Monday, March 10, 2014

Finally curtains for our living room

We've been at our house for a little over two years and its been quite depressing because I don't have any real curtains or drapes. I made a quick DIY version for our living room awhile ago but weren't happy with them because Binh complained that they interfered with him closing the sliding door so I cut them in half. So afterwards, he was happy and I was not. I searched for other affordable options but couldn't find any. Our living room sliding door/window requires a minimum of 125 inch drapes because we have a transom/window above the sliding door.  Here's a picture of our living room to refresh your memory. This was the picture before I cut the curtains in half. I really like bringing in blue because our house was so boring.

I searched for a long time and the only thing that came close to what I wanted were Ikea's Ritva curtains for $35 which came in an extended length of 118 inches. (I don't see them selling this specific blue color anymore. Other colors still available)  It was a close length but not close enough. I bought those curtains and put them aside for 6 months thinking I will one day come up with something to make them longer. Since I'm 8 months pregnant, not working and bored at home I pulled them out and thought about how to make my curtains grow. My initial inspiration is really from Restoration Hardware's belgian heavyweight textured linen drapes. Here's the link. From the pictures and my Ikea curtains, they look strikingly similar in texture. I really liked the rod pockets for a casual living room look. Here's the look from RH's website. I like how the rings are partially covered.

Upon careful examination of my Ritva curtains, I noticed the top tabs were folded down about 5 inches.  I quickly ripped open the seams and revealed 6 inches of extra fabric. On the other end of the curtains, I also decided to rip open the seams to see if I can find any more length that could be added and I able to get another inch of fabric. I used witchery tape to close up the seams on the bottom and carefully ironed everything so its nice and straight and attached my rings about 1.5 inches below where I normally hang them. Here are pictures to show you what I did. 

From the top looking down. 
I took the whole rod down so I can carefully attach the clips to the curtains. 

This is how it looks from the front.

This is how it looks from the back. 

BUT... this is how it looks after I hung them up. Nothing close to the RH version at all. The curtains were so long and didn't have enough support on top that the curtains hang sloppy instead of straight across. You can't really tell how tall the curtains are in pictures but compare it to the height of our sectional. Our sectional is a standard height and it looks really short/low next to the curtains. Also, our ring clips were too flimsy. It just looked sad. Ignore all the stuff outside. I picked up another large entertainment center to refinish for Binh's junk yard but I haven't had enough energy to tackle it yet.

So off to Lowe's I went and grabbed some super clearance ring clips for under $3 a pack of 7. I bought three packs and used ten rings on each side. I didn't care to use the clips with the rings so I hand stitched the rings onto the curtains. To solve the problem of the slouching on top, I cut one inch of thin cardboard paper from Dollartree and stitched it directly onto the back of the curtains on top. It gives the curtains more structure and has a perfect fold each time I open and close the curtains.

Here are the curtains after I got Binh to hang them up. The folds are perfect each time I open and close them. The folds don't look sloppy and droop like before. Our curtain rods look thin but they are actually 1.5 inch thick rods. 

Here are better pictures from this evening. Its just so hard to take pictures of a window.

Review of the Ritva curtains: I really like them for our living room. They are extra wide, the color that I want (a tad darker in tone compared to our previous curtains), great price for both panels, long enough for our sliding door, and block just the right amount of light. I think its one of the most affordable options for such long curtains. These curtains will be abused the most compared to our other curtains so I knew I wanted something affordable and I won't have a heart attack if they get messed up. Living with a toddler and new baby,  curtains (and rugs) are one of the few things I have learned to compromise on. When my babies get a little older and don't play hide and seek in the curtains with dirty hands then I'll invest in something a little more. For $35, I am happy.

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