How to cover ugly apartment blinds and a DIY fail...

Friday, August 03, 2012

It's no secret that the one of the biggest downsides to renting is the limitations you are given when it comes to upgrades/decor.

 My biggest pet peeve is the ugly vertical blinds that conceal every window. Seriously heinous. 

Luckily in our apartment we are able to put up curtains over the blinds on all of the windows except one. 

Our sliding glass door blinds are on a track that protrudes from the window. It has a funky molding (is there a name for this?) that shields the track. 

Beware... you are about to see a very ugly before picture:


 But I refuse to deal with blinds. I was able to get this curtain rod from Ikea, and hide it between the molding and the ugly blinds track (it would be WAY too tedious/potentially damaging to remove the whole thing.)

My next step: Curtains. I got the Lenda curtains from Ikea for $19.99 in an attempt to try the DIY painted curtains done by many on the web. (See Kristen and Eileen).

I thought I wanted B&W stripes, so I taped off with painter's tape, and began to roll on the black paint.  I did two coats, and waited forever for it to dry.

(The whole process took forever BTW)

And it was a major fail. 

First, there is no room for error. I accidentally dropped a few drops of black paint, and tried to paint over them in white. Fail. You can see the spots in the picture below.

Second, I'm not sure if it was my curtains or the paint, but two coats was clearly not enough to make it look solid against natural light.

Third, they were already super crispy and stiff after two coats... so there was no way I was going to try it again.

The proof:

And then I put it up just to see, and it looked like a giant circus tent with my decor.

I'm NOT saying don't try this DIY, definitely do it if you think you can pull it off... but I wanted to share my fail because I think it's important to know what works and what doesn't, rather than learn from your own mistake!

I ended up getting these curtains from Z Gallerie:

They are the Esha Panels on sale right now for $19.89 each.

In order to keep them from being sheer, I pinned two white Ikea twin sheets to the back.

The blinds are still there, but pulled all the way to the side and are ALWAYS hidden even with the drapes open. 

Have any of you had a similar DIY fail? Or have you dealt with ugly rental blinds? How did you cope?



P.S. Happy FRIDAY!

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  1. I LOVE this!!! It looks so beautiful and definitely something I could attempt. My husband and I just put in an offer on a condo that has blinds like that and it's one of the first things I want to change. I love your suggestion and will definitely refer back to this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. next time (if there is one) try diluting the paint with water you will have to do a few extra coats (like six) but it shouldn't get crusty/plasticy. And to keep from the white from getting paint drip is to cover the sections completely with tape or tape & plastic that you don't want paint on. and when things don't work out as planned I tend to throw a fit then get over it.

  3. I love the grey curtains more then the strips anyway! They add a feminine touch that is so classy and chic looking! Great choice!!!

  4. I love the print you ended up choosing. They look great! I hear you on the renting thing. Of course there are benefits to not having to commit to anything long term, but then you're inevitably stuck with something that doesn't quite work. I think you went with a good alternative! And those would look great in a new home too :)

  5. Very pretty! I'm a HUGE Pinterest fan, but usually that's how my projucts turn out unfortunately!

  6. That stinks that it didn't work out, but I LOVE the curtains that you did end up getting.

  7. love what you ended up with. very creative way to hide the vertical blinds! love it!

  8. Aw, I hate to see a DIY fail bc I have had many and I know the blood sweat and tears behind them BUT the new curtains are awesome!! I may steal for my house!

  9. Love this post! With so many DIY projects on blogs/pinterest, it's nice to remind ourselves that it's okay to fail.

    The curtains your ended up going with are adorable! Hope you have a great weekend xox

  10. I actually did the striped curtain DIY and it was a lot more time consuming than I thought. Since I live in a basement apt I don't get as much light but I think I would have the same problem with the light shining through. I love the curtains you ended up with though!

  11. THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME - mine looked terrible! Fortunately I only did one of the two panels and then just threw in the towel and gave up. They look so cute on all the blogs, but in reality, they are super challenging. Glad I'm not the only one!

  12. love the curtains you ended up with! I'm actually needing new curtains for my room and those are perfect! I may need to get them :)

    Loving your blog!


  13. You might have failed the first time but not the second time! We definitely learn from our mistakes and DIY projects are no easy task. I once followed a DIY roman shade that I got from a site and it turned out really bad, horrible in fact! But, your new curtain looks nice!

    Rene Veeravalli

  14. It looks beautiful and definitely something I could attempt. I just put in an offer on a condo that has to be blind like that, and it's one of the first things I want to change.
    Horizontal Blinds

  15. I'm confused on where exactly you put the curtain rod, did you have to screw it to the wall?? (definite "NO" in our apartment)

  16. At least you attempted it though - I think that anything to do with curtains is difficult especially when they're unlined. You're braver than me for trying!
    Laura @ Blackout Roller Blinds

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  18. what an absolutely FABULOUS collection. l spent ages browsing the lovely.....but my favourite is Black & White Carpet .

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  20. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well.Thanks for sharing the such information with us.

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  21. I’ve always tried to understand why apartment complexes always go with those tacky plastic blinds. I have yet to find ANYONE who likes them. My husband and I took off each individual plastic piece and stored them away. Then, we simply hung a curtain rod and found some pretty, cheap, curtains from TJ Maxx. They’re dark enough to keep out the light but we always pull them back during the day to let in the natural light. Thanks for sharing your real-life experience and how you coped with it! :)


    1. Kelly, silly question maybe but when you hung your curtain rod, did you have to drill into the wall?

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