Favorite window look: Bamboo shades & billowy white curtains

Everyone already knows that besides paint, we think curtains are the number one way to add polish and style to any space! It’s a super simple way to add height, drama, and billowy softness, so we finally got around to adding some long floor length $5 Ikea curtains on either side of our bamboo shades in the den- just like we did in our living room a while back.

Here are our boxy den windows before, just calling out for some soft and serene floor length beauties (don’t mind John in the corner taking some measurements). Sure the room looked clean and “craftsman” without them, but something was missing…


Just look at the difference a few inexpensive white panels can make (oh and check out our curtain-hanging tutorial for a few tips and tricks):


Of course we’re all about hanging them high and wide, to make the window appear even bigger than it is and ensure that they don’t block an inch of light (which always makes a room feel open and airy). Our white curtains of choice are always Ikea’s Vivan panels (at just $9.99 for two, it doesn’t get much better than that). We also love that they come in two lengths (98″ and 118″), so even those with taller ceilings can snag the longer versions (which will only run you $14.99 for two) and achieve the same breezy and inviting look on the cheap and in an afternoon. Look, even Burger’s a fan.


The bamboo roman shades are actually from Walmart since they always seem to have an affordably priced selection in a bunch of standard (and non-standard) sizes right in the store. We’ve even hung two of them next to each other in the living room to mimic the look of one long blind without spending a huge amount on a custom, oversized roman shade.


We also love to get our oil-rubbed-bronze-looking rods from Target. They’re understated and simple so the curtains get all the attention- just the way it should be. And the standard ceiling in the den feels so much taller thanks to our new additions, which introduce breezy vertical elements to add to the illusion of height.


I can’t believe it took us so long, especially since we’ve been so quick to suggest curtains to anyone who will listen! The lesson: convince your husband to take you to Ikea far more often. And even if he groans about hanging more curtain rods around the house, bribe him with a trip to Taco Bell and get on with it.

What about you guys? Do you have any rooms that could use the polish and added height that floor length curtains can bring? Any other totally overdue decorating tasks on your to-do list? Do tell.

Update: Check out the comments on this post by clicking the voice bubble next to the title to see a plethora of curtain related questions and a bevy of helpful hints and simple solutions.

Psst- Wanna know even more about finding the right window treatments for your home? Check out this exhaustive answer.


  1. says

    Those curtains look great! We have ridiculous heights on our ceilings and I can never find 108 or 108+ that are affordable. I might try those Vivan panels in one room. We have another room that is 132(11′ ceilings) do you think we should take the panels all the way to the top?

  2. Bethany says

    I love them! Such an inexpensive solution, and it looks so lovely afterwards.

    My issue is this: I love the look and height of the long curtains, but we live in an apartment in an old building that has baseboard heaters (as in little metal boxes that jut out from the baseboard and get really hot and kick out heat), so having floor-length curtains is not an option, at least in the winter, unless we want to start a fire. So, do I hem curtains so that they’re about a foot off the floor (that’s the lowest they can be and still be safe)? Or do I hem them just below the window frame (about 6 inches higher)? Or do I just skip curtains and mourn my stupid heating situation?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Andi- For your curtain sitch in the room with the 11′ ceilings (what an awesome problem to have!) we’d suggest just hanging the longer Vivan curtains 118″ from the floor since they’ll add a great amount of height and softness without needing to go all the way to the top of your 11″ walls. Hope it helps!

      Bethany- Hmm, your curtain conundrum is more of a doozie. Hemming them to fall just below the window might be the way to go since hemming them a foot from the floor might look a bit highwater-ish. Like a window whose pants shrunk. You could also skip curtains and go with a fabulous roman shade instead, so that’s another good option. Either way, happy hemming and hanging!


  3. says

    “hey let’s go to ikea!” is never met with anything but eye-rolls and heavy sighing. i have to dole out snacks like you would with a three-year-old to get through the trip with my fiance. however, that’s still way easier than trying to get a bookshelf through checkout and into the car all by myself.

    glad to know i’m not the only one with the problem!

  4. says

    Man, can I just say again how much I wish we had an ikea? I haven’t even set foot in a store!

    I’m with you on Wal-Mart and Target though…and what a gorgeous difference those make in your room!

  5. Sara says

    I am not convinced with the curtains in the last pic. I think it stole the attention to the fire place a bit. May be its just me :)

  6. Jenn says

    Wow you guys read my mind! We just moved to a new home with a triple 12′ wide sliding glass door. It makes for a wonderful view to the back yard however it’s in desperate need of a few curtain panels to soften the look. My question for you is where do I find a curtain rod that will extend 12′ or even a little more to accommodate hanging the panels to each side.

    I love the blog, stumbled upon it a few months ago and just can’t get enough!

    Thanks so much!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Wow! Talk about a flurry of questions!

      Jenn- We know that JC Penney sells curtain rods and extender pieces that can stretch those rods far beyond 12′ which should solve your problem on the double. Hope it helps!

      Katie- Hmm, for alternate bamboo shades I would try Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Cost Plus World Market. Those three places should have something extremely similar. Happy hunting…

      Kellie- Great idea for Bethany about pinning the curtains up! It’s definitely another option (and you know we love options). As for your curtain dilemma, assuming that your window doesn’t have mullions (those grids that will make it obvious if you cheat the curtains over a bit) we’d totally vote for keeping the finial and cheating the curtains over a bit. Once the panels are in place no one will be the wiser! We actually cheated the heck out of our living room window and even the bedroom window with long floor length curtains since they’re both not centered and it adds a lot more balance to each room.

      Barbara- We have heard that many baseboard heating systems are a-ok with fabric on them at all times (remember how people used to dry their wet socks on them without any worries of a fire?) so that’s yet another option for Bethany to explore- perhaps she’ll do just fine with floor length curtains after all.

      Cecily- We actually have no experience with UV blocking window film, but maybe googling it will show you some samples and you can evaluate whether it will look strange from the inside or the outside of your home (you don’t want one window that looks different from all the others from the curb). As for replacing those valances, we think anything from nice fabric roman shades to bamboo blinds would look lovely with or without curtains on either side. Hope it helps!

      Nicole- Those glass lamps in the living room (actually a light tan tone) are from the sadly departed Linens N Things, although hopefully you can find something similar by googling “glass based gourd lamp” or “seeded glass table lamp.” Good luck!

      Tamisha & Sara- That last shot isn’t a totally pulled back shot of the den- our apologies! The tall curtains actually balance a huge 5 foot wide, super tall doorway that’s just out of frame in the pic which leads the kitchen (it always made the room feel lopsided until we hung the curtains to take the heat off the big opening in that side of the room). Now the tall white verticals mimic the thick white doorway trim (which goes almost as high up the walls as the curtains do) so I apologize for the bad photos but I promise we’re balance freaks and the whole room feels a lot more “symmetrical” with the new curtains!

      Amy- We’ve always heard spectacular things about the curtains from JC Penney so maybe that’s a cost effective option? You also might want to try places like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond because they’re usually very comparable to the Pottery Barn offerings (and it’s not like the thread count matters since you won’t be sleeping in them or anything!). Hope it helps.

      Whew! You guys are very curious today…


  7. says

    ohmygaw…they look amazing! Love love love. I might have to use that Taco Bell technique to get Jeremy to drive to VA so I can spend a little QT with your new curtains – and you of course :) oh and I went Walmart hunting for bamboo shades…no such luck at my local stores…do you know where else we can hook up with such beauties? As always – you guys have a perfect post!

  8. Kellie Alkayam says

    Why not just pin the curtains up and out of the way in the winter and take them back down in the summer? Just a thought.

    Here’s MY issue (we all seem to have issues, don’t we?). I already bought some curtains at Cost Plus for my guest bedroom, but I haven’t bought curtain rods yet because I just realized they won’t fit right on one of my windows. It’s a small window at the very end of the wall, and the window casing is only about an inch from the corner, so the finial won’t fit. I can’t decide if I should just hang the rod as far over as I can and deal with it not being hung centered over the window, or if I should leave the finial off and push it up against the wall. Either way, I’m sure no one will notice but me, but what is the proper thing to do in this situation? Gosh, life is so complicated.

  9. says

    I am a huge fan of your blinds/curtain combo, and have started recommending it to anyone that will listen. It’s even made it into some of my design plans (which I’m giving away today on my blog!!)

  10. says


    You’ve totally sold me on how finished a room looks with blinds and drapes. I’ve refrained from hanging curtains in our farmhouse since we have too few windows and I didn’t want to block any natural light. Your “hang them high and wide” approach with the bamboo shade has solved my dilemma.

  11. Barbara says

    I have hot water baseboard heat and have had no problem with floor length curtains. I would spend some time checking how hot your heaters get before giving up entirely.

  12. says

    I was just going to email you about curtains! I need a curtain tutorial! I’m definitely going to be using this technique for my living room. Speaking of…I want the window open but I have a piano in there that I don’t want to get too faded. Do you guys have any opinions about window films that block UV light?

    I’m currently avoiding two curtain projects: my dining room and my family room.

    In my family room I’ve got 2 sets of 3 windows each, both in an L-shapes pattern, set close together. Two on one wall and one on the other, if you can picture it. Right now they have sort of heavy brocade-ish valances and wood blinds left by the previous owners. I’m down with the blinds, but the valances have to go. I have no idea what to replace them with though. We have a cathedral ceiling in there, so maybe faking the high shades wouldn’t be a bad idea to draw your eye up, but I’m not sure what curtains to use. Right now our daughter’s toy benches are under the windows, so I think long curtains are out.

    The dining room (currently being repainted) has a bump-out in the front with 3 windows, one wide one in the center and two narrower ones on the short angled walls on either side. I just have no idea what to do in there!

    Also, I’ve never been to ikea, since we don’t have one close by, but I hear it can be overwhelming. I’m almost afraid to go!

  13. Nicole Greene says

    You mention the LR in the beginning of the blog – where are the 2 (what looks like clear mauve glass) lamps from?
    Thanks (as always)

  14. Priscilla says

    lol @ the thought of highwater curtains.

    the hubby hates ikea and has refused to go to ikea with me ever since the first day we stepped foot into the store. he felt light-headed after an hour or so and thought that eating 4 hot dogs and 2 ice cream cones would make him feel better. unfortunately, it didnt work lol.

    and i myself have a love/hate relationship with ikea. anybody else?

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