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Category:  Decorating

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Ideas for Cheap "Curtains" and Window Privacy

By Nancy

Windows are a constant in all the places that we live, work and play. They look out over scenes of other people where they live, work and play. They provide both a decorating opportunity and added privacy. No wonder we look for as many options for working with them in our spaces as possible.

The most common option is adding "curtains" - some type of drape or cover that partially or totally covers the window and/or the view. Besides traditional window coverings, you might want to consider some of these ideas for "cheap" curtains:

1. Sheets, especially white ones, make great curtains. You can thread the rod through the bottom hem which is usually open on both ends. They can be draped over rods as well.

2. Believe it or not, paper is becoming a very popular "curtain" material. Consider parchment or butcher paper - pleated and stenciled. Reinforce any grommet holes made for hanging by using fabric or paper hole re-inforcers. These curtains will last longer if, once "installed," they do not have to be moved.

3. All kinds of linens (which you may already own) can become curtains - tableclothes can be swagged over curtain rods in many different folds. Tea towels, doilies, and placemats hung from clothespins and drapery clips are also quite chic. Dresser scarves can be hung straight down from wire strung between two cup hooks INSIDE the window frame - I even use aprons tied to the curtain rods as curtains in my cabin.

4. Other "fabric" items make great curtains. Consider hanging pennants from a rope or folding neckties over your curtain rods.

5. Dollar store shower curtains make GREAT curtains really cheap. You can tie the curtains to rods with raffia (which I have done), thread branches through the holes where the shower hooks should have been (which I've also done) or use drapery clips or shower curtain clips to hold them to regular rods (which I have not done, but have seen done).

Now, about privacy. This idea is great where privacy is not an issue. Hang crystals, and strings of curtains, as a "curtain". Find a way to hang an extra curtain rod for your crystals. Use a tension rod in a window frame, or hang an attractive rod from hooks in the ceiling. You can create a beautiful arrangement by varying the heights and spacing of your crystals along the length of the rod.

This works with shells, buttons, beads - anything that can be threaded.

Where more privacy is required

1. In my kitchen, I made a "curtain" of hanging plants in my kitchen window. You can put a potted vine on the bottom shelf of the window and let the vine grow around the window to frame it.

2. Modify your roller Shades - cover them with fabric, paint them, stencil them, cover them with wallpaper, or filigree them. Filigree them? Sure - draw a design on the shade and then, using an exacto knife, cut out parts of the design.

3. Etch your window glass! You can get etching cream from craft stores - be sure to wear gloves when working with it.

4. Use a stained lace tablecloth to "paint" your window glass. Cut a piece of lace that will fit your window pane. Spray it with stencil adhesive. Center it on the window, then spray with two light coats of white paint. Let it dry and then peel the lace. You don't want to do this on a really hot or cold day - icy or sweaty windows don't take well to this project.

5. There are always shutters!

Hope some of these inspire you!
Nancy, Your Frugal Decorating Diva

Nancy, the Frugal Decorating Diva, substitutes creativity for money - and comes up with a better result. Read more about how to do that at or email Nancy at


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