I received a question from one of my classmates from my alma mater (go Tech!) Lauren who just got married, moved all the way to Los Angeles and is having to now make home decor decisions with a boy! And not just any boy, one that also cares about design as well (hmm.. sounds familiar?) Here is what she tweeted (followed by a facebook message):
I’ve been searching around fabric stores here (thought about going the “new sew/glue route) but most fabrics I like are at least $20/yard and I’ve got 4 large windows to dress… So I can’t spend too much money (Did I mention the windows have vertical blinds!?!…Yes. Vertical. Blinds.)
ALSO (Important side note) Troy and I are having a really hard time agreeing on what we like. I of course love bright prints to dress up our space. There’s a lot of white going on in our apartment (and we aren’t allowed to paint), but he is very much anti-girly. I thought we’d meet in the middle with a nice IKAT print, but so far no luck. He actually likes coral and is open to some prints so that’s a start!
I’ve searched World Market, Pier 1, am going to head out to HomeGoods soon, Urban Outfitters, and of course Anthro, but I can’t afford that! Oh the joys of moving across country without your cute stuff and then having to decorate with a boy.
In the photos I’m attaching it shows our couch, pillows, coffee table and lamp… That’s about all our living room has going for it right now! The windows are 84″ high. Everything I’ve researched says to dress them with a valance. No thank you. Going to try to make panels work no matter what! Also taking them down isn’t an option because we have no place to store them. Le sigh…
You’re the best Catharine! My apartment is your canvas!
How strange is it that you have vertical blinds on all of your windows?? I definitely agree with you that a valance is a bad idea. That is only going to pull focus onto the blinds rather than masking them. I think that nice high and wide window panels are your best bet, and as long as you don’t have creepy neighbors I would totally just leave the blinds pulled open and just tuck them behind one side of your fabric panels (at least during the day).
I think that making your own panels would be the best option, otherwise you will be pretty limited by your fabric choices for pre-made panels. And with the no-sew tape, it will be a piece of cake! I rarely spend over $10 a yard on fabric, unless it’s something really special (or super small!) so I can definitely point you in the right direction for inexpensive fabric sources. And I can totally relate on living with a guy (who cares too much about design) and doesn’t like anything girly. It has probably been one of our (my) biggest struggles as newlyweds, but we’ve both learned to compromise in certain areas and I’ve really tried to find very gender neutral items, or at least balanced out the girly with the masculine. For example, I love bright colors and bold patterns, and Derek prefers neutrals and little to no pattern and nothing feminine. So when I was picking out pillows we agreed on these pillows because they were bold, had a floral look that wasn’t girly (he thinks they look like retro tattoos lol), and had dragons! (yay boys!). So it was a win win.
Because you currently have medium and small prints in your living room, I would suggest looking for a very large scaled pattern or a very small scaled pattern to keep everything balanced. Here are some large scaled patterns that I like with your current fabric choices.
Jo Jo Corn Yellow Slub – $9.24/yd
Rosa Dossett Mandarin – $13.98/yd
Premiere Prints Gotcha Slub – $8.48/yd
Cross Section – $16.95/yd
Willow Corn Yellow Slub – $12.99/yd
Zia – $14.95/yd
Premiere Prints Dandelion – $7.48/yd
Zia Burch – $14.95/yd
Nicole Tangelo Slub – $12.99
Premiere Prints Gotcha Coral - $8.00/yd
Nicole Black Natural - $11.49/yd
Premiere Prints Chipper Slub – $8.48/yd
Greek Key – $10.95/yd
And here are some smaller scaled patterns to help balance out your fabrics. Smaller scaled fabrics can be a little busy, so you’ll want to look for less aggressive colors like a coral/white or grey/white, so that people don’t get too dizzy in your space.
Star Pods – $11.95/yd
Small Ikat Dot - $12.95/yd
Good Life Gridwork -$12.49/yd
Wave Ice – $14.98/yd
Nautical Trellis - $9.20/yd
Premiere Prints Chelsea – $7.48/yd
I know that you are leaning toward a patterned fabric for your drapery panels, but another simple way to tone down the girly would be to use a solid. Solids don’t have to be boring though, you can use a nice linen that’s open and airy with lots of texture. Joann’s has a TON of linens in every color for under $12/yard and if you use your 40% off coupon it counts for fabric so if you bought all of your yardage at once then you’d get 40% off of that cut. Win! Plus with a solid you can use a fun pop of color that will create a huge impact since you aren’t able to paint your walls. You could also use a solid on the windows flanking your fireplace with a coordinating print on the larger window, or visa versa. The sky is the limit!
Joann’s Fabrics (in store only)
Painter’s Canvas in Sage – $9.95/yd
Painter’s Canvas in Mustard – $9.95/yd
Now I know that some of these may seem a little high for the yardage you’re having to purchase but several of these companies have discounts. Tonic Living always has a 10% off coupon which doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re buying several yards it definitely helps! Fabric.com is having a promotion this month of 20% off your order when you spend at least $40 with code: TIME13. And of course if you ever shop at Hobby Lobby or Joann’s they always have a 40% off coupon.
If you still want to go the pre-made route my my suggestions would be Ross, Marshals, HomeGoods, Target, West Elm Outlet, Pottery Barn Outlet, etc. Another option (other than fabric) is to use twin sheets which you can easily find at any of the above mentioned places for under $15 and that could be your entire panel right there! Just something else to keep in mind. I hope these ideas helped and that you two can both agree on something to spruce up those windows :) Keep me posted on how it all turned out!
If you’re finding yourself in a design pickle shoot us an email and we’d be happy to solve your design dilemmas!