Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shady Business

I feel like a broken record. It seems like all of my posts start a little something like this... "I've finally gotten around to doing something I've been meaning to do for months!" But that's the truth. When we bought our house, I made a biiiiig looooong to do list of everything I planned to get done, and I'm slowly checking off the remaining items. So it's true for this post as well as dozens of others: I finally hung the curtains I've been meaning to hang since we moved in.

Hanging curtains has felt like a really daunting task, specifically in the living room. Allow me to explain. John & Sherry are awesome at swapping out art & furniture, rearranging, and re-thinking rooms in their house. I love this about them because it means their decor and style are really fluid, and they don't mind shifting a room around to paint or accommodate their latest project. I am nothing like this. I wish I were, but I'm not.

My mom tells a lovely story about how when I was little, she and my dad bought me some elaborate dollhouse that took them hours (and hours and hours) to assemble. When they gave it to me, I was somewhat interested, but after about a week I stopped playing with it. One day, my mom was looking at it and moved some of the furniture and people around. As it turned out, I did not like that. Apparently, I told her I had put everything where I wanted it, and that's where things needed to stay, and that's why I hadn't touched it. Soon after, I had one of my friends over and refused to let them play with the dollhouse. Not because I was bad at sharing (although I'm sure my mother could tell you stories about that deficiency as well), but because I didn't want anything moved.

Moral of the story is that once I find a place for things, that's where I like for them to stay. Now, how does this apply to curtain hanging? Well, as you can see below, in order to hang the curtains it required that we dismantle the entire living room. I've been avoiding this like the plague, mainly because our couch is made up of three interlocking pieces that are really tricky to un-hook and re-hook. Finally, I found the perfect curtains and decided it was time to take the plunge.

The curtains are called Matilda and came from Ikea. I noticed them when I was there one day and fell in love. It's a little weird to imagine that I found something from Ikea that I love this much, but they're seriously perfect. They're very light and airy and have just enough of a detail/texture to be interesting but not draw too much attention to themselves. The curtain rods are pretty standard looking and came from Crate & Barrel with leftover wedding gift card money.

Before I show you the living room, let's start in the kitchen because that's where I took the best pictures. The first step was to figure out how high to hang the rod. I put some tape on the wall so I could mark where it needed to go and not worry about needing to do touch-ups if I marked anything incorrectly, plus it kept the metal mounting piece from rubbing the paint off as I slid it around.

As far as how high to hang it, I put the curtain on the rod and raised it up to where the curtains just barely touched the floor, then marked where the bottom of the mounting piece should go.

I went back and marked where the screws went.

Next, I drilled the holes using a drill bit that would be the right size if I were to screw the screws directly into the wall (rather than using an anchor). This is basically just a pilot hole to see if there's a stud. 

Because there wasn't a stud, I went ahead and used a larger bit that would accommodate the anchors. If there had been a stud, I would have left the hole at the smaller size. You can see the little pile of drywall dust which is because I made a little tape shelf to collect it rather than letting it fall on the floor.

Next, I hammered in my anchors.

Then, I screwed in the mounting piece.

Thank you, Crate and Barrel, for selling such well-designed curtain rods! This was the most painless experience I've had with hanging rods. Next I just slid on the bracket.

I used a long piece of tape to mark how far over on the other side of the window the bracket should go based on the side I had already completed, then repeated the process.

Next, I added a bracket in the middle, and hung 'em up! This was before...

And here we are after!

Sooo much better, right?! I learned from John & Sherry that when you hang curtains correctly, meaning to the side of the window rather than covering the window, it makes the window look bigger. I would say this is good proof!

Shall we head up to the loft? If you'll remember, this is where we started.

And here we are now! I found these vertically striped curtains at World Market when they were 50% off and thought they'd add a little color without being too loud.

Last but not least, the living room. After scooching all of the furniture to the other side, I installed the 3 brackets and voila! What I really love is that it gives the illusion that the wall is just one giant window rather than 3 separate ones.

Originally, I hadn't even planned on using the same curtains in the living room and dining room (which is sadly just because it didn't occur to me), but I'm very glad that this is how it worked out. I think they help tie the rooms together, which is awesome since the colors are obviously very different.

Isn't it funny how much of a difference they make? Every little thing makes a difference, which makes each project really exciting.

My next post will be a before and after one. My last before and afters were 6 months ago, and we've certainly come a long way since then!


  1. Hi,

    Your house is beautiful!

    I had a question about the curtains in your living room that cover three windows. Did you use one long rod that spanned all three windows with just a support in the middle? And how many curtains did you use? Does each window have two curtains (so six curtains total) or is there four curtains total? I have three windows that span a wall in my living room and I'm having trouble figuring out the logistics of buying the right curtain arrangement for them.

    1. Hi Marcy,

      Thank you so much! Yes--the living room curtain rod is one long rod that spans all three windows with one support in the middle. It came from Crate & Barrel and is designed really well (very easy to hang, and isn't flimsy at all, which is something I was worried about given that it's so long). There are four curtains total--they came from Ikea and when they're all opened up/spread out they cover all of the windows without much excess.

      Good luck with figuring out a solution for your windows! Let me know how it goes--I'd love to see pictures :)

      And, may I ask, how did you find my blog? I love when new readers stop in--mainly I just hear from friends and family!

  2. I would like to do something similar in my living room, this looks so nice! What size are the panels from Ikea? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Alicia! These are 98" x 55". Here's the link if you're interested in these particular ones: