You don't have to purchase custom made shades to make your windows look great! I'm going to share with you my review of some gorgeous whitewash bamboo shades that I found online for under $50!
When I first saw whitewash bamboo roman shades paired with gorgeous drapes, I fell absolutely in love with how it looked in all of these bloggers homes.
My home decor taste tends to lean on the white cottage, farmhouse style, even though I live in a typical suburban home. I knew that getting some gorgeous natural bamboo shades to pair with my linen drapes would add the touch that I needed.
I really wanted to replace these old faux wood blinds that the previous owners had in the house.
While I knew it was probably really expensive for them to install, my little babies were pulling on the strings.
Not only that, some of my windows had the crank at the bottom, so the custom fit wood blinds would topple all over the crank head, and I was NOT a fan.
If you guys are anything like me, I know you may have a hard time parting with those expensive blinds that previous owners had put in. However, I'm going to share with you how I never looked back after replacing those dusty old faux wood blinds with some gorgeous whitewash bamboo roman shades that I purchased from Amazon at HALF the prices of your custom drape and blind stores!
Here's the before photo of our windows:
I'll also let you know the EXACT ones I have so that you can make a decision for yourself on whether you want to replace your interior window treatments that will give your windows a facelift and replace the guilt you have for replacing those old blinds!
As the happy owner of these gorgeous blinds, here's my honest and hands-on review of Arlo Blinds Cordless Whitewash Bamboo Shades:
Arlo brand whitewash bamboo shades are a great alternative option to buying custom shades at specialty stores. These bamboo shades have great light-filtering capabilities, an easy-to-use cordless left function, and beautiful texture to bring personality to any room. In addition, these pre-made shades are typically five times less than purchasing them custom made online.
Let's go into the details.
(Or you can get started buying these gorgeous shades right here.)
Pricing Out Custom Shades versus Standard Size Shades
As a newbie, the first thing you probably did was go to a very popular custom drape store like SelectBlinds.com or Blinds.com to put in your window measurements to get an estimate on how much window treatments could cost. And I'm sure you were as shocked as I was when you wanted to do a teeny upgrade to choose the fabric you wanted as well as features like privacy lining and cordless options.
In my experience of estimating the cost for window treatments similar to the ones I ended up buying on Amazon, each window would cost $250 - $300. My Amazon option was $50 (and that was shipped.)
I'm sure you are wondering what you lose by choosing the standard Amazon version. Read on!
Choosing Between Custom Fit Roman Shades or Standard Roman Shades
If you choose to go the custom route, you get to choose every single thing so that your window treatment fits EXACTLY how you want without any comprises. This includes the width, height, lining options (there are a ton), lining on the outside of the fabric, and not to mention the fabric.
Purchasing shades from Amazon typically requires you to choose the fabric you want, choosing from a list of standard sizes heights, and the width of the window to the next 1/2 inch.
In my experience, as long as you have a standard size window, you can save a lot of money going the Amazon route. For example, for the shades I needed in our bedroom, I had to have three shades that were right next to each other. While I could choose the width I needed, the height was about 6 inches too long. However, because they are cordless shades, I was able to let them sit right above the crank without them looking bad scrunched up at the bottom.
In addition, with the Amazon roman shades I purchased, I had the option to choose from another product if I wanted a lined window treatment.
My Review of the Arlow Blinds Whitewash Bamboo Roman Shades
After looking at the price tag, I was a bit skeptical. But as I started reading the reviews on them, I got more and more intrigued. Most of them had all positive things to say. I went ahead and purchased it after sleeping on it a couple days.
In synposis, I couldn't be happier! I am so glad I saved over $500 and got shades that fit perfectly in our space.
We're three weeks in, I absolutely love our Arlo Blinds bamboo roman shades. I only have one complaint, and it's the inconsistency of how level the valences are. However, this might not be a problem for you if you are only covering one window. I'll talk more about this below.
The Best Things About the Arlo Blinds Whitewash Bamboo Shades
Light Filtering with the Bamboo Shades
While they do not have a privacy lining, they do offer light filtering. It's plenty of shade for a nap during the day.
When I first got them out of the box, I could tell they were very well made. I've been reading other blogs where people have made their own DIY bamboo shades, and the ends looked completely awful (like uneven natural fibers on the ends). I was really worried when I purchased these, but when they arrived, they all had even ends that looked great.
I was skeptical about the cordless lift and how it worked. Let me just say, it's amazing. I'm not sure the science behind how it works, but literally you give the shades a push, and they gather and push up together. It's amazing. No cords in this house!
Installation was a freaking breeze. It took all but 30 minutes to install. There were two pieces of hardware along with screws. It took more time to remove the old blinds than it did putting up the new shades!
Literally, they were about 5X less than custom order bamboo shades. Enough said.
Texture and Tone of Material
I absolutely LOVE the whitewash bamboo roman shades, but the Amazon reviews show the other textures in real homes as well. I, again, was skpetical of what it would look like against my white linen curtains. However, my fears were eliminated when we put these shades up!
There are over 150 reviews on Amazon for these roman shades. With 75% positive and with my review, you've got a 3 out of 4 shot of loving them! Why not try them out with a chance of saving 5x the cost?
Things I Didn't Like About Arlo Blinds Whitewash Bamboo Shades
Color Options Online
With Amazon, you can't exactly order samples of the shades like you could with the other online shade shops. Also, the fabric options that are displayed online aren't the greatest either. I didn't want the dark shade of brown bamboo. I really wanted the lighter whitewash shade of bamboo to go with my neutral home color. When they arrived, they looked BETTER than the color options online! I just wish that the pictures on their site would give it more justice!
No Blackout Lining
Depending on what style you order, most of these Arlo blinds offer semi-privacy. You wouldn't want to change right in front of one of these shades! It doesn't block a lot of light, but like I said, it was good enough to block them for a nap if you don't need full blackout.
Okay, you know that if you go the Amazon route versus buying from a custom online shop, you have to compromise on something. There are standard sizes of shades that are offered. By ensuring you measure your windows correctly (order 1/2" or 1/4" smaller if you can't find the exact size), you'll be able to choose one that will look great for your windows.
Multiple Roman Shades Together Have Inconsistent Valence Hangs
If you have windows that you are covering that are side by side, just know that the consistency of the valance when it hangs down will not be the proper size. We had three windows, and they were off about 2 inches. It looks really wonky right now, but I think I can fix it by gathering the top section closest to the window sill and shifting the valence up to match the other windows.
Ugly Backside to the Shades
The strings for the cordless lift are really ugly in back. If you have windows that face a street or are in front of your house, you may not want to use these. The windows that I use have a screen and between the window glass, so it's not noticeable at all.
Arlo Whitewash Bamboo Shades are an affordable alternative to more expensive custom made shades, such as SelectBlinds.com and Blinds.com. While they can be customized in width to the half inch, Arlo Blinds cannot be custom sized in height.
These are the exact ones I got:
If you are looking to add some shades to your windows, I would definitely give Arlo Blinds a try on Amazon. Arlo is a reputable company that is known for it's affordable prices and quality blinds. If you google them, you'll find them sold on Walmart and various other places as third party retailers. Trust me when I tell you that Amazon is going to be your best bet because of ease, but also because of 2 day shipping!
While Arlo's Cordless Whitewash Bamboo Natural Shades are the only ones I have personally tried, I definitely give it my stamp of approval for shades in your home.
If there's another brand of affordable shades that you think I should try and share a review of, let me know in the comments and I'll make sure I get some ideas out for you!
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
All in all, I fully recommend Arlo Blinds Whitewash Bamboo Shades and think they are really affordable and would look and function great in any home!
More Window Treatment Inspiration
If you want more ideas for window treatments, below is a round up of some of the posts I have for helping you design your space with window covering options like roman shades, shutters, curtains, and drapes for your living area.
- Two Story Living Room Curtain Tips, Considerations, and Where to Buy
- Hack to Lengthen Curtain and Drape Panels
- How to Hang Curtains Like a Professional
- Choosing the Right Fabric Color for Your Farmhouse Style Curtains and Drapes
- Affordable Whitewash Bamboo Roman Shades Farmhouse Style
- Faux Composite Wood Shutters Honest Review