Window Mistreatment 101

Alert! If you are a perfectionist, real designer, drapery maker, or person who can’t stand just winging it, please brace yourself and take a deep breath. This is not going to be easy for you to watch. Disclaimer: We have moved 13 times. In April, we will be married 13 years. I had to be creative when decorating.

This is the first post in a series of window mistreatments posts that I will post post haste. Just kidding. But it is the first of a series. And, we won’t use all the tools today. I just wanted to show you my lover the hot glue gun {you’ll see him when you keep reading. If you keep reading}.

It’s no secret that fabric can complete a room and make it feel full and homey. It softens a space, adds personality and can add much needed color. If you have access to cheap fabric or extra fabric laying around this is an easy way just to get a window dressed. No, she’s not dressed for the prom but, life’s not full of proms.

This is the jeans and tee shirt way to treat your windows. But, it’s the favorite jeans. The ones you’ve had forever and fit you great. They didn’t cost much maybe they are from Target or borrowed from your sister and never returned. You know, the go to jeans. And we all know it’s not just about the jeans, it’s the whole package. No one really notices that they are a little threadbare in places. They are on, they fit, and they get the job done. And they highlight that darling blouse.

That’s what this kind of window treatment is all about. Sometimes I think, if I took the time to do all the things a person is supposed to do to live correctly I wouldn’t have time to live. I’d be too busy getting my oil changed, buying new A/C filters, flossing 3 times a day, cleaning my refrigerator once a week, buying fresh organic foods daily from the local farmer, changing the batteries in my smoke detector, volunteering, and other real important stuff.

I know how real window treatments should be made and lined and interfaced and weighted and hemmed and hung. And the finished product looks perfect. And costs a bundle. And makes you never want to move because the people who buy your house insist the rods, hardware and treatments must be part of the sale. But I have also figured out how to get windows dressed really fast and really cheap. If you’re not afraid to stand barefoot on your kitchen counter and throw away your measuring tape you are welcome to join me. Just make sure you have some all purpose disinfectant on hand.

There are a few other things you need:

A hot glue gun {high or low melt} and glue sticks. This is old faithful.

Upholstery tacks
I cannot begin to tell you how essential these are to my evil ways. These are readily available at fabric stores, home improvement stores and wal-target places. They cost about $2 for 20.

Fabric that you love

Fringe that you have always wanted to use but didn’t know how or where {we didn’t use any on today’s project but you sure could add it}

So, start collecting this stuff, we’re in for some real fun!

Today we are gonna look at my sister’s kitchen window treatment. Two weeks ago she said, “can we just do something to my kitchen window, I don’t want it to be perfect, I just want it to be beautiful”. If you can drink that kool-aid then your life is gonna change, sister!

She picked out this emily-esq fabric that was begging her to bring it home and make it pretty. It was a remnant from the end of a bolt. Maybe 2-3yards. It didn’t matter, she loved it so we were gonna make it work. She paid about $10 for it.

We got to her house and she allowed me to take off my favorite shoes

and put my sweaty, sticky feet all over her fresh, new, clean granite. In her kitchen. Where she prepares meals for her family. She wanted it bad. After a few minutes of tinkering I decided to fold the fabric long ways. But, I’m too lazy to cut the fabric. This actually works to my advantage. It seems if you fold it, it is thicker and self-lining. Here’s an example of folding it only with a smaller piece of fabric.


And Longways again

Maybe even again depending on how long you want it. This short measurement will be the how long your fabric hangs.

Then, pull up your favorite chair and hoist yourself up to wherever your window might be. Using an upholstery tack and brute force, or heel of a cute shoe, push the tack through the fabric and into the wall surrounding the window. Just eyeball where you want it. There’s no wrong. You are only making a small hole so believe me, if you have to move it around 500 times, no one will know.

Now get you and your sassy self down and up to the other side of the window. Take the other top corner of the fabric and push another tack through the fabric into the wall. It’s unfortunate that I do not have a photo here. Imagine a big letter ‘U” with each end tacked to the top corner of the window and slack in the middle. That is what you want. Here’s a close up of the tacks instead. How delightful they are!

If you want, when you are taking up this fabric you can fold the sides under about an inch or so to hide the rough edges. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you try it. By the way this is my sister’s tiny hand and size 3 fingers.

Now, get your bad self to the middle of the window, grab another tack and the center of the droopy fabric and tack that to the center of the wall above the window even with the other two tacks. Looking better. Do that again with the fabric finding the middle between two of the tacks that are up and again on the other side. You do not need to measure. Eyeball it, I insist. See? It looks kind of weird at first.

Until you play with it a little and pull out the in betweens. They just stay out like that on their own since the fabric is so thick from folding.

Here is the finished product. It’s not perfect at all. We really should have ironed that fabric first! Now she has to steam it. And she can still fiddle with it if she wants the folds to be more balanced But, it sure is sweet and no one really looks up there and touches it and measures it and stuff. I’d say, it’s beautiful.

The entire process should take less than 15 minutes. About 30 times less than it took me to do this post.


  1. Victoria in Texas says

    Wow! I love your blog. I’ve read it some in the past, but never saw some of these amazing tips. I’m home full time now w/o a job and an empty “Nester” so these walls and windows have been closing in on me especially since I have no money to spend on them. I love fabric and have a glue gun and a very handy, tall husband. Things are going to change around here. I mean, the look of things. Thanks to your wonderful decorating tips. I may never again look at all those real interior designer’s blogs. But don’t tell them. They will never miss me. I can’t hire them anyway! Thanks so much for all this glorious God-given inspiration!

  2. I adore your site! I’m a busy mom w/3 kids, 19 to 10 , love a”comfy” home and have embraced your site/outlook.It is so fun to read and has helped me looked at everything with a fresh pair of eyes!Plus it helps my pocketbook:) My kids call me the spray painting queen and get a kick out of everything I try. My husband does as well, he knows that when I say, “I ” have a project, it may mean “we” have a project:) Keep up the great work and thank you ! Take care~

  3. Oh, forgot to mention in my last post…uhhhh..hello(!)…LOVE the black shoes!!

  4. OMG this has to be my favorite post of all time. You are hysterical! I am linking it to my new post. if thats OK. (no one really reads my blog, but I am embarking on a window mistreatment adventure very soon….I have a window 911… vertical blinds are now in every wondow of my house- yikes!! )

  5. This will be perfect for a side room with a huge triple window that I need to cover. I can’t have hangings down the side, because the door into that room comes within a fraction of an inch of the window and wouldn’t open all the way. Thanks for the upholstery nail suggestion!

  6. Love, love, love this! My windows definitely need help!! Not just one, all of them! Can I do every room in the house? :) Thanks for the great tips! I love your blog!!!

  7. OK, I came here from Shonni’s blog (Nations Around My Table) after I saw how cute her windows looked after following your “mistreatment” instructions. I am actually one who would iron and sew and all that, when I was younger. But I am purchasing some tacks and taking them with me to Uganda, where I will do cheap (and wonderful) window treatments for Redeemer House Orphanage! It’s gonna be great! I leave for the orphanage March 4 and will be there 3 months, and this is going to be one of my projects. I can get pretty fabric at the open-air market, but don’t have access to (or time for) a sewing machine. Thanks so much! Your decorating know-how will be on display in Africa! (You can check out my new blog at Maybe I will even post a picture when I get it done!

  8. This post inspired one of mine, so I linked back to you.

  9. i absolutely LOVE how this looks. i hate fussy window treatments, and this is classy but cool at the same time.

  10. AWESOME!! Thanks!! I may try this in the nursery!! Now where are the other posts?! If I do this I’ll link you don’t worry!! thanks! :)

  11. Thank you thank you thank you. After moving miles from home into our 5th apartment I was dreading thinking I would yet AGAIN live in a place that “wasn’t worth” decorating. We’re only going to be here a year…. don’t spend the money… I feel guilty just thinking about making this place pretty! (seriously… i cut , stacked, and spraypainted cardboard boxes to hold our dvd’s… turned out kinda cute actually….) But This- This post- Is a live saver! I now have a justifiable, reusable (How did you NOT mention the fabric is reusable if you move/change your mind/decorate for christmas?) cheap way to cover my windows! I’m already thinking of layers~! You’re adorable and SOOOoooo going on my RSS feed. Thank you thank you!

  12. I did it! I did it and I LOVE it!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. OMG! I have tiny fingers too! I wear a size 3-3.5, depending on how swollen my fingers are. I’ve never met anyone else that had fingers as small as mine! Well, I guess I still haven’t met your sister, but never heard of anyone, I’ll say that.

  14. LOVE IT!!

  15. Very great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!|
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