This past November, Brian and I hosted our first holiday (Thanksgiving) for both of our families in our home. While we had already been in our home for a good six months, we still had a lot of small projects and purchases to get in order for a turkey dinner with 19 guests (did I mention that I was also in grad school full time and my husband was working and traveling like a madman during this time?!) We were so excited to finally be in our first home and we knew it’d probably be crazy and a little stressful planning wise…but we were so excited for this big event. 🙂
We had all the basic home furnishings taken care of (we had formal dining room furniture and a brand new white farmhouse table in our kitchen), but there were a lot of little things we needed to get (like plates and silverware for 20, seating for 20, etc.) And…because it was our first time hosting a holiday in our first house during our first year of marriage, we wanted to make our house look as nice as we possibly could. Did it really matter in the grand scheme of things if we did or didn’t have window treatments on all of the windows at Thanksgiving? No, of course not – our families are amazing and we would have had a great time regardless. But, Brian and I love our families, and love a good party…and we wanted to make this shinding as special as we could with what time and money we had.
As I said, we had most all of the basic furnishings for all of our rooms, but there were a few finishing details I wanted to pull together in time for Thanksgiving. It goes without saying that the dining room is one of the most important rooms for Thanksgiving, so I knew that I really wanted to make our formal DR shine. We were off to a good start, too. I really liked our dining room furniture, and we had purchased a new chandelier when we first moved in. We had also hung breezy floor-length white linen window panels. However, I felt like the room needed some kind of pattern (fabric?), accessory or statement artwork to pull the room together.
I decided to order a few yards of an inexpensive (I don’t remember the exact price, but it was definitely under ten bucks a yard) paisely fabric to create “window shades” to layer underneath the white panels. I thought the shades were the perfect way to go, because 1) we already had perfectly good floor length panels, 2) I would only need a few yards of fabric, making the project very inexpensive (if I had chosen to make new floor length panels, I would have needed well over 10 yards of fabric – ouch!), 3) the project would be very easy and fast to complete (thanks to my glue gun!) and 4) the panels could be easily removed and replaced with different fabric as our style evolves. I knew that I could totally pull this off before Thanksgiving!
Here’s what I did:
1) Using a tape measure, I measured the length and width of the inside top half of our dining room window frame. I added an additional 3 inches (1.5″ for the left side and 1.5″ for the right side) to the width to allow for a seam. I also added 1.5″ to the top seam and 1.5″ to the bottom seam. *If you want your panel to cover your entire window, you would need to measure the length and width of your entire window frame. I chose to have the shade cover half of our window to still bring in sunlight while at the same time providing a touch of interest to the room with color and pattern.
2) I cut out the fabric to my measurements as measured above.
3) I ironed each panel.
4) I used my glue gun to fold over each edge, creating a seam. I measured in 1.5″ for the left and right seam. It’s very important that you use the exact seam measurement (see step #1) to ensure your shade will have a custom fit inside your window. I measured 1.5″ for the top seam and 1.5″ for the bottom seam, so I folded over 1.5″ at the top and 1.5″ at the bottom. When gluing the top seam, I glued along the edge to allow for a large pocket to eventually hang the window shade. *Another important note – besides a glue gun (which worked very well), you could use stich witchery or sew your panels…whatever you’re most comfortable with.
5) I purchased inexpensive tension rods for around 2 bucks a pop (similar to this @ Home Depot) and simply slid the rod inside the top seam pocket.
6) Lastly, I placed the tension rods inside each window frame.
This project was VERY easy and I love how our custom window treatments add some color and pattern to the room without a big/expensive commitment! Here are more pictures of our dining room with our purdy window treatments:
*Important note – these shades are strictly decorative – they can’t be raised or lowered, etc. (at least when made as described above). For us, this wasn’t a problem, though, because we do have floor length window panels layered with the window shades, so we can still pull those panels closed if we want full shade.
In addition to layering with floor length panels, these shades could be a great solution to outfitting kitchen windows, bathroom windows, small windows or even antique or unusually shaped windows. They could be great in a child’s room or playroom, when tastes and favorite colors can change pretty quickly. Overall, this project is a great way to create custom window treatments that aren’t expensive, easy to make and can easily be switched out as the style of your home changes.
In additon to these dining room shades, I have also DIY-ed our family room floor-length panels, kitchen panels, and powder room window treatment. I’ll be sure to share these tutorials soon!
This week I will be linking this post up with the following link parties: