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Make Cheap Curtains Look Expensive

Make cheap curtains look like custom window treatments with this quick and easy hack! It only requires the most basic of sewing skills and takes 20 minutes!

Make Cheap Curtains Look Expensive: two curtains hanging over a sliding glass door

Okay, so today I’m going to let you in on one of my favorite super-easy design hacks. Have you ever noticed that many people’s curtains look cheap? And have you ever considered why? (Hint: It’s not that they came from Target!).


Before: image of cheap curtain panels from Ikea hanging on sides on sliding glass door with dining table and chairs in foreground

The biggest reason store-bought curtain panels often look cheap, is they aren’t wide enough for the windows they’re dressing (see photo above). Most curtain panels are just decorative- they don’t ever get drawn shut because the window has blinds on it. But even just hanging to the sides of the window, they can look insubstantial and not quite right. This is especially true when the window is large (or in this case the sliding glass door).

Now you could buy or make expensive custom window treatments. If you want to do that, great! But if you’re like me, you want to get a polished, expensive look with as little effort and cost as possible!

how to make cheap curtains look expensive

Here’s the secret: Buy 2 panels for each side of the window, and sew them together. This is pretty much the easiest sewing project ever, and I’m going to show you how to do it right now. Let’s get to it!


1. wash curtain panels

Assuming your curtains are washable, you’re going to want to do this first. If the fabric is going to shrink at all, you want it to happen BEFORE you tailor them. I always wash them on delicate cycle, use Woolite, and hang them to dry. Whatever you do, don’t put them in the dryer!

2. line up curtain panels

Two cheap curtain panels lined up on the floor

Line up the long edges of your curtain panels, with the good sides together. Start at the tops, and be sure they’re lined up, since we’ll be hemming the bottoms later.

3. Pin

two curtains laid out on the floor and ready to be pinned together

Pin the long edges of the panels together, using several sewing pins.

hand holding two cheap curtains being pinned together

4. Sew panels together

Now it’s time to sew the panels together. I moved my seam in from the edge by about an inch so I wouldn’t have to sew through the doubled up fabric on the edges. I started at the top of the panels, and this is just a straight shot all the way down to the bottom.

two curtain panels being sewed together with a sewing machine

Here’s what it looks like from the back… but guess what? No one’s going to see it!

Extra-wide curtain panel hanging up

5. hang curtain panels

Now hang the curtains on the rods. It’s time to hem them.

close-up of bottom of curtain panel that's too long

6. measure and pin curtain panels

close-up of hand folding hem of curtain panel up to pin it

The goal here is to get the panels to just brush the floor. As you can see, my panels were about an inch and a half too long. I folded them up to the correct length, and pinned them. It’s quite possible that your two sewed-together panels are not exactly the same length, and that’s okay. They will be when you’re done.

close-up of bottom of curtain panel with the hem pinned up

Fold and pin all the way across the bottom of the panels.

7. Iron and adjust pins on Hem

curtain panel laid out on ironing board

Once you’ve pinned the curtains while they’re hanging, take them down. Now you’ll probably find that the pins and fold don’t make a perfect straight line. You will likely need to do some adjusting on the ironing board. The important thing is not that your hem is even all the way across, but that the bottom of the panel just brushes the floor. If things look a little ugly back here, who cares?

curtain panel laid out on ironing board and pinned

8. sew the hem

close-up of hem of cheap curtain panels being sewed on a sewing machine

Sew a straight line across the bottom to create a hem.

9. hang curtains back up

finished curtain panels hanging on rod

Now hang the curtains back on the rods and you’re done!

Easy DIY Curtain Panels Hack: Make cheap store-bought curtain panels look custom with this simple hack! image of bottom half of tailored curtain panel in front of sliding glass door with large houseplant

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    1. Hi Carrie! Thanks so much! I got them at Ikea a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, they don’t carry them anymore- trust me I’ve checked many times!

  1. Take a few minutes to press with an iron when you finish with the hem before hanging and the curtain will look so much better

  2. I also add a lining as I don’t want the seams to show from the outside of the windows. I usually buy a sheet and sew it to the back.

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