I’ll be honest: when I started working as an interior decorator in my early 20s, I was a complete window treatment novice. The only kind of curtains my own budget could accommodate were IKEA, so when it came time to research custom window treatments for my clients, they weren’t the only ones experiencing sticker shock. (A single wall of windows can run over $3,000!).
During a time when I had to pray that my debit card wouldn’t be declined at Starbucks and frequently ate lunchables for dinner, this was not an option I could recommend to my clients with a straight face.
That being said, custom window treatments can seriously elevate the look of your home, and if you have the funds, they’re a worthwhile area to invest in. Though I’m turning 31 this year and most of my lunchable days are behind me, I still do not have thousands to put toward dressing my windows. Instead, I traversed the internet to find some of the best ways to fake champagne window treatments on a White Claw budget, and today I’m giving you all a proverbial sip.
Create luxurious texture with extra-wide drapes
When I came across Shelby Girard’s living room curtains, I assumed they fell into the cost-prohibitive and custom category. While they are technically custom, they’re also relatively affordable and ordered through Amazon! Shelby has a great highlight saved on her Instagram with information on her exact order, and she mentions that she was inspired by Chelsea Lyn Glattman, who also put these attainable custom options to the test.
My favorite part about Shelby’s window treatments are how thick and luxurious they are, which was achieved by ordering extra-wide panels. While the space for Shelby’s curtains is technically only 2-3 feet wide, she ordered 150” panels, which allows for tons of extra pleats and movement. For less than $250 (not including hardware), she was able to create a custom window treatment that looks like it costs thousands. Even if you opt out of the custom Amazon option, layering multiple curtain panels together will lend a similar high-end look to your home.
Layer in woven shades
The key to creating an effortlessly high-end feel in almost all parts of your home is layering contrasting elements together. Window treatments are no exception. Here, Jamie of Mindfully Gray layers cordless woven blinds under simple white drapes to add texture and warmth to a neutral space. Not to mention all of the added privacy you can achieve while still allowing natural light in!
Add pinch pleats to IKEA curtains
Pinch pleats are one of the quickest tell-tale signs of investment window treatments, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend the big bucks to get them. This tutorial by The Vintage Rug Shop doesn’t even require you to use a sewing machine, but it will completely transform the way your IKEA curtains drape across your windows. If we’ve said it once we’ve said it 100 times: thanks be to IKEA for this indescribable gift.
Don’t forget to steam
As someone who puts new sheets on her bed without even washing them, I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this, but it’s true: you need to steam your curtains. (Yes, even if they’re low brow.) Trust me, you’ll be stunned by how much more elegantly they lay after a quick dance with the steamer. On the upside, while it sounds like an annoying chore, it’s also oddly satisfying.
Upgrade your hardware
Even the loveliest of window treatments can’t counteract a dingy tension rod. While upgraded hardware may feel like an unwanted investment or too much effort to hang, I solemnly swear that it’s worth it. Not only does a nice metal finish elevate the rest of your room, but it also allows you to properly hang your curtains. (Rule of thumb: They should always be placed higher and wider than your actual window—your windows will end up looking much larger than they actually are.)