Frugal and Versatile Window Treatments

Here is a question I received from a reader:
“Windows are a big deal for us military families. We’re always moving and no house has the same-sized windows, so we’re constantly dishing out hard earned money for nice window dressings or making due with shabby stuff that just doesn’t fit. Give me some ideas on how I can dress up shabby on a thrift store budget?”

I have included some ideas for dressing up windows that would work great for anyone. There are many things you can do in order to save less money on nice window dressings. You will get the most for your money if you are able to use one window dressing in different locations. We will explore some ways to make window dressings that can be used time and time again, on different-sized windows.

First, if you are thinking of buying fabric and making your own curtains, WAIT! You need to really do your homework before you decide to make curtains instead of buying. Make sure you really will save money. Unless you can get fabric at a huge discount, or turn used sheets into curtains, sewing may not be the cheapest. I know this from experience. I once made a pair of curtains that cost me over $40. Within a couple of weeks I decided I didn’t like the color, so I replaced them with a pair of neutral curtains I bought from Ikea for $15. I like these much better.

I would definitely recommend checking out Ikea. If there is not one in your area, click here. On their website you can choose to see only the products available online. All I noticed online were neutral colors, but at least that makes them versatile. Ikea has some great deals on curtains–you can get them for as little as $5 a pair! The other great thing about the curtains they sell is that they come really long (they are sold in two different lengths). They come with a strip of special tape that you use to hem your curtains. You can cut them to the size that you want them, fold the fabric over, put the tape in between the layers, and iron. The iron over the tape fuses the hem closed. Pretty easy.

To make curtains that are versatile, use ones that are a lot longer than your actual window. You can hang them up a little higher, and let them fall down farther from the base of the window than typical. You can even use floor-length curtains for a regular-sized window. This can look pretty elegant and the curtains can be used again in another location. This way, your window treatments aren’t so customized for one particular window and can later be used for a window that is taller. There is nothing wrong with using curtains that are pretty long, although you wouldn’t want to use some that are too short. Tie-backs are another option for keeping long curtains up off of the floor.

If you want to do something simple to dress-up windows rather than cover them, your window treatments will be even more versatile. There are a lot of different ideas to hang swag drapery. Simply drape the fabric over a curtain rod in a way that looks appealing to you. Let the ends of the fabric hang partway down the wall or even all the way to the floor. Swags are great because they can look so elegant and you don’t need a specific length of fabric. You might even be able to look around your home at the things you already have (curtains, sheets, fabric) and reuse them in a different way as a window swag.

Use some of these ideas to save you some money (and hassle!) on your window treatments. Let me know if any of these ideas work for you!