Any ideas for cheap window coverings?
October 27, 2011 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Will be curtain-free for at least two months - any ideas for temporary window coverings for a 7 feet high bay window? Looking for inexpensive options that are more attractive than newspaper...
posted by janecr to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go to a thrift store or habitat for humanity home store if you have one near your. They often sell oddball lengths of fabric that you could hang over the window. At very least you could probably find an old plain white bedsheet.
posted by ghharr at 4:12 PM on October 27, 2011

If you have floorspace, maybe site a folding screen afore the window.

Bonus: really useful thing to have in general.
posted by Jehan at 4:12 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

What is the situation? Is it a temporary house where you can't put up a curtain rod, or your ancestral curtains are off being hand-sewn? What is the problem - it's a bedroom and you don't want people to see you changing, or you are trying to block out light, or keep in warmth?
posted by jacalata at 4:15 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Frost your windows. Recipe here (one of many that are out there, and read through the comments on the last link to Apartment Therapy).
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:24 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, not sure why you're curtain-free. If it has to do with budget, I made a rolling thermal shade for our french doors out of an old bed spread & assorted hardware. Attractiveness-wise, it's somewhere between newspaper and custom blinds; your results will vary depending on the bed spread you use. Thermally speaking, it's kick-ass. As for privacy, yup, it's opaque. Total cost was less than $15.
posted by richyoung at 4:25 PM on October 27, 2011

I agree with jacalata, we need more detail about what you're trying to accomplish here.

In the most literal sense, taping up white paper works well. You can get big sheets of poster board, or use printer paper, depending on the size of the windows. From the outside, from a distance of 10 feet or more, it looks completely unremarkable.
posted by ErikaB at 4:36 PM on October 27, 2011

Sheets (flat, not fitted!). Plus you can reuse them on your bed later.
posted by easily confused at 4:46 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The first couple nights we stayed at our new place we didn't yet have curtains, and we taped up papertowels with scotch tape.
posted by Nattie at 5:14 PM on October 27, 2011

The folding paper shades they sell at Home Depot aren't bad. they stick up with a removable adhesive and come with a clip so you can raise them during the day, and they don't look that different from real blind from a distance. Agree with others that we need to know what the issue is though, cost, warmth, privacy...?
posted by crabintheocean at 5:25 PM on October 27, 2011

Thrift-store sheets or blankets might work well.

Or else tinfoil's nice and sparkly.
posted by box at 5:39 PM on October 27, 2011

Art Stores have hand made papers that have things like roses or ferns embedded in the paper---or wax batik frogs (paper made in Bali). The paper can be affixed with a simple thin acrylic wash tacked at the corners. Lots of light comes through the papers, but they are opaque enough for privacy.
posted by effluvia at 5:41 PM on October 27, 2011

I have a friend that used seasonal wrapping paper to cover some windows. She did a layer facing out to the street and another to the inside. They were also almost floor to ceiling windows and she left the top two feet open. She would change the paper every month or two depending on a new theme (and finding appropriate wrapping paper.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:44 PM on October 27, 2011

Parchment paper or wax paper? They come in rolls, let in a bit of light and are somewhat water resistant.
posted by emeiji at 5:50 PM on October 27, 2011

Here's a way to use inexpensive fabric on your windows in a way that makes them look like they have window film/frosting. All you need is cheap fabric and spray starch.
posted by HopperFan at 6:44 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Dropcloth curtains! That's just one site; if you Google "dropcloth curtains" you'll find lots of examples. Supposedly the ones from Home Depot are the best for this.
posted by HotToddy at 7:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

HEre in New England it's not that uncommon for windows to go curtainless, unless a neighbor has a window that stares right in. I understand that it's different in other parts of the country, though.

When I had a window that stared right into a neighbor's, I got some cheap tempera paint and painted a floral fake stained glass design right on the glass. You mix the tempera with dishwashing soap, and paint it right on. Mine was on for 3 years, and when I moved I dipped a rag in hot water and it wiped right off (with a fair amount of rinsing).
posted by Miko at 8:08 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

these disposable window blinds affix with a sticker, and can be cut with scissors. the first one i found on amazon are 48"x90"
posted by askmehow at 8:58 PM on October 27, 2011

Fabric and thumbtacks or, better yet, 3M products? Bunch and/or twist it in the corners, and with a little tweaking - voila! "Greek" swag.
posted by DisreputableDog at 10:42 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! We're curtainless because windows are too big for standard curtains and have to be made to measure and for various reasons this is going to take a while. It is a ground floor living room which looks out on to a road which has a fair amount of traffic (pedestrians and cars) and so we want a bit of privacy on long dark nights. Should have said I'm in the UK -there might be different curtain culture here - would be unusual to have no window coverings at all, I think...
posted by janecr at 12:56 AM on October 28, 2011

Sheets work really well as a temporary solution.
posted by bardophile at 1:49 AM on October 28, 2011

Best answer: Consider using an inexpensive winterizing trick. Get bubble wrap. Spray the window with water and stick the bubble wrap (bubbles to the glass) to it. (The water will hold the bubble wrap in place, and it will stay long after the water evaporates.) It will let lots of light in, distort any visual image, and keep you warm.

Here's a link, for example.
posted by mbarryf at 5:45 AM on October 28, 2011

Tension spring curtain rods and flat sheets. This was a major window treatment staple for us when we moved a lot in college. Quick and easy with no hardware, screws, or nails involved. The sheets already have pretty much a built in casing that you thread the curtain rods through. If you're industrious and a seamstress you can add another seam so that the sheets gather nicely. I've also hemmed the bottom or let the fabric pool on the floor(depended on the heating system).
posted by PJMoore at 6:33 AM on October 28, 2011

Response by poster: Bubble wrap idea sounds perfect - am about to give it a try...
posted by janecr at 7:28 AM on October 28, 2011

Regarding askmehow's "disposable blinds" suggestion: I put three of these up in my kitchen and dining room. They were very easy to install, and look very nice as well. My plan was to leave them up long enough to get permanent blinds. That was a year ago. They still look and work great, so my motivation to replace them has waned.

(But I will replace them soon. I promise, dear.)
posted by The Deej at 10:01 AM on October 28, 2011

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