Drape the reshaped panels from new hardware to update the look.

How to Camouflage Ugly Curtains

by Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

When ugly curtains detract from your window’s view, change the shape of the panels or add new fabrics to help harmonize your family’s space. Visit your hardware store, drapery shop or sewing center to update your curtain hardware. Reworking the panels to camouflage the unattractive features helps you achieve a more versatile look for your room, and will also extend the life of these window treatments.

Tie Them Up

Tie up your curtains to minimize the amount of coverage on your windows. For example, sew evenly spaced ribbons to hang vertically on the front and back of the panels. Sew the ribbon just at the top of the header, or sew farther down, such as about one-third down from the top of the panel. Tie up the dangling ribbon ends to lift up the curtain’s lower hem and create a compact, scalloped effect without trimming the curtain. Keep the ribbons and hem high out of your children’s reach to avoid choking and strangulation hazards.

For a swag effect, attach hooks, nails or knobs high up the walls and then gather the panels to hang gracefully to the side and maximize more natural light from your beautiful view. To maximize privacy, install a shade, perhaps in a neutral color, to cover your window space.

Reshape Them

Reshaping your panels on drapery hardware will help minimize an unattractive pattern. For example, fold a lightweight curtain like an accordion and then hang the folded panel as a scarf valance on hooks or valance sconces above the window frame. As an alternative, spiral a folded panel around a decorative drapery pole to create a coiled topper.

Layer Them

Install a double rod with one rod to hold your original curtains close to the window and a second rod to hold sheer curtains facing the room’s interior. This is the opposite of how double rods are usually used, to hang sheers closer to the window and the curtains facing the room. The closed, sheer curtains in front will soften or harmonize distracting colors, unsightly patterns or uneven textures of the curtains at the back. Experiment with swatches of sheer or other semisheer fabrics for the most attractive combination for this layered effect.

Hide Them

If your older children want a private area in a large room, install a room divider at least three feet from the curtains. For example, set up dividers that resemble Japanese-inspired shoji screens to bring in filtered, natural light when the curtains are open. An attractive room divider in a neutral color blocks the curtains and also provides a small flex room with a view for your children as they pursue their crafts or reading activities.

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