Tacoma Converted Garage // Window Treatments with Lowe's (+ Our Favorite Option for Rentals)

TACOMA CONVERTED GARAGE This post is sponsored by Lowe's.

Bamboo Shades // Curtain Panels // Curtain Rod // Curtain Rings

The Tacoma Converted Garage has two large windows in the dining nook that get lots of south-facing light. We looked for window coverings that were durable (this is a rental after all), attractive, and would fit our off-size windows. And we found a great, customizable solution at Lowe's. Read on for how we covered these 41 1/8"-wide windows and a few of our thoughts on window treatments in rentals.

Selecting Window Treatments

When it comes to window treatments, I like to keep it simple. That usually means bamboo shades or solid-color, natural-fiber curtains. At the Tacoma Converted Garage, I decided to use both. Bamboo shades to block the light, give privacy, and add a natural note to the room. Cotton curtain panels to bring in a warm and homey feel and accentuate the height of the room.

We started at Lowes.com. They have a ton to choose from, but we settled on Levolor bamboo shades, Allen + Roth curtain panels, and an Allen + Roth curtain rod. We had everything shipped to store and bought rings (one pack per panel) in the store as well.

Because of the odd dimensions of our windows (which seems to be an issue in every old property we come across), I originally thought we'd have to mount the bamboo blinds outside the windows. We've done that in the past (here), and it usually looks fine, but with such big windows and a narrow space between them, I really loved the idea of inside-mounting these blinds. So imagine my joy when I found out that Lowe's can custom cut blinds to the exact width you need right in store!

Pro tip: Lowe's can custom cut blinds to width in store. 

Cutting Bamboo Blinds

Once all of our window coverings arrived in store, Garrett and I picked them up and walked the bamboo blinds over to the window coverings department. An associate was happy to cut our blinds (something, we gathered, Lowe's does a lot of). And thankfully, she was willing to chat us up about the process. We shared a few things we learned below.

Tips when cutting bamboo blinds to width:
  1. Cut your blinds narrower than your window opening to give the blinds some play when opening and closing. Somewhere around 1/4" per side is appropriate (a Lowe's associate can help you settle on a dimension for your blinds).
  2. Cutting blinds is one of those, you-can-always-take-more-off-but-you-can't-add-more-back-on situations. So if you're not 100% sure on how wide you want your blinds, start a little wider. You can always take the blinds back down and have them cut again.
  3. Some blinds are cut in the box and some out-of-box. We had mistakenly removed one of our blinds from the box before getting them to the cutter (I wanted to double-check the color) so one blind had to be cut out-of-the-box and one was cut in. Our cutter told us that in-box is much easier.
  4. Call ahead. Not every employee is trained on the cutting machine and some are more experienced than others. So ask your window coverings department who you should see and when they work.
  5. Blinds can be cut within 1/8" accuracy.

Garrett actually filmed the cutting process at Lowe's and included it in a video of this entire project. You can check it out here:

Installing Window Treatments

Once our blinds were cut to width, it only took an hour or so to hang up all of our window treatments. We started with the curtain rod. Have I mentioned how much I love this curtain rod from Allen + Roth? It's black, industrial, and perfect for the Tacoma Converted Garage. We'll use it again in here if we hang more curtains, but Lowe's has a ton of other great options too.

In general, we like to place curtain rods in the upper half of the space between the top of the window and the ceiling. Of course the exact height of the rod is based on the curtains (our's are 8', but I would have gone longer if there hadn't been a beam in the way). We held up one curtain panel and a curtain ring to determine exactly where the rod needed to be placed in order for the curtain to just kiss the ground. Then we measured that, marked the same dimension on the other side, predrilled holes, and attached the brackets with the provided screws. Easy peesy.

Pro tip: hang curtain rods in the top half of the space between the top of the window and the ceiling to help draw your eye up and make ceilings feel taller. 

If you don't happen to have 1"-thick fir paneling on your walls like the Tacoma Converted Garage, it's best to locate studs to attach your brackets to. Sheetrock anchors work too, although with children like our's, I feel much safer attaching curtains into studs ;)

The bamboo blinds were quick to install as well and we just followed the inside-mount directions that Levolor provided. We only needed a few tools for this project: a tape measure, our DeWalt drill and bit and impact driver.

Window Treatments In Rentals

Since Garrett and I are landlords, I wanted to mention our thoughts on window treatments in windows. Our favorite choice are bamboo blind. They're inexpensive, natural, attractive, incredibly durable. We've been landlords for 10 years now and had with all sorts of window coverings, but bamboo shades have held up the best. They're in the Ravenna House and even after we lived in that home for 2 years and had tenants living there for another 3 years, the bamboo blinds look as good today as they did on day 1.

In the houses where we have cotton curtain panels, we just throw them in the wash between long-term tenants. We hang them up damp and give them a quick steam if they're wrinkly after they dry. The only negative we've seen with drapery panels is that animals occasionally cause damage to these.

On the other end of the spectrum, cellular shades have caused us the most grief. These were in the Bryant House when we bought it and we've had to replace 2 so far. Considering they're more expensive and less attractive than bamboo blinds (in my opinion) we won't buy these for rentals.

This post was sponsored by Lowe's. All content, ideas, and words are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support the Grit and Polish!