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Improvising warmer curtains, cheaply without sewing!

Having recently moved from sunny, subtropical Brisbane to our wee home in the Hinterland behind the Gold Coast we have found the drop in temperature to be "quite noticeable" :0

Not only is it already dropping below 10 degrees at night but apparently its only going to get colder as Winter progresses.

The obvious thing to do is turn on the heater since our new place doesn't have a wood fire, but this seems a bit pointless if we don't figure out a way to keep all that expensive heat inside the house. We have put on extra jumpers, pulled out the winter sox and bought proper PJ's (that you couldn't wear in Brisbane) and even put an electric blanket on the bed in our journey to get and stay warm.

We want to heat the air in the rooms at some point and looking at the windows we knew that that all the lovely hot air would just rush straight out the windows via the glass and while the house is slightly insulated, the glass is the biggest weak point and needed to be dealt with before we got too excited about heating the place. With whole walls of glass and three glass doors we have wonderful views of the rainforest, amazing summer breezes and one hell of job ahead of to stay warm in the next few months without paying Energex's CEO's salary all by ourselves!

Here's what I did...

First thing we did is start haunting Op Shops for curtains. The thicker the better! These ones cost $20 each but are a beautiful thick tapestry and between them cover the whole glass front door. We had to put up a curtain rail but with them all the way across the door and covering part of the wall they seem to be doing a wonderful job of keeping the cold on the outside and the warm on the inside.

Finding these type of curtains were random luck to find but its worth the rounds of the op shops and the cost to find them.

Another random lucky find was this set of four curtains that were so big that they covered the whole wall of windows in one hit. The curtains that were there were tab top summer ones that gave privacy but wouldn't have made any difference to the temperature weather they were pulled or not. These ones are lined with block out material and the extra gathering are creating pockets that are a type of insulation themselves.

As you can see though, there is this gap were the curtains sit away from the window and because of the arch you cant pull them all the way across and seal the windows with curtain. The bulldog clip is not a "Better Homes and Gardens Than Mine" solution but it works!

Without the bulldog clip you can feel the cold air coming in.  With the clip joining the curtains the seal is better and you cant feel the draught at all! During the day the curtains are pulled into a curtain tie back and the bull dog clip is hidden in the folds making it easy to find when you pull the curtains in the evenings.

 I was lucky enough to be gifted a few sets of curtains by various friend just before the move but as we all lived in Subtropical Brisbane, they are beautiful to look at but really aren't thick enough to keep out much cold but I found some cheap easy solutions...

I had packed and taken with me some old curtains from our old house that I knew were thicker than what was already in the new house but I wasn't so fond of the colour. I had figured that when I was cold, I would care about the colour but  I ended up using these old thick not so attractive curtains to line the attractive light ones!

The attractive set were eyelet curtains that threaded onto the pole and the ones I used to line it with were hook ones that would hook onto rings or sliders. I simply hooked the old curtains onto the eyelets and it doubled the thickness of the curtains!

 When they are pulled back you cant see the blue curtains from the inside or outside. You can see the blue from the outside at night when they are pulled over the window, but since its pitch black and freezing cold, you are welcome to critique my curtains if you happen to be lurking in my back yard one night. I'll be inside nice and toasty!

Not the best images but it gives you the idea if you want to try it your self!

I had two sets non matching purple eyelet curtains but one had had some bleach leak onto them. They were nice thick velvet curtains and I had this vision of making a skirt or something out of them one day, maybe, sometime. You know how it is! Bottom line, I still had them.

I Ummed and Ahhhed about taking them with me but when I discovered a second set at an op shop for $5 that almost matched I was glad I kept them. As they are both eyelet ones I simply threaded them onto the pole at the same time back to back with the holes matching and instantly, I have double thickness curtains - again with the marked ones on the outside for backyard night lurkers to comment on.

Really hard to photograph but if both sets are eyelet one, simply lay them on top of each other with the holes matching and then thread them on!

I did the hooked curtains onto eyelet curtains in the bedroom just like in the lounge but the curtain behind the bed needed to be shorter than the others.

Since I'm not sure if this is the final arrangement of curtains due to the random nature of Op Shopping for curtains rather than ordering custom made ones, I decided to hem these ones with safety pins!

As it turned out, the curtains were different lengths and so I hemmed them separately with safety pins. Not particularly elegant but eminently practical! I still have my double thickness curtains and the flexibility to move them to a different spot should another pair appear and I want to move these ones somewhere else. I'm enjoying playing musical curtains!

One last set of curtains Id like to share will never make an edition of an interior decorating magazine except in the "how not to do it" section are the ones we put up between the lounge and the spare bedroom. We aren't using that room on a daily basis and it doesn't have a door on it. This means we are heating extra space or trying to keep unused space warm for no reason depending on how you look at it.

So this one is hooked curtains put onto a ring that slides on the pole we put up as we had a matching one lying around.

The pretty curtain has been backed with a heavy blue hooked curtain by hooking the blue curtain hooks onto the pale curtain hooks that are in turn hooked to the rings.

 Again, not the expensive custom curtain solution but so far I have paid about $50 all up to put thick lined curtains through out the whole house and its made a difference. We haven't put the heater on more than a few times and we have actually gone to bed early a few times as the electric blanket is quite seductive when its chilly but we are almost ready to face the Winter chill here on the mountain... as soon as we work out the cheapest way to heat the place that is!.

However if Mother Nature decides to bestow a very mild record breaking warm Winter on us, I wont mind too much!

I had thought of lining curtains with blankets but am liking the no-sewing, flexibility retaining aspects of using thick not so attractive curtains that I got for free, to line the attractive thin existing ones I didn't pay for. Do watch out for how much weight you are putting on your rings and rails though. I found curtains to be quite heavy. And make sure you have a stable platform to work from when you are hooking both the front and back curtains up!

I have discovered that Op shops often have a plethora of curtain hooks, rings and miscellaneous bits so check them out before you hit a "Curtains R US" type place or a chain hardware shop and spend a fortune.  Half price days are also worth waiting for at the local op shop. I picked up wooden curtain rings for 12c each that day rather than $7.50 for 5 at a big hardware shop!

Have you managed to devise ways to improve your curtains ability to keep the cold out? Please let me know how in the comments - I've still got the office and laundry curtains to do!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for using second hand items and giving them a second life!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for buying good cheap curtains and embracing the mismatched shabby chic look!
Time cost: About 10 minutes to attached the second curtain to the first curtain once its up.
Skill level: Super easy!
Fun-ness: Great fun to not only get a bargain but to stay warm and still look great!


Janet Camilleri said…
Most of our curtains here come from the op shop too :-) ... love your improvised insulating methods! Have you seen my DIY velvet headboard for our bed on the blog? I was pretty impressed with my creativity and thriftiness, like you I used safety pins, it looks great!
Practical Frog said…
Op Shops are the greatest! No I haven't seen that post Janet - I'm off to have a look right now as a bed head is on my "To Get (sometime soonish) List" :) K x
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