Guest Post by Jay Harris: Designer Drapery & DIY Tips to Install

Today I’m pleased to introduce my guest Jay Harris, a regular contributor to Home Depot’s blog and an ”on the floor” Home Depot sales associate.

Home Depot - Master LogoJay’s interests include providing tips to homeowners on exterior shutters and casement windows, and today Jay has a ton of great DIY tips for you on how to select and install window treatments. Settle in. You won’t want to skim. I know this is one post you’ll want to bookmark for all your future window treatment DIY needs!

Thanks so much for sharing on sZinteriors today, Jay!

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DIY Designer Drapery – ‘Wow!’ Window Treatments

One of the quickest (and least expensive) ways to update a room while adding color and personality is through swapping out your window treatments. At the same time, once you know how to install them yourself, you can keep them in place for a month or a year or a decade…it’s completely up to you!

White & Blue Panels, Blue Pompom Trim - HGTV (Sarah Richardson Design)

{via HGTV Blog | Sarah Richardson Design}

But the best part is when it comes to windows and window treatments, you don’t have to be a professional interior designer to decorate like one – all you need is a bit of creativity and a few insider secrets!

Here are just a few of the DIY tricks at your fingertips.

Material Matters

There are several things to keep in mind when choosing the right materials and designs for your window treatments.

Block Striped Drapes - Day Old News Blog (Mary McDonal Design)

 {via Day Old News Blog | Mary McDonald Inc. design}

Length
Long curtains create elegance and drama while shorter curtains are more informal and casual. Longer lengths are more appropriate in master bedrooms, formal dining rooms and living rooms whereas shorter curtains work well in other bedrooms, kitchens and less formal rooms.

Color
The darker the color or the more saturated the hue of a particular shade, the more formal the look. Darker colors will add more elegance and energy than neutrals. For example, even though they are both red, a rich burgundy is much more dramatic than a bright, cheery cherry.

Patterns
If you want to elongate a room, choose stripes in a vertical or diagonal pattern rather than horizontal lines. Additionally, if you choose a busy or intricate design for your windows, pay attention to the rest of the room’s décor and be sure to balance out your use of patterns in the remaining space.

Functional Fabrics and Lovely Layers
Silk, velvet and velour drapery creates luxurious and romantic ambiance. If you are going for “plush” and “pampered,” these upscale materials are just the thing!

Velvet Drapes - Elle Decor

 {via Elle Decor}

Organic cottons, linens and burlap exude natural beauty and bring some of the outdoors inside.

Floor-length Drapes - Canadian House & Home

 {via Canadian House & Home}

To create dimension and texture, consider layering a heavier fabric on the outside with a light-colored lining. The lining not only softens the look of a room, it also blocks harmful UV rays while allowing light to filter in.

Black-out Panels - Make It Love It Blog

 {via Make It Lovely & Love It Blog}

Finally, a great way to add drama, personality and whimsy to your window treatments is through the hardware. Use wooden rods and metallic finishes; couple them with elaborate crystal or fabric-wrapped finials. You can also add extra flair with elegant sashes and braided cord ties.

Brass Rod & Hardware - Nate Berkus

{Architectural Digest via MPLS St. Paul Magazine Blog | Nate Berkus design}

Installation Tips

Now that you know what to install, let’s focus on how to install it.

Tips for Hanging Curtains & Drapery - Home Tips For Women

{via Home Tips for Women}

Along with the appropriate hardware, installation kit and accompanying instructions, you’ll need a level, a screwdriver, a pencil for marking holes and a metal measuring tape (not cloth or a ruler). As always, measure twice, drill once!

Here are some basic tips to remember:

  • Measure all windows, even if they appear to be the same size!
  • Curtains and drapes are supported by a rod or bar – make sure it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of your chosen draperies.
  • When attaching screws, never use plastic drywall anchors (they will eventually fall out).
  • For traverse rods with rings (to connect the fabric and the bar), measure from the bottom of the rings to ensure the proper length.
  • Use draper’s rules: purchase fabric that is one and a half times the actual width of the window to allow for gathers and pleats.

For notes on installation placement, consider the following discussion.

Not Problems…Opportunities!

Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of your windows or surrounding room, highlight the positives and turn those problems into opportunities to show off your professional-grade home décor chops!

Here are a few of the most common fixes to “window problem areas” using tried-and-true optical illusions:

Small Windows
Solution: Instead of placing the window treatments or blinds inside the frame of the window’s casing, install them on the outside to create the appearance of larger windows. By creating a frame for the window on the outside, you give the eye more of a window “box” to look at, thereby making the entire window area seem larger.

Choppy Window-to-Wall/Ceiling Ratios
Solution: If you have shorter ceilings, windows that are placed at odd heights or tall, skinny windows, minimize the choppy look by installing floor to ceiling window treatments. By having long curtains, you have tricked the eye into focusing not on the uneven proportions of window-to-wall but rather on the smooth, elongated, elegant lines of the drapes. At the same time, the entire room looks larger!

Off-Center Windows
Solution: When you have windows that are not centered or are too far to one side on a wall, balance them out by off-setting the window treatments above them and around the sides. By doing this, you will necessarily have more surface area of the window covered on one side; however, by keeping the curtains evenly drawn, you will only see the center of the window behind them – not the 6 inches on one side and the 2 inches on the other.

Window Treatment Solutions for Awkward Window Placement - Dec-a-Porter Blog

 

{via Dec-a-Porter Blog}

By incorporating the above tips and tricks, the sky beyond your windows is the limit! What are some of your favorite design techniques that you have implemented yourself?

Thrifting to Paperwhites

In all the years I’ve been decking out our home for the Holidays, one thing I’ve never tried is Paperwhites! Can you believe that? Last year my friend Meesh from I Dream of Chairs got me thinking about it… but that’s all I did, was ‘think’ about it! So this year after seeing more Paperwhites in the works on different blogs and good ol’ Pinterest, I decided to hop on the PaperwhiteNarcissus bus!

I picked up my bulbs at Home Depot.

Paperwhites from Home Depot

And then headed off on a thrifting expedition for a great pot to put them in!

Here, they’re in my new gold lacquered tray from Pier 1! A big thank you to Nicole from Nicole Scott Designs for the heads up on where to buy the tray!

For my Paperwhites’ pot I had a tarnished silver ‘something’ in mind, but in my hunt I discovered very few options. I thought about buying a stainless pot and DIYing it to look tarnished, but even that idea was easier thought up than executed!

So I picked up this brass urn instead. It had a few scuff marks, and some buildup of who knows what.

Aged Brass Urn

I thought about painting it, but decided to give it a scrub with Barkeepers Friend.

Barkeeper's Friend on Brass

I ended up resorting to toxic Brasso, because the grime wasn’t giving in without a fight. I thought about trying Ketchup, or a Ketchup and Vinegar paste, but I’ve only read about that remedy – have you ever tried it? Did it work???

Even with the Brasso, I still had to use a lot of elbow grease! But finally the little urn came clean :-)

Brass Urn after Polishing

Is it just me, or do you have a hard time photographing shiny brass, too? Honestly, it’s like taking a photograph of a mirror!

Anyway, onto planting up the Paperwhites…

At first I was going to put a pot inside the urn, but decided to build up a bit of drainage and just put the dirt right in instead. I cut a small container down to size and set it into the very bottom of the urn. Then I filled the bottom with little rocks from the Dollar Store.

I cut the bottom out of a plastic plant pot, and set it upside-down over the rocks. I thought this would help the drainage by keeping the dirt up off the rocks a little bit.

Remember my Grunge One & Two pumpkins? Well, I reused some of the dirt from them, and just topped it up.

Paperwhite Bulbs in Dirt

I wasn’t sure how deep to plant the bulbs because of my drainage experiment, so just went by different images I’ve seen. How deep do you plant your Paperwhites? Do you think I should add a bit more dirt, or will my bulbs become too moist?

Next, according to Pam’s tutorial from Simple Details, I watered with luke warm water, and placed the urn in this dark cupboard…

Where it shall stay for about a week, until the bulbs begin to shoot. They are going to shoot, right?

I thought about trying the rocks and water in a clear container method for growing Paperwhites, but decided to save that for another time. Or… I might try that with an Amaryllis instead!

I would like to give Shauna from Satori Design for Living a special shout out for her Holiday countdown series. Without it I might not have realized it was time to stop ‘thinking’ about Paperwhites, and actually start ‘growing’ them if was going to give them a try this year! If you need a little prodding to stay organized coming into the Holidays this year, pop on over to Shauna’s blog. I bet there’s something in her series that will land on your ‘to do before it’s too late’ list!

Do you grow Paperwhites for the Holidays? How about Amaryllis? What are your tips and tricks for success? ‘Cause we all know, the jury’s out on my success for the time being!

Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Photographs by Sheila Zeller