Fixer Upper Friday: Drop Cloth Curtains

Victorian Attic Window

So in the attic suite of our fixer upper #1, we’re lucky enough to have 8 windows that let in a ton of natural light. I love the natural light, but finding window treatments for these windows has been a serious hassle. I wanted to show off the character of the window (the odd shape of the window frame is to die for!), continue to let in natural light, while at the same time making sure that I had some privacy. That’s been a tall order as it turns out, but one thing was for sure. I could almost hear that these windows were screaming for linen curtains.

I absolutely love the look of linen curtains. The natural texture, the neutral color, and the design versatility win me over every time. The price, however, is a different story. I did a quick internet search for some fabulous linen curtains for the window above, and I was completely caught off guard by the price.


$203 for one curtain panel?! A curtain panel that I would have to hem and stitch to suit the size of my window. No way. I determined that for that price, the neighbors were just gonna have to watch.

[SIDE STORY: My bedroom window directly faces the bedroom window of my teenage neighbor. One weekend, she randomly approached me while I was doing some yard work and kinda awkwardly stuttered, “have you been sleeping well?” Kinda creepy, no?]

So yeah, I really needed some affordable curtains that let the light in, but at the same time took privacy to the next level. I had no choice but to think outside the box.

Canvas Drop Cloth

It didn’t take long for me to find some awesome ideas on Pinterest. You guys are so amazingly creative! So many of you have been getting the look of linen for less by using standard painting drop cloths as curtains! Repurposing is totally my jam, and I immediately raced to Lowe’s and bought some drop cloths. The package above was only $5.98 and measured 4ft by 5ft. The cloth is already hemmed and ready to hang. Ugh! So perfect! Check out this close up of my new drop cloth curtains and compare it to the $200+ curtains below.

Drop Cloth Curtain

Here are the more expensive panels:

I am so happy with these curtains that I just had to share it with you guys! The natural light still floods in, and you really can’t see through them to watch your neighbors sleep (sorry, creepy neighbor chick).

Have you made any unconventional window treatments? Please don’t hesitate to share!

Attic Bedroom Renovation: Flooring, Walls, and Lighting

This peaceful bedroom used to be a dark and dingy
This peaceful bedroom used to be dark and dingy

Every space in a home has some basic elements: flooring, walls, and lighting. If these elements look bad, pretty much nothing in the space will look good. Clean and shiny floors, freshly painted walls, and awesome lighting can really make a room. These elements work together to act as a picture frame. With a beautiful picture frame, almost anything dumped on the canvas can seem deliberate and look like art. So when I decided to renovate the attic bedroom of my pre-Civil War house, I began by focusing my energy on those three elements. My goal was to make the space bright, yet calming.


Four layers of linoleum
Four layers of linoleum

Layer upon layer of linoleum capped by a dingy carpet catapulted flooring to the top of my to-do list. At first, I was juggling with whether or not I should just cover it in wall to wall carpeting rather than tackle what might be under all that linoleum. In the end, I couldn’t stop myself.

My flip flop got stuck to the layer of glue on the floor
My flip flop got stuck to the layer of glue on the floor

I took a wrecking bar and ripped every last shred of linoleum up off the floor. That’s where I got lucky. The floor underneath was red oak hardwood in pretty amazing condition.

After the first day of scrubbing the floor
After the first day of scrubbing the floor

After a few, very long days of scrubbing off glue and grime with Goo-Gone, hot water, vinegar, and mild soap, the floor was clean. I put some Miniwax polyurethane coating down and the floor was not only clean, but shiny…the way a floor should be.


The walls had been blackened by soot after a kerosene heater mishap (don’t ask!) and of course there were the dings and imperfections that are present in every old home. I decided early on in the renovation process that I wasn’t going to do much to try to hide those imperfections. Smooth walls just seem so out of place in a house this old. Instead I opted for freshly painted walls, imperfections and all.

I used Zinsser Brand primer to cover the soot damage on the walls and ceiling
I used Zinsser Brand primer to cover the soot damage on the walls and ceiling


Track lighting isn't always bad, but this one had seen better days.
Track lighting isn’t always bad, but this one had seen better days.

I can’t begin to express how much I love light fixtures. I didn’t really start noticing them until recently, but they truly are a key feature of any room. Unfortunately for me, my taste leans toward pretty expensive light fixtures, while my budget leans toward emergency candles. At any rate, I was able to get a light fixture from Ikea that I absolutely love at the low cost of $30. It doesn’t look cheap and it fits the space perfectly.

Simple glass light fixture from Ikea
Simple glass light fixture from Ikea

If you’re willing to splurge on lighting you should definitely check out some of the options at this website.

Anyway, with the walls, the floor, and the lighting done, I was able to focus on the details of the room: furniture (you can check out how I updated a hope chest here) , bedding, the window treatment, and I even made a simple headboard (check it out here).


As I always say,  a little bit of inspiration and a lot of elbow grease go a long way!