Now that our living room windows (+ 1 smaller kitchen window) have been dressed in shades, we were able to move forward with curtains. While Scott insisted he had grown to like the look of the clean, open windows sans curtains, I pointed out that not only would the curtains hide our speakers, but they’d allow us to add some extra height to that side of the room, balancing out our media wall on the opposing side. Here’s where we left off:
For a handful of weeks, we argued over curtains vs. none, until we came to an agreement that we could both get on board with. We’d move forward with the curtains, but we’d balance them out with an industrial touch; Scott would get a streamlined look, and I’d get the soft texture from the panels. For inspiration, we turned to the studio paper pipes. The plan? One giant pipe – à la these guys from West Elm (but at a fraction of the cost!):
We’ve mentioned that our living room window is over 100″ wide, so we picked up a 1/2″ x 10′ galvanized steel pipe (aka: nipple; seriously, who names these things? And yes, I couldn’t contain my 10 year old giggle fit just like the last time) and had it cut down to 112″ at Home Depot – leaving around 6″ on either side of the window for overhang.
In addition, we bought two 1/2″ 90-degree elbows, two 1/2″ floor flanges and two 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ galvanized steel pipes, erm, nipples. They piece together like a puzzle, and we did so in the exact same way we made our paper pipes – see here for full details.
The above pieces would act as our curtain rod “arms,” allowing the rail to protrude from the wall far enough for our curtains to hang nicely past the windowsill. Depending on how far your windowsill sticks out (if at all), you simply purchase the appropriately sized pipe. In our case, once they were assembled to the flange and elbow, the “arm” would actually protrude a good 3.5″ from the wall – perfect for us.
Next, we added our curtain rings to the pipe, and screwed our “arms” to the ends. It’s important to put your rings on first, as you’ll be attaching your curtain rod to the wall in one piece.
Finally, and with a bit of weight juggling on our end, we anchored the flanges into the wall. (Again, we used the same method as the paper pipes – measure your curtain rod in place, mark where your anchors will go, and install! It really is that simple.) To be honest, it would have been helpful to have a third person, as our pipe was on the heavier side and a bit awkward.
Rather than clip our curtains right to the top of the panel, we got a little fancy and faked a pinch pleat by clipping behind the panel – genius! We used this easy tutorial to do so.
We sold our yellow-striped curtains at the summer yard sale (they didn’t feel like us anymore – hence the whole tweakscapade!) and replaced them with the Ikea Aina panels in gray. They’re the perfect balance of texture (they look a little canvas-y, but are light and crisp), they hide our speakers and they frame the windows nicely, don’t you think?
The best part of building your own curtain pipes is that this project is fully customizable. As we previously mentioned, our local Home Depot cut the 10′ pipe down to size, and you can mix and match pipe sizes until you get the look you want. For our 100″ window, we spent $30 on our curtain pipe supplies (even after tax, not including our curtain panels)!
As for the living room as a whole, we’ve come a long way from our original tweak-list (shush, we realize the list was made in July, but still):
Makeover our $2 chair. (Done!)
• Reassess the end table situation – or lack thereof.
Swap our venetian blinds for easy, breezy cellular shades. (Done!)
Layer in curtains to hide speakers and add warmth, texture and height. (Done!)
Replace our shaggy rug with something that fits our oddly shaped room. (Done!)
• Re-upholster the lovely chair. (Working on it!)
Re-work our current art display. (Ooh, we’re secretly done – details to follow.)
We’re getting there. So close.
There are so many ways to incorporate this simple project into your home – we love that a simple hook or clip can transform the pipe into a unique way to display art or organize pots and pans. So, what will you make?
PS: Depending on how wide your window is, you could even fake the look with cheaper conduit as your pipe (see this example), however, keep in mind that conduit is not as sturdy as the galvanized steel pipe. We wanted to avoid a middle support, so we went with the steel, and it’s super sturdy.