Interiors Inspiration One Room Challenge

One Room Challenge Week 3: Curtains + Rugs

October 17, 2018

Large nightstand, modern mushroom lamp

[ nightstand | lamp ]

Welcome to week 3 of the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge! If you’re not familiar, every spring and fall, 20 featured designers selected by the ORC team participate in a 6-week challenge to decorate one room. The event is hosted by Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home and Better Homes and Gardens. In addition to the featured designers, hundreds of other folks with blogs (and Instagram this season!) join in on the challenge as Guest Participants <— that’s me.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is my second One Room Challenge (last season I made over our guest room). I am glad you’re here!

Week 3 is a weird week where some things have been ordered, others have not, many decisions have been made, yet others have not. I’m trying to think through each decision, to share with you what I learn along the way, and that’s just what this week’s update is: an exercise in overthinking in curtain and rug form.

I can’t remember just when it happened, but I’ve fallen in love with a certain kind of curtain. I was seeing these beautifully styled curtains, deeply compressed, tidy but just slightly untidy. And then I found myself scrolling through Pinterest, seeing those perfect curtains and holding my laptop mere inches from my face saying out loud “what is that pleat?!”

Euro Pleat Curtain Inspiration

Emily Henderson Living Room Euro Pleat Curtain Inspiration

[ source: Style by Emily Henderson ]

Amber Interiors Euro Pleat Curtains

[ source: Amber Interiors ]

Amber Interiors Living Room Euro Pleat Curtains

[ source: Amber Interiors ]

Tailored but lived-in. Modern but traditional. Just a dang dream.

That perfect pleat is called a Euro Pleat or Top Tack. And it is being underserved in the DIY internet. If you google DIY euro pleat you’re going to be bummed when you find a youtube video titled “how we create euro pleat drapes” and where you’ll just find a poorly edited, eternally long video of a woman pointing at euro pleats but never telling you how they’re made.

How to DIY a Euro Pleat

I know a lot of what I’m seeing are custom panels. I’ve splurged on the furniture in my room and don’t have room in my budget for custom curtains so I’m DIYing this. My plan is to double up on regular panels so I can get that rich volume and add that sweet euro pleat held up by curtain rings with clips. Magic. The best resource I found is a helpful PDF from Rowley Company on how to sew Euro Pleat Drapes. It has detailed info on how to create two and three finger euro pleats and helped me get a close visual on exactly how the pleats are … pleated. Plus, now I know exactly how much fabric should comprise my pleats (about 6 inches) and how much space there should be between pleats (about 4 inches.)

IKEA LENDA curtains light beige

For my curtains, I’m using curtain panels from IKEA – my favorite budget source for long curtains. I grabbed the LENDA panels in light beige (I pronounce LENDA in my head like someone yelling LIIIIIINNNHDDAH!) which are also a favorite of Young House Love who recently wrote about making cheap curtains look more polished. They are so affordable at $24.99 for a set of 2 but just need some help to look polished. They are improved ten-fold by removal of the top tabs and a proper hemming. Pleating will remove a lot of the width of the curtains so I’ll be doubling up – there will be 2 panels on each side of each window, sewn together to make one wide panel. And if that’s not enough, I’ll add more until the curtain rods fall out of the walls.

Let’s Talk About Rug(s)

The clock is ticking on a rug decision. My hangup has been choosing the right number of rugs in the right sizes. Do we go for one rug or two? And what size? Is it ok to have a rug that is narrower than the total footprint of the bed+nightstands?

I was pretty set on doing a 2 rug layout in my initial plan, but a very nice commenter said, hey, why not 1 big rug? And at first, I thought, “impossible!” I didn’t want to cover the original footprint of the fireplace and I didn’t think I’d be able to find a rug in the right giant size. But I’ve realized that the footprint doesn’t matter, it’s flush with the rest of the floor and finished the same, so if a rug overlaps it, who cares? And heck, big rugs exist. I think?

Long Large Bedroom Rug Layouts

I’ve been thinking this through in the best way I know how: messing with my SketchUp layouts. The big pink rectangles are rug placeholders.

Option 1 solves some my anxiety around having the nightstands grounded by a rug, but it is a tight fit. The 9′ x 12′ rug just hits the edges of ends of the nightstands. The 2 rugs in this plan help to create different zones (a sleeping zone and a dressing/staring into the fire alone zone) and lets me properly ground the big furniture elements, but seems choppy.

Option 2 means that the width of the rug doesn’t extend to match the edges of the nightstands AND means that they don’t stand on the rug at all. The dresser lands mostly on a rug but not entirely. Despite these drawbacks, I think it seems like the better solution. Finding the right 11′ x 14′ rug that costs less than a car is going to be its own challenge.

Which option do you prefer? Would the ungrounded nightstands drive you nuts? Would the 2 rug situation make you itchy?

Things that are done:

  • Nightstands are here
  • Bed is in transit
  • Curtains are here
  • Curtain rods + rings are here
  • Electric fireplace has arrived
  • Fireplace surround plans have been tidied up
  • DIY gallery grid frames and mats have been ordered

The still-to-do list:

  • Rug(s)!
  • Mattress
  • Bedding
  • Lamps
  • Hem + pleat curtains
  • Hang curtain rods
  • Photo prints for gallery grid
  • Tile decision + order
  • Begin work on fireplace surround (eek)
  • Other art?
  • New dresser
  • Selling/hoarding existing bedroom furniture
  • End of bed bench?

If you’d like to catch up on the previous weeks’ updates, check out:

Week 1: The Main Bedroom Plan

Week 2: The Fireplace Plan

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant


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  • Reply Jewel October 17, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    NICE WORK AGAIN! You are as awesome and FAST as always. Great work!

  • Reply Alisha October 17, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    I adore those curtains too! As far as the rug is concerned, I would totally kill myself tripping over the edges of two rugs! Plus I can’t deal with the rug ending right at the edge of the beautifully tiled fireplace- it just feels off to me. I would go with one big rug. I kind of like that it doesn’t go under the nightstands; it feels less like wall-to-wall carpet. I also really like the amount of floor space it gives you fairly evenly all around the room- visually it feels calmer to me, does that make sense?

  • Reply Laurie October 17, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    I like the one rug option, and it doesn’t bother me at all that the nightstands aren’t on the rug. My rug sits about as far away from my nightstands as you’ve drawn it. The two rug option seems more crowded. Good luck with the curtains!

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Nice! Good to know you’ve gone with a similar solution and it’s working!

  • Reply Jenn October 17, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I love the idea of 1 rug if you can find it!! Can’t wait to see what you end up with!

  • Reply tim@designmaze October 17, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    love that lamp (i clicked on the link immediately) and i also like option 2 as well for the rug … but 11 x 14 is an odd size. Fingers crossed for you. I want one around 7′ x 12′ as well … but think i will just have to go with what I can find in 2 weeks!

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      Thank you! I love the lamp too, it’s not right for the nightstands but I needed to try it!

      Finding an 11×14 is proving muuuuch tougher than I thought. Yikes.

  • Reply Melissa Lynch October 18, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Week 3 was a weird week for me too. So many decisions to make right now, and I’m having a hard time committing!

    I think I like rug option #1 the best because it gives you those zones. But I also like #2! So hard to decide.

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      We’re in the weird middle! Time seems much more real now than it did just a few weeks ago. This rug decision is a tough one! My ability to find an 11×14 rug might just be the deciding factor.

  • Reply Kerri October 18, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I also like the 11×14 option the best and prefer that it doesn’t go under the nightstands!

    Another thought – could you use FLOR tiles or something similar to make a custom-size rug ?

  • Reply Stacy | Blake Hill House October 18, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I vote for one rug too. I think it just looks tidier, and it will be easier to clean under the nightstands if they aren’t on the rug. I’m a pragmatist. :)

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      Ooo I always love the tidier option, I like your thinking here!

  • Reply Nicole October 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

    This is kind of going the opposite direction (no, not even kind of… flat out definitely *is* going the opposite direction), but what about a runner on either side of the bed and one larger, complementary rug (larger than your current mockup) for the other side of the room? I get twitchy when I feel like there’s not enough rug on the side of the bed; floating nightstands worsen the twitchiness. But maybe that’s just me and maybe I’m a weirdo.

    REALLY looking forward to seeing you take on the Euro pleats!

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Oh hiiii! Something about runners next to the beds makes me nervous. I don’t know if it’s a leftover emotion from when everyone had a single sheepskin at the side of their bed. Remember that? I know what you’re saying is much nicer. I love a rug that goes the whole way under a bed. But I totally get you on the floating nightstand biz. It’s tough decision. I’m really looking forward to struggling with my euro pleats :D :D

      • Reply Nicole October 19, 2018 at 11:48 am

        omigod, I *hate* that sheepskin by the bed thing. I also hate when there’s nothing by the bed… like the only rug is at the foot of the bed. What good does that do?!?!
        I do prefer the rug going the whole way under the bed, too, so I get it for sure. I kind of love Amber Tate’s suggestion of something different/unconventional near the fireplace. Speaking of which, I saw the coolest rug on eBay last night (because naturally, I was looking for 11×14 rugs for you, because that’s a totally normal thing to do for someone you don’t even know in real life… ); it looks like it was designed to specifically go around a hearth. Well, maybe not a hearth… but something.

  • Reply Stephen Pischl October 18, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I highly, HIGHLY recommend using pleater tape if you are making pleated curtains from scratch.

    I’ve used this method with cheap H&M panels to fantastic effect, although there are tons of other tutorials:

    I got the pleater tape and curtain pleat hooks very inexpensively from Amazon.

    Seriously, the amount of labor that method saves you is incredible.

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks! I used pleater tape and hooks to put a pinch pleat in velvet IKEA curtains in my guest bedroom. The tape is amazing! I’m just not sure I can do a euro pleat with the tape and hooks.

  • Reply Amber Tate October 18, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Would you consider only one rug for the sitting & dressing area only – one that goes under both dresser legs and maybe the lower bed legs but nothing else? And either bare floor or runners as Nicole suggests for the sides of the bed? And this is more outside the box, but I also think a round rug floating in the center of the sitting & dressing area, no bed or dresser legs touching, could be cool. I know floating rugs are typically a faux pas, but in your room I think the rule could be broken really beautifully. With the fireplace, armchair, and maybe throwing in a small drink table, I think it would be stunning, especially since it would be the first thing you see when you walk in. I think it would play up the drama and luxury of the bedroom fireplace.

    • Reply thesweetbeast October 18, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      Dang you created quite the moment! Now I want a drink table next to my fireplace-watching-chair. I don’t think I could do bare floors around the bed but maybe I can find an unconventional rug shape as a second rug option.. you’ve got my brain working on this!

  • Reply Jesseca October 18, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I am excited to see this space come together. I am leaning towards the one rug too, but they can be soooooo pricey. Go with you gutt and it will turnout amazing!

  • Reply Marti October 19, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I voted for the one huge rug option on IG, but I definitely see how that’s going to severely limit your options and/or blow your budget! Room & Board offers custom rug sizes, but their lead time is too long for you. Like Kerri says, FLOR is an option, but I tend to dislike the modular look of the tiles and their hard surrounding edge — but I bet the more expensive options are better. Another option might be a relatively inexpensive 11×14 natural fiber rug (e.g. sisal or jute) with a nice vintage rug layered over it in front of the fireplace. Good luck!

  • Reply Beth October 20, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I’m having the same love affair with euro pleats but also the same problem- I have such high windows that what I need would be way more pricey than I can spend! I love your idea for the curtains- pretty sure I’m going to steal it from you ;-) Also, I vote for the one big rug. That’s what I did in our master (nightstands not on the rug) and I think it’s good! Love your plans, can’t wait to see the end result!

  • Reply Karin October 21, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    I also like the single rug–simplicity can be calmer. It might be too expensive, but you can have a piece of carpet cut and bound to a custom size.

  • Reply Zandra October 22, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    If it were me, I’d go with the 1 rug solution. Love that you’re doing those pleated curtains!

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