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solving the curtain conundrum: placemat curtains 
by Jaime
Vázquez |
1 2

When I moved into my one-bedroom pad—my first post-high-rise affair, also the first apartment that I was allowed to decorate—I found myself marking the milestones of adulthood with the purchases my abode required. I’d been buying toilet paper for years, but buying a new toilet paper holder was like waving a white flag at the grown-up police. My tool drawer turned into a cabinet: I was an adult who owned a drill.

I was most afraid of buying curtains. For me, curtains were patterned Laura Ashley numbers, best suited for stuffy homes with libraries. I wanted to cover my windows, but what were the chances of finding the right pattern and fabric? Did I need to know stuff about, you know, sewing for that? Should I get curtains that need to be tied up on either side, or the kind that stretch to the floor? Did buying a set of curtains automatically qualify me for a subscription to the Pottery Barn catalogue?

Just when my window dressing options were bringing me to the point of existential crisis, a friend showed me a solution that was not only D.I.Y. but was functional, fit in with my decor (and, most importantly, kept me away from the mall): placemat curtains. Did I mention that they cost next to nothing, too? If fabric isn’t your thing, or you’re a hands-on decorator that watches their wallet, try these on for size. They’ll look so good you could eat off them.

what you’ll need
One-hole punch (from any office supply store)
S-hooks (binder rings will also do)
Curtain rods, one per window
Plastic placemats
Measuring tape
One pen

1 Measure your window. First things first—I made the mistake of assuming that I could “eyeball” what size my windows were, and one wasted Saturday later realized I was wrong. Once you have the size of the window, decide if the width can be covered by one placemat or two (most placemats are about 18” wide). You’ll also need the width of the window to know how long of a curtain rod to buy.

2 Pick your placemats. Plastic placemats are generally easy to come by, and often frequent clearance racks at Target (during the Summer) or Urban Outfitters (year-round). Tracking down the right pattern is half the fun, an excuse to go thrifting or a chance to waste hours on eBay. Just remember that along with your kitsch factor, there are other criteria. Pick placemats that are thin; you’ll be punching holes in them. Be wary of how much light they let through; curtains that don’t block any sunlight may look nice, but will get old, quick. Also, depending on the height of your window, you’ll need a lot of them, so make sure that you get enough, and that they’re cheap individually—I paid $1.50 for each placemat, which was a relative splurge, but the fifty-cent patterns just weren’t as modern.

sidle on over this way please!

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