When my wife and I bought our first house back in 2008, all of the windows already treated with either horizontal or vertical blinds. While we were not enamored with the blinds, we decided to keep and live with them. After all, we both grew up with blinds and having blinds to cover our windows was not a big deal. Since these were older, light colored treatments, not only were some of these blinds marked with various minor stains, many also did not work properly. The strings on the horizontal blinds often did not work properly; the rod on the vertical blinds did not always turn, and the blinds themselves sometimes fell from the clips. We wanted change, but I always thought that the cost would be too high or the labor would be too difficult and decided against it. We lived with it all, to the point where we no longer opened and closed the blinds. Four years later, we changed it all, and we love it. Our lives and our home drastically improved for the better.
Benefits of Curtains over Blinds:
- Curtains made our home more beautiful and “homey”. We chose double curtain rods for most of our windows, which allowed us to put a thin layer of lace curtain in the back and a thicker curtain in the front. This made our home more decorative and gave us the option of more or less light.
- Curtains allowed us to enjoy our windows more. Compared to blinds, curtains open and close so much more easily. This simple fact allowed us to enjoy our windows more. An added bonus was having curtains freed up our window sills. This allowed us extra space to place little trinkets or little potted plants. An unexpected but pleasant surprise.
- Curtains traps dust differently than blinds. I feel that curtains are easier to clean (just remove and throw in a laundry machine or beat outside with a stick) than blinds (I used to have to painstakingly spray and clean each panel).
- Curtains allowed for extra hiding spots with my toddler during hide and seek time. Curtains that reaches all the way to the ground are excellent hiding places.
- Curtains helped lower our heating and cooling costs. Curtains, especially those of the insulated varieties, do a great job of keeping heat from entering your house or leaving your house through the windows. This keeps the temperature of the house more constant which means lower energy bills.
- Blackout curtains are a beautiful, wonderful thing. I enjoy having a dark room, especially if I want to sleep in. For those afternoon naps and weekend mornings where I am able to sleep in, curtains that block out all the light is absolutely magnificent. All I can say is that regular blinds vertical or horizontal just does not do the job. Of course, cellular blinds also does a good job blocking out light, but curtains are much cheaper.
How we replaced our blinds with curtains:
Cost: Less than $500
Number of Windows Completed: 9 big windows, 5 small windows
Time Spent: Approximately 1 week, 2 -3 hours each day.
Materials & Tools: electric drill, level, hammer, pliers, tape measure, pencil, screws, sewing machine.
- Step 1: We measured our windows, generally you want your curtains to be at least 1/3 to 2/3 wider than your windows. The length is up to you. For us, we enjoy having our curtains go all the way to the floor
- Step 2: Buy the curtain rods, brackets, and curtains. We bought most of these materials from Ikea. We chose them because everything was relatively economical and there is a wide variety of design, thickness, and colors to choose from. In addition, the biggest selling point for me was that Ikea has inexpensive brackets that easily allowed us to have single or double rod curtains. Other retailers that we considered for curtains and materials included various online retailers, Lowe’s, Ross, and Target.
- Step 3: Remove the old window treatments. This part was extremely easy; both our horizontal and vertical blinds were held up by 2 – 3 brackets. The blinds were easily removed once we pried the metal brackets open with pliers. After the blinds are removed from the windows, we simply unscrewed the brackets to complete the removal. Pliers were very important tools during the removal.
- Step 4: Measure and install the curtain brackets. I went through the trouble of finding studs with a hammer so I could drill holes and screw in the brackets securely. For the most of our windows, the brackets were successfully installed at about half an inch from the sides of the windows and half an inch above the top of the window. I also used a level when installing the brackets to make sure that they were installed straight. A tape measure was also used to make sure the brackets on both sides were equidistant to the sides and top of the window.
- Step 5: Hang the curtains from the curtain rods and install the rods onto the brackets. Simple step that’s self explanatory.
- Step 6: Measure the length of the curtains to see if any needs to be trimmed and hemmed. Many of the curtains we obtained from Ikea were at a preset length which meant that we had to cut of some of the curtains. My wife was able to use her sewing skills here, cutting the curtains to the proper length and then hemming the curtains. For lace curtains, hemming tape that came with certain types of curtains at Ikea proved to be very useful.
- Step 7: Re-hang the trimmed curtains and enjoy!
Seven simple steps and our home was completely transformed! Replacing blinds with curtains is an relatively easy project that any home improvement novice, including ourselves, should be able to tackle. The most difficult and time consuming part of the entire project was measuring and installing the brackets, once I mastered that step, the rest was a breeze. The other time consuming part of the project was trimming and hemming the curtains, but my wife handled most of that. However, the end result for our home was definitely worth the time, effort, and money spent on new window treatments. As an extra nice bonus, replacing blinds with curtains proved to be an excellent bonding activity for my wife and I. This is definitely one project that we would not hesitate to complete should the opportunity presents itself again.