This is a post that I've been meaning to write for probably almost a year now.
In most of the house, I'm planning to use Roman Shades (the master bedroom ones are STILL not made, despite the fact that I have already bought 90% of the materials needed for them), but for the office (aka computer room) I wanted more window & lighting options, and I wanted a sheer curtain (to be eventually paired with a top-down & bottom-up Roman shade).
Back when I was living in my apartment, I was a huge fan of tab-top curtain panels on simple rods. I had come up with a brilliant and extremely inexpensive curtain rod setup that cost only about 6-7$, and they were in all the main windows.
What did I use, you may be asking? A 5$ chrome shower rods (in 6 foot lengths) paired with some specialty 1" hoop holders I was able to find. To plug the open ends, I just found some 1" plug caps at the hardware store, and Boom! Beautiful, professional (and very strong) curtain rods for 6-7$ each.
I've also heard that a lot of people use electrical conduit pipes, which are a bit thinner, and also very cheap & strong. Who really wants to pay 50-60$ for a metal pole?
Here's the break down of all the components I used:
As you can see, there are also chrome grommets and shower curtain rings. These were to add a bit of a classier look to the huge sheer panel that I found at my local thrift store. I have tall ceilings (100 inches) and I needed a panel that was close to "floor-to-ceiling" length.
With the grommets in place, and all the hardware mounted, it turned out looking like this, and I couldn't be happier. Since this was all re-used hardware from my apartment, I only spent about 3-4$ on the rings and grommets, and I believe the sheer panel was under 10$.