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Best Window Coverings for Renters

Renters, like homeowners, desire warm and inviting spaces and well-decorated rooms. Unlike those who own their homes, renters often have limited options when decorating. One fantastic way to spruce up an apartment or rental home is to install or replace the window treatments. Window treatments can range from a simple set of mini blinds to customized curtains and draperies. Most window treatments are easy to install and can be purchased inexpensively, making them ideal for both short and long-term tenants.

Before purchasing window treatments, renters should keep a few things in mind. First, it is important to check with the landlord or property manager to ensure the window treatment they choose will be appropriate for the building, especially when drilling holes in the wall or choosing dark or brightly colored pieces. Some landlords and even neighborhood associations may have rules or preferences about how street-facing windows look.


For new renters, students, or anyone on a budget, high priced custom treatments may be out of the question. Fortunately, there are many great affordable options out there. For tenants looking for optimum light control and privacy, Vinyl blinds are ideal. Mini blinds are relatively inexpensive, available in a wide variety of styles, and easy to install, replace, and clean. For those with a higher budget who want similar light and privacy control, faux wood blinds are a great alternative and complement most furnishings and accessories. Many chain stores offer a wide variety of ready-made drapery panels and sheers at affordable prices, along with attractive complementary curtain rods. To avoid sinking money into window treatments that might be left behind, keep the old, existing shades in storage. When preparing to move, switch back to the treatments that the landlord originally provided.

Ease of Installation and Removal

Another matter that renters should think about is how easy the desired treatment is to install and remove, especially for those with little home improvement skills or experience. Mini blinds, faux wood blinds, and cellular shades are often very simple to install, come with instructions, and include all necessary hardware. All that's needed is a screwdriver and some patience. Curtain rods can be easy to install as well, and a lightweight rod for sheer or thin curtains won't take much more effort that installing blinds or shades. However, heavy curtains will require stronger rods that will need to be secured soundly to walls and windows. Heavier curtains and rods will also require larger holes in the walls for bolts or large screws. Tenants should be sure they have the ability to repair the holes and repaint if needed. Leaving holes in walls can result in losing a security deposit and possibly paying for additional repairs. Check to see if there are existing holes from previous curtain rods or window treatments. This can minimize damage and even help find the correct spot to hang new treatments.

Layering for Maximum Style

The best way to get both great style with control of light and privacy is to layer window treatments. If the rental already has shades or blinds, try using solid or patterned sheer panels and a lightweight decorative curtain rod. The blinds serve to control light, temperature, and privacy, while the panels warm up the room and filter light by creating an airy atmosphere. Using a double curtain rod, layer sheer curtains for light filtering and privacy under opaque curtains with tiebacks. If more light blocking is necessary, the opaque curtains can easily be pulled shut. Selecting tiebacks that have color and flair also makes for a fun room accent. Contrasting textures and patterns of curtains can be mixed and matched to create visual interest and depth in the room. Try sheers with a pattern mixed with velvets or satins to obtain an eclectic, eye-catching ensemble. For an inexpensive way to add privacy in kitchens and bathrooms, use window clings. Window clings are thin, semi-opaque vinyl sheets that can be cut to fit any window size, making light blocking or filtering simple. In a bathroom, use clings to maximize privacy and a valance for decoration. In a kitchen, pair clings with café curtains for a homey, retro look. Adding window treatments might seem daunting at first, but it's a surefire way to add warmth and depth to a rental apartment or home. As some renters aren't allowed to paint, curtains and other window treatments are a great way to add color and texture that isn't permanent, while personalizing the surroundings.