Ways to find simple, inexpensive drapes
by Dollar Stretcher Contributors
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We just bought a fixer upper. It needs new drapes badly, but we don't have much money budgeted for them. Can any suggest ways to buy inexpensive drapes? We don't need anything fancy. We just need something basic.
Use Any Large Piece of Fabric
With a set of clip-on curtain hooks, any piece of large fabric can be used as a curtain. You can buy cheap fabric by the yard or convert old sheets and tablecloths to curtains. You may need to cut the fabric to the size you want and hem it, but if you don't sew, you can use iron-on hemming tape.
Use Drop Cloths as Inexpensive Drapes
You can go to your local home improvement store and get painting drop cloths. If you are inclined to sewing, you can stitch a rod pocket and the hems. If not, go to any craft store and they will have iron-on tape that you fold and iron to make the hems and rod pocket. The drop cloths are very heavy canvas, beige in color, and run about $10 for a very large size. Also, while at the craft store, you can pick up stencils and fabric paint if you would like to put a pattern on them.
Sheets Are the Perfect Window Dressing
When I bought my fixer-upper home, I was in the same situation! I scouted yard sales, Goodwill stores, bazaar sales, etc. for sheets. Sheets are perfect inexpensive drapes as you can find something for everyone! And, the top sheet only needs the stitching removed along the side of the wide hem to form the pocket you'll slide the curtain rod through. If you're handy with needle and thread, the fitted sheets can also be "re-made" into very functional curtains.
Barbara in Salisbury, NC
Ingenuity at Its Best
For my son's first apartment (with big, uninsulated windows), I got two twin size blankets at a rummage sale, turned down the tops about four inches, basted a long line of stitching, and hung them on a long closet pole held up by wood brackets I bought at a big box store. The blankets already had a bottom hem, and the closet pole was about $15 cheaper than its twin, a wood curtain rod. He used rope for a tie back, but you could use ribbons or any type of sash. Then I was asked by several of his friends if I'd make some for them!
Discover Inexpensive Drapes in Flat Sheets
I love flat sheets! You can open up the top where the "hem" is and slide it onto rods. There are a lot of choices, and they're relatively inexpensive.
Jody (via Facebook)
Shower Curtains Make Love Inexpensive Drapes
We discovered many lovely shower curtains are simply made of regular fabric and with every sort of patterns and designs imaginable. They are simply a bit shorter than ceiling to floor curtains, but they are much less expensive. We purchased several shower curtains with a nice safari theme for use in our living room and some regular curtain sheers. As the sheers were about a foot longer than the shower curtains, we simply had those shortened to match the length. We then found nice wrought iron shower hooks that do not look like traditional shower curtain rings and installed them all on a nice new double rod kit with the sheers on the rod behind and the "shower" curtains on the front rod with regular curtain tie backs we purchased.
They actually look fairly formal and fancy in our living room and match our motif. Now, we frequently get compliments on our beautifully patterned drapery and no one ever guesses that they are really shower curtains. Guests are quite surprised when we reveal their origin. I guess it's all in the context of where something is installed. And they cost a mere fraction of the cost of regular draperies.
Deet in NY
Happy Bargain Hunting!
I was able to find inexpensive drapes for my entire house through garage sales and thrift stores. I measured every window and noted my desired colors for each room. It took about three months to complete this project, but it worked beautifully and saved me hundreds of dollars. I did have to hem the living room drapes.
G from Texas
Achieve the Look of Lined Draperies for Less
Sheets are a wonderful starter for basic drapes. If you want the effect of lined draperies, use a plain white one basted to one of your chosen design. Just gathering them on to a curtain rod (open the top seam to slip the rod through) can work if you don't want to sew, but pleather tape is available at fabric stores to make the tops more professional looking. You could also buy an extra twin sized sheet and use it to cut tabs for a different look.
Learn to Make Your Own Inexpensive Drapes
If you can sew, I suggest making simple curtains. You can either view You Tube videos or attend a low/no cost class at a community college to learn sewing basics. You can also measure your window space and visit thrift stores or yard sales for curtains/drapes.
If At First You Don't Succeed…
For inexpensive drapery, we always hit our local thrift stores. For a couple dollars per pair, you can find some really high quality drapery. If you don't see what you need, wait a few days and make another trip. Their turnover rate is usually very rapid.
Jari in Mason City, Iowa
Inexpensive Drapes Destined To Be Repurposed
We have a curtain outlet in our area. Often they will have a discount table with odd sizes. Think creatively when looking at what is there. Buy the longest. I bought several pair of drapes for about $10/pair. The fabric is nice. They wash easily and have a lot of fabric. When/if I get tired of them as long drapes, for the price, I can cut them up to recreate them in valances, balloon shades, etc.
Craigslist is a great place to find free or really cheap items. Also, stop by a few drapery stores and ask them if they are making new drapes for a customer and ask if you can get their old/slightly used ones. Another place to look is at thrift stores and the Salvation Army stores. I have a thrift store a few miles away and the section of town it is in has a lot of rich people in the area. You wouldn't believe how many items are brand new with tags still on them or just slightly used.
Contact Local Dry Cleaners
The cheapest way to get inexpensive drapes is to contact local dry cleaners to see if anyone has left their drapes for too long. If so, they will sell them to you for a very low price.
What's Been Left Behind?
Contact your local colleges or universities. A lot of students go home at the end of the school year. Some of these students live in other countries and they just leave their room contents behind. When they return for the next year, they just buy new items. You could also ask your local apartment complexes if people leave things behind when they move out (especially college or university students).
Save on a Drapery Rod as Well
For easy and inexpensive drapes, try sheets! Buy two twin-sized sheets in a pretty color or pattern, about $6 each at Wal-Mart. You can sew a rod-pocket at the top, about 2" down or buy a pack of rings for $2.39, hook them on, and hang!
For a really inexpensive, sturdy drapery rod, go to a home improvement store and look for 2" round metal piping, sold in silver or copper. Lowe's will even cut the exact length you need for free! A standard size of about 5' runs only $6. You can make the rod cute with decorative finials on each end of the pipe or just drape the fabric over the ends. I found several sets of finials on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond for $1.25 each set, plus a 20% off coupon.
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Take the Next Step:
- Looking for great deals on all your home decorating needs? Overstock.com is the answer!
- Visit the TDS library for more on inexpensive drapes and other window coverings.
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