Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

May 1, 2014

Hide a Washer and Dryer with Easy DIY Gathered Laundry Room Curtains on a Track

Aqua Polka Dot Curtains

Last time you saw the laundry room it was a thoroughly scrubbed, and freshly painted, blank canvas.  I'd love to swap out our clunky washer and dryer for something new and sleek - and build custom storage, plus install a statement-making tile wall while I'm at it - but for now the mission is concealment.  I use a wall-mounted dry rack to dry our laundry and I don't relish the idea of airing the laundry (dirty or not) to every guest who needs to use the adjacent powder room.  I was really happy with our laundry room curtains in the townhouse, so I decided to improve on the idea for the lakehouse and rooked my Mom into helping me sew pretty curtains to hide my washer, dryer and laundry room sink.

Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover

The first change I made to the laundry room curtain idea: a curtain track instead of a curtain rod.  I picked this curtain track from Country Curtains (with extra track rod slides) because I thought it had a nice style and finish and looked the least industrial.  I believe that this Levelor Track System (found on Amazon) is the same one. 

I've thought about adding a mini-pelmet, but in the end I liked how the track looked on its own.

Curtain Track Review
Curtain Track Detail

How to Hack a Curtain Track so it Lies Flat:

(One issue I had was that the curtain track arrived bent from shipping, but the customer service at Country Curtains was fabulous.  They were apologetic and helpful, and immediately remedied the situation, which was hassle-free on my end).

The track actually comes with brackets so it can be ceiling or wall mounted (first and second pictures below), but I didn't like the look of them - plus they made the track angle away from the ceiling slightly.  I decided that drilling right through the track would look better.  It was really easy to do and doesn't interfere with the function at all. 

We used a hammer to tap in a nail to mark where we wanted to drill (to keep the bit from wandering), and then simply drilled through using a bit slightly larger than our screw.  We affixed it to the ceiling using the screws that came with the track, plus our own wall anchors.  We opted for four screws: two at the ends and two spaced out evenly in the middle.  Thanks to our little hack, it's a much cleaner look (see our adjustment in the photo on the right) and functions perfectly. 

How to Hack a Curtain Track so it Lies Flat

I never liked the gap between the ceiling and the curtains that the Ikea rod in the old laundry room had, and this curtain track has solved that problem for me!

Turn Old Bedding into Curtains

The track is adjustable from 66" to 120", which means we got a perfect wall-to-wall fit.  The track is totally worth the $45.50 I forked over!  It slides so smoothly and easily.  If I'm carrying a load of laundry, I can just nudge the curtain with my shoulder and it slides (no glides) out of the way.  But even though the track functions so smoothly, because I chose a heavier weight fabric, it doesn't wiggle around or flutter when people walk past or we open a window. 

How to Hide a Washer and Dryer

How to Sew Gathered Curtains:

While the track is fabulous, what also makes these curtains better than the original is that my Mom and I sewed gathers into them so when I close them, I don't need to fuss to make them look good.  I just shut them so the panels overlap slightly and the gathers do all of the work for me, making sure the curtains billow and drape just so. 

How to Make a Hem with Twill Tape:

To sew the top, my Mom used twill tape.  We decided on twill tape instead of folding over the edge twice because we wanted it to look finished, but be less bulky, for the next step.

How to sew a hem with twill tape

How to Sew a Gathered Curtain Panel:

We determined how many gathers we could have by first measuring the total width of curtain panel, plus the width of the space each panel needed to cover.  Then we figured out how many folds we could have given not only the distance we wanted between folds, but also the width of curtain lost in the folds. 

For the laundry room, the space is 8" long and per panel we have 16 gathers but 18 clips (for the two ends).  We couldn't have really added more, but we could have opted for fewer.  Once we did our math (and double and triple checked), we marked the fabric and then Mom sewed the gathers:

How to sew gathers into drapes

Then we just affixed the clips!  We double checked the length we wanted and pinned the curtain in place.

Gathered curtains on curtain track

How to Add an Invisible Hem to Curtains:

For the bottom hem, Mom turned the edge over once and sewed it by machine.  Then, for a more polished look, she turned up the edge again and hand sewed it in place so that from the front there is no visible stitching.  The fabric is thick, so she could easily hide the stitches on the back.  I wanted a pretty substantial hem so that there is more weight to the curtain and also so that in case it shrinks in the wash, we have plenty of extra to let the hem down.  

How to hem curtains with an invisible hem

It's like it was hemmed with invisible thread!  My Mom is so talented.

Aqua drapes with invisible hem

Lucky for us, the side edges had this really neat fringe that we decided to keep.  That decision really made this project go more quickly.

Aqua drapery fabric
Aqua polka dot upholstery and drapery fabric
Gathered curtain sewing tutorial

I found the fabric at Fabricland and it's really substantial.  As a bonus, it's reversible!  It's made by Rosedale Coordinates and the colour is "Lakeside colour story" - which is pretty appropriate.  It also comes in an orange polka dot and a pink, if I remember correctly.  I couldn't find it sold online, but this polka dot fabric is kind of similar.  I've included a photo of the tag below, so if you show your local fabric store, they might be able to track it down for you.

Rosedale Coordinates Lakeside Color Story Fabric

It's supposedly not machine-washable, but that seemed horribly impractical so I tossed it in the washer and dryer before we got started.  I had purchased a little bit extra, which was a good call because it shrank quite a few inches and became a little more textured (and wrinkly, despite a good ironing), but I'd say it washed pretty well overall.  I think it will relax a bit more.  I needed 6 meters for the curtains, but there was a 50% off sale.

Obviously I liked this fabric for the turquoise (!), but it was the cream polka dots that really sealed the deal.  I think the cream - as opposed to white - looks great with the beige and cream flooring that the kitchen, laundry, and powder room all have (which we aren't changing until we renovate this space in a few years).

How to decorate around beige vinyl floors
My white socks are there not only to show off how clean my socks are, but also how beige the floor is.
The turquoise is actually really similar to the turquoise kitchen cupboards (a little more subdued), but because the laundry room gets so little light, the fabric looks even more muted in there.  It's perfect!

Hide a washer and dryer with drapes
Budget-friendly laundry room makeover

Before Szuka joined us, I would have told you that dogs don't really care about decorating, but this gal is weirdly interested in anything different.  She has been visibly excited, and disappointed, by certain aesthetic changes we have made so far, so it worries me that she has been contemplating the laundry room from the hallway. 

UPDATE: see the rest of the budget-friendly laundry room makeover here.

Curious Komondor
How to hide a washer and dryer with DIY drapes on a track
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13 comments

  1. I love how your house is turning out, I especially love your turquoise kitchen. It is fabulous!

    One trick to hide the curtain track is to pinch the fabric 3-4 inches down from the top, depending on how far up you need to cover. With a stiff fabric like yours and with the tape, it might even stay up without a double fold and cover the track, or use a curtain tape that makes pleats automagically to make the fabric stiffer.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! Those are both great ideas. We did try to pinch it lower but the fabric flooped over a bit and looked awkward near the ceiling (needs an even stiffer fabric, I think). Curtain tape is such a neat invention but I looked at tutorials using it and it seemed like it makes more gathered pleats. Are there different kinds? It's something to consider if I end up not liking to look, but I'm really pleased with the simplicity of the gathers my Mom made (and it was a really fast process, too). The track doesn't even bother me, but Hubby and I did talk about adding a piece of wood painted white in front of it - just creating a little L-bracket style pelmet and screwing it into the ceiling. It would take only a few minutes to make. I'm normally a smooth, super simple curtain gal, so this is new terrain for me!

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    2. The tape idea is clever, and the result is beautiful. Yes, there are different kinds of curtain tape. The one I was thinking about was used by Benita at Chez Larsson (http://www.chezlarsson.com/myblog/2011/10/curtain-hideaway.html). She used tall hooks, so that the pleats didn't cover the track and went the other way, but you could just as easily pinch the pleats with clips following the premade tunnels.

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    3. Thanks for the link! Hers looks really nice - much less frilly than others I've seen. I just don't love the way the fabric drags across the track at the top, and I still prefer the look of the gathers we sewed in to actually pleats - but that's totally a personal preference. If I grow tired of the track, I think a small pelmet that covers all, not some of it, will be the best fit for me. It's designed to be used as-is, track showing, and so far it doesn't bother me at all. But I appreciate the link to a different option, it's always nice to have options!

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  2. Love the curtain and the fabric. I also love the mat that Szuka is on. Where did you get it?

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    1. Thanks! The mat is from homesense. It's by home dynamic, I believe. I instagrammed a photo of it last week with a picture of the tag, which could help you track it down. I'm danslelakehouse over there :)

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  3. Wow, niccccce, what a transformation! Amazing what fresh white paint and good taste can do! I am such a sucker for turquoise too, good choice. I love pinch pleats.

    You have such an adorable dog :)

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    1. Awww, thanks! I spend a lot of time reading blogs and trolling Pinterest and I never stop being amazing at how different a space can look with just paint.

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  4. Sort of off the wall, but where did you get the rug the dog is laying on? Exactly what I'm looking for! Thanks

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    1. It's from HomeSense (Canadian Home Goods). I tried to find more online to buy back-ups but couldn't find anything.

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  5. Everything is simply breathing. WOW!

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