We decided to go with the two-layer look, a more sheer layer for privacy and then a more light-occluding layer if Mandy ever has to night shifts again. One reason I love Ikea is that sometimes they really do have some very beautiful and elegant designs (e.g. the entire Leksvik line). The Renate Ljuv line has this wonderful sheer/lacy pattern with dahlias (Mandy's favorite) that we thought was quite elegant. Not too fancy or obvious, just a nice subtle design that would be a nice light filter. For the over layer, we chose a darker earth-tone Medium Brown of the Ritva line which should go well with our floors. I'm really hoping that when we put it all together it doesn't look atrocious! But that's the theme of our family isn't it?
Buying the curtains and rods was one thing, but putting them up was an entirely different beast. Looking online, there is a lot of advice on how high one should hang the curtains. Hanging the curtain rod higher than the window makes the window and room appear larger. In terms of the curtain lengths, one can either opt to hem them at or just minimally above the floor for a clean look, or allow several inches extra to let them pile on the floor and look more "luxurious". We couldn't hang the rods too high as the ceiling is only about 12-15 inches above the sliding doors at that point, but high enough that they are out of the way. Once we decided how high to place the rods, I had to figure out how (Ikea's instructions as always are open to interpretation and do not include wall-mounting hardware). It was a bit harder to find instructions for doing this, but an Irish DIY website had a nice tutorial. But really, half of the fun of this video is this lady's brogue, "furst tings furst"! I probably could have figured out how to do it on my own, but it's nice to have instructions just to keep from making a silly mistake that you know you would have and to have all your equipment ready.
My biggest problem in terms of bracket placement was in the living room. Our sliding glass door is nearly abutting the wall on the left side (see pic above) which makes for basically no room on the left. I ended up only using two brackets on this door (although they recommend three for widths greater than 55 inches) as otherwise it would have just looked funny. The other problem I ran into while putting up the rods was the inconsistencies with our walls. On the right, our stud finder didn't find any stud despite the fact that it was directly above the door frame (usually there is a stud along each side). However, I did a test drill and although the bit initially went through drywall into space, about half an inch further in was a stud or some other piece of wood! I found the same anomaly in one of the spaces in the bedroom as well (even more interesting was the drywall tape I found there meaning a previous repair had been done at some point). I don't know if we'll ever know what work was previously done on this house. But that's what makes it fun...right? The bedroom curtain rod was much easier to install since there's plenty of space there to work.
Mandy's part in this was to help hem the curtains. The heavy cotton curtains we'll be taking up to her mother's so we can use her sewing machine to hem (an upcoming post), but the light curtains come with a "iron-on" hem strip that is basically a mesh of cellulose(?) that sticks together after ironing. Half an hour later, after measuring and hemming beautifully, Mandy had our sheer curtains ready for hanging! I have to say, I don't think we did too badly at all. We did leave them slightly long, but they will shrink about 4% when we wash them. So what do you think? I'd say not too shabby for a total cost of less than $175 (including the heavier curtains we'll be putting up later)!