Curtain Re-Call

For a lot of our projects, we’ve been playing “catch up” to the action that already happened. We did most of the heavy lifting renovations on all of the rooms as soon as we bought the house (back in June), but because this blog just started up in February (it’s been almost three months already?), you’re just now reading/watching the stories unfold. However, the goal is to get the blog as close to “up-to-speed” as possible so that we can be sharing things as they happen.

And, HOORAY! Today’s one of those “you’re seeing the action as it goes down” posts. Remember our go around with curtains in the family room? I am not kidding you- not but a few days after that post, did our curtain situation change again (and quite drastically, too). So, without further ado, HERE is your massive curtain overhaul play-by-play. This is where we left off (breezy, white curtains to amp up the airiness of the space): white curtains

We were super happy about the way they turned out and loved the color (or lack thereof, rather). However, in the back of my mind, I kept revisiting all of the curtain advice I had read from fellow bloggers, magazines, and online articles: Hang your curtains high and wide! It will make your space seem so much bigger! Up until this point, we had just used the curtain rod that was left with the house and because it was the length of the window and hung on the top edge, that’s what we went with.

But I was curious… very curious. So, when we shipped off to run a Produce Juction/Walmart errand (you can read about the PJ loot here), I asked Mitch if he would give this harebrained plan a shot and indulge me: in buying bamboo blinds. The plan, as we had seen done before (and both liked the look), was to raise the white curtains to the ceiling and hang them wider than the window. The bamboo blinds would then bridge the gap of wall between the raised curtain rod and the top of the window. The goal is twofold: 1. to avoid cutting off any light coming in from the window (see how the curtains in the picture above block about a third of the light?) and 2. to frame out the window so that it looks waaaaay larger than it actually is.family room curtains

Here are the steps that we took to get our new look, as well as some helpful hints that we learned along the way and figured we’d pass on to the next curtain-hanging adventurer:

Helpful Hint #1: It will always take longer than you think. I am a terrible judge of time allotment and am always optimistically thinking, “don’t worry, we’ll be done in a snap!”. Just take a moment to read our fireplace installation debacle if you don’t believe me. Our advice? Make sure to allot yourself plenty of time to go at your own pace and do it right!

Step 1: Remove existing curtains (and safely fold and store elsewhere… it’s about to get messy in here, folks), blinds and curtain rod/hooks from wall.family room curtainsStep 2: Clean the window and frame! There was quite a bit of dust and soot (we think there was a house fire and a smoker next-door-neighbor here at one point). This step simultaneously made us feel gross and disgusted, and cleaner and relieved.

Helpful Hint #2: This is where the tools and “parts” come into play. Since each treatment comes with its own screws, anchors, etc., it is crucial to keep your materials organized! We always grab a tray or small plate to corral and sort each piece so nothing gets lost and so that we are acquainted with each specific part that instructions will be referring to.family room curtainsStep 3: Hang the new blinds (these are super affordable at any home improvement store… ours were just under $9 at Lowes). I won’t bore you with the details of this step. The packaging is instruction plenty, should you decide to update your own window treatments some day. Needless to say, after what was there before (which actually warrants it’s own upcoming post), we were thrilled to have new sparkling white (and clean!) blinds.

family room curtainsHelpful Hint #3: Know when to step back and take a break. As per Hint #1, projects can often take longer than expected. After awhile, we were seeing multiples, making silly mistakes, and getting frustrated due to sleepiness settling in. Time to walk away. We decided to take a super long break… and start fresh in the morning. 

Step 4: Hang the new curtain rod. We bought a simple, sleek, deep mocha rod for this project. Ours came from Lowes and although I can’t find the exact one online that we bought in the store, here is one that comes closest. Below is the packaging from the actual rod we bought, should you want to hunt down an identical rod in the store: family room curtainsNormally, we’re all about using what we already have, but our previous contender was too short for the look we were going for. Here is the new one, in all its glory:family room curtainsUsing our centered measurements from the blinds, we were able to uniformly center the curtain rod. Helpful Hint #4: Double check your measurements, especially if you are using the initial marking as a guideline for the rest of your project! Had our blinds not been centered correctly, it would have thrown off the rod and bamboo shade placement as well.

Step 5: Hang the bamboo Roman Shade. Again, we used the center marking of the white blinds and the curtain rod to help determine the spacing for the bamboo. Excuse the bowed look of the rod in the picture… camera angles can make things look funny.family room curtainsHelpful Hint #5: To make our window feel as tall and expansive as possible, we hung the bamboo blind directly under (with almost no space between) the curtain rod. 

Step 6: Attach the rod grip (we love this cordless feature!), roll up the bamboo shade to desired height, and secure the rod. The “rod” is the device that allows the shade to go up and down by twisting it one way or another and needs to be secured so the shade doesn’t move once in place.family room curtains

Helpful Hint #6: We choose to keep our bamboo shade all the way up (see photos below), so that the bottom edge just grazes the top of the window, to allow as much light as possible to come through. When we want the window covered, we keep the bamboo shade up and just use the white blinds, because it keeps the room feeling less cave-like. 

Step #7: Hang the curtains and make adjustments. Ours hang about 18 inches wider than the window on both sides. It sounds like a lot, but the effect on the room is amazing.family room curtainsStep #7b: Adjust the length of your curtains so that they reach the floor! Since we were not originally intending to hang the curtains as high as we did back when we bought them, the length of the panels are not quite long enough for this project. For now, the furniture blocks the view, but someday I’ll get around to adding some length to them (and will share the details as it happens!).

family room curtains

Step #8: Stand back and watch your room double in size! We were so shocked at how much of a difference this made, that we just sat on the couch and stared at it for awhile. The change is so drastic, that it feels as if we instantly added square footage to the room. The wall looks larger, the window feels almost like a bay window, and the ceilings seem so much taller. Oh, and the amount of light that floods the room (because there is virtually nothing blocking a single square inch of that window) is like night and day, compared to before. Pun totally intended. Just take a look and see what I mean…

Here’s the before:white curtainsAnd the after:

family room curtainsfamily room curtainsThe white blinds tuck up nicely under the bamboo shade. When they’re not in use, no one’s the wiser that they even exist! Here’s a shot with the blinds down:

family room curtains

family room curtainsYou’ll notice that we had to take down the mirror that used to be to the left of the window, now that the curtains come over further (you can see how the mirror was getting cut off if you scroll up a few pictures). We’re in the process of deciding if it will go back or if we’ll be giving it a new home and putting something else in its place. Details to come when we figure it out! And how about one last shot to round out the curtain extravaganza?

family room curtainsNow, I’m on a window buzz. I have already bought new blinds for the Youth Room (yep, we’ll be stepping outside of the Thomas house for this one!), and have plans to put up new sparkling white blinds in our bare- windowed Master and Spare Bedroom. Oh, and their curtain situations may need to be tweaked as well. We’ll keep you posted on the progress as it develops (yay for up-to-speed postings)!

Thinking about your own curtains yet? Anyone else taken this approach? Or maybe you have other helpful advice to share with the crowd… We looooove reading your comments, so keep ’em comin! Happy Hanging :)

-Leslie

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