Believe it or not, amidst all of the hideousness going on right now, we closed on a house late last month. We’re not in a high-density area for the virus, like you are. However, we’re still under the same restrictions.
The house needs some updating. (understatement)
It’s a 60s center hall colonial. And, yes, the previous owners had granny decor taste. Lots of ditzy flowers and ruffles and stained oak. Fortunately, I don’t have a husband who turns into the incredible hulk if you even mention painting the stained wood. He totally gets it and is handy that way.
I’m an art teacher in an elementary school. I’ll get paid even if they cancel school for the rest of eternity. However, I guess they could decide to cut art if the economy keeps on tanking. Gosh, if that happens, I am so screwed. Sigh, as we know, they’re so fond of cutting the classes that give some of these kids a reason to live. Did you ever hear of a kid who HAD to have algebra or else he was going to jump off a bridge?
Sorry, I guess that was inappropriate. I’m tired, Laurel. I was so looking forward to spring break after our move. But, I don’t know what to think anymore.
My husband works at another school, but in the same school district, as the band teacher. Yeah, another occupation with great job security. (That’s sarcasm in case that’s not clear.) He plays the trumpet and used to give trumpet lessons to about a dozen kids after school and on Saturday. That “extra” income was going to be used for our decorating budget. I mean, wouldn’t you know that he teaches the one instrument that’s spewing out billions of aerosolized God-knows-what, with every toot of the horn.
How are we even alive? I don’t understand what’s going on. We’ve lived with viruses and bacteria all of our lives. But, rarely do they kill anyone who started out as healthy.
Oh gosh, sorry for the rambling, Laurel. I know you must have better things to do than to listen to my whining. It’s that we’re house poor and have 21 windows that are covered in paper shades.
So, I looked at some of your ultimate window treatment guide. And, from what I can ascertain, not including installation, it would be thousands of dollars; uh, like tens of thousands. I asked a friend who has a gorgeous professionally decorated home. And yep. That’s what it is.
We just don’t have that kind of money to spend.
But, dang, we work hard. I do want something nice. God forbid, we have anything one might construe as “granny decor.” I laughed so hard when I read that post, I think I fractured a rib. No worries, it was probably just a little gas.
Well anyway, the absolute most we can afford right now for all 21 windows is $3,000.
We need budget window treatments that don’t look it! You’re probably sitting there, rolling your eyes, thinking I’m barking mad. I just hope you can pull something out of your magic hat, Laurel. Of course, I mean in a blog post. I love your ideas!
Thanks so much Sara. Wow, she sounds so much like me. I guess ’cause it IS me. haha Or, rather, one of my fictional pieces.
So, I’ll go easy on “Mrs. Covideo.”
But, here’s what really did happen that inspired this post about budget window treatments. I wrote Sunday about 18 affordable home decor ideas you’re going to love. And boy did you. Sunday and Monday together were a two-day record number of page views on this website! Thanks guys!
One of my favorite time-wasters is to watch real-time on Google analytics.
This is a little esoteric, but it’s like Tetris, but without the anxiety. If this is mildly interesting to you, here is a screen shot from Monday at 12:20 pm. (if you couldn’t care less, please skip ahead.)
I took the shot because 213 is my lucky number. It was my late brother’s birthday. Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with GA real-time, the lines on the right are page views per second on my website. If there is nothing, that second did not get a new page view. Others got 1 – 3 page views. The most page views I’ve ever gotten in a minute is about 105. And, in one hour, the most is about 4,000 page views. That’s pretty rare. I know. Crazy!
The graph on the left are the last 30 minutes.
And, how many page views per minute. When I discovered this massive time-waster in 2013, I was getting maybe two or three page views an HOUR! That’s at a peak time. lol Otherwise, maybe nothing at all in the wee hours. However, the blog was growing rapidly, starting at the end of 2013.
So, you can see how far I’ve come in 6.5 years. This is about double the normal traffic for a Monday mid-day.
Okay, sorry for that bit of self-indulgence.
Except, if you have a website and want to know how a computerphobe managed to accomplish this, please look into my blogging guide. It is actually my favorite product of all of my guides. I love them all, but the blogging guide is my heart and soul.
Back to the topic at hand.
The next day, I realized that there is a glaring omission in that post. There’s no mention of budget window treatments.
But, here’s what’s kind of funny. Before I wrote that post, I received a lovely email with a photo from Beverly, another talented reader. She sent it to me after the post about the kitchen renovation featuring the way cool Roman shades.
And, I can see why.
Isn’t this an awesome bathroom?
And, get this. She told me the Roman shade was from Bed, Bath & Beyond! But, she added the trim. Well, just holy wow! I am totally impressed.
I know. You want to know where the wallpaper is from.
Yes, I’d like to know that, too. I’d try to find it, but I figure it would be better to get a little sleep, at this point. Did you know? In the back of Laurel’s Rolodex is a section that tells you a clever trick on how to find the source of anything when you have no idea where it’s from. I have about a 75% success rate using this method.
Note nine hours after publishing: A kind reader emailed to let me know that the wallpaper is Luzon by Thibaut.
There may be some online sources that sell this wallpaper. Warning to those, not in the trade, be verrry careful with the roll size. Pay no attention to the terms double or single roll. Pay attention to the actual size of the roll, square-foot it covers and repeat. And, allow at least 10% more for waste.
So, I want to share with you some ideas you may or may not have thought of to get the look for less money.
A lot less in many cases.
This talented designer, Darnetha, actually stenciled the shade.
But, not only do I love the stencil design, her use of color is gorgeous.
Custom window treatments are very expensive. Therefore, we’re going to go over some ways you can create the custom look for a fraction of the price.
Before I go on… I realize that a number of readers are professional designers and there are also some fabulous window treatment workrooms represented here. And, I can see the smoke blowing out of your ears.
I want to make it perfectly clear to consumers, that if you can swing it, there is nothing like custom curtains, draperies, valances, shades, etc. That is because these are going to be crafted by hand. And, a great workroom is going to create your window treatments with love and pride in the work that they do. And so many details can be customized. There is a choice of lining, header, and on and on…
Unless you know how to sew and have an eight-foot work table, it won’t be quite the same.
However, if you can’t afford custom window treatments, all is not hopeless.
There is a lot of talk about using drop cloths or sheets.
Sure, drop clothes are cheap. But, they’re a very stiff canvas. I don’t know. But, it seems like there would need to be a lot of washing and ironing involved. I’m not sure if it’s worth it. If someone has experience with that one way or the other, please let us know.
And, then there are some no-sew options using those unorthodox materials. I’ve heard mixed reviews about stitch witchery. Therefore, I can no longer recommend it. My friend and interior and kitchen designer, Deborah Von Donop and I were chatting and she was telling me about a powder that’s supposed to work really well to make no-sew window treatments.
Does anyone know anything about that?
Please forgive me. This post is more about what is possible to make budget window treatments look expensive; not so much the process.
But, since I don’t know a lot about that, and it sounds like a LOT of work, I’m going to stick with the ready-made variety of curtains. And, from there, we can look into our embellishment options.
I found some great deals at Pottery Barn, Overstock, BBB, JC Penny and I’m sure there are also window treatments art Target. On and on… I’ve linked to some in a widget coming up.
Pottery Barn linen curtains
But, the first idea, is what we can do with a plain white linen, cotton, or linen/cotton blend curtain. I would recommend one that isn’t too sheer, if you are planning on adding some trim. An exception would be if you are planning on stenciling or painting the trim on.
This is one of my favorite mood boards from the Laurel Home paint and palette collection. There are 40 of these boards and 40 palettes. And, guess what my favorite part is? Yeah, the curtains with that awesome trim.
I swiped the design from darling Kelly Wearstler. Remember her? She’s the decorator who got arrested in Florida for practicing without a license.
Sorry, (but not really) for the click bate. It’s a very entertaining post. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Originally, I think I saw this on Pinterest. And, I had no idea of course, where it was from. Eventually, my editor, Elizabeth tracked it down to Kelly. The place is the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs, CA. And, I tracked this image down of the cool draperies – to the ish and chi – blog from seven years ago!
Well, I loved this trim so much (and still do) that I used it in at least four or five of the boards in my palette collection. But, I had no idea what the trim actually looked like, not folded up.
I began doing searches for running Greek key trim.
Or, I used its other term, “meander.” I used the word, “modern.” I spent a couple of hours on this.
I know. Nuts. But, actually, I love doing the research. I love that more than putting it all together. But, of course, I have to do that! haha. It’s just not as much fun.
Okay, so what did I do? Well, I went on picmonkey and created a grid and then I started recreating the parts I could see.
Part one. I did a screenshot and saved it. And then I came back and added the screenshot to what you see above, only I turned it upside down.
OMG! That’s it! I was so excited.
Then, I created the entire pattern including the top and bottom trim. The height of the trim is about 12″ – 14″. But, you could scale it a little bigger, if you need to. Kelly’s actually, IS bigger. Or, at least it is when it’s used as a valance.
In fact, I did find the pattern AFTER I had recreated it. I was glad that I got to figure it out. But, of course, if I had gone back and read my guide, I would’ve found it before I did the design.
This is a screenshot of my design on picmonkey. If you want what I think is a helpful tutorial on how to use picmonkey, click here. It’s not difficult and it’s a lot of fun. I’m completely self-taught. And, remember , I’m a (former) computerphobe.
note ten hours after publishing. I use picmonkey for all of my graphics including my mood boards. The images on the board are from photographs.
Above, is from one of the hotel rooms at the Viceroy in Palm Springs designed by Kelly Wearstler.
So, now the question is, how do you make this design on the bottom of a linen or cotton curtain?
Thank you, that is a very good question. I’m afraid that my abilities are more conceptual than actual. haha. This is why I rarely make anything. I lack the patience or fine motor skills, or something. It’s just not fun for me.
original source unknown
However, Kristi from Addicted 2 Decorating, loves doing this stuff. And, she’s super good at it. In this post, she puts together a gorgeous drape with one of my favorite Greek Key corner trims. The one above isn’t hers. But, her design is very similar.
In addition, you can see other posts I’ve done on the blog such as this one about all kinds of Roman shades and some great ideas to dress them up.
And, then there’s this post that I love that has some awesome dressed up roller shades.
Oh, my, I just found my sketch in the post above for the similar Roman shades my client has.
So, one way to create the design is with the tape, ala Kristi.
Another way would be to paint the design on. That would require a stencil and a tremendous amount of patience. But, it could be done.
And, of course, you can always add a beautiful trim down the fronts of the drapes. Above is from a job we did a few years ago.
Those, of course, are professionally created.
But, I want to talk about another favorite way to make budget window treatments look amazing.
And, this idea also works if your current drapes are too short.
These ikat curtains from World Market are super cheap. (and great reviews, too) However, they are also 84″ long.
The solution is to add a deep hem. We can also add a border to the front, but that isn’t essential. The fabric looks like it has a slight pattern because the ikat is showing through. I did that so that the folds would still show. But, usually, we do a solid pattern. I adore this look! And, have done it for clients who possessed some curtains that were too short. That was a gratifying solution.
Now, we need to go over some things NOT to do when working with budget window treatments.
Obviously, the hem is too deep. This is a ready-made, but if it was custom, this is a wonderful example of a low sill that is the perfect height for the hem. The drapes should be longer as well and go up several inches above the window.
Usually, the hem is from 14″ – 18″
Please remember not to use the back tabs on curtains. The only time I would ever consider using a rod pocket on a curtain is if it’s a stationary panel and gathered, like below.
pocket drape with a Kenney Turino rod and finial.
Otherwise, I feel that this treatment looks unprofessional and cheap. If you feel otherwise, it’s okay. But, to my eye, it just looks wrong.
We’ve been through this before, but since the marketplace is still so bound and determined to foist this on us, I feel compelled to remind those who might be swayed to understand that this is a 21st century abomination.
Here’s another one that’s wrong. Lovely panel, but the header looks like it’s stuck to the rod, not hanging from the rod.
What to do instead?
Always use rings with hooks.
And no clips, please, unless it’s a super casual room.
The curtain is supposed to be hanging on rings, like the pretty one above so that you can see the rod. Ideally. But I’ll forgive you if you did it like this. The manufacturers are not helping with this! They didn’t get that memo either!
Another great looking and inexpensive window treatment are these bamboo blinds, below. They’re great alone, or layered with curtains.
These are so cheap, I am wondering if they are okay. But the reviews are splendid. And they have many styles and sizes to choose from. (info in the link)
Please note that these are clearly NOT LINED. That means that they are not private. They will make the room darker, but at night, folks can see through them.
These blinds are terrific alone or underneath your curtains or drapes. You can see an example in this post.
And please enjoy more curtains, drapes and hardware in the widget.
(please click on the individual images for more info. Also, a few of these treatments are not super cheap, but not super expensive either. But, totally lovely, I think.)
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES And, actually, there are a lot of mid-week updates to see, this week.
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