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In Search Of: Solid White Drapes

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This is the story of my search for white drapes for my new house that I thought would be easy, but ended up taking weeks. I was trying to find solid white drapes that had the styling I wanted (opaque, but breezy) and function (sun control) I needed… and of course all on a budget. I found that this was a tall order.

Stack back of drapes on a window

When we moved into our house in December there were custom made pinch-pleat drapes on every window and all the sliding glass doors.

What does drapery stack back mean?

All were extremely nice and hung on HUGE decorative rods with HUGE wooden rings.  I took them down as soon as we moved into the house for two reasons:

1. The fabrics were not in my decorating color scheme.

2. Even when they were opened, the stack-back of the drapes covered way too much of the glass on the doors since the end of the rods stopped at the end of the doors.

What I needed and wanted to fit my decorating style were white drapes with a breezier feel at each door and when opened the stack-back would not cover the glass at all. I also didn’t want drapes with grommets or formal pleats. I wanted them to hang on small white metal rings that would not add to the size of the stack-back.

Buying white 84″ length drapery panels to hang on a 36″ wide window for under $50 is a piece of cake.

Finding white 95″ length drapery panels so I can hang the rods close to the ceiling like I did in my previous house is not so easy, especially when you don’t want to spend $500 + per window. I found many beautiful panels that I loved but were way out of my budget.

How to make white drapes or curtains for a sliding glass door

I have 7 regular sized windows in my new-to-me lake house. Aside from these windows, there are 7 sliding glass doors.  One in my studioffice…

Sliding glass door window treatment options


What type of curtains do you use for sliding glass doors

…family room

Curtain ideas for sliding glass doors

….master bedroom.

All are 9 feet wide.  A lot of fabric will be needed when summer rolls around to cover them from the hot sun. I don’ like to cover up any window, but when the thermometer soars, being able to simply pull drapes across the glass while the sun is directly hitting them as it passes in the afternoon will keep the house much cooler.

Sliding glass door window covering ideas

The other 3 sliding glass doors in the house are upstairs in the bedrooms.

How to hang room darkening drapes and curtains

They already had nice white rods, drapes and sun blocking liners.

I love the sliding glass doors since they offer stellar lake views from every room in the house, but they have given me a run for my money in how I am going to get them covered since I have found after searching that manufacturers just don’t make what I envision. So what is a DIY’er to do?   Redesign purchased panels to fit my wants and needs is what I had to do.

I knew that I could make drapery panels from scratch using fabric, tablecloths, sheets, etc. to keep the cost down, but I wanted the panels to drape nicely and be full, yet keep the rooms feeling fresh and breezy.  I know my sewing skills are lacking when it comes to production line type sewing since I would have to make 8 very wide and large drapery panels. No-Sew was not an option since no-sew glues will break down faster when in the hot southern sun. I want my efforts to last for a long time.

What is the difference between a curtain and a drape

Although many people think curtains and drapes are the same thing, since they both cover windows, there is a difference by definition and use, even though most of us use the words interchangeably.

  • Curtains usually are a lighter fabric, thin or sheer. They are not lined and won’t block out light. They should not be used for privacy, since you can see through them.
  • Drapes are made of heavier fabric and typically are lined. They are used for blocking out the light, cold and heat, as well as for privacy. They are more formal in appearance.

What I needed for each sliding glass door:

  • 4 – 54″wide x 95″ long white drapery panels, not sheer and if possible, thermal lined.
  • 144″ long white rod, brackets, finials, and rings

I needed 4 panels for fullness. I plan to sew two together to make one panel so the drapes would look full across the window when closed. I didn’t want it to look like I had sheets hanging.  I needed the extra long rod, so the stack-back of the panels would hang away from the glass when they were not in use. I wanted easy and breezy, but having a thermal lining would be smart to keep the heat down in the summer months since the house is in the south and faces southwest.

White Drapes I Considered:

IKEA Ritva Curtains in white
IKEA Ritva

I started my search by ordering the IKEA Ritva panels $24.99 a panel that are popular with decorating bloggers. They are very nice curtains with all sorts of hanging options built right into the back tabs. I don’t live near an IKEA anymore so I could check them out in person. I ordered one to see what it looked like.  It was not white enough, the fabric was the color of a drop cloth, but was beautifully made and that would drape nicely. It had everything going for it, but sadly I sent it back because of the color.

I then headed to Walmart and Target where I did find 84″ length white panels, but not 95″ long. I came home and started searching online for the perfect 95″ long solid white drapery panels.

Every online home store has white drapery and curtain panels, but most were too sheer, too expensive, not white enough or long enough.

In my search I also found that white, 144″ long curtain rods are pretty much non-existent. I thought about making them using PVC pipe like I did in the guest bedroom in my previous house, but it seems that narrow diameter PVC pipe has red lettering all over it now. Why did they have to do that?  I could have had super long rods for $4.00 each!

Walmart Decopolitan 1 inch drapery rod set

Decopolitan 1 Inch Urn Drapery Rod Set – Walmart.com

I did find two white curtain rods that would be long enough. One at Walmart.com and the other at Bed Bath and Beyond.com. I first ordered the ones above from Walmart, they were well made and quite affordable, but I was disappointed when I opened the box. They were not true white, more of a taupe-white.  I returned them.

After weeks of more purchases and returns, these are the white drapery panels, rods, and rings I liked the best:

Target Threshold Natural Core Solid white drapes and curtain panels

Target: Threshold $29.99 per panel. They are truly white and fall nicely from the rod. They are an impressive weight fabric for the price.

Thin thermal lined white drapes

All Modern: Rhapsody Voile Thermal Lined from All Modern  $34.99 a panel. These are super thin, drape beautifully,  have a thermal lining, and have practically no stack-back.

Nantucket white curtain rod and finials

Bed, Bath, and Beyond: Nantucket White Rod, Brackets, and Rings:  The finials that came with these rods were not quite what I wanted, but with a pair of scissors it was easy to cut the jute off.  I made a few more changes to them to fit my style. I will show you how in my next post.

How to make window treatments for a sliding glass door

I am using the All Modern thermal lined panels alone in my bedroom so the stack-back is small and will only cover the sidelights when they are open. I am using them as liners on the other 3 sliders that require more sun/heat protection.  I am spending more than I wanted, but am quite happy with what I found.

I have only one panel finished so far to fit my needs, but will have the slider in my studioffice done and will show you the completed drapes along with how I fashioned new finials for the rods next week.

I searched high and low to find affordable 95" long sold white drapery panels. If you want long white panels you can't miss this post. | In My Own Style

  1. IKEA Ritva Panels $24.99 | 2. Target Threshold Natural Core Solid White Curtains $29.99 | 3. All Modern Rhapsody Voile Thermal Lined  | 4. Crate and Barrel Lindstrom  $59.95 | 5. Crate and Barrel Wallace  $89.95 | 6. Prospect + Vine Jasper Faux Silk Lined Panels $59.95

Other 95″ long drapes and curtains that I considered:

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  1. Such an informative post Diane! You are smart to realize the summer sun will be no friend to your A\C bills. I’m anxious to see your next post. Vikki in VA.

  2. Thank you for writing about your budget constraints, and how this adds to the difficulty of finding exactly what you want. Some of your ideas may still be too pricey for some, but you addressed the creative process and perseverance needed to decorate with a limited budget.

    It is frustrating to know exactly what you want and not be able to find it!

    I love your ideas and how you carry them out. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the nice not Margaret. I love finding alternate ways of doing things to stay on a small budget, but I think what drives me the most is that I am a designer at heart. I envision things in my head and then get frustrated when I can’t find them. The only way to get them is to make them myself. I have to credit my many years of working in retail display that taught me that anything can be created even on a small budget with some creativity and elbow grease.

  3. Diane, Are you going to hang drapery panels to close off Ed’s office from your sleeping area? With the beautiful view It’s a wonderful spot for him to work , but does it intrude on the calm of your bedroom? I’m looking forward to the progress in your new home…..and wish I had a fraction of your ambition to get projects done!

    1. Hi Sally – I am not going to close off the work area since it does not effect the calm of the room. He is neat and doesn’t have a lot of clutter on the desk. I may paint the desk though, a dark blue color so it blends in with the room more. I also want to paint the brick white which will make the area that was once a porch look more integral with the rest of the room. I wish I didn’t even have to add the drapes but without them in the summer the room will feel like an oven.

      1. I only wish my husband office area was as neat as yours! As always, I’m looking forward to your next post.

  4. For such multiple large windows, the PVC pipe can be spray painted nicely for less $$. With your same problem at my home, I used really inexpensive sheets from IKEA at $5.00 each…..really cheap ( I would not even consider these for bedding due to being so sheer). Mine only needed to be hemmed for appropriate length. Love them…..lots of light in the guest room, but, still private from the outside.

    I love watching your progress on the new to you home. Best wishes. Can’t wait for the next post!

    1. Hi Debra – Thanks for sharing about using $5.00 IKEA sheets to make your curtains. I know others will benefit from hearing how you tacked decorating on a budget. I used to live very close to an IKEA, but the closet one to me now is a few hours away. I am already missing it.

      I thought about spraying the PVC pipe, I had bought two to do just that. But even with a plastic primer on it first and then gloss, I think the metal rings and weight of the drapes going back and forth over it daily would mark the paint eventually. If I hung the drapes without the rings and a rod pocket instead, the softness of the fabric would not mark the paint and I think I would have gone with it. In my previous house I used a larger diameter PVC pipe than I wanted to use in this house. It only had a few places with writing on it that came off with nail polish remover so I didn’t have to paint it since it was already white. I was hoping to find a type like that again, but the Lowes and Home Depot I went to didn’t carry it anymore. :-(

  5. Your new lake house is going to be so gorgeous with all your remodeling. If you or anyone wants beautiful 96 in sheers, go to Walmart online. I will have to look them up, but I am thinking they were about $6 a panel, maybe less

      1. I do not know how to hyperlink on here and using a small tablet can not even copy and paste. So here is the info on those sheers I bought online from Walmart. http://www.Walmart.com/IP/37686084
        They are the Mainstays Marjorie, size 59 w by 95 long. I got 6 in pure white, teal and black. Unfotunately the white is sold out, but you can ask to be emailed when back.

        Do not buy the Mainstays Down Alternative Comforter, it is garbage. I just returned that thing.

        1. Hi Sheryll – You added the link just fine. :-) Thanks for taking the time to find it. I know other readers will benefit. Thanks for the tip on the Mainstay comforter. Good to know. I bought a Better Homes and Garden fleece and velveteen comforter from Walmart for one of my daughters last year. It was so soft and comfy and very well made. I went in search of more and was lucky to grab one more before they were all gone. You just never know the quality of something until you hold it in your hands or wash it.