Purchasing drapes, window curtains, or coverings can be expensive. This guide is about frugal window curtains.
Easy yet elegant curtains
Approximate Time: 3 hours
The curtains I made used a 3 inch rod. I hemmed the material to allow for 3 1/2 inches. I allowed enough fabric to make a slight ruffle at the top. Too much ruffle will cause the curtains to bunch up and they will not hang properly. Make them a length that you will feel comfortable with.
For the sides, I used a contrasting color. I used fabric that would fit the length of the window after hemming. I hemmed all sides of this fabric then used safety pins to hang them from the top corners of the top curtain and used the same trim that I attached to the tie at the top to gather the top ends.
These are very easy to make and my parents "whom I made them for" love them!
By Jean from Forest Lake MN
For really frugal and warm curtains, I purchased two of those fleece throws that are on sale for under $5 and used the inexpensive gold clips. The two throws fit a 76 inch picture window nicely, and they come in dark colors also nice for wintertime. Mine came with a nice cloth bow tied around it which I used for tiebacks.
By Peggy N. from Canastota, NY
Editor's Note: If you need larger curtains:
I've always had an unconventional way of decorating and this is just one of many examples.
This kitchen window treatment is actually a bed sheet topped with a valance. Table-cloths, shower curtains, and bed-sheets can all be used to create unique window treatments and doorway draping.
There's no sewing involved. Just a staple gun and an imagination!
By April from Albany, Ga
If you have a window that for some reason you cannot put a curtain on (e.g., you can't mar the wall or door to put up a curtain rod, you are a renter, it doesn't fit your design aesthetic, etc.), consider using adhesive-free static cling window film.
Think of the little UV stickers that come on new pairs of sunglasses; they cling to the surface of the glasses without glue and remove easily with no mess. They now make versions of this material in three foot wide rolls meant for windows, mirrors, and other smooth surfaces.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot, Menard's, Lowe's etc. carry a convenient but limited selection, but a simple Google search (try "window cling film") will turn up several companies that now make window film in hundreds of styles.
They have everything from simple frosted or tinted glass, to stained glass, to art deco, to country folk art designs, to various faux beveled glass designs and more. Some of the online companies I have seen are now also making cling film boarders and decorative corner cutouts for those who don't need or want to cover the whole window but have a particular look they are trying to achieve.
It is a great product for renters because it goes on and comes off in minutes. It can be used for privacy, to diffuse sunlight or avoid UV damage to carpets, for insulation, to hide a bad view, or simply for a decorative touch.
The product has been out for a few years, but having Googled it recently, I was amazed by all of the new designs that are now available.
By Tahlula from Northfield, MN
By Karen 2
I need some ideas for thrifty curtain rods.
Teacups95 from Fort Wayne, IN
How good do things have to be? I bought a 99 cent shower curtain, mostly because the pattern/color was so right - and 10 months later it's still going and we are thinking of packing up. So a word to students and other transients - maybe the cheap colorful version will do you just fine for as long as you need it.
By Pam from L.A., CA
Being a new homeowner I didn't have enough curtains for all my windows, particularly the small kitchen window above the sink. I took a pillowcase and split the seams and cut it in half at the end, hemmed them and made a temporary pair of curtains for the window. They fit perfect and the pattern matches the wallpaper in the kitchen!
I want to hang thermal curtains in my living room this winter to conserve heat. I only have one big triple window in the livingroom and would like to put a wrought iron rod across the top and hang (preferably) tab top curtains on it. Naturally I do not want to spend a fortune on this project. Does anyone have any sugestions to do this frugally? I want to save as much money as possible.
December 10, 2009
I have two patio doors facing northeast in NH , I found that if I used Plain light weight White Blankets, as liners to my drapes this works well for me. I found four older Blankets at a Thrift store, already soft One side had a print the back side of the blanket was a white/cream color. Tacking with small sitches by hand or on the machine, alone the top of the drapes / blanket to the back side, just under the hook pockets, white side facing outward, Print doesn't even show, cut the extra off at the bottom, Blocks the cold in the winter months, darkens the room in the hot summer months so it's a win / win all year round Than the white blanket stops the drapes from fading. These four blankets have paid for thems self many times over.
By Ryan 1
I have found a second hand, king comforter the same as the one I currently have on my bed. I have 5 windows that I have not been able to treat affordably. The material of the comforters is a gold on red, good quality material.
I thought I might be able to convert to curtain panels since I now have 2 x the fabric to work with. I then could update with a solid and use the shams, etc. as accents. How would I go about making this idea take life. I have basic sewing skills, but don't want a basic look. Please help.
By Ryan from Madison, MS
June 27, 2010
One good idea is to measure the windows first and decide on the fullness, i.e.: 1+1/2 the width or 2x the width for fullness in the drape. Then, if your a bit nervous here is a super simple method that looks great! Purchase decorative hooks from a fabric store, usually in the drapery area. These come in varied colors, metals and have numerous tops that are decorative, i.e. fleur de lis, stars, plain etc.
1: You will need to decide first how many clips you will need by measuring across your fabric and dividing by how ever many will hold up the curtain quite neatly without gaps, along the top, usually 1 ring/clip for every 4", to provide a clean look. Don't go cheap here it will look real shabby. Ask the rep in the fabric drapery area, they know more than most of the clerks will. You can even take your fabric in and ask them to quickly show you how this will work.
2: Make your curtain into the rectangle, square [whatever size you have decided] by sewing up a folded over, neat hem on all sides.
3: Attach the clips across the top evenly measured out.
4: Slip the clip loops onto your curtain rod.
* You can reverse these steps 3 & 4 if you want to.
5: Hang curtain rods in the wall attachments.
6: Stand back to admire your super work!
~ You could still add a valance across the top in front of the curtain by using a valance curtain rod.
Perhaps you will have enough with the pillow shames sewn together length wise into one longer piece.
Or, If pillow shams are quite a good size, you could cut them in half horizontally and then have four lengths to sew together to create one long length of cloth to form the valance. Most valances are about 12" -14" deep
Sew a simple set of hems across the top of the length of fabric. These are only as far apart as the width of your valance rod plus a half inch or so for ease of sliding the curtain across it.
*Just think 2 horizontal lines, a couple inches [whatever] apart. The rod will go through these. If you want to enhance and jazz the valance up a bit, sew a length of beading or trim across the bottom hem. Will look super!
I hope this helps you? If it isn't clear, just repost and I will look in a few days to clarify.
Cheers !! Good luck....YOU CAN DO IT.
After Christmas sales are fantastic this year. I got some sheer white fabric with green holly leaves and red berries, there is also some gold metallic thread running through it. It was 70% off. I used some fabric glue and whipped up some sheer winter curtains by folding the edges over and gluing the edges and folding them over. I folded the top edge over twice, leaving room for a long 40 inch bamboo pole that I cut from my yard. The pole slips through the second loop. I could use long and fairly straight twigs instead of bamboo.
By Christine from Dover, DE
Does anyone know of a good website where I can find ideas about curtains and window dressing? I need pictures as I'm not too good at describing what I've seen. Interior design sites seem to be too general. Any suggestions would be much appreciated
Cettina from Malta, Europe
March 26, 2009
Go to " Curtains and Window Dressing ", lots of pictures & info there, good luck.
By Grace M. 1
When you lose the little ring on your tie back that lets you pull the curtain to the side, use a curtain ring. It is easy and there is no sewing.
After Christmas sales are a great time to buy festive winter fabrics to make simple square curtains. Use fabric glue, fold the edges over. Fold the top edge over again leaving room for a bamboo pole or twigs to thread through to hang curtains. I just hung the pole on top of the old curtain rod.
By Christine from Dover, DE
I have a bedroom with two double hung windows on one wall, but they are not centered on the wall. What kind of window treatments should I use?
Mary from Sleepy Hollow, Illinois
I would go with floor length. Sheers with a valance or Sheers with opaque. It depends on the style of the room you are going for.
Another idea to "Center" that window: Measure how far off center the window is from each side of the windows edge to the corner where walls meet subtract the short measurement from the long one buy a curtain rod and install it so the first bracket is on the side of the window with the shortest distance. Place the second bracket matching the difference in inches away from the edge of the window on the opposite site.
EXAMPLE: Window is 18 inches from one side to corner. other side is 26 inches from other side to other
that is a 8 inch difference. First bracket on 18 inch side right to left edge of window, second bracket placed 8 inches from right edge of window (Or vice versa depending on long and short sides). This may seem crazy but it will make the window seem centered and the floor length curtain will make it appear larger than it is. I got this from a JC Penny installer a few years back (01/04/2007)
When making the window treatments for my family room I had no idea what to do with the tall window next to the slider. I made an extra shear as a fill in until I could think of something. I put up a pressure rod and hung it, then to protect it from my grabby toddler I flipped the end over the rod, making 3 layers, which I lined up evenly at the bottom, wrapped 2 shear wide ribbons around it (to hold it up) and tied bows at the bottom, so it looked scalloped. I've received more compliments on the quick fix curtain than all the others I've made. It works, it was quick and was about $3.
This sounds like a lovely idea. I am a little confused about where and how you tied the curtains. It was one panel or two. I have a window that could really benefit from this. How long was the panel when you were done relative to the window? Is it okay to decorate windows with just valences? Thanks
I have discovered that shower curtains can make great window drapery. Not the plastic liner stuff but the nylon fabric. You just hang your shower curtains on a rod with the shower curtain rings. There are some really nice patterns out there. Sheets also work well.
By Stephen from Clovis, NM
There are 3 windows in my livingroom, a single and a double. I was looking for some floral print curtains in a gold/green/maroon print, and having no luck until I found shower curtains in such a print with an attached valance with gold tassels. Perfect. I bought gold cord tiebacks with matching tassels, and they look very nice. I cut 1 panel in half and sewed the side seam for the single window, and used the other 2 panels for the double. Best of all, they were $8.00 a panel, with tie backs at 4/$4.oo each. (03/18/2008)
I love this idea, and I am going on a hunt for me some new shower curtain, curtains. I never thought of this idea and it sounds great. I can't wait to try it. Wish me luck. Thanks for sharing.
I used the shower curtain idea for my doorways. When we moved into our home, 10 interior doors were not on yet. So we used the shower curtains to give some privacy in the rooms until, one by one, we bought doors. Our dog enjoyed walking under them each night to do her regular bedcheck. Ha ha.(03/22/2008)
EGG-actly right. I love mine. I usually get silver extendable shower-rods, and silver curtain rings. In fact, I do have a plastic burgundy shower liner behind my navy blue curtain, and when the sun shines, it casts beautiful colors. (04/10/2009)
I have five large windows close together in my living room, and love to change my decor often. However getting curtains for all five can cost a bundle! I found that "Shower Curtains" go on sale quite often, and some styles are just stunning! You can use one curtain to cover two windows, and they still go on with the regular curtain rings (plain or fancy). If you try it just once, you'll be hooked! Using one shower curtain per window will give you a very plush look.
By dollyddg from Lynn, MA
I am thinking about using a shower curtain in place of my sliding closet doors. I can't stand it that I can only view one side of the closet at a time with the doors and the "curtains" will be much prettier. (10/12/2009)
Second the motion for this idea. I have done this for years. There are three windows in my living room, a double and a single. Three curtains do a good job. My current ones are a green/yellow/brown paisley print which coordinates well with the green carpet and brown couch. Best of all, they were only $5.99 a panel. (10/13/2009)
A wonderful idea! IKEA has some lovely shower curtains and they are very reasonably priced. Actually they are borderline cheap. (10/13/2009)
My family has done this since the late 80s, and there are pluses to doing it too. Shower curtains help block a lot of the heat/light from sunlight so your rooms may feel cooler, and if you forget and leave your windows open and rain blows in, they act as a protective barrier against the water. Regular curtains would just soak it up. (10/13/2009)
I just did this. I couldn't find curtains I liked that were also reasonably priced. So I took shower curtains, cut them and rehemmed the sides to make panels. Beautiful! (10/14/2009)
I agree! I have used one on west windows as a sort of "heat shield", (especially wonderful in TV room with picture window! Mine came from Dollar General for $5 each and I love the solid colored clear ones the best so I can see out. I also like using regular curtains to the side so I can close them at night. Ignore the foreground of the picture and look in the background where my use of shower curtains at the window got in the cam view!
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