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, easiest and totally temporary 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 window treatment solutions for renters!
1. Hanging Essentials for Renters
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 rods, brackets, and hardware can add up fast, especially if you have to re-configure your window treatments with every move. For my window treatment solutions for renters, I constantly turn to these quick, easy and inexpensive hanging essentials to get our window treatments without the hassle or the cost!
- 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!
- Command Hooks. Command hooks in all sorts of shapes and sizes are great for hanging lightweight curtains. I’m a big fan of these jumbo command hooks because they hold curtain rods really well and can hold a lot of weight. 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Grommets or Rings. 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. An alternative to grommets is to use curtain rings along the top of panels. Using rings is quick, easy, and easily gives curtains a completely custom look.
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
- World Market
3. Make Store-Bought Curtains 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 rings with 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.
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!
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!
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!
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, another window treatment solution for renters is to just work with what’s already installed in a home. If there are already drapery rods, panels, or hardware installed, think creatively to figure out how to use it rather than fight it; it will just mean fewer 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.
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!
7. Temporary Hanging Solutions for Renters
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 window treatment solutions for renters to get some coverage 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 Dorsey used a similar idea for hanging drapes in a pleated fashion, and I thought it was just brilliant!
8. Fake It
Last but not least, these window treatment solutions for renters 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!)
Other Great Window DIYs To Try
Looking for other great solutions for your windows? I've got you covered with these other smart DIYs!
- How to Make a Window Valance with Foam Insulation
- How to Sew a Window Valance
- How to Make a Window Valance with Foam Core Board & Wallpaper
- DIY Modern Wood Valance
- DIY Cornice Box with Scalloped Edges
- How to Hem Curtains | A Foolproof Method!
- How to Hem Curtains Without Sewing
- How to Widen Store Bought Curtains | An Easy Fix!
- How to Remove Vertical Blinds
- How to Install Your Own Blinds or Shades
- How to Hang a Curtain Rod Without Drilling into the Wall
- How to Hang Curtains On Rings (With Perfect Results!)
- How to Hang Curtains In a Corner Window
Over the years, I’ve learned that there are really no rules when it comes to clever window treatment solutions for renters. Sure, you want to hang your curtains high and wide and you should really hem them 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 today’s posts (as well as my post: Making the Case for Hanging Curtains In Your Rental) 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!