Window Dressing Dilemma

2 Materials
2 Hours

Have you ever had a window dressing dilemma? We've had several - and all with the same window! This is how the window coverings looked in the bay window at the back of the house when I first moved in; tattered and worn. The house needed so much work that window dressings fell to the bottom of the priority list.

After I married Hubs, I finally had a ‘partner in grime’. A second pair of hands is very welcome when it comes to anything you have to do on a ladder! On a whim, we went out to a big box store and replaced the mini blinds with wider horizontal blinds; the kind with the faux wood grain finish. They were cut to size while we waited and it was instant gratification when we hung them.

It was definitely an improvement but nothing to write home about!

Nothing adds personality to a space more than soft window coverings so, after living with the blinds for a while, they were eventually replaced with decorative roman shades. However, even with the roman shades down, they did little to block our neighbour’s floodlight at night! The family room is where we watch TV and the floodlight was aimed right toward where I sit on the sofa. While it was SO distracting for me (Hubs was well out of the flood path), it eventually became more of a distraction for Hubs (who had to listen to me constantly complain about it).

Since the not so well kept secret to a good marriage is happy wife = happy life, the roman shades came down and the blinds went back up. While it solved one problem, the look of the window suffered. One day, I thought “why not have the best of both worlds”? One option could have been to replace the lining of the roman shades with blackout lining. However, I didn’t want to block the light completely during the day. The final solution was to keep both window coverings!

We now needed to come up with a way to attach the roman shade onto the existing blind. The best spot for that was along the top header. However, we didn’t want to permanently attach anything.

We started by measuring each header and cutting a piece of wood to that length. We painted the wood white and let it dry.

To thread the cords to work the roman shades, you’ll need three eye screws per section of wood.

Attach the three eye screws to the bottom edge of the wood. Cut two pieces of velcro hook and loop tape the same size as the wood. Take the first piece of velcro, peel back the adhesive backing and stick the loop side (the one with the fuzzy texture) onto the face of the wood.

On the header of the blind, use the second piece of velcro and attach the hook side.

Turn the wood around to the other side and peel back the adhesive on the hook side of the velcro. Attach the velcro.

Find a large enough surface to spread out one section of the roman shade; wrong side up (we used our sectional sofa). Fasten the last piece of velcro (loop) to the top of the shade as shown below.

Connect the wood piece to the roman shade as shown. The fuzzy side of the velcro will be facing outward.

If there’s a cord pull on the cords, untie and remove it so you have access to the three individual cords.

Now, how you thread the cords will vary according to how your want to open and close your shades. If you want left-hand access, string the cords through the eye hooks as shown below.

The first string goes through all three eye hooks, the second string through two and the last string through only one of the eye hooks. All three strings will hang down the right side.

For right hand access, string through the eye hooks in the opposite direction so the three strings are gathered on the left side.

Take the roman shade to the window and connect the velcro on it to the velcro on the header.

With all three cords threaded through the eye hooks, you can now attach the cord pull on the bottom and tie the three strings into a knot to hold them together. If you have excess cord, roll it up and tuck it into the pull.*

* About Cord Safety [re Children and Pets]

We don't have children or pets, which is why we used only one cord pull on the cords. Be aware that curtain cords can present a choking hazard, so take steps to ensure your children's safety. Whether the shade is up or down, make sure that children cannot reach the cords. Tie them high out of reach. To prevent children from climbing up to reach the cord, keep sofas, chairs and other furniture away from the window. Lastly, instead of one cord pull, use individual plastic tassels or a breakaway device at the end of the cords.

You can buy special cleats to wind the three strings from the roman shade around, but a screw will work just as well. Adjust the roman shade to the height where you want it, tie a loop in the three strings and slip it over the screw.

Here’s how the first shade will look when hung.

Continue on with the two other sections in the same manner until all three roman blinds are hung and adjusted to where you want them.

The window dressing dilemma is no more! Just close the blinds when you want privacy at night or lift them out of the way when you want the light to pour in during the day.

Now you have the best of both worlds: a beautiful roman shade to compliment your decor and adjustable blinds so you can easily control the amount of light coming into the room.

If you ever move and want to take the roman shades with you, you can just remove them along with the strips of wood, and peel off the velcro on the header. You’ll have perfectly presentable blinds again to leave behind! I don’t know what the chances are that you’ll have the same size windows, but you never know; it’s just nice to have options!

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Suggested materials:
  • Horizontal blinds   (big box store)
  • Roman shades   (custom made)
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 36 questions
  • Donna Dodson Donna Dodson on Sep 07, 2019

    I want to whiten my woven wood Roman shades. Now they are brown and I want white or off white. Can the brown ones be painted ? Cover it with a fabric? Help

  • Bruna Bruna on Sep 09, 2019

    Can you install this it without having the Venetian blinds?

  • Leslie Leslie on Feb 21, 2022

    Lovely shade but did you ever inform your neighbor about their light?

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