In this easy tutorial, you will learn how to make DIY faux roman shades with tension rods. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on custom shades, just use this method to create your own.

Faux Roman Shades with Tension Rods - get the look for less!

Hi everyone! Today I have a super easy DIY project for you. A faux roman shade. I’m sure you have seen these beautiful roman shades everywhere. They can cost a small fortune! I just think they are so pretty and can add so much to a room.

I really loved the look of these ones from Pottery Barn

Nice, right?

For the size of my window, one of these shades would have set me back about $200.

But here’s the thing.

I didn’t really need a functional shade. Because this was for my bathroom and the window there is frosted. Ugh, I know. I don’t really love the look of a 70s frosted window but we can’t exactly change it right now. However – this pretty roman shade is just the thing to help soften it up!

I’m really trying to “save” this bathroom. Much like my laundry room makeover, I can’t spend a lot or do a lot of heavy renovation. I mean – we just got finished with a huge renovation! I think my husband would look at me sideways if I said I wanted to completely overhaul this space. So, that leaves the basics right now – paint and accessories.

Changes I’ve made so far :

Blue Bathroom with window, small bathroom decor

We are getting somewhere!

Let’s get back to the shade, though. If you have a window that needs a bit of something, this DIY faux roman shade project is just the ticket. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money.

Here’s the secret…

Buy. Nice. Fabric.

If you put crappy fabric up there it’s just going to look crappy. Try to find a nice linen or linen blend or pretty cotton fabric. I found this beautiful textured embroidery fabric from Amazon. It wasn’t a large piece of fabric, but it’s just beautiful and slightly transparent, which is the look I was going for. And because this is a faux roman shade – I don’t need a lot of fabric! Yay!

Let’s gather up our materials.

Materials Needed

How to Make DIY Faux Roman Shades with tension rods

I made a video to kind of show you how I did this. But follow the steps below too.

Step 1: Measure your Window

Using a tape measure, measure the inside width of your window.

Step 2: Cut your fabric to size

Should you start with fabric that’s been washed and dried?

Yes, you probably should. I did not though. Because I like to live on the edge. And because I was desperate for this shade. An extra 30 minutes of washing and drying time was not in the cards for me mentally.

So, using the window measurement you just took – measure and cut your fabric to the size of your window + 2 inches for seam allowance. My window was 34 inches wide – so I cut my fabric to be 36 inches wide. Since my fabric was short lengthwise – I didn’t need to cut any from the length.

Step 3: Iron and Sew a Double Hem on Three Sides

Since we want our faux linen shade to have a nice, finished look, we want to sew a double hem on the bottom and two sides. The top will be a pocket hem for the tension rod. I sewed a one-inch hem on the two sides. Ironing your hems first will make it easier to sew.

Step 4: Iron and Sew a Pocket Hem at the Top of your Shade

Take your tension rod and hold it up to the top of your shade. Fold the top down over your tension rod, creating a pocket, and mark this point. You want to make sure you make your pocket large enough for your tension rod to fit through.

insert tension rod into the pocket you created
Make a Little Pocket for your tension rod.

Once I had this measurement, I simply ironed it down at this mark and then sewed a seam towards the bottom (leaving space in the middle for the pocket). I hope that makes sense! If you watch the video – at one point I show you where to sew the seam for the tension rod.

After you sew your pocket – you can insert your tension rod. This is looking like a little valence! So cute. Actually – if you didn’t want the “roman” part of the shade, you can simply hang it up like this.

Step 5: Hang Your Faux Roman Shade up!

Here’s how to create that roman shade look. Take your other tension rod and hang it up 3/4 of the way up the window. Or maybe a little lower. It’s up to you depending on the look you want.

Now, take your shade and hang it up at the top. Remember – you already inserted your tension rod.

Once it’s hung from the top, take the rest of the shade and fish it through behind the lower tension rod.

Now, pull the shade through, creating a pretty fold that hangs over the rod. You can iron your shade at this point to have to stay put. You can also put a teeny tiny little stitch or pin here to hold it over the tension rod (see more about this below).

I ironed my shade down a bit to have it keep its shape. Looks beautiful.

DIY Faux Roman Shade in Bathroom with Linen Fabric (4)

If this seems confusing – watch the video so you can see how I did this.

All Done!

You guys.

I can’t tell you how much this really added to my bathroom. It still needs a little work, like new paint (not loving the blue), but this roman shade has really helped to soften that window.

Here’s a little before and after for you …

Before and After Roman Shade
DIY Faux Roman Shades with Tension Rods - get the look for less!

If you want that really pleated look, just mark where your shade folds over your tension rod and iron this part down a bit. You can also use a small pin and pin it together at the sides so it stays put. I didn’t find this totally necessary though.

And in case you are wondering – my window still opens and closes without issue. These are just tension rods, so they don’t really get in the way of that.

Want more pleats or folds? Just buy more tension rods and repeat the steps! That’s really all there is to it. This project is easy peasy.

Want to make a Roman Shade that actually moves up and down?

Check out this amazing tutorial from HonestlyWTF.

Can you buy Faux Roman Shades?

Yes, you can. In fact, faux roman shades are all over Etsy. And I looked at them quite extensively before deciding to do this project. Because – if I can buy the thing for about the same price as making it, then why bother? Unless I really enjoy the activity. Like Macrame.

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial for easy DIY roman shades.

Pssst – Keep Going! Here are more sewing DIY Projects for you …

xo Karen

How to Make DIY Faux Roman Shades with Tension Rods

Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the founder, editor and syndicated content writer of She offers hints of inspiration for everyday living, including home ideas, DIY projects and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared on Google News, MSN, Pioneer Woman, Apartment Therapy, and Bustle, among others.