A lot of things have changed in terms of the way I live these days now that almost all of my time is spent at home. Before the pandemic, I got out of the house three times a week to work at the pottery studio, but I’m just not mentally up to the idea of venturing out into public regularly with case numbers as bad as they are (and getting worse by the minute).
So, now I’m temporarily working exclusively from home, and that has meant that I’ve taken a long hard look at just about every nook and cranny of our space. What else am I gonna do?! I’ve reorganized just about every single closet and drawer in our house, and I’ve also repainted rooms more times than I can count since I crave newness pretty much all the time now. I also decided to work on an update to our curtain situation in the living room because I also crave more visual space since I don’t get out nearly as often as I used to.
Those photos above show the window coverings as they were before I decided to work on this mini update. We loved our custom Levolor window shades. They filtered the light beautifully, and were made especially for our retro nearly-floor-to-ceiling windows. They also had this cool, sort of Asian-style shoji screen vibe that I found really appealing.
The only issue I had with them was the sightline through the shades. There was none! They were sheer enough to let light through, but too thick to see through when pulled down—and we kept them down all the time since these south-facing windows get inordinate amounts of sunlight through them during the day.
Now that I’m home all the time, I miss getting out and about. I wanted to feel like the outside was just a step away, and I thought maybe the best way to do that was to replace the shades with something a little more see-through. That way, I’d be able to look out at the neighborhood, and maybe even spot some snow during the winter ahead since I imagine I’ll continue to be cooped up into spring.
So, into storage the Levolor shades went (because we all know I’m bound to change my mind eventually!), and up went some new sheer curtains in their place. When we bought the house, the previous homeowners had actually left behind a whole collection of sheer curtains across the windows, and I guess I should have trusted their judgement. Those original sheers were old, though, and gray from age, so we would have needed to replace them anyway. Now was the perfect time!
Happily, this update was incredibly cost-effective. The sheers I ordered for the windows (two per window, for a total of eight panels in all) cost just $5 a piece, and the two black curtain rods I ordered cost $30 each.
I bought these specific rods because they’re designed to hold two layers of curtains at once—one back rod for the sheers, and a front rod for decorative curtain panels. I had added these $6 white curtain panels to my order, thinking they would go in front of the sheers, but didn’t love the layered look in the end. So, I gifted the white panels to my mom who could use them in her bedroom, and we’re just loving the sheer curtain panels on their own.
I actually kept the double rod in place (even though we don’t have anything on that front rod) because I think the “naked” front black rod draws a nice crisp line along the top of the sheer panels. It helps give them a modern look, and makes the sheers read a little less “grandma,” in my opinion. Maybe you can see what I mean in the photo below.
Another thing I did to make the sheers look more modern is I used the top frilly section of the panels as my rod pocket. Normally, you would use the pocket just below that top hemmed section to run the curtain rod through, but that setup would have left a scrunchy 2-inch section of the sheers showing above the rod. The top decorative section of the panel wasn’t closed on the ends, so I thought I’d try running the rod right through it to give it a clean top edge. It worked like a charm.
I actually shared this whole process over on Instagram when I put them up last year, and was immediately inundated with messages from followers worried about the lack of privacy since sheers are see-through. Luckily, that hasn’t been an issue for us. First of all, we don’t normally spend much time in our upstairs living room after dark—we use the family room downstairs for evening hang-outs. And I think the sheer curtains do enough to diffuse the view inside, as you can see in the night-time view below.
To give the windows total privacy in the off chance that we’re hanging out upstairs after dark or entertaining, I went ahead and ordered these custom roller shades, one for each window. We can pull those down, as needed, to get rid of any chance of people seeing in (although, truth be told, we haven’t used them at all since I put them up several months ago).
So, there you have it! Our new living room curtains! The whole project (including curtain rods, sheers, and custom roller shades for a 15-foot expanse of full-length windows) cost about $200 total, and accomplished absolutely everything I wanted it to. I can now easily see outside whenever I’m in the front rooms of our house, and it helps bring the outside in so much more.
The sunlight absolutely pours in, and fills our open concept living and dining room with the dreamiest light you’ve ever seen. Honestly, it has been such a great solution for reducing stress, and helps me feel a little less isolated, too. Fingers crossed that we can all get out and about safely soon, but in the meantime, I’ll be over here enjoying our new curtains from the comfort of home.
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