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.


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.


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.  


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.

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10 DIY Home Décor Projects to Get You Through Winter

Forget winter doldrums! Power through the cold and the gray with these fun and inspiring DIY home décor projects.


1. Boring Cabinet Redo

Skill level: Moderate


Why we love it: We all know those store-bought, low-personality furniture pieces. They’re great on the budget, but not so good for making a style impact. Naomi, of Design Manifest, saw the potential in two boring-and-basic dressers and turned them into a one-of-a-kind TV console.


2. Sweet Fabric Votives

Skill level: Beginner


Why we love it: Not only does this DIY home décor project from Claire at Fellow Fellow offer a perfect way to put those favorite fabric scraps to good use, but it also reuses glass jars in a unique way. And if making Mother Earth happy weren’t enough, these pretty little beauties create a sweet display for dinner parties -- or any occasion.


3. Yarn-Wrapped Frames

Skill level: Beginner


Why we love it: Even home accessories need a winter sweater! Rachel, of 52 Weeks Project, gives old frames a new, cozier life by dressing them in her favorite colors of yarn.


4. Dip-Dyed Vases

Skill level: Beginner


Why we love it: You know those basic, clear vases you get with florist arrangements? Here’s another idea from 52 Weeks Project that’s a quick-and-easy way to add some artistic style to them (and your interior!).



5. Geometic Duct Tape Lamp Shade

Skill level: Beginner


Why we love it: The end result of Justina Blakeney’s project is an attention grabber that you won’t find in any home décor store. And all it takes to achieve the look is some duct tape and a little creativity.


6. DIY Stair Runner

Skill level: Advanced

Why we love it: Jenny Komenda at Little Green Notebook gave her stairs a refreshing new look by ripping out the existing carpeting, refinishing the stairs (for the eventually exposed wood floor) and laying down affordable area rugs to create a sleek runner. Whether or not you have carpeted or wood stairs, this is an easy way to spruce up a bland stairwell.


7. Books Headboard

Skill level: Moderate


Why we love it: Reading in bed has never looked so stylish. The most difficult part of this DIY home décor project from Design Every Day’s Kassandra is finding the perfect selection of books to fit your needs. But the end result is a stunner -- and would make a great accent wall too.


8. Rope Vases

Skill level: Beginner

Why we love it: Want to repurpose or give a new look to old vases? Justina Blakeney has another great idea that’s even easy enough for kids to do. These rope vases will add a unique rustic style to your interior.


9. Refinishing Furniture

Skill level: Advanced

Why we love it: Jenny Komenda’s easy DIY instructions for stripping paint from vintage furniture (to refinish and beautify a console table) is a helpful how-to for any homeowner who has a beloved piece of furniture or a random vintage find that needs a little TLC. Take on this DIY to check off that “I’ll get to it someday” home décor project you keep putting off.


10. Antique Mirror Project


Skill level: Moderate


Why we love it: Cheryle Rhuda and Danika Herrick came up with O’verlays, an awesomely affordable way to add architectural detail to furniture. They can also help you achieve that antique mirror-frame look. If you’ve been eyeing that pricey vintage mirror at your local antiques store, take on this project and it’ll be a thing of the past (yet again).

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Easy Storage Updates for Your Mudroom

Mudrooms serve a specific purpose in our homes: to keep the rest of the house clean. A place to kick off our muddy shoes and hang our soaked raincoats, the mudroom is often neglected when it comes to style and function beyond the basic coat hooks and shoe trays.

But entryways aren’t just for use during undesirable weather -- they also can be a functional place for backyard necessities (such as towels and toys), athletic equipment and general necessities you need to access as you run out the door. A family’s launching pad, the mudroom is often the hardest working room in the house. Help it work even harder with these efficient storage and organization ideas.

Be a Basket Case
If you have open shelving, baskets are an easy way to hide clutter and everyday items in style. But be consistent: Matching baskets will create a more cohesive and clean look, making the baskets appear as if they’re an intentional part of the architecture. For a more modern look, opt for fabric or metal boxes.

Photo: Crystal Kitchen Center

Get Hooked
Every mudroom, big or small, should have wall hooks. They’re not only a handy spot to toss your hats, coats and scarves, but they’re the best way to dry out items after a rainstorm. Make the most use of the room by mounting hooks in every available space -- and if you stagger two rows, you’ll have double the hanging room. If space is limited, opt for styles with two hooks per unit; hang coats on the bottom hook and small items on top.

Hit the Wall
Wall-mounted cabinets and shelves typically used as part of a closet system are an easy way to create a makeshift mudroom. Determine your storage needs -- open shelving is best for grab-and-go items, while cabinetry with doors helps you hide clutter and more unsightly items. If you have the space, create a nook designated for each family member so everything stays perfectly organized for each person’s needs.

Photo: Mary Jo Fiorella

Look Down
The best mudrooms make use of every inch of space, so don’t forget to consider floor-level storage options. Create a nook or, better yet, install handy drawers that will hide away shoes but pull out with ease.

Photo: Lucy Demmerle

Have a Seat
An affordable bench with built-in storage offers a handy place to sit down and take off those muddy boots -- and its hidden compartment is a great place to tuck away sports equipment, reusable grocery bags, seasonal shoes and other items you want to keep on hand. An entry bench with open-front storage cubes would be just as functional, and handy as well.

Photo: The Home Depot

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How to Organize Holiday Decorations

The holidays have come to a close, which means you can finally relax and stop worrying about that persistently pesky to-do list. But before you get too comfy, you’ll need to tackle one more holiday task -- storing and organizing holiday decorations.

These expert tips will get your decorations perfectly organized and ready for next year. Your ghost of Christmas Future will thank you!


Downsizing is an important element of organizing holiday decorations. Before you pack away this year’s items, bring out all the decorations that didn't make the cut. Decide which treasures you can donate, give away or throw out, suggests organizational expert Kammie Lisenby of Seattle Organizing Experts. Just think: If you get rid of old ornaments, you’ll have extra space for new ones next year!

• Store decorations in “the heavy green and red containers that are on sale this time of year,” suggests Marilyn Bohn from Get it Together Organizing. You’ll immediately recognize them as Christmas decoration containers thanks to the festive colors, and you won’t be scouring the attic or storage shed next year to find them. In addition, Lisenby suggests storing all your holiday decorations in one area for easy access next year. Somewhere that’s not prime year-round real estate -- such as the back of the garage or attic -- is best. And make sure that your containers are made of hard plastic and have a tight locking lid.

• Label, label, label, Lisenby says. Mark even individually wrapped ornaments so you’ll immediately know what’s what next year without having to unpack everything first. Clear nametag inserts attached to the outside of boxes are great because they allow you to change the label from year to year if needed.

• Accidents happen, so keep a tube of crazy glue with your Christmas decorations, suggests Bonnie Joy Dewkett of The Joyful Organizer. If you open your holiday decorations next year to find a break, you’ll be ready for a quick fix and the broken ornament won’t be left sitting in the corner all holiday waiting for you to “get around” to mending it.

• We all like to keep the original boxes with our grandmother’s writing on them, Lisenby says. But to really preserve memories, make sure you have the proper storage for your treasures (large, sturdy boxes in which to store the smaller treasured boxes). 


• One trusted (and inexpensive) trick for organizing holiday lights: Keep them from becoming tangled by wrapping them around a flat piece of cardboard -- a paper towel tube also works. Bohn, Dewkett and Lisenby all love this trick. On an exposed end of the cardboard or on a label tag, jot down where the lights belong next year (Christmas tree, mantel, entry window, and the like). Wrap lights in newspaper or packing paper and store them in a hard plastic, durable container.

Bohn recommends investing in a Lightkeeper Pro (about $25), the complete tool for fixing miniature lights. It is worth its weight in gold as it fixes light strands that have been rendered useless thanks to a fixable problem. Keep it with your lights for next year for ease of use.


• Next time you’re at the wine or liquor store, Bohn suggests asking if you can take some empty boxes with bottle separators off their hands. The boxes are perfect for dividing and protecting bubble-wrapped delicate ornaments.

• For another affordable option to safe-keep breakables, glue the bottoms of plastic cups to a flat piece of cardboard, says Dewkett. Once the ornaments are inside the cups, place another flat piece of cardboard on top, tie them together and store in a tote or large box.

• Lisenby warns against wrapping ornaments (particularly delicate or valuable ones) in printed paper. Always use plain packing paper or tissue paper so the ink doesn’t rub off on your ornaments, she says. And when you purchase new ornaments, keep the original packaging if possible.

• If you have broken ornaments that you want to keep, fix them before storing them, Bohn says. As you’re downsizing, get rid of those you don’t like or don’t plan to use in coming years. If there are ornaments you don’t plan to use but will keep for sentimental reasons, store them in a smaller box, label it and place in the bottom of the larger storage container. This will save you the time of separating these ornaments from the others next year.

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Photo: Corbis Images

How to Make a Concrete Planter

Small concrete planters for indoor plants are a simple, stylish and fun DIY home décor project to make on your own or as a family. For an even more unique look, press leaves into the concrete before it sets, or add dye for a colorful planter. Try filling these pots with succulents for a trendy, modern look.

Skill level: Easy


Time: A few hours over a period of 2 days



·         Bag of concrete

·         Water

·         2 different size molds (use empty containers you have on hand, such as plastic storage containers)

·         Cooking oil, non-stick cooking spray or mold-release spray

·         Bucket 

·         Drill

·         Concrete mixer attachment for drill

·         Concrete bit

·         Plant

·         Optional: Concrete dye or miscellaneous plant leaves



Step 1

Prepare the mold for your planter by placing a small container inside a larger container. Coat the inside of the big container and the outside of the small container with cooking oil, non-stick cooking spray or mold release spray. This will help you remove the finished planter later.

Step 2

In a bucket, mix the concrete with water according to package directions. Mix, adding more concrete or water as needed, until it’s the consistency of peanut butter. It’s much easier to use a concrete mixer attachment on your drill than doing this by hand.

Step 3

To color the concrete, add dye according to package directions. If you want leaf impressions on your planter, place some leaves inside the big container at random (the cooking oil or spray should hold them in place temporarily).

Pour the concrete mixture into the large container. After you’ve filled it as much as you wish, center the smaller container in your big container. Press into the concrete. Place something heavy, such as a rock, in the smaller container to keep it from moving around while the concrete dries.

Step 4

Now it’s time to wait. Do not disturb your project for at least 24 hours.

Step 5

You’ve been so patient! Now at last you can see how everything turned out.

First, remove the small container. This may require some elbow grease. Once it’s out, test the concrete. If it’s still wet, let it continue to dry before you attempt to remove the planter from the big container.

Step 6

When the concrete seems dry, gently remove the planter from the big container. You may have to cut away the container to do this. Try making one cut all the way down the side of the container. This should allow you to pop out the planter.

You may want to leave your planter in the sun for a few more hours to continue drying. Once it’s completely dry, drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of the planter with your concrete bit. Add some potting soil, a plant and some water. Then sit back and admire your handiwork!

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