In good January fashion, we’re right in the middle of a cold snap here in the Midwest. Anyone else experiencing some subzero weather right about now?! Brr…
Ways we try to save money while staying warm
Since our house is heated with liquid gold (aka oil) and we’re not millionaires, we’ve had to take certain measures to keep warm while keeping costs down. For starters, I should admit that we do keep the house cool… like quite cool. As in friends-and-family-bring-sweaters-and-slippers-when-they-come-to-visit cool. (Although I must say, we’ve been cranking the heat up a bit more this winter thanks to having a newborn combined with lower oil prices!) But we’ve gotten used to wearing extra layers, wearing slippers and/or socks (love my first ever pair of smart wool socks that I got for Christmas!), and snuggling under blankets while hanging out on the couch. Other ways we save while staying warm: We bought a space heater (that warms the whole room). We use flannel sheets and a heated mattress pad (best purchase ever!). We switched out the old thermostat in the house for a programmable one. And then there’s the stairwell curtain…
We live in a cape cod with an unfinished second level/attic, which is great for storage. Thankfully, there’s a door at the top of the stairs which helps with climate control, but there’s still the issue of the stairwell… a gaping chasm of square footage that has no business being heated. It’s just a channel for cold air to com down and our precious warm air to go up.
So, let’s just hang a curtain, we think. Oh, just hang a curtain, eh? Think it’s that easy? It would be if it weren’t for the tall ceiling and partial open railing! Taking those factors into consideration, I came up with this L-shaped curtain that just uses 3 yards of fabric and 3 tension rods.
If you have a funky stairwell situation and want to keep your house warmer (or cooler in the summer!), this tutorial is for you:
DIY Stairwell Curtain
You’ll need 3 yards of fabric (or more or less, I suppose, depending oh how far up your railing goes! Mine goes up 5 steps.), 3 tension rods, and a sewing machine.
For the fabric, I chose a neutral-colored, heavy-ish weighted fabric. (I debated going with a fun, bold print, but decided I didn’t want to draw attention to that space, so I went neutral.) I wasn’t sure how heavy the fabric would need to be. Did it have to be extra thick or even quilted to make a difference? The thing was, I wanted something that would be easy to work with and not too much of a project. The material I went with is like a heavy khaki – it was easy to sew and I know it’s thick enough to make a difference because when I open it to go to the attic I feel a cool draft come down the stairs!
You’ll want to make sure your fabric is at least as wide as your stairwell, plus seam allowance. (Extra width is good because it allows for it to gather.) My fabric was 56″ wide.
1. Hem the Sides – Turn the long sides of the fabric under 1/4″ and then hem 3/4″ to create finished seams.
2. Top Casing – Turn the top of the fabric under 1/2″, the fold down 4″. Sew seam. Then sew a seam in the middle (2″ from the top) to form the casing. The tension rod will slide into the lower opening.
3. Middle Casing – Measure the distance for the top portion of the curtain, between where you’ll hang the first two rods. My second casing is 3 feet from the first. Fold the material over 2″, right sides together. Sew the seam to form the casing.
4. Bottom Casing – Fold the fabric under 1/2″ and then hem the bottom of the curtain to your desired length. This gives a finished edge as well as forms the final casing!
5. Slide the rods into each of the three casings. Hang your curtain up (I find it easiest to hang the middle rod first), and enjoy your temperature controlled living space!