You haven’t seen our bedroom in a while (except for small peeks on Instagram) because we owe you a certain curtain-related confession. But first, I get so many questions about our new bed – and why we upgraded from our old Ikea one – that I thought it was time to formally introduce you to this beauty that we got nearly a year ago. Yes, as in last November.
Why a new bed? Well, at first glance, our new bed isn’t wildly different from what was there before (which you last saw last May when we blogged about getting the new consignment store rug). Both headboards are a light wheat-colored linen, and they work well in the peaceful low-contrast bedroom we’ve been working towards lately. But the key difference is that this a legit bed – as in, headboard and side/footboards – all upholstered in the same fabric. Previously it was one of those metal frame situations plus a headboard we made ourselves.
And actually, at one point we did have that same headboard attached to a different bed entirely: the Ikea Edland canopy bed that we chopped the posts off of years ago (who remembers Ed the Bed?). But we swapped beds with our guest room at some point when we were over the floating-up-on-legs look for our bedroom (a regular bed frame + bedskirt gave us a more grounded and substantial look). We also found ourselves yearning for a proper boxspring situation for our mattress, which just sat directly on old Ed’s slats.
Our free took-twenty-minutes bed swap was definitely a step in the right direction, but we knew an upholstered bed would look more finished than the bedskirt + metal frame scenario. We actually don’t mind a bedskirt (2 of 3 beds in the beach house have them), but it always bugged me that it would never be the exact same white color as the duvet in here – and since it’s a much bigger room than the beach house bedrooms, you view it from a lot further away and notice that fact a lot more.
So long story long (have you met me?! no story is short), after five years of bed swapping and adding a skirt and reupholstering the headboard, we just went for it and ordered a fully upholstered bed. Not without twenty hours of research and hemming and hawing though (again, have you met me?!).
The best thing about buying a new bed for our bedroom was that it meant we could steal the headboard from our room and reunite it with Ed the Bed and bring them both to the empty beach house last fall, and put them in the middle bedroom. So essentially instead of buying a new bed for the beach house – we got to buy the bed we always wanted FOR OUR BEDROOM INSTEAD, and use ol’ faithful Ed + our homemade headboard at the beach house, where they totally fit the bill.
So even though he’s seen a few incarnations and lived in three different houses, Ed’s been with us for nearly 8 years (and the headboard has lived on for more than 6). Pretty soon they’ll be welcomed into the 10-year club! (If you haven’t read that post about the items in our home we’ve had for ten years and still love, it’s one of my favorites.)
But back to our new (*cough… year old… cough*) bed. This post is probably making her feel very unloved so far, since we haven’t even blogged about the upgrade, but that’s far from the truth.
I LOVE THIS BED SO MUCH I AM TEMPTED TO BUY IT AGAIN FOR THE BEACH HOUSE’S MAIN BEDROOM (and just use that headboard/frame combo in the duplex somewhere). It’s such a nice feeling to have an actual bed after a series of metal frames and headboards attached to the wall or the bed in various ways. It kind of feels like adulting, but not quite as annoying as cleaning the house or buying band-aids every week (am I the only household that goes through approximately 1,000 every three days?! Are the kids eating them?!).
Anyway, my bed BFF is called the Sanford Linen Upholstered Panel Bed and we got it from Wayfair last November. It comes in all of the standard sizes (twin up to california king) and in two colors (the “Talc” color is what we got – and there’s a “Kelly Green” that’s definitely more of a statement). At the moment it’s 30% off, putting a queen bed at $628, and one of the reasons I went for it is because a ton of clean-lined and classic upholstered beds that look like this this are in the $1,000-$2,000 range (like this one and this one), so I love that this is a great neutral color and a timeless shape that looks more expensive than it is.
It doesn’t look NEARLY as dark or gray as it does in the listing photos (which was a pleasant surprise for us – because it really does mean it would work anywhere). I’d call it a warm linen color, that’s just barely on the warmer side of the gray-beige line, but it could completely live in a room with gray or tan walls, which I love. Given our history of moving beds around, the more places a bed can work, the better. And it has a really nice linen-looking texture that makes it a bit more interesting in person than you can probably tell in the website photos:
We also liked that it has these small vertical panels flanking each side of the headboard. The “wings” give it an extra little detail and coziness that our flat DIYed headboard didn’t have (although you could definitely make this version yourself – just upholster the side pieces and attach them in the back with some sort of flat metal bracket).
This bed still requires a boxspring, which we like (feels more like a real adult bed that way, and it’s better for our mattress, we hear) and I’ll warn you that if your mattress isn’t as thick as ours (ours is 12″) there might be a small gap between the top of the mattress and bottom of the headboard… so you might want to add a mattress pad or just place your pillows along the back of the bed in a way that you can’t see that area (sleeping pillows + a few decorative ones could totally cover it).
I actually realized that there’s a reason for that space, which is: so you can change the sheets more easily. If the headboard squished up against the top of the mattress much tighter, you wouldn’t really be able to change the fitted sheets without a ton of effort – so I actually appreciate that detail.
Also a few people have asked “wait, are the black feet of your bed ugly?” and I didn’t even know what they meant and had to run upstairs and look at them in person, but I guess in the online photos where it’s cut out and placed on a white background they’re really clunky and obvious, but the bed’s feet are set in a bit from the upholstered frame, so they’re basically in the bed’s shadow if that makes sense. I literally never notice them or “register” that there are those little black feet in real life because the upholstered part is pulled forward, so that’s really all you see.
Ok, now that I’ve told you everything you could possibly wonder about our bed…. let’s turn our attention to curtains. BECAUSE CURTAINS ARE HARD. Our old curtains in here had been some wheat-colored cheapies I grabbed at HomeGoods years ago, but after we installed white curtains throughout the entire beach house, I developed what can only be described as an animalistic craving for white curtains in here again.
So much of the room had been beige-ish, that I just thought crisp white curtains would freshen things up and not make the whole space feel like we had a sepia filter on it. So I craigslisted the tan curtains, and on a trip to Ikea sometime last winter we loaded up on three sets of our favorite affordable white curtains (Ikea’s Lenda curtains) for the bedroom. But the reason you haven’t seen an “our bedroom got two updates!” post about this room is because is has taken me nearly a year to finish fixing the curtains (thereby completing this update) so they no longer look like this:
Yup, we lived with them like this for nearly 12 months, and I gotta say, I’m not even ashamed of it. Life is busy, (see: adulting) and curtains can be high maintenance, so they might just end up at the bottom of the list. And this sloppiness underscores the dilemma of Ikea curtains. We LOVE them for their nice heavy white fabric and their affordable price: just $25 for two 98″ tall curtains (which means they’re long enough to go from floor-to-ceiling in a standard eight foot room). And if you have extra tall rooms you can also get two of their 108″ length for $35.
And now for a curtain-related side rant: don’t buy too-short curtains at Target! I don’t even know why anyone makes 84″ curtains because it’s SO MEAN and they’re never tall enough to make a room look as good as it could with taller curtains!
Unlike Ikea’s cheaper Vivan curtains, the Lenda ones have a decent weight to them – in fact they look extremely similar to curtains sold by West Elm and Pottery Barn but they’re a heckova lot more budget-friendly. But let me tell you… Ikea’s photos of these curtains are so not-selling that when people ask where we get our white curtains and we link to them, 100% of people say “that’s the wrong link” – because they’re actually sold with big tabs on the top and they have these country-looking tiebacks, and they essentially look nothing like this:
They look like this:
This doesn’t look like the same set of curtains. But it is.
And these are the exact same Lenda curtain panels too. We’ve probably had them in our office for the longest amount of time (four years or so) and they look great. We got two sets for each side of that large window so they’d look extra full – and our entire curtain cost was $50.
But… if you’re someone who just wants curtains that you can throw up on a rod and have them look awesome, these aren’t them. Getting them to look presentable can take a significant amount of effort in our experience, but after it’s all said and done, they can look pretty darn decent. Plus they’re washable (which is a great thing in a house with kids and a dog – or a rental house like our beach houses) and they’re not so expensive that they’re precious – so you can relax and not freak out if kids twirl around in them or hides back there, which is a daily occurrence in our house.
So what are the things we do to turn these formerly-tab-topped curtains into what you see in the photo above? I thought you’d never ask. Here’s my process:
Step 1: Wash them on warm and dry them on high to pre-shrink them (they’ll shrink a ton – maybe 5″, but in a standard height room that’s just fine – and you NEED to preshrink curtains before you hang them. Otherwise if they get dirty later and you launder them, they’ll look like bad highwaters when you hang them back up. Note: I’ve even washed them on hot and it has been fine but I’ve heard from others that it can be too hot and they can get too tiny – so that’s my warning!
Step 2: Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off the tabs right above the sewed line where they’re attached along the top edge.
Step 3: Fold the top edge over once to hide where you cut the tabs, making sure the fold goes toward the back of the curtain (facing the window). Once it’s all clipped that fold looks just like a sewed top seam and has a nice finished look.
Step 4: Clip your rings on along the fold. We use 6 ring clips per panel: one on each end and then one on every other vertical seam, which you can see above. Your spacing my be different if you’re using different curtains, but ours are about 10″ apart.
Step 5: Slide two pre-washed & clipped panels onto your curtain rod, and hold it up to determine the best height to install it. Remember to go high and wide around your window, but not so high that the curtains don’t touch the floor, and not so wide that they look flat (volume from the curtains draping is really pretty). We typically go around 8″ beyond the window trim on the sides, and like to hang the rod a few inches below the ceiling, but use the length of your panels to determine the best height.
This was a far as I made it with these new curtains for basically a year, so if yours look something like the messy picture below – don’t worry. We’ve all been there. Well, at least I have. Many times. And I’ve lived to tell the tale. In fact it wasn’t until last week that we finally carried out the final two steps.
Step 6: Iron or steam your curtains. We steamed the curtains at the beach house while they hung in place – but we found that we got the best result with two people doing that (one to hold the curtain taut, the other to steam – this is our steamer, btw). So to get the smoothest result at home with just one person on curtain duty, we took them down and ironed them. I knocked out four of them before bed one night last week, and John did the other two the following evening (which explains why the hairy arm in this picture is his and not mine).
Step 7: Once the curtains are pre-shrunk and fully relaxed, it’s safe to hem them if you need to. Sometimes you get lucky and they shrink enough so that you can hang them high without needing any hemming – but a little is usually necessary for us. I like to use no-sew hem tape, but I tried a new cheater-way to hem these and it worked, so I’m sharing it. NO HEM TAPE OR SEWING REQUIRED!!!
I just unclipped them one clip at a time while standing on a chair and folded them over until I liked the way they hit the floor below (just the slightest little break – like they’re kissing the floor) and reclipped them to hold them that way. The fold of fabric is in the back of the curtain, facing the window, so you don’t see it from the front – it actually just looks like a nice thick top hem when the light shines through.
You can’t really tell that I took a short cut, and it means if they ever shrink in a future washing (or we decide we want more or less fabric touching the floor) we can just adjust them just by unclipping them and changing the fold. Genius? Probably not. Lazy? Most definitely!
Are they the most luxe high-end curtains out there? Nope. Do we think they look nice, hold up well, and add softness & height to a room? Yup. Did we do the entire bedroom for $75? Yup. And that’s less than the cost of one of these stock white 95″ curtain panels (and we got 6 panels!). Getting custom curtains can also be significantly more expensive – and it can make them feel extra precious. They’re also not usually washable which is a huge selling point for me when it comes to these.
Maybe someday we’ll feel fancy enough to splurge on custom curtains. Using them in some of our showhouse projects means we’ve experienced the difference firsthand (really, they look amazing and perfectly graze the floor and don’t even need to be steamed – they arrive totally ready to hang). So this isn’t an anti-custom curtain rant or anything – we just know lots of people who can’t swallow that custom curtain price tag right now, and might want something that feels easier to live with/wash for this season of life. So hopefully this elbow-grease-but-affordable method can help you get SOME sort of window treatments in your house. And you know I won’t judge you if it takes a year to get them finished.
Also, dogs don’t have to adult. I wanna be Burger.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time we’ve had white Lenda curtains in this room (but they got stolen for the office at one point). So here’s that story, and more curtain projects/tips from over the years:
- Using Iron-Tape To Hem Lenda Curtains
- How To Make No-Sew Curtains From Any Fabric
- 15 Minute Blackout Curtains for $15
- 18 Tips For Picking The Right Curtains
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