Forgive me if I start rage-ing again with this post. This is one of those hot button topics for me because it’s something I just don’t understand why people do something in particular which I’ll get to in a minute.
Today’s challenge is:
I get a lot of questions about windows and how to dress them. Well, for one I often times wonder WHY!? Why do they need to be dressed? I don’t have curtains or shades on every window in my house. There’s no reason to do that.
WHY? Really? I’ll give you that if you are maybe in a high crime area or a very urban setting with lots of prying eyes wandering by. But, seriously not every window needs to be covered. Not even the bathroom has to have shades. My bathroom doesn’t have shades because it is up high and no one is going to be able to look in at me. I took the blinds off my mother-in-law’s hall bath which was a bit of a debate between us and several of you. The thing is even the tallest person wouldn’t be showing any boobies with the height of the window. There’s a block wall 3 feet away outside. The neighbor’s next door don’t have windows on that side of the house and you would barely be able to even see someone’s face from their front door. The blinds that were there before made the room very dark. Unnecessary. See more about this bathroom here.
Here we have Joe from Constructed Matter demonstrating the height of the window and that literally someone would have to come into the backyard and around the side of the house to a very narrow walkway to be able to see inside. Admittedly, creepy. But, likely not happening. Still makes me laugh, though. I probably just refuted all of that info with that photo. Oh well. Had to add it when I came across it.
Here in Phoenix, and many parts of the country, that is definitely something to consider. But, if your window faces North or South and/or has an overhang outside, why do you need to cover it? Sure a little heat will come in bc it’s 120 degrees out, but that doesn’t mean we should live like a hermit. I would contend that getting some sunlight is more important than maximum home efficiency.
And this is where I lose my mind. I walk into client’s or friend’s houses and all of the curtains are closed. The plantation shutters (gah can’t stand those) are closed. The blinds and shades are down or even worse the blinds are down but open so you feel like in a sideways jail cell. Then, they wonder why it feels so dark in their home. They ask what color to paint. Should they get new floors? Should they knock down walls….NO.
OPEN THESE MOFOS!
GET SOME FREAKING SUNLIGHT!
HOW CAN YOU EVEN LIVE IN A DARK BOX ALL DAY LONG?
It’s one thing if you aren’t home, but if you are, open those puppies! The first thing I do in the morning is open all of our curtains again. Even in the bedroom where likely I won’t return until nighttime. The reason is 1. plants need sun and 2. humans need sun 3. when the bedroom curtains stay closed, it feels like a the house has a black hole.
Whenever I go to someone’s house and they have plantation shutters, I recommend they get rid of them. A lot of people here in Phoenix and Scottsdale have them in their house. The problem is that the slats always break so they stay closed OR it’s just too much work to open and close them all the way. They’re cumbersome. They bang into each other. They’re awkward. Even if you open the slats, still 60% of the window is covered. Open them all the way and you feel like you’ve just been released from prison.
The blinds I am also not a fan. It feels like a jail cell when they are partially open. Even partially drawn shades can feel impeding if they aren’t pulled up high enough.
Ok enough of my rage-y complaining. Look. Just open your shit up. Let there be light.
STEP 1: Take down unnecessary, broken, ugly or daylight window dressings
But, what about some curtains. I do like a nice light and airy white curtain (duh) to straddle a window to soften the look. It takes the “edge” off. I also like them for a little privacy at night. If you have a front window that faces the street, try some white light curtains. DON’T KEEP THEM DRAWN ALL DAY IF YOU ARE HOME. It feels like you are adding walls to your house. Nobody cares what you are doing in your home unless you are putting on a show if you know what I mean.
My favorite cheap white curtains (bc of course white) are from IKEA. At this point I’ve bought so many that when I make the trip to IKEA (grrrr), I buy like 5 sets of them because i don’t want to have to go back anytime soon. I put them in all of my houses where blackout shades aren’t needed. That’s mostly the reason I bother to go to IKEA, anyway is just for curtains. The Vivan curtains are only $12.99 for a pair.
*Side note: the following bedroom is a staged bedroom in a flip, hence no blackout curtains.
I love that I don’t have to be bothered with choosing a pattern and trying to live with it for longer than a minute. These never get old. They’re also 98” long which always seems to be trouble for me when I go to buy curtains and they are all 84” long. I’m looking at you Target.
Anyway, let’s get to the important stuff in my opinion. BLACKOUT CURTAINS. I don’t have the mind space to get deep into why one should have blackout shades on their windows but let’s just say SLEEP LIKE YOU DO IN A HOTEL ROOM (or a FilppinWendy Airbnb). There is all the info out there about Circadian clock/rhythms and science, but I dislike science majorly. My husband gives me the lowdown and I understand the gist of it but can’t regurgitate bc science so maybe some day I will interview him. For now just believe that a dark AF room is best for sleeping. Anyway, if you aren’t on the sleep is cool bandwagon then have you been under a rock? New moms get a break on this one but I must tell you, the minute we put blackout curtains on my daughter’s windows when she was a baby was the minute she started to sleep through the night. Point proven.
So, the good stuff is that I finally found some decent blackout curtains at a reasonable length and price. They even come in extra wide versions that have wide windows to cover. At West Elm they run in the hundreds. Amazon’s got you though. I buy these for all of my Airbnbs now and even myself! At the bottom of this post are my favorite budget friendly window treatment options.
Affiliate links ahead.
You’ll notice in the photo of my bedroom, we not only have blackout curtains, but we also have honeycomb blackout shades. YES we are serious about our dark AF room. These things are great because they pull down and up so easily, without a cord. My favorite part is that they fold up nicely at the top of the window and all but disappear leaving me with all the sunshine and view to take in. When they shut they still let in a teeny bit of light on the sides which is bound to happen since there must be room to move up and down freely. Hence the curtains. They work together.
For curtain hardware i tend to frequent Target the most often. They have some good options including the wrap around the corner industrial style curtain rod. It makes it so the curtain can be closed on the sides, too for shutting out all of the light with blackout curtains. See my favorites below.
Be sure to hang curtains at a level above the window and far enough outside the window to feel like the curtains aren’t squeezing the window too tight. There is tons of info about this out in the interwebs but that is just how i think of it. i don’t want the curtains to feel like a tight wig on my window. The curtains in my bedroom feel too tight on the sides as they are and need to be changed. Go back and check for yourself. If my curtain is open, i don’t want my window to be covered at all on the sides and it is. It must be change.
STEP 2: Change out your window dressings to meet the needs of the room: prettier, lighter, blackout, higher hung, wider hung, easier to open, less prison like.
So break out your measuring tape.
Hang your curtains high.
Hang them wide.
Give your window some space to breath.
Open the curtains and shades up.
Get some sun.
Don’t be a hermit.