Designing Great-looking Window Coverings on a Budget

Window coverings are one of the most important focal points in a well-decorated room, but choosing the right ones, at the right price, is a prime consideration for most home decorators. Here are a few tips for creating great-looking window dressings, without breaking your budget in the process:

When selecting window coverings, consider the amount of sun exposure the fabrics will receive, and decorate accordingly, if you want to get the longest life out of your window dressings. All fabrics are vulnerable to sunlight degradation, but silk is the weakest, while acrylic, modacrylic, polyester, and glass fibers are the most resistant to sun damage.

There are a number of ways to save money on your window coverings, without sacrificing appearance. For a custom look, you can cover a tension rod with a thicker piece of PVC pipe. Remember to sand off the numbers on the pipe, or they can bleed off onto the fabric. You can do that with PVC primer, acetone, or even fingernail polish.

PVC pipe is very versatile. You can spray paint it black to make it look like wrought iron, brown to look like wood, or sponge paint it with copper and dark green over light green for a verdigris effect. It can also be painted to reinforce an accent color or to look like gold or silver.

For longer spans, wooden closet dowels are less expensive than drapery rods, but stronger than PVC pipe. Copper pipe also works well for curtain rods and looks great for relatively little cost. If your curtain fabric will be touching the copper, spray the copper with clear gloss to prevent oxidation from staining the fabric.

To further save money, you don’t have to use standard decorative hardware in your window treatments. For instance, even though tie backs of braided cords and tassels can add glamour to your window coverings, Christmas tree decorations of braided cords and tassels cost much less than “official” drapery accessories.

You can also get creative with your tieback holders, and using oddities will add character to your window treatments. For example, I once used old lamp finials for tieback holders. You can also create an ethereal atmosphere by using clear fishing line to secure sheer curtains in delicate swags.

There’s no doubt that window treatments are vital to the overall look and feel of a room, but you don’t have to break the bank to create dramatic window presentations. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is a little imagination.


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