We get reader questions all the time on a wide range of dilemmas. We enjoy offering suggestions and solutions and really love hearing back with the results. April in Virginia wrote awhile ago with her window treatment dilemma – and it’s a doosey!
April wrote, “I rent a studio apartment in northern VA and have a very large window that takes up most of my back wall. It is 16′x 5′. It has been impossible to find a curtain rod long enough, so I resorted to decorative hooks (meant for the back of a bathroom door, entry way, etc.), on which I have hung 3 panels of sheers. After 3 years of staring at this creation, I’m starting to hate it more every day…especially the odd length of the sheers, but I’m at a loss as to what to do to make it better. Here are my limitations:
- I rent, so I’m limited in the way of making “permanent” changes and I can’t take down the blinds.
- The frame of the window is metal, and surrounds the window by about 4″ above and to the sides.
- The blinds frame above/just inside the top of the window is just hideous, and needs to be hidden…but there are only a few inches of space above the windows, and any nails would be going into metal.
- I love the light coming in, so I’d prefer to stick with sheers.
- Single girl’s budget! – I’d appreciate any help you can give!”
What architect comes up with these designs anyway? I can see that the windows would provide lots of light, but being surrounded by so much metal that you can’t install drapery hardware is …. ridiculous! I searched my archives for ideas and found this great solution. (I gave her a couple of options, but this is the one that caught her imagination.)
I responded: Do you see how they did this great valance? It’s hung from hooks in the ceiling – like small plant hanging hooks or if you’re using sheers that don’t weigh anything, they could almost be small cup hooks. What I like is that it softens and would hide the top of the ugly part of the blinds but because it’s hung from the ceiling you don’t have to worry about nails into metal. Put the hooks maybe 2-3” or so out from the wall for some dimension. And the gentle draping is really pretty. If you can’t find something ready made that’s long enough (116″ is really long) or the right colors, etc. this would be SUCH an easy look to make.
Even if you’re not a sewer, you can certainly use an iron and iron on hem tape. Buy a length of fabric that’s ½ the length of your window (plus a few inches for turning back raw edges) then iron hem it into one long straight piece (iron the 2 together in the middle to avoid having to waste any length). If you like the idea of the double valance, the one showing underneath doesn’t have to be a full 14-18” wide piece but just a little more than you want to show. So if you want to have 3-4” show under the main valance (which I would recommend at about 12”), then cut a piece about 6” wide and piece together enough pieces for your total length by sewing or iron hemming and then using the iron tape again to attach it to the main valance piece.
Buy the little inexpensive clip hooks available at any drapery department and clip to your valance in evenly spaced lengths and hang from the small hooks. I’m not sure if you want the long side panels but if you do want that extra finishing touch, you can either hang them mostly off the edge of the windows to maximize light into the apartment or hang the usual way where they cover part of the window surface.
Excited About an Idea
“WOW! You completely outdid yourself! What a wonderful, wonderful idea! I am definitely going to use it. How wonderful it will be to have window treatments that I made and can be proud of, as opposed to just finding something to cover up the ugly window frame. I am so excited to get started! I’ve been telling my co-workers about your site all day. Thank you SO much! YourDecoratingHotline.com will absolutely be my go-to spot for decorating ideas from now on!” April was clearly thrilled with the idea.
And the best part? She acted on the idea and was nice enough to share her results. In the follow-up April wrote, “I want to thank you AGAIN for your fantastic ideas for dressing my huge window. I finally got them sewn (a friend helped) and hung up yesterday…total cost was less than $100!!!”
“ When I went to the fabric store, all of the nice drapery fabrics were around $30/yd and I needed 8½ yards! I thought it was just going to be out of my price range at that point. Well, a sales associate came by and suggested that I look in the remnant stacks but I figured my chances of finding a remnant that big were slim to none. I was searching through the remnants and found a piece of fabric that was exactly what I’d had in my head. I couldn’t believe it, but still was less than hopeful about it being big enough. I had it measured and guess what…it was exactly 8½ yards! AND, not only was it cheaper because it was a remnant, but for the first time the manager had decided to put the remnants on sale. I paid $6.75/yd for fabric that was $30/yd! Awesome!!”
April had some inspiration, a plan and a little luck to find such great pricing. And what a fabulous improvement to the style of the window. Way to go April – it looks lovely! And thanks so much for sharing your project. Maybe you’ll inspire others to make changes too!
Share Your Project
We’d love to see more from our readers. Do you have a room that you’ve made some changes in and are pleased with your solutions? Or, even if you’re not satisfied yet, that’s a learning experience as well. We love to hear from you! Send an email to email@example.com or leave a Comment below.
If you haven’t done so yet, please take 2-3 minutes and complete our quick 10 question survey. It’ll help us determine what you want more of and how we can best serve you all. There’s a big SURVEY button at the top of the sidebar or click here.