burlap and cheesecloth

July 12, 2012


When we moved into our regular, suburban, tract home it was bare and standard. It’s not quite as character filled as an older home, but we are injecting it slowly and that works for us. We moved in and there were no window coverings and we lived like that for a few months, until we put up paper all over the place. Then we lived with paper for a long while, until we figured out how we wanted to cover our windows. Now, my first option would be to have the windows uncovered, but let’s face it, our neighbors are pretty much right up in our grill and it just wouldn’t work. Most people have the really nice, wood shutters, but 1) It wasn’t in the budget and 2) I am not entirely sold on it for us. I wanted something raw and natural and not quite so permanent until we figure what it is we really really want to have on our windows. For now, we decided on this… burlap and cheesecloth.

I just bought yards and yards of burlap from our local fabric shop and then ordered large rolls of the thickest weave of cheesecloth I could find online (like this). I cut the burlap to the exact measurements of the window and sewed a panel at the top to put the tension rod through. There is one long piece of twine hung over the burlap, hanging from both sides, and tied, and when I want to roll up the burlap I just roll it and slip it into the twine. Make sense?

There is also a simple rod on top of the windows and on there I just drape the cheesecloth over and cut it to the length I want. The edges are raw on both the burlap and cheesecloth, but I don’t mind it and actually really like it. We first did this 3 years ago and we still love it and just changed out all the cheesecloth again. Burlap does also come in other colors, so you have options there. We have this brown and ivory burlap hanging in the house. We still don’t have know what type of window covering we would love more than this, so this combination continues to stay up for now. I will say though, if you ever want to sleep in and need a dark room to do so, this won’t work for you. We do have rolls of black paper to tape up just for this purpose, but we only use it about twice a year.

The other windows in the house that don’t have burlap just have white linen curtains hanging. I am all about simple when it comes to covering windows. Please do share, what do you have? It might just spark an idea on other options for me. I get pretty scared of commitment when it comes to window coverings.

*another note about using burlap… it is full of little, loose fibers, so you will have to dust your window sill frequently. it doesn’t bother me and just vacuum it up from time to time.

24 comments on “burlap and cheesecloth”

  • Becky says:

    I have always loved the creativity and simplicity of your window coverings from the time I first seen them. I may just be copying them to some degree, but need to figure out a way to keep the sun out, because we enjoy sleeping in, haha!

    Hugs to you all!

  • Char says:

    I really love how you decorate your home and all your great DIY projects. Everything is just so vintage and interesting! I definitely want to incorporate vintage pieces once I move into my own apartment/home. 🙂

  • Harriet says:

    I’d love to see a photo of the outside of your house. We want to buy soon but I really don’t think new houses have the same character as older ones (I’m in England and would love a Victorian semi-detached house). But the inside of your house is so unique and really shows what you can do with the right amount of time and imagination! So if you can make a new house look that good then maybe I can too! H x

    • mycakies says:

      ooh! a victorian sounds sooo lovely!!! i am very grateful for my house and love it, but i would be lying if i didn’t lust after pretty old ones. for a really cute older home, in a safe area in southern california, it is just so expensive. it was more within our budget for a new house in a safe suburban area, so that’s what we went with. we loved the layout of the house which drew us in and saw the possibilities of how we could infuse some personality in. plus, we just wouldn’t have the know-how and money to deal with the issues an older home may have and it is easier for us to deal with maintenance and upkeep of a newer home. you can see parts of the front of our home in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mZqawVzKZus

  • Alice C. says:

    Wow, I lurrrrve those vintage pitchers used as planters. I will have to try that out when DH and I love into our “forever” house …

  • Victoria says:

    We just have the blinds that came with the house, plus our big daughters room as extras as its the only one I fully open the blinds too. But after this I might buy burlap to put in my room & living room so when summer comes I can enjoy more sunlight

  • Jes says:

    For my boyfriend’s house I convinced him to use twin sized sheets. They’re a bit heavy, but so much cheaper than normal curtains (especially if you shop wal-mart). You can find them in virtually any pattern or color, and they’re already hemmed! Win-win-win!

    I love the cheesecloth idea. I love sunlight, so this would be a perfect fit for me. 🙂

  • ira lee says:

    i love this look. i have been wanting to change the decor in my living room. currently i have white sheer curtains and i want to leave those and do a natural curtains that i can draw closed. i had visioned burlap or dropcloth. which would kinda give the opposite look of what you did. after licing in rent homes for so long i swore i would never have plain white/off white/tan walls ! but after living with bright bold colors all over the house for a few years now, im wanting a lighter and more natural feel.

  • mandie says:

    It’s different in each room- our bedroom has store-bought grey canvas panels for optimum sleeping in, our kitchen has panels I sewed using a fun fabric from spoonflower, and for our living room, I found a really pretty printed linen at an outlet store and just cut the fabric panels and hung with clips. I foresee much of that style in my future. 😉

  • Monica N says:

    I love this idea! When we were living in my parents back house {they have a fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment in their backyard!} the husband and I went on a search for the perfect drapery fabric. We ended up making our own drapes with 3 different fabrics, one for the bedroom, one in the living room and one in the kitchen. Though they are all very different they seemed to go well together. I found a great fabric that is used for Afrian Dashiki’s and because it was so heavy it blocked almost all the sunlight. She has had two other tenants living in the space since and they have loved them so much the drapes are still there! Nothing like making something your own : )

  • Becky T says:

    My husband and I live in a house built in 1951 in Northern California. We lived with paper blinds for a year and after a lot of thought we decided to go with some cordless honeycomb blinds. They come in different colors and we ordered them online so they weren’t too pricey and crazy easy to install. They retract from the bottom and top so we can choose to let in lots of light with more privacy. The light also streams through them, which is what I wanted. For my daughters room (18 months) we were going to get the same type with an extra black-out layer inserted (she has a street light right outside her window on the 2nd floor) but they were significantly more expensive so we opted for some vinyl roll-downs until we can make a permanent decision for her room. So far (6 months) we loooove them and my daughter even nows how to work them so she’s not yanking on traditional blinds just to look out the window.

  • sharyl says:

    my mom have these mesh blinds in her house that i really love. they look like regular blinds but made with super fine mesh material, so even if its closed, it still allows enough light in. I dunno what they’re called. for my house, we just have those standard plantation blinds. I’d love some kind of window treatment/curtians, but scared of the commitment too plus i have allergies, so I try to shy away from hanging stuff that collect dust (not unless i vacuum every other day, but who does that?! LOL!). I love that burlap and cheesecloth idea, I’m not sure how my husband would feel about them though. But your new floors…TO.DIE.FOR!!!

    • Rubyellen says:

      Burlap does have little loose fibers so it might not work well with your allergies. I love plantation shutters but am not completely sold for us. I wait until I have an aha! moment.

  • misha lulu says:

    sooo good LOVE!

  • Kira says:

    I really love it and I especially love that you didn’t hem them and it looks good. Perfect for my lazy self 🙂

  • Camille says:

    OOO! I love how the design came out. I’m glad that you’re staying true to natural lighting (it brightens my mood more than anything else does!). Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • kristin says:

    Omigosh these are SO light, airy, and gorgeous! We were lucky enough to have wood blinds throughout most of our house when we moved in, but I think I prefer your curtains!!

  • Katyha says:

    How about bamboo blinds? or woven wood shades? I think it would look amazing although I do love the look of the burlap too

  • Melanie says:

    I just found this through Pinteret. Absolute genius! We are restoring our 1860s townhouse and recently finished the family room. I also would love to leave the window bare, but we sometimes need a little privacy and light control. However, I don’t want to cover up the beautiful wood word we just spent all that time and effort restoring. The house has plenty of character and architectural interest, so my goal is to let that shine with something simple. I thought I had considered everything, but not Burlap! It’s genius! Sheer, natural, but with a modern decorators edge. And I love the sheer cheesecloth. It has interest, but doesn’t overwhelm. You’ve really inspired me! Thank you.

  • kelly says:

    wow, just found your blog and love it. This is a great idea for window coverings. Thanks!

  • Halima says:

    I love this! It makes me think of those “roll up” bamboo blinds I used to have. Simple and pretty. It gives such a relaxed, homely and beautiful feeling!

  • Nice combination curtains and blinds!

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