Spring cleaning is time for window washing, but you may also want to include new curtains for a refreshing outlook and energy saving results. When windows go green, Boston consumers invest in replacing windows for energy efficiency with an average of 25 percent savings on replacements and up to 30 percent in energy costs per year.

Window replacement alternatives
If you don’t wish to invest in replacing windows at this time, measure your windows properly for curtains instead. Window treatments will work to lower energy costs, while adding decor to the interior of your home. They can also insulate the room from uncomfortable hot or cold Boston temperatures, while setting a natural lighting tone in a room, and are a relatively easy transition to make.

Cleaning windows
Be sure to keep your windows clean on the outside as well as the inside. Ammonia and water work great together with paper towels. For a homemade solution, dilute ammonia in water three parts to one and add to a spray bottle. The trick when cleaning your own windows is to use as little as possible for less streaking. It also helps to have a one-sided razor blade handy just in case the glass needs a bit of scraping.

Shopping for window treatments
After removing old window treatments and cleaning your windows, it’s time to go shopping. Shopping for new curtains can be difficult because of the necessary preparation involved. However, by remembering to take these easy steps before shopping, most do-it-yourself home decorators will find success.

Determine if your curtain rod will best hang from the window frame or from somewhere outside of the window. Then measure from where one bracket will hang to where the other bracket will hang in order to determine the width of the curtain needed. For the length of your curtains, first decide how long you would like them fall. You can look at the length of standard, ready-made curtains and then measure up to where the rod will be placed to see which curtain size is long enough for your desired window treatment. The standard length of most drapes are 63 inches, 84 inches and 95 inches. If you have an odd-length to cover, remember it’s best to get longer curtains, as they can be hemmed to the proper length later.

To add the most light into your room, hang your curtains wider than the frame. If you would like your windows to appear longer, add a valance topper. Hang it far enough over the window, so as not to hang down to cover the glass, but long enough to cover the window frame at the top. When using a continental rod (the white metal rods), measure the distance the bracket and rod comes out from the wall and add this to the width of your curtain.

Keep in mind when shopping that there are typical standard window treatments:

  • A bracket is the hardware used to hold a rod in place.
  • A rod is the hardware used to hold the curtain.
  • A valance is the type of curtain that hangs over the top width of a window only.
  • A panel is the curtain that hangs vertically along the length of the window. Panels may be used with or without valances. Some creative decorators use sheer panels twisted around rods as valances.

If you are letting light into a room, yet still desire to have privacy in your home, lace is an elegant option that captures light while keeping your room relatively private from the outside world. A panel or two of lace can be placed on the same rod, inside the curtain.

Here are some local businesses to help you get started: 

Country Curtains
15 Columbia Rd
Pembroke, MA 02359
(781) 826-7722

Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thurs –  10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Country Curtains, founded by Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick, has been serving the Boston area since 1956 and can help you with decorating tips or send a design consultant to your home. This is a specialty store offering excellent design consultation with stores throughout the Northeast region of the United States.

The Curtain Store
261 East Central St
Franklin, MA 02038
(508) 553-9990

Hours: Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thurs – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Mon – Closed

The curtain store has 30 years of experience and can help you find window treatments that fit both your taste and and your budget. The curtains in this showroom are ready-made and the staff will show you many examples to suit your needs. Bring your measurements before planning a trip to the store.

The Curtain House
31 Schoosett St #405
Pembroke, MA 02359
(781) 924-5179

Hours: Mon to Sat – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Curtain House specializes in nautical patterns on the curtains and is an easy stop on the way to Cape Cod.  The store is closed on Mondays, so be sure to plan your shopping accordingly.

Related: Pros And Cons Of Buying Versus Renting Tools

Author Maryann Scheufele is a childrens literature examiner, storyteller, family literacy advocate, and a sometimes substitute visiting licensed English Teacher, living in the town of Plymouth in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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