How to find Curtain Solutions for Difficult Windows

One thing that almost put us off buying this house in the first place was the windows. Upstairs, as the rooms are directly in the eaves of the house with no attic, they’re too low (essentially they’re at knee level). There are very few things you can’t really change about a house, and this was one of them and it really made us question if we wanted a house with something we ‘couldn’t fix’. Over the last two years of living here we’ve actually grown to appreciate some of the positives of them (it’s lovely being able to look out of the window without getting out of bed) whilst (mostly!) ignoring the negatives.

Downstairs the window situation isn’t much better. We have tiny ones in the kitchen that are too narrow for blinds (eventually we’ll brick them up but for now we’re living with a piece of Perspex over them) as well as a horrible pointy one in the kitchen that needs to go. (Something else on an already long list!) In fact, when we’re finished with the house we think no fewer than five windows will have been moved, four will have been bricked up, one swapped for a different size, two replaced by doors and five added to the property.

In the living room we’d been agonising over the window dressings for around six months. Our ceilings are just a little over six foot high, which meant no full length curtain was going to be the right length. The standard ‘long’ ones were too long, and the medium ones were too short. We could have gone for short curtains, but I much prefer the look of full curtains – especially as we were relying on them offsetting the stark ‘white’ of the walls and adding a bit of warmth. So far not a massive issue, as we could just have long curtains made shorter – but we needed to have eight curtains altered (two for the front window, two for the back and four to cover the patio doors) so we knew we needed to get the choice right first time – we weren’t changing our mind once these had been altered.

We then had a couple of other problems – the front and back windows were essentially right up to the ceiling (the front one has around an inch wall above it – the back one has nothing) which meant that any pole we put up would essentially hang lower than the window (and let’s be honest – having glass poking out over the top of curtains would look horrific!) and there would be nowhere to put a middle bracket to support the weight of the curtain pole. We could have solved the problem fairly easy by turning to blinds, but due to the issues with the upstairs windows this is what we did there, and I missed having curtains (other than wallpaper they’re the best way for adding a complementary bit of colour or texture to a wall). There’s only the living room and the snug we’ll have curtains in so I really wanted to find a solution. After looking at option after option we decided on a small curtain pole combined with a ceiling hanging bracket (this one was the only one we could find with a short drop) to offer that additional support. We also realised that eyelet curtains would stick up an inch or so higher than the pole – covering that gap at the top of the window.

The back window goes right up to the ceiling.

The patio windows were a problem in their own right. The main structural beam (which holds our bedroom floor up) runs across the centre of the room (we could have lowered the ceiling to hide it – but in a room with already very low ceilings we didn’t want to lose more precious height.

The beam that runs through the living room.

The problem with this meant that any curtain pole we put above the window would have to stop once it hit the beam. We could cut one in half and somehow fasten it either side so it worked for decorative purposes, but it would have looked a bit odd and we’d have had a section of the glass where the windows didn’t cover when shut – not exactly practical.

In the end the solution was to hang the curtains inside the doorway as opposed to framing it. It’s not my preferred look for curtains but as far as compromise goes it was a sensible solution and it does still dress the windows. Once again wall mounted brackets and eyelet curtains were our saviour as well as recess brackets to fit poles direct into an alcove (ours were from here). We could have put a track or rail in and we wouldn’t have needed eyelet curtains, but it made more sense to have a matching pole to the other two windows.

Ceiling mount for the patio doors.

Recess bracket.

The curtains themselves were just these cheap ones from the range (I had four to buy so I wanted to spend less than £50 a pair) which my step-mum did a fantastic job of shortening for me. They aren’t the best quality and needed a good iron (we were lucky as we have a steam gen iron so don’t have to touch the curtains with it – I’d be worried that a normal one would pull them) but they have a really lovely natural colour, add a lovely element of texture and also have a slight sheen to the threads if caught in certain lights. I also find they really complement the ash wood we’ve used (on windowsills and furniture) so really I’m actually very happy with them.

So do you think we were right to go with curtains? Have you ever had a situation where it wasn’t that easy to just stick a pole up and have done?!

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