CUSTOMIZING INEXPENSIVE LINEN CURTAINS: DIY TUTORIAL

There is one (and only one) style of curtain panels from Ikea that I routinely use in my design projects when the budget prevents expensive custom-made drapes.  They are the 100% linen Aina curtains for$50 a pair, and they are a remarkably versatile drapery option for a whopping $25 per panel.

First off, they come 98" long which makes them usable even for tall windows or for hanging them all the way up at ceiling height.  It's a decorator's trick that you should always hang your drapes up near ceiling height, even if the window opening is lower...it's draws the eye up and makes your room feel taller and the ceilings higher!  

rule one: 
hang curtains all the way 
up at ceiling height...
 
via


 
via
Secondly, the Ainas have this hidden loop hanging method which doesn't require any curtain rings or hooks (big $$ savings) but still allows them to stack and hang quite prettily.   You can add curtain rings (pictured further down) if you're going for that look, but it's nice that you don't need them in order to have pretty stacked folds.
I am totally over the integrated ring curtains like this, and rod pockets and tab tops are both just cheap looking.  Don't go there.  Just don't.

rule two: 
don't fool around with any 
of these 3 drapery styles...
INTEGRATED RINGS
ROD POCKET
TAB TOP
 
Most often I use the Aina curtains in "white" (which by the way shows up as a very bright white on the Ikea site, but it's actually a much softer,  creamier white. Trust.)  Here they are in my "One Room Challenge" project.  I trimmed them (no sewing involved, just a bit of fabric glue) with greek key trim tape, and they look so lovely.
 
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN

 rule three: 
add trim for a custom touch...


ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN

In my own Silverlake home (which was featured on Domaine Home before I sold it and moved a little ways down Sunset Blvd to Hollywood) I trimmed my Aina curtains with basic black cotton twill tape ...


 
 
 
(If you want to dive into the story of how I bought an ugly little "fixer" house and re-did it room by room, it's all here, have at it!  nitty gritty remodel // kitchen // dining room // living room // bath // nursery // bedroom // patio // my design studio)
 
In my client's Larchmont Bungalow project (featured in Rue Magazine!) I hung a total of 4 Aina curtain panels across the entire bed wall to camouflage the fact that that our window was not centered on the bed (you can catch the rest of the Larchmont Bungalow tour here, here, here.)

ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN

 rule four: double up 
on wide windows...

When I have a wide window (anything over 4'-5') I'll make sure the drapes look full enough by pairing two Aina panels together on each side, meaning 4 panels total on one window.  They're such a bargain to begin with that with this little trick can dress even quite large windows for about $100.  That's what I call a deal people!

We played around with styling this bedroom a couple different ways, and my client settled on this look, with the curtains trimmed in 4" of dusty lilac linen fabric.

ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
In this fun cobalt and coral bedroom I embellished the curtains with burlap greek key trim ...
 
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
I love this space by Hommemaker Orlando Soria.  He added curtain rings to light grey Aina panels and it looks really good with the traditional architecture and moldings!
 
ORLANDO SORIA

COASTAL LIVING
The Aina panels are not black-out curtains, but they're not sheers either, by any means.  Personally I prefer the look and feel of a little light filtering in through my curtains.  In my opinion these let in just enough light, while also providing total privacy.  (And if you wanted to bring them to a seamstress to have them lined it would still probably cost you a fraction of the price of most retail linen drapes.)
 
Hope this helps you navigate the world of costly window treatments armed with a little more knowledge and inspiration!

 Photobucket

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really? It is that easy??? Love it!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the curtain tip! I have tab tops in my living room, which I hate, but haven't had the budget to replace. It seems that every time I look at Ikea, I haven't seen any curtain panels that look good. I will definitely check these out. I love how you customized them too.

aligater said...

You are my IKEA shopping inspiration! Their linen selection has often overwhelmed me. I will now returned armed with a specific style.

Roxie Tenner said...

I agree with you with going over the integrated rings versus rod pocket. Indeed, rod pockets could look cheap when not properly installed and hanged. I like Caitlin Wilson’s design, the pink edge totally made a striking contrast with the white drapes. I love how the color harmonized with the furniture. Thank you for sharing these with us, Rosa! =)

Roxie Tenner

Lizzy said...

Hi, I've just installed the aina curtains in my living room/dining room - they don't look quite as nice as these pictures... I'm wondering if I should double up on each side - for example, in the dining area picture above with the "sun" mirror... are there two panels on each side?

Rosa said...

Hi Lizzy,

I'm so glad you're trying out my technique. You're right, I did double the panels to achieve a nice fullness for my dining room windows, and actually for the wider window in my living room as well. All I did was match up 2 panels together and zip right down the line with my sewing machine. I'm not a very fancy seamstress but easy straight lines I can handle!

I'd love to see pics of your curtains when you're finished!

Rosa

Faye Thurman said...

I just ordered these panels in white. It says 4% shrinkage and also says do not dryclean. Do you wash them first before hanging?

Rosa said...

Hmm Faye...good question. I haven't pre-washed them before. I honestly can't imagine why they wouldn't be dry-cleanable...they're just straight-up 100% linen. But washing and pressing them first is also an option!

Good luck...let me know how it turns out!

Rosa

Faye Thurman said...

Hi Rosa,
Well, I did receive the white panels, and they are beautiful. I tried washing two of them, and they shrank 5 inches in length! Plus they were extremely wrinkled and impossible for me to iron them myself, so may take them to the cleaners to see what they can do. So I don't think washing these curtains first is a good idea. Being so inexpensive, I am not too concerned that I may have ruined two of them. I will just buy more. Thank you again for posting all the decorating tips for using these curtains. The white is a beautiful off-white, just as you promised they were.
Faye

Thiago daLuz said...

We're getting new drapery rods next week. I'm really excited, and these tips are going to help us make the perfect choices! Thank you so much for sharing this!

Rosa said...

Hi Thiago,
Glad you found this post usefull...send us your "after" pics when your new drapes are up!

D+I+A said...


This post was so helpful! We just moved, and now we have these lovely, huge windows, and I've been wondering what to do in terms of treatments. What you suggest here is so beautiful and classic--something that we'll still love for years to come. Thanks!

So I have a quick question--do you have any suggestions for curtain rods for long windows?

Jak Manson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephanie said...

Wish I had read this post BEFORE I purchased my curtains. I bought Pottery Barn tie top curtains in Ivory for my LR. They're not exactly tab tops as shown; there's a lot of extra length to the tab & I kind of like the sloppy look of them. They said machine wash & dry, but shrank up several inches & there was nothing cheap about them. Also bought sheer linen panels from PB for DR & they are rod pockets :( Maybe I'll hang them from rings now. I have 2 regular size windows (34"w) right next to each other with maybe 30" of wall between them. How do you feel about just having the curtains on either end (all the way to the left & right) & keeping the wall between the windows open for hanging art or mirror? It's a small room. Thanks for the post!

Curtains and Drapes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jill said...

How many panels would I need for an 8 ft sliding door? 2 or 3 sets?

Unknown said...

Hi,
I'm not getting the Aina curtains as I have decided on a thicker, washed Belgian linen fabric. However, to balance the $$$ of the fabric I'm sewing them myself using the ikea pleating tape and the ikea track system. As I don't have an ikea nearby ( in NZ) I'm hoping you or someone who has the Aina curtains could give me the measurement from the top of the curtain to the top of the pleating tape. Cheers, Leslie

Dejana said...

Wonderful post, I bought a pair but wasn't sure if I should keep them seeing these pictures really assured me I made the right choice and I am going to hang them up higher like you said.

www.svegablog.blogspot.ca

DK Chandrasekaran said...
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Imran Mogul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Imran Mogul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deja vu said...

Dear Rosa,

It is a bit difficult to understand based on the pictures and I could not find info on density on ikea website… are Aina curtains actually day curtains or they are night ones? I am looking for natural linen color curtains, 2 pairs for to use as thick night curtains and between them a more transparent thin light day curtains just the color of the box of 'publish your comment' :).
Thank you for the post, I had doubts regarding the hang types before this moment.

Rosa said...

Hi Deja Vu, thanks for your questions!

The Ikea Aina curtains are definitely not blackout curtains, if that's what you mean by "night curtains." They are made of a single layer of linen fabric, which means that they filter natural light through the curtain.

However, I have them hanging in both my living room and my bedroom without any other layers of curtains, and I "tested" their transparency. I could not see into my home from the outside, even at night with the lights on.

Hope this helps get you the answers you need!

deja vu said...

Hi Rosa,

Yes, I need them to be that dense & thick that people can't see into the home from outside at night. I think I'll buy a pair) Many thanks! You're very helpful!

Regards,
Mariam

Anjum Mogul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick Tan said...

White drapes gives a fresh look on every room. It's a good color to have especially in tropical countries. I agree on the draper styles no-no, everyone should really consider it.

Patrick Tan

Aaron Carter said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I have been wanting to get better curtains but I don't want to pay that much. This is the perfect solution for my problem. I will have to try this out soon.

Aaron | http://www.aussiecurtaincall.com.au/curtains.html

Agerlol said...

Hi, I love your ideas! I have had quite a time locating these curtains and ended up buying them on eBay. Are they discontinued? Do you have a recommendation for the size rod to use? I want to use a wraparound privacy rod if possible, but I'm unsure of the diameter rod to choose. Thank you!!

Ronald Swanson said...

I actually prefer the look of the hidden loop hanging method, and the best part about it is that you save a lot of money. On top of that, I feel like it would be difficult to add in the metal or plastic rings to hang the curtain. Using this method, it is just one less thing that you have to buy, and one less thing that you have to worry about doing to your curtains.
Drapery

S. Drago said...

I love DIY articles. They're always interesting and I always learn how to do stuff by myself. Thanks for sharing I will definitely add your post to my favourites list.

HPD said...

It's great idea to customize the drapes, whether it's made from linen or any other materials. You can find few sites that offers customizing the drapes to thenafter how it looks. Halfpricedrapes is one of them.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if one could use a buckram header to give them a bit more shape when hung?

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Great article! I bought the Aina curtains in "white" and you're right...they are really more of an off-white/cream. They look yellow against my white wainscoting. Have you ever tried bleaching them?

Anonymous said...

Great draperies here!
http://www.kenisahome.com/

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else have success with ironing these curtains? I went to Ikea to buy them and the display ones were SO wrinkled that I chickened out. I love the texture and semi-sheerness of linen, but I HATE wrinkles. An occasional wrinkle here or there is ok, but anything more than that is a deal-breaker for me. Just wondering if you can actually iron/steam the wrinkles out of these, or if that's just part of the package.

Karyn said...

I purchased these and had success ironing them. They really are great looking! So far I love them. I haven't hung them because I need rods. I was wondering what size rods to use with the hidden loop method?

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Anonymous said...

Hi,

Great article. I have these curtains and was wondering if anyone has had success in bleaching them to make them whiter? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I was also wondering if there was a way to whiten the Aina curtains. I know bleaching is a no-no but would RIT DYE OUT work? I have been searching for inexpensive white linen curtains with no success. Any help would be appreciated.

Emy Watson said...

What color window treatments should I get?
custom drapes

Zem Karlos said...

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Jr. Williams said...

Shortening Roman Shades?
custom curtains new orleans

Kingston Manor said...

This post was really helpful. We are going to go with these curtains on our first floor. Thanks!

Edward Daniels said...

Nice DIY. I like the idea of drapes. I am looking forward to see some more posts from you.
http://www.universalwindowslasvegas.com/products/doors/sliding-glass-doors

Richelle said...

You are WONDERFUL. After tons (and I mean TONS!) of research and purchases that have been returned I finally decided to take the plunge :) and try out the aina panels... And they are aaaaamazing. Exactly the look I was found for, not to mention they came in right on budget. Your post has helped out tremendously. I owe you a THANK YOU!!

Charlers John said...

I hope everyone like this information they shared as I do. Really great information.
Custom Curtains

Sneha Unnikrishnan said...

Really great informationBlinds in Kodungallur

Marietta Manlapaz said...

Hi Rosa oh I love this curtain idea using linen, I'm wanting to use linen curtain but very expensive. now i want to find IKEA online shop and get this aria's curtain. I cannot believe this price $59.99. here it cost $100 per meter of linen fabric. I need 9 panels for my 3 meters wide sliding doors. thank heaps Rosa Beltran design. will post to you when I've done the curtains.

sarah khan said...

I like first and fifth designs of curtains. They are really great.

Anonymous said...

great

Raju Narula said...

Thank You for sharing this blog. i feel very good know about curtain in delhi and other things about shopping. Please suggest me something for my home decoration http://www.mofurnishings.com/fabrics/curtain-fabrics this website is good or not for buying curtains in delhi ncr

Best Home Furniture said...

Window treatment got to be handled strictly as a results of well-handled window treatments can produce our home look plenty of enticing.

carpet thailand said...

Wonderful post, I bought a pair but wasn't sure if I should keep them seeing these pictures really assured me I made the right choice and I am going to hang them up higher like you said.
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Dubai Curtain said...

your taste and style are amazing and your choices here do not disappoint.

Unknown said...

THESE CURTAINS ARE GORGEOUS --- GREAT DESIGN AND SAVINGS. I originally bought a pair of curtains for a large window from Restoration Hardware in Belgian Linen that cost $273 panel ($550 per window) in their version of off white (called "natural"). I thought that was a fortune, but everyone assured me that "good drapery is expensive, and customized linen would be more). The RH curtains were too thick/formal, and when they hung in the sunlight had a yellow tinge that didn't work well with the white casing on the windows. Just out of curiosity I ordered these - not expecting much. They are literally the exact same color as the RH curtains, but because they are a tad more sheer when they hang in the light they are a perfect shade of off white/cream with no yellow undertones. They are also a bit more airy/informal, perfect for what I wanted. I am flabbergasted that the $55 dollar curtains from Ikea look better than the $550 curtains from RH. Not to mention that the RH curtains come with no backing to hang,so I was going to have to customize it. These have a very helpful backing that you can use to count/measure. I hung with the loop rings and pins (from RH) and they look like the cost a fortune. I only need to pin the bottoms and bring to the cleaner to mend. I wanted to write a blog to tell others of this tip, but you have already done so.

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