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Down The Decorating Rabbit Hole

September 03, 2020

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Sometimes the idea of replacing one decor item is a lot more complicated than it looks.

Cottage style kitchen table and chair with red checked curtain

It was a simple idea, really.

The red valances in my living room were almost 20 years old. And they looked it.

I loved the punch of color they provided in the room and their very simple profile.

However, after almost 80 seasons in the sun, they had begun to fade.

And it wasn't pretty.

The plan was to embellish the ivory valances I started making years ago. I had tons of basic trim and the sewing machine.

Ivory living room decor with red pillow on sofa

What I didn't have was all the valances. Somewhere along the way, I must've accidentally donated or tossed one of them.

And after an exhaustive search - that led to cleaning out many closets - I came up empty-handed.

So I decided to buy new drapes.

Easy enough. Right?

Well, not so fast.

First off, I had no idea what I wanted. Color? Style? Material? I was lost.

Second, I hadn't really been shopping and, as I shared with you not too long ago, looking online can be problematic.

But, I really wanted new curtains, so I hit the internet to gather ideas and place items in my cart.

Things started off ok. There's no shortage of inspiration online, that's for sure. There's also no shortage of retailers with pretty curtains.

Visualizing those items and those looks in your own home can be tricky, though. And it's certainly not my strong suit.

I'm a need to see it in the space kind of gal.

So I ordered a bunch of drapes and waited.

In the meantime, I also ordered a new rug. I just happened to come across it on my curtain hunt and thought it might look nice in my kitchen.

Beige rug under round kitchen table

Well, as fate would have it...or maybe it was UPS...everything showed up on the exact same day. Good and bad.

You see, the carpet was awesome. I feel in love immediately. The old pom pom valances coupled with it were not.

No big deal. I had a bunch of curtains and whatever didn't fit in the living room would surely go in the kitchen. I mean, come on, red is red.

My first attempt was a fabulous success. Dainty floral linen panels that were the ideal shade to complement the rug and the walls. Amazing.

Turns out, I was very good at this.

Burgundy Floral curtains in the kitchen

It's gets better though. The next panels from the Sure Fit slipcover company (who knew they had curtains!) were also gorgeous.

I was on a roll.

Floral curtains and valances in kitchen

Except, it was a dark and stormy day and were those "spice" colored blooms more red or brown? Hmmm.

On second thought, maybe they'd be better in the living room.

So up they went. And now they too were perfection. What a dreamy pairing.

The red was just right and I was so proud of myself that I'd chosen so well.

Done and done.

Cottage Style Living Room with floral curtains

And then the sun came up the next morning.

In the bright, light of a new day the living room panels were clearly brown. Very, very brown, not even a tiny bit red. And the red linen ones in the kitchen were suddenly a very deep burgundy.

And it outright clashed with the skirt on my pretty wing chair.

On top of that, the more I looked at the combo, the patterns in the kitchen rug and wrong colored red panels were too similar and kind of washed out.

No pop. Ugh. Clearly, I was only good at this game in the dark.

Back to the drawing board I went.

Different red curtain panels in the living room

I ordered a few more panels from a few more stores and tried and returned them all. Too red, too pale, too much pattern, too formal. Lots of disappointment and lots of boxes to bring back to UPS.

None of this was ideal.

Then I thought about doing plain ivory panels. You know, a very modern and clean look. Risky for this red devotee, but worth a shot.

I was able to get a few pairs at a local store for $10 each, which was awesome, because trying to find the "right" ivory online was impossible. I could peek at this in person. What a novelty.

So I masked up and entered a store for the first time since March.

For curtains!

I know. Craziness. Where exactly are my priorities?

Ivory Velvet Panels in the kitchen

I'd love to tell you that it was worth it, but sadly, it was not. In the kitchen, they were too formal and boring.

In the living room were they were just too boring. Oh, and did I mention they were clearance, couldn't be returned and they were velvet? Yeah...lots of not perfect going on there.

Ivory Velvet Panels In the living room

Who knows, maybe I'll try them again in winter or during the holidays in the living room. They might be very charming. Maybe.

At this point, I was just about done. I'd been down the rabbit hole of decorating and I was all out of luck and ideas.

I was ready to call it a day and put those old, faded, glass trimmed valances back up.


Until I noticed that the living room rug has burgundy in it. And that those original floral linen panels I had in the kitchen were just the right shade. They were also very cottage style and dainty.

Quite appropriate for that room.

Then I found a scrap of red and cream buffalo check fabric in my stash and clipped it on the kitchen rods and knew right away that's what needed to be on the windows come fall.

Fabulous. When it's right, you just know it.

Maybe now I can clean up the ironing board, scraps of paper and yard sticks that have been living in my office space for the last two weeks, while I've been playing with drapes and mocking up curtain patterns.

Looseleaf paper with curtain pattern drawings on desk with calculator and measuring tape

Of course, now, if I'm going to make them, I have to order fabric and you know that I'm not going to leave those burgundy living room panels alone.

They need some trim to make them interesting.

Add some personality.

But how....

And with what...

Oh boy.

Here we go again.


Have you ever fallen down the decorating rabbit hole?

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  1. LOL! truth of it is... I'm kinda worn smack out! LOLOL.
    but it's always fun when you get on a roll. good luck! xoxo

  2. Hey, I have two rocking chairs in my rabbit wanna' share???
    Lol, red is the chameleon think it's right, but 15 minutes later it is just "not right".
    Hugs to you and blessings! J

    1. Glad to hear I'm not alone, J!! And you're right, red is a chameleon! Perfect word. I hope I got it right this time! Hugs to you, too and have fun with those rocking chairs!!

  3. As a fellow red devotee, I can only say YES!

    1. Thanks so much!! I really tried to love the ivory ones, but I need that color!!

  4. The red buffalo check will be perfect in the kitchen! Can’t wait to see how you dress up the living room curtains, but they are really great the way they are!

    1. Thanks Deanna!! I have to tell you that I’ve been looking for a place to use that fabric for years. I think this is perfect, too!

  5. Oh boy that is the curtain rabbit hole for sure. I also have this problem a lot, I just try to stick to solid colors and in the wintertime when all the Christmas decor comes out, I have these off white cotton curtains that do the job. They are double sets so they look full but otherwise stay in the background.

    1. I think I may whip those velvet numbers back out at Christmas time, Mary. They'll be a great backdrop, you're right!!

  6. Oh, it's so hard to pick colors online, Kim. I simply can not do it! You're right, the ivory panels are boring, but I love all the florals.....decisions, decisions.....

    1. It wasn’t easy, Ann! I was really trying to stay out of the stores and thought buying would be the easier option. Silly me!!

  7. Wow! Well I have not been down the curtain rabbit hole anyway. I usually buy samples fabrics, pick the one I like and sew my own...

    1. I'm with you, Penny, I haven't bought curtains in years!! I have always made my own. With Covid it's been difficult to get into stores, most have just recently reopened and some have such limited hours. We also have immune issues here, so I thought buying this time would be the easy way out. Who knew! Plus I have to say, buying was just as expensive, it not more, than making...I was kind of surprised by that!

  8. Kim I love the buffalo check and they can go year around for you. Classic and beautiful. I love it with your pretty chair at your table. With your sewing talents I know you will make something happen for the living room too. Happy Friday. Have a good weekend.

    1. Thanks Kris! I haven’t bought curtains in years. I usually make my own, but with Covid, I haven’t been able to get to the fabric stores and many of them just aren’t open. There were tons of pre-made pretties out there, but I’m happy with the way it all turned out.

  9. Kim, I love them all. Such pretty patterns and colors. The buffalo check in the kitchen is the best though. With your pretty chair, perfection! Being the talent that you are, could you stencil onto the white ones? Velvet seems like would be so lovely at winter time. Your rooms are my favorite. They are bright, sunny, clean and neat, while all being so warm at the same time..Stay well..xxoJudy

    1. Thanks so much, Judy! I agree, that buffalo print is my favorite. Very dramatic. Every time I try to shake that red, it just doesn't sit well. I going running right back to it. And it seems to get redder each time!! Haha!! I hope you have a lovely weekend! Enjoy and stay safe! xxoo

  10. Curtains are hard to buy or make, I have a few . I love those checks for you dining room and I'm sure you will figure something out to enhance the others in your living room. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

    1. Thanks Marlene! I love the checks, too. I think I'm going to be happy with them. And I think I've already found something fun for the living room. Now I just have to dig out that machine!

  11. I have gone down way too many decorating rabbit holes, but not curtain ones because there's too many allergies in the house, so we only have one tiny valence in the laundry room. I love the rug! Great find. Your cottage home is so cute, and I think you need to hold out for the perfect curtains with a little red pattern! ;P

    1. Oh, I hear you with the allergies! Mine are terrible, which is why I also usually opt for cotton and making my own. I can wash them easily and make valances, too. This time I decided to get fancy. Nope. Half those curtains had to go back, because they made me sneeze…linen was not a good choice!

  12. I’m impressed that you were able to climb out again! I get too discouraged. You have such energy to put those drapes up and the move them around and take them down again. Want to come to my house and do the same? Just kidding. I do need new curtains, but after reading your story, I’m a bit intimidated by the process.

    1. Sally, thank you so much, but you give me too much credit!! I have a house full of people trapped here and therefore tons of free labor!! I'm not sure I would've had the energy to swap them all out by myself!! I've come to the conclusion that making them is so much easier!

  13. Oh my! I'm exhausted! But I know the feeling. These things snowball and it's so hard to find just the right things!

    1. Totally snowballed, Mari. This was not the plan at all!

  14. Kim,
    Wow! what a tale!! This is exactly why I do not order online much...I like to see what I am buying in person and I do feel it is actually cheaper than buying online...At this point, I can not wait to see what you come up with...I do agree with others that the white ones may look nice during the Holidays... Thanks so much for sharing your story...It did make me chuckle because I think all of us have gone through something similar....Have a great Labor Day weekend!!

    1. Oh Debbie, what a pain!! I usually make my own curtains, but I decided to try “the easy way out” this time! Ha! If only…

  15. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your success, always come out on top! I don't really have that problem with decorating. I'm one of those that gets a vivid picture (like a photo) in my head and know exactly what is right when I see it. Kind of weird, I know! Have a nice and safe holiday weekend! Carol

    1. Thanks Carol! I wish we lived closer. I would just run over to your house and ask for your expert sewing advice. And maybe have you whip me up a few pillow covers while I was there! 😉 And you have a decorating gift. I wish I could visualize's magic for sure! Be well!

  16. Buffalo Check all the way my friend. Oh, I just love your cottage. I like the brightness and cozy of it. I love that you have a lot of windows. You have a lovely home Kim, I am glad you share it with us and all the stories of decorating too.

    I do have to say I like the ivory for the holidays, a classy look.

    1. That seems to be the consensus, Carla! Funny, I could feel it in my gut as soon as I hung this checks up. I hope I get my fabric soon. Thanks for all the sweet words, too. ❤️

  17. Oh, I know what you mean! I hate it when I have to make those types of decisions. It's where my hubby and I always have a difference of opinion too.

    1. I totally get it, Florence. My husband often says whatever you think. That's not helpful either.