Dear bossy color,
What I want: cellular window shades with blackout backing.
What I have discovered I don’t want to pay the price of: See above. I have 9 feet to cover and am looking at at least $500.
What I think I can afford that will accomplish what I need: curtains
What I loathe: see above
What I most loathe: curtains that are on rods that curve back to the wall on the side of the window.
Yet no other installation will block the dreaded street light glow and retain the heat I am seeking.
What I have now: roller shades purchased 18 years ago that are great quality and were spendy at the time, but getting sad looking and ARE IN SEAFOAM GREEN.
Those also don’t do much in the light-blocking, heat-retaining category.
What I most fear: the visual clutter and fussiness of curtains.That and the whole, “funeral home” feeling of curtains that cannot be hung straight across a window.
Uncovered in Oregon
Holy cow. I honestly think that nailing a blanket over your window might be preferable to seafoam green roller shades. I know that’s extreme. But may I repeat back to you? “18 years ago,” “sad looking,” “SEAFOAM GREEN.”
But you know the time has come. You just don’t know what to do about it. (For less than $500.)
Here’s the unfortunate news, Uncovered: 9 feet is a lot of window. A LOT. So I’m going to hope really hard that you sew. Do you sew? Do you have a friend who sews? Do you KNOW anyone who sews? Possibly named Susie?
Drapes ARE the answer. But they need not be funereal, Uncovered! Why, look at the gorgeous pictures above! Festive! Yet grand! Maybe fussy by your definition, but definitely not depressing!
If I understand correctly, your goals are to:
- Block light
- Block cold
- Be unfussy
- Not bum you out
Drapes can do all of this. Here’s what you do:
1. Go to a fabric store and find mid-weight material that makes you happy. For 9 feet of window, I recommend you use a large-scale pattern, or if you prefer solids, at least add a stripe along the leading (inner) edge and bottom. (Take the dimensions of your room and window with you, and the store people will help you determine how much fabric you’ll need.)
2. Sew ring-top drapes with pinch pleats at the top. (That’s a short instruction for a lot of work, but fabrication isn’t my forte. Susie will know what to do.)
3. Find drapery hardware you like. I like Robert Allen‘s hardware, but Rejuvenation will be less expensive.
4. Mount the drapery rods waaaaaaayyy up high, closer to the ceiling than the top of the window. This will help with insulation. Plus it makes your ceilings look taller. Plus it’s just better.
5. Hang the drapes, but don’t put all the rings between the brackets. Leave one ring on the outside of each bracket
6. Tack the edge of the drape to the wall. Susie probably knows how to do this, too. This is achieved by inserting a pin into the corner of the drape itself and pounding a tiny drapery tack into the wall — or using a small eye hook, as this enterprising person has done:
Now you have beautiful, modern, insulating, light-blocking, non-depressing drapes instead of seafoam green roller shades. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back, and enjoy. And don’t forget to thank Susie.
Quoted in publications from The New York Times to The Washington Post to Real Simple magazine, Annie Elliott is considered an expert in color, residential space planning, and telling people what to do in the nicest way possible. Her interior design firm, bossy color, has been serving residents of the greater Washington, D.C. area since 2004.