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Short Drapery Rods

 A very chilly Hello to everyone out there.  I hope you are all staying inside and warm today.  I ran all of my errands yesterday, so the twins and I are inside all day today.  We are deep cleaning, re-arranging, and working on blog projects all day.  What a great way to keep our minds off the sub-zero temps outside!

I have been wanting to hang curtains in the living room for a few months, and now seems like a safe time.  The twins are walking on their own – no longer holding on to anything within reach as they stumble around.  But here’s the challenge: my budget.  Under no circumstance was I willing to spend more than $60 on this project.

It started about 2 months ago when I found drapery panels for $25 at HomeGoods.  $25 for TWO!  Sold!  They are short drapery panels, which is perfect since I didn’t want to weigh down my large living room window with a long drapery rod and heavy curtains.  Plus, with our heavy-duty shades, I have no need to ever “draw the blinds.”  I just wanted to hang decorative curtains.  No need to be functional.

I was off to a great start.  Then I started looking for short drapery rods.  Either I was shopping at the wrong stores, or these simply do not exist.  Seriously.  The only short drapery rods I could find were 1/2-inch in diameter.  This was not the look I was going for.  I wanted something at least 1 inch in diameter.

Off to Home Depot.  They have a selection of “build your own” drapery rods from Martha Stewart.  1-3/8 inch end caps were $3.97 for a set of two, and brackets were $7.97 for a set of two.  I was willing to pay a bit more for heavy-duty wooden brackets since I knew I would have two toddlers pulling on the curtains and testing the strength of the brackets.

short drapery rods

Then I started looking at drapery rods – thinking I could just cut one into two shorter pieces.  But one drapery rod was $20.  This would be a budget breaker.  Then I asked myself, “What’s the difference between a drapery rod and a wooden dowel?”  Not much.  So I bought a 1-1/4 inch wooden dowel for $4.10.  That’s 1/5 the price of a regular drapery rod!

use painted wooden dowel instead of a drapery rod

I took the wooden dowel to work and had one of the guys in the shop cut it into two 17-inch pieces and drill a hole in each end.  I spray painted the dowels white, and I had two DIY drapery rods for a fraction of the price.  I took everything home, screwed the end caps into my dowels, and hung my drapes.  Done.

Now for the most important part.  Did I stick to my $60 budget?  Here’s my budget breakdown:

Short Drapery Rods - Budget

$58.58!  That’s a number I like – I like it almost as much as I like my new curtains.  They really brighten up my gray living room.  And R likes them too!

toddler-approved short drapery rods

I plan on incorporating more “ice blue” in my neutral living room, and can’t wait to share more projects with you.

Short Drapery Rods


  1. Awesome idea with the curtain ‘rods’ – I want to do this in our bedroom…………..soon…………

  2. Okay that is a great idea – been thinking about adding curtains to soften some windows here. Thanks for the idea!

  3. You did great! They look awesome. I’ve been thinking about this idea for my house – I have all sorts of crazy window treatments that need to be “fixed”. Thank you for sharing. I’m pinning. Julia (CUTEST helper you have there!)

  4. I have been looking high and low for short curtain rods. NEVER crossed my mind to make them. Thanks for sharing your tip!

  5. Thank you for writing about this! I too, just bought cheap drapery panels at Home Goods and have been searching for short drapery rods. Now I can build my own! They look awesome….and you’re name’s not too shabby either 😉

  6. Thank you! I just started a search for “short curtain rods” and found your post. This just saved me a long search. 🙂 Clever solution.

  7. Question…….I had purchased some simply GORGEOUS short panels at Home Goods, in Scottsdale, Az for our new home in Prescott. I can not find anywhere, how wide I should place
    Them on the window. How much should the rod be placed on the outside of the window? Does that make sense?
    I have a handyman coming tomorrow to do some jobs and want him to hang them but my CPA hubby insists there should be a formula. LOL
    Much thanks,

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