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How To Make Store Bought Curtains Look Better

by - Thursday, March 03, 2022

I've got an easy yet satisfying home decor tip to share today! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that made a switch recently. Chloe's bedroom and the guest bedroom have switched places. The guest bedroom gets much better light and Chloe decided making the move was worth it (even if it meant her bedroom was now next door to ours, ha!).

curtain pleater hook, 4 prong pinch pleat hook

We moved all the guest bedroom furniture out and her furniture in. It was easy to do as the rooms are almost the same size so all of the furniture fit. Chloe's closet and the guest bedroom closet were laid out almost exactly the same too so we just had to switch out drawers and adjust some of the shelving.

And now we get to the fun part - redecorating! The first change I've made is changing the curtains. Here's how the room looked with the navy blackout curtains:

guest bedroom with metal bed, white walls, and navy blackout curtains

Store Bought Curtain Panels

I liked these curtains but I wanted a softer feel for Chloe's new bedroom. I love the look of curtain panels with woven wood shades beneath. I found these pretty lilac hued linen-blend curtains at H&M that will give a breezy, light feel against Chloe's coastal furniture.

Using the existing drapery rings with clips, I hung the new curtain panels... and ended up with this ho-hum display:

lilac linen curtain panels

lilac linen curtain panels

These store bought curtains are pretty but the rings and clips do absolutely nothing to show off their style. There's a few problems I see here:
  • There aren't enough drapery rings. The spacing between rings is too wide, making the fabric droop in between
  • The rings are too big for the rod. There is too much space between the bottom of the curtain rod and the top of the curtain panel. I like a tighter fit.
  • The visible clip seems "casual" and doesn't suit the more traditional look of the linen curtain panel
Luckily, the curtains accommodate a few different hanging options: on a curtain rod with curtain loops, with drapery hooks, with four-prong drapery hooks, or in a modern wave style with clips.

Pinch Pleat Hooks and Curtain Tape

Since the curtain already had curtain pleater tape on the header, I decided to use 4 prong curtain pleat hooks. Using these hooks, you can easily give your curtains a pinch pleat look, without the sewing!
curtain pleater hook, 4 prong pinch pleat hook

If your curtains don't have curtain tape, or if you want to change your style from say curtain loops to pinch pleats, you can easily sew pinch pleat tape on your curtains yourself.

How To Use Curtain Pleat Hooks

Knowing how to use these hooks can be confusing and time consuming. It took me almost an hour to get the first curtain panel ready! Let me save you some time and trouble with these tips:
  • The pleater tape comes with channels. Each prong is inserted in a different channel. The more spaced out the channels you use, the more pronounced your pleats will be. If you want fuller and fatter pleats, space your channels out wider
  • The wider you space out your channels, and the more pleats you have, the more fabric you use. The pleats effectively 'bunch up' your fabric so you will need to be aware of how much curtain fabric you need to cover your window. 
  • Use toothpicks to help you space out your channels. The toothpick helps open up the channel, making it easier to insert the prong. Use the toothpicks to keep track of the placement of the pleats and space them across the full width of the curtain panel evenly.
  • Before inserting the hook, stretch out the prongs. This will make it easier to insert them and ensures that your curtain fabric doesn't get caught and squeezed in between
how to use curtain pleater hook, how to use pinch pleat hook

how to use curtain pleater hook, how to use pinch pleat hook

Once you have all your hooks inserted and evenly spaced out, push the fabric in between the prongs outward. This will create the "folds". Squeeze your prongs back together to help define the folds and make them sit straight.

My curtain had an overlapping header so you don't see the pleats clearly, but here's how they look. It definitely adds structure and dimension to the curtain.

how to use curtain pleater hook, how to use pinch pleat hook

And here's how the curtains look hanging up. Much better! I also switched the drapery rings with clips to drapery rings with an eyelet to accommodate the hooks. I also chose a smaller diameter ring so that the top of the curtain would sit closer to the rod.

how to use curtain pleater hook, how to use pinch pleat hook

how to use curtain pleater hook, how to use pinch pleat hook

I think the pinch pleat style suits these linen curtains really well. It adds structure without appearing too fussy.

The curtains aren't entirely finished. I still need to measure and hem them because they're too long. I also have to give the curtains a good iron, but luckily, Sean got me a handheld steamer (as I requested!) for Valentine's Day. It must be true love when you can give and receive practical household gadgets with affection.

What do you think? Do you like the pinch pleat look? I've ordered samples for the wood blinds so hopefully these windows will look more finished in the coming weeks.

curtain pinch pleat tape, four prong pleat hooks

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