Easy Home Projects: DIY Window Treatments

Window treatments can blend in with your walls or stand out as the crown jewel of a room. Once you’ve decided which role your windows should serve, try one of these DIY window treatments to make plain old curtains look like they were customized by a professional designer.

“As far as dressing up curtains, you can add any kind of trim simply with a hot-glue gun,” says Marian Parsons of Mustard Seed Interiors, a blogger and interior designer featured on HGTV.com. “I’ve also seen people add embellishments such as lace doilies.” Try these easy DIY decorating ideas to upgrade your windows.

Trim It
Tailor a custom look for curtains by sewing or gluing a decorative trim along the edges that perfectly complements your space. Your trim of choice may determine the placement. Consider adding it with a running stitch along the top, bottom, or all the way around the edges.


Photo Credit: Marian Parsons for photo and design

A Glimpse of Lace
Lace provides an extra oomph to solid curtains in a room with lots of natural light. Measure your curtains and buy lace cut to the exact measurements of each panel. Use aerosol glue spray to adhere the lace to the back of the panels, taking care to trim the lace to meet the hems of the curtains. (Remember, the lace side might be visible from the outside.) If you want extra security, use thread that matches the existing stitching on your curtains, then rip out the stitching and sew it back with the lace tucked underneath the hems.

Matching Rods and Panels
Often times, the curtain rod is just as important as the window dressings. Make the rod blend in with the curtains by covering it with fabric from an extra panel. Or create more contrast by using a different fabric. You can create a slipcover perfectly tailored for your curtain rod with a simple running stitch. Once the slipcover is in place, secure it with a few more stitches. Curtain rods are far away from viewers’ eyes, so your stitching doesn’t need to be perfect.


Design: 3north
Photo Credit: Kip Dawkins Photography

Dip-Dyed Ombre Effect
The color gradation trend is easy to achieve on your window treatments with a dye of your choice and a container large enough to accommodate your curtain panels and ties-backs. Guide the tops of each panel onto a broomstick to control them during the dyeing process. Cover the floor in your dyeing area with a tarp to avoid stains.

Measure and mark with a straight pin the boundaries between three equal sections from top to bottom on each panel. Don’t dye the top third to achieve the saturated gradient look. Dyeing intervals will vary based on the brand of dye you use, but plan to let both second and third intervals soak in the dye, then soak just the third section for the same amount of time. If it’s lighter than you desire, let it soak a little longer. Leave ties-backs in the dye longer for an even bolder look.

Ribbon Stripes
Vertical stripes add depth and movement to any room. Fake striped curtains by purchasing wide ribbon in a color of your choice. (You can never go wrong with black!) Use a yardstick and a level to mark where you’ll secure the ribbon for stripes. Attach with a running stitch or iron-on adhering tape, making sure to tuck the ribbon ends underneath the curtain for a neat finish. Create even more visual interest by using two or more colors of ribbon. Use leftovers as tie-backs.  


Photo Credit: Erika Bonnell Inc. 

Color-Blocked Tones
Have you found a fabric that would complement your existing decor? Sew a foot-tall border of it onto the bottom of your curtains. This DIY window treatment won’t take long but will make a big statement.


Architect: House + House Architects
Interior Designer: Jeffers Design Group
Photo Credit: Matthew Millman

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Main Photo: Nichole Loiacono Design

DIY Paint Ideas: Disguise an Ugly Wood Floor With Paint

Replacing an old wood floor can be a time-consuming and expensive home project. If you don’t have the bandwidth or budget to refinish old wood floors, try updating them with paint. All you need are the right tools and a favorite paint color -- and maybe a great pattern idea to create a custom design that will liven up any drab surface (see below for our favorite ideas for home).

Interior designers such as Illinois-based Jeannie Balsam like to use this paint trick for a custom look. She’s executed the technique in several spaces, including her own design studio.

“An inexpensive and easy update is to paint an old stairwell, treads, thresholds or trim with glossy floor paint,” says Balsam. “The space immediately feels fresh and modern. To add a little interest, you can also incorporate numbers or words on the treads.”

Whether you want to paint wood floors, stairs or trim, consider this DIY home décor project to give any surface a dose of personality.

Time: approximately three days

Materials:

Sanding sponge
Sponge
Painter’s tape
Paint roller
Paintbrush
Pencil
Ruler
Porch or floor paint
Polyurethane

Steps:

1. Give the wood floor surface some traction and even out rough spots by grazing over them with a sanding sponge. With a damp sponge, wipe away sanding residue and allow it to dry.

2. Tape off all the areas you want to protect from the paint, such as baseboards. With a paintbrush, begin by painting your base color a few inches around the perimeter of the painting area. With a roller, fill in the rest of the area. Let dry and paint another coat if needed. Let dry overnight.

Skip to step 6 if you’re painting a solid color. If you’re painting a pattern*, follow steps 3 through 5.

3. Measure and tape off your chosen design (remember to measure twice and paint once!). Using painter’s tape, mark the areas you don’t want to paint with an X. Next, rough up the areas to be painted with a sanding sponge. Then wipe away sanded areas and stray pencil marks with a damp sponge (a pencil eraser can damage the base coat). Let dry.

4. With a paintbrush, paint your pattern. Clean up any drips or spills right away with a damp sponge.

5. Before the paint dries, carefully peel away the tape from the floor at an angle.

6. Let paint dry for a day. Once the floor is fully dry, apply a coat of polyurethane with a paint roller to seal in the new design against heavy foot traffic.



*Brush These Patterns On for Size:

Preppy Stripes: Aside from a solid color, this idea requires the least amount of tape. Go broad and bold with two colors for a classic look. Or add funky texture to a kid’s playroom with skinnier strips of three or more colors.

Checks: Don’t think gingham or chessboard -- unless that’s your intention. This pattern is about as versatile as it gets. Two-tone squares magically make everything else in a room seem more cohesive.

Faux Rug: Skip area rug hunting and bring on the double takes by painting one instead. Rather than tape off the whole floor, focus on one area of the room, or just leave a border of unpainted floor around the edges.


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No-Stress Decorating Ideas for Halloween and Beyond

When it comes to decorating a home for Halloween, there’s one thing to keep in mind: Stay true to your design style. Just because it’s a one-day-a-year celebration doesn’t mean you have to drop your love of fresh flowers or certain colors that aren’t typically associated with the holiday.

“Halloween is one of the most creative holidays, and a lot of the décor could be used beyond the holiday -- even for Thanksgiving,” says New York City-based interior designer Robin Baron. When decorating, “think about who you are, what you gravitate to, your style and what your home looks like. It has to resonate with you.”

Try these easy, last-minute fall decorating ideas for both inside and outside the home:

Use pumpkins in different sizes and colors. For a modern-day Halloween, add a level of interest by looking for both white and the standard orange pumpkins in varied sizes. If you’re arranging table settings for a celebratory dinner, Baron suggests using one pumpkin per place setting and creating a slit in each one to insert a namecard for the guest. Add even more holiday flare by making napkin holders out of branches, she says.

Go natural. “One thing I love about this time of year is that it is fantastic to create things with organic produce,” says Baron. Aside from pumpkins, she suggests items such as apples, artichokes, gourds and berry branches, or even fresh green leaves on stalks. Use what you find to create vignettes in an entryway or as a table centerpiece that truly reflect the season. Mix in orange flowers in clear, orange or green vases for a special touch.

Don’t forget about the outdoors. Once you’ve decorated inside, take it outside your home too. For your porch or driveway, line battery-operated ghost lanterns or candles leading the way. Place large pumpkins on the ground, fill planters with flowers such as mums and hang cobwebs on the door to create a fun setting. “You could even create a wreath using mini-pumpkins for your door,” Baron says. Most importantly, Baron warns not to forget your windows. “Put candles in the windows,” she says. “They are a fantastic place to set the tone for the outside of your home.”

It’s fine to be cheesy.
Have fun with it! Make a witch’s hat part of your arrangement for a table, entryway or mantel. Give your pumpkins huge eyes and fun, unique mouths. Buy those stretchable spider webs and place them on top of a light fixture or a table. Find cute containers or a big basket for candy, which guests can enjoy well beyond Halloween, Baron says.

Get the kids involved. “If you have kids, the most important thing you can do is keep them involved,” Baron says. One easy idea: Let your little ones stencil images of ghosts on colored paper, cut them out, and place them around the house.