more than once, you run the risk of using fabric from different dye lots. (Meaning: the fabrics won’t be a 100% match.)

roman shades bhg
Roman shades via Better Homes & Gardens

Mistake #3: Forgetting that you can choose from an inside or outside mount, depending on what you need

If you have gorgeous trim around your windows, don’t hide it. Do an inside mount. On the other hand, if you want to make your window feel larger and are not concerned about showing off the woodwork, go for an outside mount.

Embrace My Space

Mistake #4: Not determining whether you need sheer or lined shades

If you’re looking for decoration or just a bit of privacy, and you are using a lightweight or sheer fabric, unlined Roman shades will serve you well. However, if you choose a fabric with a bit of body or you need to block sunlight or unwanted eyes from peering into your home, lining your shades is your best bet.

inside outside mount blinds
Unlined Roman shades by House of Jade

Mistake #5: Forgetting to add decorative trim

Adding the finishing touches to your Roman shades can take them from cookie-cutter to completely chic in a flash. From fringed edges to tassles or ribbon borders (as shown below), you’re limited only by your own craftiness and time allowance.

roman shades bhg
Ribbon trim on Roman shades via Better Homes & Gardens

DIY’ing your own Roman shades can be tedious and challenging. After you choose the mounting style, fabric, and trim–and the other materials / tools required–you still have to make the darn thing.

If you’re ready to tackle that project, go get ’em! But if you’re interested in hiring a pro to do it for you, give us a call. We speak your language, and we know window treatments like the back of our hands.

(2) Comments
  • ESA Awnings
    | 27 September 2022

    I loved reading your article about Roman shades. It is such an interesting topic and you provide some great insight into the pros/cons of each option! I especially liked how we could see what mistakes homeowners often make when doing their own DIY projects.

  • Patricia
    | 16 September 2023

    Great tips!

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