8 Clever Window Treatment Solutions for Renters!

On Monday, I showed you all some of the curtains I’ve hung throughout our home in recent weeks. As I mentioned, I think putting some sort of window treatments on the windows is one of the quickest and easiest ways to infuse style into a space. While I’m currently crushing on somewhat traditional, long curtains, I’ve employed a variety of curtains, shades and faux treatments over the years, and I thought it would be fun (and useful!) to share with you all some of my favorite solutions for getting window treatments up quickly and inexpensively!

8 Clever Window Treatments for Renters

1. Renter-Friendly Hanging Essentials

When you move as much as we do, you can never be sure what kind of window sizes and situations you’ll encounter! We’ve had everything from the dreaded vertical blinds, regular blinds, no blinds, curtain tracks, small windows, big windows,  sliding doors, moulding, no moulding…you name it! Curtain-hanging rods, brackets, and hardware can add up fast, especially if you have to re-configure your window treatments with every move. Time and time again, I turn to these quick, easy and inexpensive hanging essentials to get our window treatments without the hassle or the cost!

*affiliate links usedCurtain Hanging Essentials

  1. The RACKA Rods from IKEA. These rods are super inexpensive; have a basic, classic style; and extend from 28″ to 152″ length. Years ago, we invested in a whole house worth of these rods, and they move with us every time. Whenever we have curtains to hang, we can be confident we have a simple, dependable, and sizable rod that will always work. While I always see gorgeous rods and hardware on other blogs, I know the investment is just not practical for our living situation right now. We need flexibility and simplicity, and these rods offer just that!
  2. Command Hooks. Command hooks in all sorts of shapes and sizes are great for hanging lightweight curtains. Whether you use larger hooks to hold up rods or smaller hooks to hold up curtains with clips, these are a practical and easily removable solution.
  3. Velcro. I use Velcro to hang curtains all the time. Seriously! The double-sided adhesive Velcro is so strong that it is perfect for hanging valences and other tailored treatments.
  4. Heat-n-Bond. Both the hem tape and the larger sheets are great for customizing or tailoring curtains and window treatments to your style and your windows. Even if you’re not a sewer, you can turn anything (a table cloth, yardage of fabric, bedsheets) into clean and polished curtains with just an iron…and of course, it’s perfect for hemming up curtains that are too long!
  5. Grommets. Of all the ways to hang curtains, I find adding grommets one of the quicker and easier solutions for creating modern and clean panels. I’ve added these to cafe curtains, cabinet curtains and even long panels. They are easy to put on and instantly give an updated appearance to basic curtains.

2. Shop Savvy

In the last few weeks, I have spent A LOT of time looking at the various options of drapes and curtains for our house. While I don’t like to spend a lot of money on curtains, I am a bit particular about the quality of the fabric and the look of the curtain itself once it’s hung.  I dragged home many sets and returned almost all of them. While my search wasn’t quite exhaustive, here’s a few things I learned in recent weeks AND over the years:

  • Buy long. Curtains can always be hemmed up but can’t really be let down. If you move a lot, make it a practice to always buy 95″+ curtains and re-hem as you need to for each home. Most stores don’t carry anything longer than 84″, but I’ve found many carry the longer lengths online.
  • Wait for deals. Wait for larger/holiday sales, coupons and BOGO when shopping for curtains. This can sometimes mean up to 50% off each panel, which if you need 4+ panels, can translate into significant savings!
  • Don’t be afraid to buy and return. Most stores will allow you to return opened items, thank goodness! I have the toughest time visualizing how something will look in the store, so I ALWAYS buy them, bring them home, hang them up, and live with them for a few hours before deciding.
  • My favorite curtains sources:
    • Bed Bath & Beyond
    • Target
    • IKEA
    • HomeGoods/Marshalls/TJMaxx
    • World Market

3. Make Store-Bought Look Custom

Most of you know by now that I can never really leave store-bought items alone. I always feel the need to somehow give everything my personal stamp. While I sometimes opt to fully DIY my curtains (see below), there are times when you just can’t beat the convenience or price of store-bought panels. If you find something you like, don’t hesitate to tweak it a bit to give it more of a custom look. Add new hanging hardware (like grommets or clips), pleat the tops, and/or add a ribbon trim or fabric panel down the sides. As I showed you on Monday, one of my favorite things I’ve now done in our last two homes is to hang solid curtains side-by-side for a two-tone/ombre look.

Two-Tone Curtains

KS Family Room

Two Tone Curtains

NC Master Bedroom

4. DIY Drapes

There are DIY projects I hate to do and others I love…and call me crazy, but I actually really enjoy the process of making my own drapes. Making your own drapes can  be exceptionally affordable if (and only if!) you find really affordable fabric AND you know how to sew! I’ve been able to hunt down designer fabric for as little as $4/yard…and since you need about 3 yards/panel, that works out to $12 per panel = a great deal. (Note – I always try to keep my curtain fabric under $10/yard.) However, using expensive fabric AND hiring someone to make them for you can often turn out to be a much more expensive solution than store-bought panels. If you want to try making your own drapes, I recommend shopping for home decor fabric at Hancock Fabrics and Fabric.com for the best deals. Also wait for holiday sales (when you can typically get a 25-30% off your entire purchase) and clearance weekends to scoop up lots of yardage at good prices! This is my go-to tutorial for making my own lined curtain panels!

DIY Drapes

KS Dining Room

DIY Drapes

Striped-Edge Curtains in NC Office

5. Curtain Alternatives

I LOVE me a long curtain, but there are times when longer window treatments just won’t work. Whether you need something over a sliding  door, furniture is up against the window, or you’re just craving a cleaner look, there are some fun AND easy alternatives to curtains.

We used cornice boxes in our last house as a way to quickly and easily add some color and pattern to the windows. While I struggled with how modern they actually looked with some of our more traditional elements, I loved how easy they were to make and how little fabric they required! Talk about a lot of bang for your buck! This is the tutorial we used!

Cornice Boxes

Cornice Boxes

Blue Patterned Cornice Boxes

I’m a total sucker for a good roman shade, but boy, can they be tricky when you move a lot?! There’s just no saying how wide windows will be in each home. While I’d much prefer an inset, custom shade, I had to go a more practical route for our lifestyle. Below, an off-the-shelf white roman shade looks completely custom thanks to a no-sew customization with simple black fabric; and the extra-wide size ensures it will fit (outside) almost any window we have!

Roman Shade

Customize a Roman Shade

6. Utilize What’s Provided

While the DIYer in me is always ready and willing to hang rods/hardware to get just the look I want, sometimes it’s quicker and easier to just work with what’s already installed in a home. If there is already drapery rods, panels, or hardware installed, think creatively to figure out how to use it rather than fight it; it will just mean less holes and less work on your part! In my niece’s bedroom, more elaborate window treatments were originally on the project list; however, we ultimately decided to save our time and fabric by creating a simple valence sized to slide right over the already-installed rod.


Raspberry & Orange Bedroom

In our California apartment (eek – these pictures are from LONG before I started blogging!), we had the dreaded vertical blinds with a mini plastic “cornice” that was mounted up almost along the ceiling. Curtain rods weren’t an option, so I simply hemmed up lengths of fabric and secured them under the plastic valence with that super-strong adhesive Velcro. I was able to get the look I wanted without having to uninstall what was already provided by the apartment complex!

Velcro Drapes

CA Living Room

7. Temporary Hanging Solutions

My mantra is typically this: if you want to hang curtains, grab a drill, install a curtain rod and fill the holes before you leave. To me, filling holes, sanding and re-painting is not that big of a deal. But if you really don’t want to bother OR you’re not allowed to put holes in your walls, there ARE other ways to get some covdereage up on your windows. I think in almost every house we’ve lived in, I have used Velcro to hang simple valances…


…and I just came up with this oh-so-fun way to create a roman shade using only mini command hooks and Velcro (see the tutorial here). Sarah used a similar idea for hanging drapes in a pleated fashion, and I thought it was just brilliant!

No-Sew Roman Shade

8. Fake It

Last but not least,  window treatments are one of the easiest ways to fix strange window placements and room layouts! Our Virginia house had a teeny, tiny window smack dab in the middle of the wall. To fill the wall and give the window more presence, we hung curtains really, really wide, causing the window to appear bigger than it really was. This allowed us to center the dining room table in the room (versus on the window) and helped the room feel less awkward. This same technique could be used to add balance to a room, create a focal point where there is none, or cover unsightly things like control panels and electronics cables. (Note: the patterned shade is a simple fabric rectangle with a scalloped bottom and a rod pocket hung on a tension rod!)

Faux Shade

Over the years, I’ve learned that there are really no rules when it comes to window treatments. Sure, you want to hang your curtains high and wide and you should really hemmed to the right length…but otherwise, sometimes you just have to find the quickest, easiest and most practical way for YOU to get some curtains up on YOUR windows! If you’ve been stumped on how best to hang some window treatments in your space or just needed the motivation to do so, I hope these posts this week give you some ideas! On Friday, I’m going to finish up “Curtain Week” with a really fun finial hack!

I’d love to know: Do you have any fun, creative, unusual or smart ways to hang window treatments in your home? Share the details below!

See you soon friends!

Megan Signature

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14 Responses to 8 Clever Window Treatment Solutions for Renters!

  1. My favorite DIY for curtains is to hang an inexpensive tablecloth as a curtain (either sew a pocket for the curtain rod or hang with the Ikea metal curtain rings with clips). For instance, I can get a 60×120 tablecloth at Walmart or Target for around $20-25 (yep…that’s around $6/yd for 60in wide textured fabric), hem to the length I need, and still use the excess material to make placemats, napkins or pillows to coordinate in the room.

  2. Great tips Megan!! Some great hacks and things I didn’t even think of! Aren’t curtains such an easy way to fool the eye and change a room completely?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  3. I have made a Roman shade for my granddaughter’s bedroom. It fits perfectly inside the window frame. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize in time that the frame was vinyl and we don’t want to put holes in it. My son and his family may move within the year and would not be able to conceal the holes adequately once the screws were removed. I don’t have any fabric left to make the shade wider. It is a beautiful fabric from fabric.com, pink with little girls swinging and climbing trees. It matches the duvet cover that I made her.
    We thought of using a tension rod, but realized that the shade would fall down every time we pulled it up or down.
    Do you have any suggestions for hanging this shade without putting holes in the window frame? Any and all ideas that you can think of would be greatly appreciated!
    Fingers crossed.

    • Hi Judy!

      Gosh – I am not sure how much help I can be! What kind of hardware is on the shade now? How would you hang it if you could put walls in the frame?

      My first thought is some sort of adhesive-type hooks like I did here: http://www.forrent.com/blog/diy/how-to-make-no-sew-hardware-free-roman-shades/

      Also, you could use the tension rod and not use the shade, just make it decorative?

      What if you installed some sort of wood trim inside the vinyl window (attach it with adhesive tape or Velcro) and then screw into the wooden trim?

      Hope those ideas spark a solution! Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  4. Hi! We have blinds on the windows of 4 patio doors and I’m thinking of making some valances to cover the top. I’d rather not invest in curtain rods and thought your idea of using velcro might do the trick. Have you ever had a problem removing the velcro when it was time to go? What do you use?

  5. Hello, I love all these ideas! I have yet to find a solution to the problem I am having. Hoping someone can help me. I have verticals covering windows that only can be opened half way (due to only having half a screen in them). I live on the first floor near a walking path and lake. When my blinds are completely open to get the maximum amount of fresh air, I don’t like the fact that you can see everything going on in the apt. I am looking for ideas on how I can cover up the half of the window and still reap the benefits of the outside air. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  6. I enjoyed reading your article on curtains. You have some really neat solutions. I saw some curtains made from painting drop cloths. Is it possible to dye this fabric? I plan to use Rit Dye, if you think that this will work.

    Also, what do you think about sheers over horizontal wooden blinds? Your advice will be appreciated.

    I’ve never had to put up curtains. Every house that I have bought cam with curtains that I really liked except for the house that I am in now.

    • HI Nancy,

      Thanks for your comment. I have never died dropcloths but I imagine it would work. They aren’t too expensive, so you can practice dying one to see how it goes? That said, when you are ready to dye several panels, do them all together to ensure the saturation on each panel is the same.

      As far as sheers over blinds, that’s a personal preference. In general, I am not a fan of sheers (I’d rather a crisp white curtain), but I do know people prefer the opacity and cost of sheers.

      Good luck putting up curtains in your new house – you can do it 🙂

  7. […] As I mentioned earlier, one of my first moves as a renter was to hang artwork and other personal items up on the walls. Almost simultaneously, I would hang my curtains, blinds, what have you. Living in the south, I often chose to go with bamboo blinds and breezy, see-through curtains. Where you live and what you prefer will determine your own window treatments, but one thing is for sure: your preferred treatment will have your space feeling like home. […]

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