Curtains are lightweight window treatments ideal for small windows. Curtain fabric comes in lively patterns and colors that add punch and visual interest to an otherwise dull element, the little window.
Curtains are usually hung from a small wood or metal rod set in supports attached to the wall at either side of the window or within the window frame. But curtains can be more versatile and be used for more than just that little window in the kitchen or breakfast nook. And they can be hung in a myriad of ways.
Curtains provide privacy and filter light. But they can also be used as headboards and to create illusions. Curtains can be hung using rods or wire, rings, clips or clothespins. Metal hooks and twine, tree branches and raffia, and dowel rods and ribbons are also novel materials for adding appeal to curtains.
For hanging curtains, any object that provides a horizontal support combined with material that can attach the fabric to the support can bring a fresh look to an otherwise ordinary element.
Curtain fabrics are usually lightweight and so are easy to work with. Various clips and rings create different pleats and billows, and pocket curtains can be hung as panels, bringing a clean, linear feel to the window.
Use a 3-inch flat pocket rod for panels to hang straight. To create a billowed effect, use a thin wire and strips of fabric. Sew the strips to the top hem of the panels and slide over the wire.
Use clothesline and clothespins for a relaxed, organic look on a small window. Fix metal eye-hooks to each side of the window. Tie the ends of the clothesline to each hook, making sure the line is taut. Clip the fabric to the line using clothespins, arranging the fabric in deep folds.
For a fun look in bedrooms or baths, use a pegged board as the support and ribbons as fasteners. Hang the pegged board above the window; the board should be about 4 to 6 inches wider than the window. Sew wide ribbon lengths to the top of the fabric and tie to the pegs.
Hanging curtains need not be only for windows. Curtains can be used to create headboards or to create a fake window.
For a headboard, attach molding to the wall: one length horizontal to the bed and then a length vertically to each side, creating a three sided "box." Within this framework, install the curtain fabric with decorative nail heads, double-sided tape or hooks and twine. The hooks can be screwed into the horizontal molding. The bottom hem of the fabric should hang level with the bottoms of the vertical moldings.
The same process can be used to create a fake window. This works well in basements and bathrooms, where windows are not always installed. With this installation, however, use four pieces of molding and add a mural or wallpaper within the frame. Hang the curtains outside of the framework using desired materials. Leave the curtains slightly open to reveal the artwork.
Whether the curtains are used as window treatments or headboards, the materials used to hang them can make them more interesting. Consider using bandannas, T-shirts with slogans or logos on them, tablecloths and table toppers as curtain material to create unusual treatments. Hunt through closets and boxes for inspiration for both curtain materials and the means to hang them.
When creating new hardware and window treatments, care should be taken to use materials that complement existing decorating schemes. Rustic rooms lend themselves to raffia and tree branches. Metals and stiff fabrics will enhance modern styles. Gauzy fabrics and pinewood are ideal for Mediterranean decor.
The support used should always be substantial enough for the fabric. Fasteners should be secured to the fabric. If using double-sided tape or other nonsewing methods, avoid using fabrics that shed or pill.
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