How To Update Old Window Treatments With A Modern Twist

Sunshine Drapery sliding glass doors window treatment

You may think it’s time to take down those old curtains, but with a little creativity, you can update those window treatments to make them modern again. Perhaps you’ve found the perfect match at a garage sale or second-hand store, but they’re the wrong size. No problem. A little glue, new hardware, or a few stitches, and you’ve got yourself a window treatment that not only looks new, but appears trendy as well!

Add Trim

Sometimes all you need is a little trim to update the look of a pair of older curtains. Trim can consist of fringe, ribbon, or additional material. Additional material - either in matching or contrasting colors - can work well for curtains that are too small for the current window frame. You can add material to the top or bottom or on the sides in the form of a flat panel or a ruffle. Ribbon or lace can be added as an accent to any curtains for an updated look. You can even add wide lace to the center of a split curtain panel to extend the width while adding an area of interest. The addition of a wide band of bullion fringe may be a nice touch to certain fabrics and styles. If you are going for a shabby chic look, then fringe adds a nice textured look to otherwise plain curtains. The fringe can hang from the bottom, a top panel, or even the tieback. Fringe is not really a good choice for contemporary styles. You don’t need to be an expert at sewing to add trim to your curtains. Utilize trim adhesive, a glue designed to add trim to fabric, to add details without having to resort to needle and thread. You may also prefer to try a fabric staple gun, which allows you to add trim that can be removed for cleaning purposes. Also consider forming a connection with the trim design elsewhere in the room, such as using it on throw pillows or as an accent or fastener in a floral arrangement.

Update the Valances

One method of improving the overall style of your window treatments is by adding, changing, or removing the valances. If the valance style dates the look of the curtains, remove it completely for a cleaner, simpler style. Balloon valances, for instance, do not meld well with modern designs. It could be possible to update the look of the room by removing the valance completely and leaving just the panel curtains. If the room is more formal, you could add a swag or box-pleated valance to add a sophisticated touch that does double duty by hiding away older hardware. Removing a valance can allow you the ability to reuse the fabric elsewhere to tie in the style of your curtains throughout the room, such as in pillows or a quilt. It can also enable you to lengthen curtains that are too short.

Mix and Match

You can update any curtains by adding new material or combining two sets of panel curtains. This works particularly well for when you are trying to place window treatments for a large room and you don’t have enough matching curtain sets. Simply find two sets of panels that coordinate well. One print design and one solid one work best. Cut a center strip, either vertically or horizontally, from each panel. Then swap centers and sew the blocks into place. If you are especially handy with thread and a needle, consider taking more than one block of fabric from each curtain panel to create a checkerboard appearance. You can repeat the blocks of fabric in a pattern or even use graduated blocks of color to create a faded appearance. If you have curtains that are too short, adding blocks of color to the top or bottom helps to lengthen panels without making it obvious or revealing unpleasant-looking hem lines.

Layers and Lining

If you have old sheers behind your curtains, it may be time to update your window treatment’s look. It could be just getting new sheers or replacing them with linen semi-sheers in a similar color to the drapes. You may instead choose to upgrade to wooden or faux-wooden blinds or stylish shades. Check the linking for your drapes. They tend to deteriorate, discolor, or thin on older curtains. Lining is meant to create the illusion of thicker, more luxurious window treatments. You can remove or replace the current lining, even with new modern fabric choices, such as blackout material. You may even decide to add a French blackout style that is both energy efficient and light-blocking by using a lining of black flannel.

Hardware Hints

One quick, easy fix for updating your old curtains with a modern twist is to change the rod. Instead of plain metal curtain rods, choose hardware with fancy ends, such as bulbs, leaves, or swirling designs. Use rings to connect the fabric to the rod to add some length and style to your curtains. These rods come in a variety of metallic colors, including black, muted copper, and silver. The placing of the rod can also bring your room’s look into a contemporary fashion. Install the rod above the window, about two-thirds of the way up between the window frame and the ceiling. You may need to extend your curtains with blocks of fabric so that they reach to just above the floor. Also, extend the rod so that the panels can hang beside the window as accent pieces when the curtains are open.

From Old to New Again

You don’t need to toss out those old curtains just because you are updating the look and style of your home. Older curtains can be made new again with a little work and a lot of innovation. You can make your window treatments new again by adding trim or liners or by stitching in matching fabric to extend the width or length of your curtain. Or you could consider replacing your window treatment hardware for a brighter, cleaner appearance. Whichever tip you use - whether just one or all of them - you are sure to enjoy your room’s new modern twist!
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