Monday, March 1, 2010

Before and After Party! (A drape redo)


Well hello! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I was busy keeping Kleenex in business with a lovely cold. :)

I did get a bit of work done on the basement – I could actually breathe much better down in the cold! It’s going to take quite a bit more time and a ton more work, but I am SO excited about the changes down there. The amount of crap we had has been a bit overwhelming, and getting it out of this house has been such a fantastic feeling!

So onto this month’s Before and After – I am pretty much done with the family room (mini) redo, and I’ll show you that whole space soon. There was one last part that was bugging me – the drapes.

I get a lot of questions about these drapes and I think many go “ARGH!” when I email them back and tell them I actually made these myself. ;) I started with the brown diamond patterned fabric as drapes, and then decided a few years ago they needed a little sumpin sumpin. So I found a coordinating (and much more expensive) fabric in a tan/wider diamond pattern and added it as a panel to the bottom:

I adore these drapes. Lurve. I was contemplating new window treatments in here though, because there were a couple things that had bothered me about them as I reworked the room. The obvious was the diamond pattern just didn’t look right to me next to the new rug. (As you can see a bit in the pic above.)

The other thing that has bothered me from pretty much the day I put them up is they never seemed to hang right. I always felt like they should look fuller than they did. They also covered a little more of the window than I really wanted.

There are two things I always suggest to folks about drapes – hang ‘em high and hang ‘em wide. High and wide gives the illusion the windows are bigger than they really are. I usually suggest hanging the rod far enough to the side of the window so the window treatment will only cover about four inches of the actual window.

This allows for more light, and again, makes the window seem wider. Which is never a bad thing!

Well, my drapes were covering way more of the window than I wanted. Not sure why I did that, or why I hadn’t fixed it yet? But staring at them the other day, I came up with a solution to all my issues. And it was FREE!

First, I took down the drapes and just shortened the rods by five inches. I used my miter saw to do this, but the first time I cut these to 24 inches each, I used my little miter box and saw and it worked like a charm. 

The finials had a brassy tone that I wanted to get rid of, but I didn’t want to have to replace the whole set. So I just taped the brassy sections off and sprayed them with my ORB paint:


I love them all over again! (Like I did five years ago when I bought them!)

Once I got the hardware rehung, I went ahead with my wild and craaaazy idea and just flipped the drapes and hung them with the panel on top. I stepped back to check it out…


And luuuurved it! UH DUH. Why didn’t I do this from the start??

Flipping these did a few things – it made the bottom of the drapes way less busy, and the brown matches the brown tones in the rug really well.

It also made the gorg diamond fabric the showcase of the drapes, as it should be:


I love, love, LOVE this fabric:


I would totally wrap myself up in it at night, I love it that much. But it’s not cheap. (I think $40 a yard at Joann’s?) So there will be no wrapping in this stuff. ;)

Then I used my usual tried and true drapery tricks to finish up…

I keep the outside drapery rings between the finial and the bracket so when fire trucks and trains are driven under the window treatments by a sweet little three-year-old, they stay put:


And I hung them from behind with the drapery clips, creating the folds like this:


Try that trick – if your fabric is thick enough and long enough, you’ll never go back to hanging the drapes down from the clips again!

I had to use flash in most of these pictures, so I apologize for the poor quality, but this one shows you how much of the window is covered by the drape. I like to use the window panes (if you have them) as a guide:


Half of one pane is what I typically do. Oh, and please ignore the deck furniture that has been stacked and ready to go in the garage for the past four months, umkay?  :) Priorities people.

Shortening the rods made the drapes hang SO much prettier:


They just “pleat” so much better now!

I. love. it! And did I mention? FREEEEE? All of the updates – cutting down the rods, rehanging them, spraying the finials and hanging the drapes again took about an hour. Not bad at all!

So here we go! Here’s the before from years ago – with the white two inch blinds, wider rods, and the panel of fabric on the bottom:

And here’s the after – bamboo roman shades (from last year), shorter (debrassified) hardware and the panels at the top:


You like? I still love them either way, but I love how I made them work with the other changes in the space. I am keeping my beloved drapes! Yippee!

Now it’s your turn! Grab the button if you’d like:


Then make sure to copy the link from your post into the linky (links to your blog address will be deleted). All you need to link up is a before picture – it can be any kind of project you want to share!

Have fun and thanks for joining in!


  1. Hi Sarah! I am drooling!!
    You are so darn talented!

  2. I love the drapes. Now I have a major dilemma. I am about to sew my drapes (different colors) with the bottom in another color. Argh, you have me second guessing. I love the secondary color on the top too.

  3. Beautiful drapes! I love your blog and have gotten a lot of good ideas to use. I plan on coming back more often!

  4. Sarah...these are gorgeous!! I love them turned around so much better! I too am keeping Kleenex in business...I feel for you! :) Such a creative and talented lady!! That is why I always come back for more. ;)

    Hugs to you,

  5. What a wonderful idea, to put a strip of fabric at the top! I have nine kids and have dreaded buying nice fabric for drapes because I know they would ruin it! But, I could put a strip of nice at the top and less expensive under that, yipee!!!

  6. Very pretty!

    I had a question though. I've never seen drapes hung on two short rods, verses one long rod. I hadn't even really noticed it until you mentioned the short rods. Is this your original idea, or have you seen it somewhere else for inspiration?

    I've got three windows in my living room, (about 60" wide, separated by about 12" of wall between the middle and outside windows. I was trying to find ONE gigantic rod so I could dangle curtains between the windows, but now I'm intrigued by the short-rod idea.

  7. Very nice!! I like the way they look flipped! Thanks for hosting!

  8. Sarah, you are so smart! And thrifty! You certainly fit the title of 'Thrifty Decor Chick'! I love all of your fixes.

  9. Beautiful!!!
    God's blessings,
    Sarah :D

  10. like the curtain and the rug so alluring, such things hold the fascination for your home decor, fabulous.

  11. Your drapes are beautiful, I can't sew a straight line to save my life! Flipping them was a great inexpensive way to change the whole look! And I love the addition of the bamboo shades, it really warms up the windows.

    I love seeing before and after shots of people's homes, thanks for hosting this!

    Kat :)

  12. Love it, Sarah! :) I don't think I have a post for this round, but I will definitely have one next month. :)

  13. Those drapes are amazing and match the bedding in my guest room perfectly!!

  14. It draws the eye up & I love all of the textures you have in this room. Great job!

  15. Sarah, putting the lighter color part of the drapes at the top looks so much better. The first thing I noticed is that when the diamonds were at the bottom it made the drapes look short & cut off. With all the changes everything looks really great. Don't you love those cheap or free fixes!

  16. Sarah, love your updated drapes. They look great! I have a pair of panels that I bought with a border like that (they were meant to hang with the border at the bottom according to the website catalog), but I wanted that pretty panel to show, so I did the SAME THING & hung the border at the top. Love, love it! Great thinking, girl.

  17. Isn't it amazing what a small change can do. The drapes are just wonderful.

    Please stop by and enter my giveaway.

  18. Amazing makeover with just a flip! Love it.

  19. Oh yes, love it turned the other way! What a great, simple solution and it's like getting a whole new window treatment. It may be because it's a Monday morning, but could you elaborate on where you actually clipped the rings? I know I can't see them and I like that look but I'm not getting how/where you wound up clipping them.

  20. They look great, in fact, they would look great in my great room! LOL! I really like the de-brassification too. And the stencil in the middle looks pretty awesome too.

  21. I love these! And I seriously need some of those clips!

  22. Those drapes are so rich. What a lovely shade.

  23. FAB redo! I invite you to join me for Thrifty Thurs and link up. I LOVE this one! Hope you have a great week. Stop by my place if you get a chance. Would love to have you visit.
    Tales from Bloggeritaville

  24. What a clever solution to the drape problem! Looks great. Thanks for hosting this fun party, Sarah! :-)

  25. I do love it. I'm in the process of remodeling my bathroom and I have these nice white wooden blinds and am wondering if I should put up a nice panel or two. Only I'm not that creative and have no clue what to choose.

  26. They look great either way! With my little ones in the house I would put the lighter fabric at the top. I can remember chocolate on my drapes!! haha

  27. What a brilliant idea to clip the drapes further down! You TOTALLY solved a drape dilemma in my bedroom. I just made new drapes, and after putting up the rods & hanging them (from clips), discovered that they were about 2 inches too long - thanks to my moron measuring! They don't puddle well, and I also have a cat who loves drapes (!@#%&), so I've been trying to figure out how to fix it without taking the drapes apart or rehanging the rods. Happy dance!!

  28. omg! What a transformation with such an easy idea:) thank you for sharing about the drapes and the rings too. I also love your rug.

  29. LOVE the fabric. Don't you love a no $ makeover. The fabric is so much nicer at the top and thanks for the clip tip ... looks great.

  30. What a great idea. I love how they look flipped over. So simple, yet effective in a nice change.

  31. These look amazing.. What a difference flipping them.... just love it!

  32. I never thought of hanging the drapes on two separate rods on a large window...great idea! The flip of the drapes makes a big difference...amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  33. Gorgeous drapes! Sweet idea flipping them over. :)

  34. oh my, how cleaver are you!!!!!!!!

  35. The curtains are lovely but those dowels really make them WOW

  36. Wow what a difference, flipping the drapery I would've never thought of that, now you've got me thinking....(:

  37. Sorry I'm so fashionably late! I'm setting an e-mail alarm for next month!
    Your drapes are gorgie-georgie!

  38. I am just figuring these parties out. What a great idea. Love to see such fun out of the box ideas. Thanks for hosting.

  39. Sarah, so outstanding, looks great..thanks for sharing!


  40. Your drapes look so much more awesome now! I agree with all of the changes you've made. Love-er-ly!


  41. Brilliant! And beautiful!!! as always =) I do love your site...

  42. OOOOOH they're beautiful.... and youre right. I almost think they make the ceiling look higher too!

  43. I like them! I definitely think the panel on the top is better than on the bottom.

    This may sound like a dumb question, but, how do you cover your windows with them if you want to block out more light than the blinds do? I ask only because it appears the rods are too short to close them..??

  44. Somehow the curtains flipped top to bottom work so much better in corporating both the floral and the geometric that is actually just seen more in the now top since it all has the geometric. I love free!

  45. Very clever work....another great finishing touch to this situation is to find a nice tasseled trim, and stitch it across the seam where the two different fabrics finishes it off, and adds a unique touch. Great cheap trims at Home Fabrics if you have one in your area...otherwise Joann's has lots to chose from and every the new rod colors...well done...I have been in the design business for over 18 years, and one of the things I always do is check the back side of beautiful fabrics, and use them if I like it better then the front, as long as they don't have a lot of threads that will catch on works great....I make my workroom lady crazy!!!

    Gotta check out your other projects too....take your site!


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