Ideas for inexpensive yet stylish curtains?
June 20, 2006 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Window Dressing: Cheap, Creative, Easy – need I pick just two?

Okay, I know this forum isn't HomeDecoratingFilter, but you folks usually have good ideas.

I live in a rental studio apartment, and will be here for 12 more months. I have a very large East-facing wall of windows, with glass that is a total of about 17 feet wide and 5 feet tall. I'd like to cover this with something, mainly for the purpose of light control (I get pretty intense direct sunlight in the early half of the day).

My decor is fairly modern, bold colors, etc... I'd like to have something that looks nice. On the other hand, I want something simple and cheap that I can just slap up there. Don't want to be spending money or too much effort on this apartment which is rather temporary.

Any creative or design-oriented ideas, short of just making plain curtains on a rod?
posted by Dr. Sam to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The family I babysit for got these inexpensive window shades at Lowes (or Home Depot). They're basicly thick, off-white paper and you cut them to the right size and kinda clip them up. They actually look pretty nice (okay not creative) and do a good job blocking the light that blinds you in the kitchen. I'm going over there later, I'll see if I can get a better description for ya.
posted by radioamy at 12:42 PM on June 20, 2006

I've always liked this idea from ljc's blog. I haven't had a chance to try it out myself, though.
posted by peep at 1:10 PM on June 20, 2006 [2 favorites]

Country Curtains has a wide variety of simple shades and curtains. This may not be cheap enough for your needs but it would block light and heat, and of course these red leather shades would be... different.
posted by naomi at 1:15 PM on June 20, 2006

For my college apartment I bought an inexpensive "tapestry" that was made of this rough-woven cloth. Pinned it up, stapled a 1/2" dowel to the bottom for balast, rigged a pull thingy through eyehooks at the top of the window.

The pullthingy was 2 parallel strings with knots tied at regular intervals so I could ring it around a hook (about shoulder height, at the side of the window) for variable height open-ness.
posted by porpoise at 1:17 PM on June 20, 2006

I once got 2 cool twin sheets on clearance for about $7 total , and some black-out fabric from the fabric store for about $5 and took it to a seamstress to sew together and make a loop at the top for a curtain rod for $12. I hung a curtain rod, but you can probably get a tension rod for super cheap.

You don't even need the black-out fabric if bright light isn't a main issue, I just happened to have a street light shining in the sliding glass doors facing my bed.
posted by necessitas at 1:23 PM on June 20, 2006

Are you crafty?

Try this:
Buy a pair of dowels the width of the window. Buy attractive fabric of right dimension and sew sleeves for the dowels. Attach (hot glue or sew) the midpoint of two lengths of attractive ribbon to the back of the "top" dowel. Now you have a simple shade that can be rolled up and tied off for any amount of window coverage.

Top dowel can be afixed with cheap hardware, or you can use those curtain rod holders.

Alternatively you can buy the very cheap metal extendo curtain rods which come with hardware and sheath in fabric as described above, permanentaly afixed at top and bottom--downside is that you can raise the shade.

We built multiple versions of these shades (both types) as a "temporary" fix for our house, uh 7 years ago, and they look so good we've never deployed a more "permanent" fix.
posted by donovan at 1:48 PM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Are you crafty?

Try this:
Buy a pair of dowels the width of the window.

The only issue is, the window is 17 feet wide, without any real dividers in between segments :-)

Some of the ideas which involve whole sheets or tapestries seem to be my best bets so far, as long as I find the right one.

I just need to find some kind of curtain rod that I can easily suspend across 17 feet. My only points of attachment would be to the window frame above (i.e. a horizontal surface)
posted by Dr. Sam at 2:41 PM on June 20, 2006

No sew curtains

Curtain clips (more specifically)

More no sew curtains (I especially like the ideas in the bottom two photos)

Rods come in all sorts of lengths and styles (you'll probably have to use a bracket/support thingie). An alternate to a rod is a proper length of wire and turnbuckles for tension.

Fabric could be anything from bed sheets to voile to velvet depending on how much you want to spend. Check out discount fabric shops and places like Joanne's and Fabricland for deals. Marshalls and Ross usually have discounted sheets and curtains/drapes in stock.

Home Depot and Lowes have "design centers" and will probably may have staff who can help. Also, Ace Hardware is a good source (more likely to find help, too).
posted by deborah at 2:51 PM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Try this cable system. You can mount it to the walls.
posted by necessitas at 3:11 PM on June 20, 2006

Oh wait, I forgot about the cheap part. Scratch that, but maybe you can rig up the same sort of system with supplies from the hardware store.
posted by necessitas at 3:13 PM on June 20, 2006

Can you maybe get a portable screen that you can place in front of the window at certain times of day for privacy and for blocking light? When you move, you can take it with you!
posted by printchick at 3:18 PM on June 20, 2006

Best answer: You could rasterbate any digital image and apply directly to the window with some sort of easy- to-remove spray glue. Use a thicker stock for more light filtration, or use a layer of paper between the image and the glass.

You could find a funky fabric (lighter-weight fabrics work better for this), completely saturate it in liquid startch, and spread it onto the glass using something like a wallpaper brush. When you're sick of it or ready to move, it peels right off and the residue washes off easily. You can also use this trick to jazz-up a wall.
posted by theperfectcrime at 3:30 PM on June 20, 2006

Of course both of those ideas prevent you from actually being able to, oh, you know...look out the window! That is, unless you left a strip or area of the window uncovered.
posted by theperfectcrime at 3:37 PM on June 20, 2006

I like printchick's idea. Pricey, but you can take it with you.
posted by porpoise at 7:11 PM on June 20, 2006

Best answer: If you live near an Ikea, they sell a cable system also - very reasonably priced. You might be able to rig more than one to cover the span.
posted by FuzzyVerde at 8:00 PM on June 20, 2006

If you're into the screen idea, there are lots of less expensive options around also.
posted by FuzzyVerde at 8:05 PM on June 20, 2006

« Older Help me find the right dog!   |   DHCP Name Game Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.