Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curtain Math. (Math is hard.)

So the last post I was all, "Ooh, lookit me, I picked up my house like a grownup!" Let's check in on our progress with that, shall we? Here is the dining area in its current state:

Okay, so that lasted a whole two days. We are in the midst of a picture-hanging project that is currently stalled because stupid wall anchors are stupid and I didn't want to go back to the hardware store for a second time today. We got out our boxes of photos and tchotchkes about a week ago and this room has been in an iffy state since then. I'll post an update when it's finished. Probably in about six weeks.

HOWEVER. Did you notice the cuuuurtaaaiiinnn? We got curtains! I actually put these up last weekend and just haven't gotten around to posting about it until now.

Before curtains (B.C.)

After curtains (A.C.)
I'm not gonna lie; I had a little scare with these. They were only available online from Target, so I wasn't able to look at them up close before ordering. When the delivery came and I took one out of the package I had a little moment where I felt maybe I'd made a huge mistake. But I'm kind of bad at visualizing things. It wasn't until we actually hung them over the small window that I could step back and say, "I think they're good?" And a few hours later that evolved into "They're good!" And now, a week later, it's definitely, "They're awesome!"

They do just what I wanted them to, which is bring a little funny haha to the space. The room was veering deep into Taking Itself Way Too Seriously Land with the dark wall color, gray furniture, and no embellishments. So I felt like patterned curtains would be a good way to start balancing that out. I searched high and low online but definitely did not feel like paying more than $30 per panel. (To cover the two windows I figured we'd need 6-8 panels, so $180- $240 for curtains alone, never mind hardware... no.) Then of course I received an email from my old friend Target, and it's like they KNEW what I needed. (Which, if you've read the coverage of their analytics capabilities, is entirely possible.) These were on sale for $22 per panel; they were light-colored and patterned; they were green to boot; yada yada yada; I ordered them.

The last time we bought curtains I said that next time I would get the 95" length so I could hang them higher above the window, but that wasn't going to work here because the ceiling beams wouldn't let me go that high. I could have gotten the 95" ones and then just hemmed them to the right length, but come on. Do I own a sewing machine? No. Am I going to ask my poor mother to do it for me? No way. So I went with the 85" length again.

But I still found a way to cheat a few more inches of height out of these. They're made with a pocket for the curtain rod to go inside, but I wanted them to slide more easily on the rods so I bought clip rings instead. Boom, more height, and also if your curtain rod isn't ugly it's a nice way to let it show. (Side note: the big window is about 134" wide and I was worried it would be a pain to find rods that wide, but Home Depot had them up to 144". Victory.)

Okay but here's the thing about clip rings: they're about $1 each, and they are annoyingly sold in packages of 7, which you might think would be enough for one panel, but it's not unless you like droopy curtains. Something that tripped me up was calculating the right width to leave between each clip. It seems simple if you don't think too hard about it- the curtain panel is 54", divide by 7, space each clip about 7 3/4 inches apart. But that's wrong, because you actually clip the first ring at the 0" mark on the end of the panel, effectively leaving you with 6 remaining rings to cover the 54 inches. So you'd need to space them about 9 inches apart to stay even. Does that make sense? I'm just trying to share this knowledge with you because I am a college graduate and was also labeled a "gifted child" and I am embarrassed about how long it took me to figure this out. Math + spatial relations = my personal Kryptonite.

We ultimately figured out that the panels looked best with about 6" of space between each clip. Naturally, this necessitated the purchase of more g.d. clip rings and in fact I went to three Targets in one day to get the nine packages needed for this project. 

I know this is getting tedious, but just in case anyone out there is hanging curtains soon: I also said last time that the rule of thumb is to get a total curtain width that's two to two and half times the width of the window. So for the big window that works out to 268-335 inches worth of curtains. I initially planned on hanging six panels over the big window (324 inches) because four panels (216 inches) was short of the "minimum" 2x calculation. But here's the thing: we're not going to pull these curtains shut very often. These windows face north and don't get direct sunlight, so the curtains aren't really for light control; they're more for looking groovy.

Here's what the four panels look like pulled shut. Adequately drapey, especially considering they'll almost never be pulled shut. So after we realized that, we returned the two extra panels, which helped offset the cost of all those packages of clips.

Here's the pattern up close. Between these and the addition of our art, which you saw a preview of at the top, the living room is getting a little more balanced and a little less Ron Burgundy.


  1. Oh, love your room! Would you mind sharing your paint color for the walls? Found you from Retro Renovation.

    1. Glad you like it! The wall color is Behr Egyptian Nile and the ceiling is Behr Sagey.