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Creating Dynamic Window Coverings Without Breaking the Budget

When creating dynamic window coverings, it's important to choose carefully, because your window coverings will become the focal points of a well-decorated room. But choosing the right window treatments, at the right price, takes some thought about not only the look you're hoping to achieve, but also about the nature of the space itself.

The first consideration will be how much exposure the fabric is going to receive. All fabrics are susceptible to sunlight, but many homemakers invest in acrylic, modacrylic, polyester, or another glass-based fabric in order to get the longest life out of window treatments. Although it gives a room an elegant feel, silk is most vulnerable to sunlight.

I save money on window treatments by using some imagination and creativity. For example, I often create a custom look by covering a tension rod with a thicker piece of PVC pipe. To avoid having the PVC's printing bleed into my fabric, I sand off the numbers, but the printing can also be neutralized by using PVC primer, acetone, or even fingernail polish.

I've found PVC pipe to be very versatile. I've spray painted it black to look like wrought iron or brown to look like wood, and I've sponge painted it with copper and dark green over a light green for a verdigris effect. I've also painted it to reinforce an accent color or to look like gold or silver. It's not expensive, and PVC's decorating uses seem to be endless.

When it comes to longer window spans, wooden closet dowels, stronger than PVC, cost considerably less than drapery rods. I've also used copper pipe, which works well for curtain rods and looks great for significantly less money. If the curtain fabric will be touching the copper, though, I spray the copper with a clear gloss. That way, my fabric doesn't get stained if the copper should happen to oxidize.

To save even more money, I also get creative with the decorative hardware when creating window treatments. For instance, I've used the braid cords and tassels from Christmas tree decorations to add a touch of class to my window coverings, at a fraction of the cost of what similar drapery accessories would cost at a window fashion center.

I also love to create unique treatments by using unusual tieback holders. For one remodeling project, I found some old lamp finials and used them as tieback holders. I've also created a nice, airy atmosphere in a room by forming delicate swags of sheer lace curtains by securing them with clear fishing line.

Dynamic window treatments are a vital part of the overall look and feel of a room, but they don't need to break the budget. If you're creative and allow your imagination to run free, your decorating choices are truly endless.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Jeanette J. Fisher

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see

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