When we moved into our house, the kitchen was a dark space much like the rest of the house. In addition to the feeling of darkness, we also just felt that having moved from a small apartment we finally had a chance to stretch and breathe in our new space so we didn’t want to clutter or cramp our style in any way.
I started doing some research on how to brighten up a space. My mom always painted things white and at first, I was reluctant to go that route but now I could see the wisdom in it. But there was more to it than just that. Researching where you live is also important. We are in the Midwest. We have long winters. The windows on our home are mostly short and the trees outside shade much of the lawn and the house. One area of the world that really resonated with me is Scandinavia. Yes, you can think IKEA, but much of the uncluttered, cleaned up and minimilist white decor look actually makes a great deal of sense for colder climates or wooded areas that see very little sun throughout the year. That’s definitely us.
I decided to forgo knick-knacks, patterned designs and just plain clutter and totally clean up the space. We removed walls, doors and anything dark in the house. We painted walls white or light pastels and added white tile, counter tops, light colored wood elements and stainless steel appliances. Make no mistake- we are definitely not done and have used a lot of resources like remnants to economize so the kitchen isn’t quite finished (otherwise I would show the whole thing here). We’re taking it slow and only adding on when we can afford it outright, which actually gives me more time to think clearly about what I really want- and I know that is simplicity, especially in the space where I spend the most time.
That said, curtains can’t wait. You need the privacy at your discretion, even if a window doesn’t actually face a public space. I was really trying to economize and couldn’t find curtains that were nice and tight in the space above my sink. I didn’t want to add a rod because the tile would go above the frame and everything I read about Roman blinds said they could be hand made. Not by me, of course. I’m a disaster at sewing.
I asked around and found Rashda, of Home Blinds™, who came out and measured my window to create blinds that would make my space look and feel clean and uncluttered. I asked her to use two curtain panels in a very light beige/au natural color I purchased from Target that matched the rest of the curtains in another part of the kitchen and living room, which is all an open space and where I also would like to have Roman blinds placed soon, too. She looked at my material and agreed it was possible to make (apparently some materials might not work).
I knew basically what I wanted and Rashda was able to come into my space (which was under renovation at the time) and tell that I seek balance in my life just by the way I hang my decor in other parts of the house. Isn’t that interesting?
She set off with my materials and within a few weeks, they were done.Handmade, too, which is extra special.
I love that I can pull them up to let the light in but they were quite a challenge to hang because they didn’t come with any hardware to do so, so if you’re having them handmade get the hardware ahead of time at the very least. This will prevent a fully completed blind from sitting somewhere around the house for weeks until you muster the time and energy to take care of that last detail. Can you guess that’s what happened to us?
So how do you find the right window treatments for your space? I’m frugal and I also didn’t want the same old curtains I could find in the stores that everyone else would have, too. I wanted something different and didn’t want to clutter up my space. Whatever your reasons are, if you’re looking to create or change window treatments, here are my best tips for doing so:
1. Jot down some key aspects about your space. Is it cold but you’d like to warm it up, both figuratively and decoratively? This would require heavier material to block out the cold, or warmer colors to give the space more perception of warmth.
2. What does your dream space look like? How best can it be achieved? Think about color, curtain/blind types that might work, what’s in the surrounding area (i.e. tile, beadboard, chair rail, painted walls, backsplash, etc.)
3. Know Your Budget. How much do you want to spend. How much in reality can you spend on one treatment. Costs vary and can be surprisingly expensive or economical, depending upon where you go to look.
4. Spend some time at the stores. I know this can seem daunting, but take a good look at what’s out there and don’t overlook places you may have never thought would carry window treatments or that would even fit your standards. At the very least, this gives you some ideas. Here are some store suggestions: Target, World Market, Pier 1, Kohl’s, Hobby Lobby (they have great material), Menards (nice ideas for blinds).
6. Scour magazines. Don’t just look for articles on window treatments, but take a deeper look at all those photos that talk about bedroom decor, bathrooms, living room area rugs, etc. Most of the time there is a whole room decorated to the tee that can give you some wonderful clues as to how a certain type of treatment looks, to the color, pattern and more. some of my favorites are: This Old House, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful and Elle Decor.
7. Ask Your Friends for Referrals to People Who Sew. There are plenty of very talented people in this world who do love to sew. I’ve found lots of moms who work from home and professional tailors who work out of their apartments who know how to make absolutely beautiful window treatments. Additionally, don’t disregard a customized home blind professional. That may sound expensive, but you’d be amazed at how many people really do want to work within your budget to make the window treatment possible. Again, ask for referrals- you’ll feel a lot more comfortable knowing you aren’t the first person to have worked with a particular company.
Those are some of my best tips- do you have anything else to add? Please do so in the comments section below.