Better than before

by jenny on 18 May 2012 - 10:16pm

Yikes! Pictures are piling up and I haven’t had time to post. Here’s a quick run-through of my adventures in curtains.

For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to soften up the bare walls in my living room.

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I usually take my inspiration from YHL, but their often-recommended white curtains with bamboo blinds aren’t really my style.

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Then I ran across these in the top of my closet…

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You read that right… these are various curtains I purchased for my old house in New Mexico in 2002 and never got around to hanging… some of them clearly never made it out of the original packaging! I had pretty much no recollection of what I had, so a little inventorying was in order. Commence strewing curtains all over the house.

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Unfortunately, most of them were 63” panels which weren’t going to do the trick with my current 9’ ceilings, but there were two 6 yard scarves which had potential (one hung over the shower rod so I could get an idea what I was dealing with).

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I started hitting up pinterest for some white curtain examples that were more my style and found these (from here and here).

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I thought why not throw them up there — they’re free after all! I figured if I hated them, I’d at least have curtain rods up and I could go get something else later. So I cut the two 6 yard scarves in half to end up with exactly four 9’ curtains (which I didn’t even bother to hem). Precisely what I needed.

Queue measuring for curtain rods.

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I got two cheap adjustable metal ones from Target and removed one finial from each end so I could hang them side-by-side and give the look of one long rod (a YHL tip). Bonus: Once home, I discovered that I could completely remove the double-ended screw that had held on the finial and then screw it half-way into each rod… thereby actually creating one long rod! Not a super-tight hold, but good enough. I then unscrewed them so I could hang them separately and attach them together once they were in place.

A favorite trick I’ve learned is to hang things first with itsy-bitsy nails before taking the plunge and drilling larger holes for anchors and screws into the drywall. This removes all the risk: you get an idea what it’s going to look like but can still fiddle with the placement of things since nail holes are almost invisible. I frequently just leave the holes as-is — if they’re right at eye-level and didn’t end up getting covered by the object, I may smoosh a bit of spackling into them with my fingertip and they disappear like magic.

Mad props to Nester for encouraging me to not be afraid of nails. :) This pin of hers literally brought tears to my eyes as I leapt from my computer to grab a hammer and hang some pictures I’d had lying around forever — because I thought I had to commit to a permanent home for them that would.not.change.ever. before getting them up on the wall.

I got so addicted to the ease and low risk factor of nails that now I just try things out with them rather than deliberating much. For instance, since I was making one long curtain rod, it seemed like a good idea to divide the number of inches of wall space by the number of rod supports for roughly even weight-bearing on each support. But once up, I realized they looked strange and haphazardly placed when compared with the position of the windows. So I just tried again, this time with a support dead-center over each window and one on each side of the window about 5” from the edges. Much better.

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Oh yeah, and this strategy also gives you a chance to run your idea by the husband with a real-life example before you’ve gone and done something more permanent. ;) I so wanted to wrap this project up, but I waited just like this until Lih came home and signed off on the idea. Then back up the ladder to take out the nails and drill anchor holes in exactly the same spots.

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Then up went the second set and I gently screwed the two rods together.

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…and the grande finale.

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The verdict? They’re way better than before (with no curtains at all) so they’re staying for now… but I’m going to admit… I’m not that crazy about them. I think they’re too tone-on-tone and this room needs more color. They’d be lovely with some light blue paint on the wall… but this is a rental and our open floor plan means I’d need to paint most of our living space.

I’m thinking about someday adding some pops of color with stripy curtains like Nester’s... I’d cut up those pretty 63” blue vine and white panels and sew them back together in horizontal stripes like hers.

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Maybe I’d do striped curtains on the outsides and keep the two white ones in the middle for a layered look, kind of like YHL’s new sliding door curtains.

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I already calculated it out… with that idea, I’d have enough fabric to do the bay window in the dining room the same way…. someday…

But incremental improvement is the name of the game… remember my strategy to always tackle the ugliest things first? This wall is no longer the ugliest thing in my house… so on to another project! :)

(Bonus points if you realized this was an old project due to the crappy image quality. More on that here. The after photo is more recent.)