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Inexpensive Window Treatment Ideas

Window treat-me nts add tons of character, colour and personality to a room. They complete your décor and make your home feel dressed. They can be costly, particularly if you have large or odd-size windows in the room you’re decorating, but with a little creativity you can cover your windows with unique, affordable treatments.

The best way to save money is to think of ways to get large pieces of fabric inexpensively. Flat bedsheets come to mind as one solution. Watch for open-stock linen sales where mismatched bedding is discounted and look for colours and patterns that will work in your space. Mix solids with patterns to create a two-toned window treatment – for example, two solid-coloured sheets flanked on each side by a co-ordinating patterned sheet. Use drapery hardware clips with a ring on the end on which to hang the sheets. Mount a standard rod, space the clips evenly across the sheet’s top and you have a custom window covering. Drapery clips can be pricey so an even cheaper and easier option is to slip the curtain rod through the end hem and hang as a simple rod pocket panel. If they are a little long, let them puddle on the floor. Embellish them with decorative trim, fringe or decorative tie-backs.

The trick to making window treatments work is to use enough fabric width. As with any curtains the ratio should be two to three times the width of the window. When you’re using sheets that don’t have backing as drapes do, more is better. Weigh the bottom of the panels down by inserting small weights in the bottom hem. (I use simple metal washers.) This trick will make the curtains hang straight and look more polished. For shorter windows you can hem the sheet to fit your needs using no-sew hemming tape. Bedsheets come in such a variety of patterns, colour and fabric that you can have a lot of fun with them. Use cheerful stripes for a child’s room or nursery. In the master bedroom, experiment with silk or satin sheets which can also be used to create a romantic, co-ordinating bed canopy.


Tablecloths and tea towels can make interesting curtains. I’ve used tea towels as café curtains using a simple straight rod and small curtain rings. These are a cute solution for a kitchen and can be easily switched out when needed. Tablecloths, like bedsheets, can be found in many solid colours for a more sophisticated look, or in fun patterns like checks and stripes for a casual space. Rectangular tablecloths work best but you can use small, circular ones as a valance topper. Lace tablecloths add vintage charm to your windows, particularly in older homes. Look for them at second-hand and antique stores, or flea markets. You may even have fabric remnants that can be used in the same fashion or sewn together to make an interesting curtain panel. Other items that you may have in storage that can be used for window treatments are things like handmade quilts, lace tablecloths or even an old wedding dress. You may, for instance, have a vintage lace tablecloth that has a stain on it or is ripped. You don’t want to throw it out but you can’t use it as a tablecloth either. Find a way to incorporate it into a window treatment to keep the memories alive and to have the item out in view instead of in storage.


The fishing rod curtain pictured here I made for our cottage. I used a muslin-type fabric that I found on sale at a fabric shop, and I bought the vintage fishing rod at a thrift store for a few dollars and used some old tackle that I had. For added appeal I hung a glass hummingbird feeder, added a piece of driftwood and an eagle feather I found in our yard.Tip:If you use tackle, curl the sharp ends of the hooks inward using pliers.

Other fun items to use as curtain rods are things like long garden tools, driftwood, boat oars or a simple tree branch.

Create unique rod finials using items like small birdhouses, small toys, garden hand tools, seashells, whatever fits with your theme.

There are many inexpensive ways to give your windows a lift. Get creative with your budget and your ideas and the sky is the limit.

– Connie Oliver is an interior

designer from Winnipeg


CONNIE OLIVERAround theHouse


Youdon’twanttothrow itoutbutyoucan’tuseit asatableclotheither.



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