Cheap weekend home decorating ideas: Creative ways to spruce up your window treatments

Liven up those windows with these inexpensive and easy ideas. With just a little imagination and items you may even have around the house, your window treatments can make a big design statement.
Do your window treatments need a facelift? Are you looking for an inexpensive and quick way to liven up a room? Is your window treatment lacking pizzazz? Well then, read on and you’ll find tons of ideas to spruce up your window treatments.

If you’re basically happy with your existing window treatment but just want to add a little “something”, how about a valance, swag or cornice? If you are looking for a complete overhaul that doesn’t cost a fortune, maybe hand-painted or stamping simple panels will do the trick. Turning a window into a stained-glass work of art or creating an elegant etched design really makes a statement; and is easy and fun to do.

Creative ways to spruce up your window treatments

Sometimes just the addition of a topper, some stenciling or an unexpected element of interest is all that you need to create a head-turning window treatment. Check out the ideas below and try one (or more of them) on this weekend!

Twigs and Branches: For an interesting rustic and country look, hang twigs or small branches over the top of your window. Faux birds, silk ivy or Spanish moss will complete the look. This looks cozy and homey with gingham or buffalo plaid tab tops.

Shelf or Peg Hooks: What a great way to add display area and add interest to your window! Position a shelf above the window and display your collection of pottery, plates, dolls or other collectibles. If you use a shelf that has peg hooks underneath it, your can hang items from those as well. Dried flower bundles, ribbons and medals, prisms or vintage bracelets and necklaces are all adorable ideas.

Ribbons: Beautiful shades of flowing ribbon can be simply knotted over a café rod and allowed to hang freely. This is a really pretty valance idea that looks especially nice if the ribbons hang at different lengths. Don’t use wired ribbon, though, it doesn’t hang properly. I used this treatment on a small bathroom window in seashore colors and etched the glass in the lower part of the window and it looks terrific!

Sports Pennants: You know those felt triangular pennants from your favorite sports teams? Pinned, tacked or stapled at the top of the window pointed end down, they make a novel valance for the recreation room or a boy’s room. Go team!

Exterior Shutters: Old or new, painted shiny or crackle-finished to aged perfection; shutters add instant interest to plain windows, but with a new twist. Hang them horizontally over the top of the window for a unique topper. Brilliant!

Fabric Swags and Scarves: Any fabric that hangs nicely will work for this idea. You can use rings sold for the purpose of looping fabric through for scarves, or use your imagination. Anything that will hold the fabric up and let you loop through or tie knots will work. You can pleat the fabric, fold it, let it fall in “swoops”, puddle to the floor or any other visions you might have in your own mind. This can be an elegant treatment or a casual one, depending on the fabric used. Check the remnant or clearance section of your local fabric store for deep savings.

Ideas for Panels, Tab Tops and Walls

Stamps and Paints: If you have panels on your windows that are just too plain, liven them up with fabric paint or stamps. A simple design makes a huge difference that you’re sure to love. If you don’t already have the panels, you can get the same look by purchasing inexpensive ones and painting or stamping them to add your special touch. A great look is a green leaf designed stamped randomly on plain white sheers.

Stencils: There are lots of uses for stencils. You can stencil a design directly onto a curtain or panel for a one-of-a-kind treatment. Don’t have trim around your windows? No problem. Stencil a border around the window itself. How about a Pennsylvania Dutch design for a kitchen or a quilting design for the den? Perhaps a scroll or fleur-de-lis in a bedroom or a nautical theme for a bathroom suits your tastes?

Tab Top Curtains: Liven up plain tab top curtains by adding interesting buttons on each tab or use some seashells from your shell collection. These can be sewn on or attached with a hot glue gun. Add just the right touch with an edge trim of ribbon of contrasting fabric. You don’t even have to drag out the sewing machine; use fabric glue to attach it.

Hardware and Tiebacks

Untraditional Rods: A simple pair of curtains can be jazzed up just by what you hang them from. Try looking at items around the house to use as curtain rods instead of purchasing them. A relatively straight tree branch, a hockey stick, a boat oar, PVC pipe, bamboo, steel cable, copper pipe; the list goes on and on. When you learn to see beyond the intended purpose, you’ll find all kinds of uses for things in non-traditional ways.

Tiebacks and Finials: Sometimes just a small addition or change is all that’s needed to make an impact. Add a designer’s touch to an existing curtain rod with unexpected finials. Pinecones, doorknobs, tassels, painted or fabric covered Styrofoam balls, toys and building blocks are ingenious touches. Tie back your curtains with raffia or hold them back with vintage doorknobs. If you don’t wear your scarves anymore, use them as unusual tiebacks. Beads, necklaces and silk flowers all work as clever tiebacks.

Let The Sunshine In

Glass Shelves: If you have a window where you don’t need complete privacy, try this “enlightening” idea. Install glass shelves across the window using brackets at the edge of the window. Display your collectibles on the shelves; they’ll look like they’re floating on air. Another beautiful display is colored glass vases, bowls, or anything that light can shine through. This casts a multicolored rainbow in the room when the sun shines through the window.

Stained Glass: Creating a personal stained glass window is easy with liquid or pre-cut leading and stained glass paints. You can even purchase stencils or templates from the local hobby store if you aren’t up to designing your own. You can apply the leading and paint directly onto the window. If you would rather not have it be so permanent, you can make your stained glass window on a separate piece of glass and hang it in the window. Any hobby shop or glass shop can cut glass to size for you. Add eyebolts to the top corners and a length of chain and hang. Your hobby or glass shop can probably add the hanging hardware for you if you prefer.

Glass Etching: Another unique window treatment made possible by a visit to your hobby shop is an etched glass window. You simply paint on the etching medium (acid) and let it set the recommended time, then wash it off. You window glass is now etched to a translucent privacy glass. If you would like to add a design to your etched windows, you can use stickers. Apply your stickers to the clean glass before you apply the etching medium. When you wash off the etching fluid and remove the stickers, the area covered by the stickers will still be clear glass. When I did this in my bathroom, I used little stickers of crabs, starfish and fish. Now I have an etched glass window with tiny little seashore designs in it. It still allows privacy, but with a bit of interest.

All of the ideas above can be done in a weekend and most of them in one day. With a little imagination and a few hours, your windows will reflect your own tastes and unique sense of design.

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