Category Archives: Rental Remedies

How To Add a Privacy Liner to Bamboo Blinds & an FAQ

Love the look of bamboo Roman shades, but hate that they’re see through?  Here’s how to add a privacy liner to bamboo blinds so you can get the look for less!

Back in 2010, I took budget bamboo blinds and made them both private and insulated, and I did it on the cheap. I never knew that it would become such a popular post! Since then, it’s become one of my most visited posts and I decided that I would update it with more info I’ve picked up over the years.

DIY Privacy Liner Bamboo Blinds

In my apartment living room I replaced my white plastic blinds with bamboo roman shades. I saved a ton of dough by opting for the unlined blinds in my living room and dining room-turned-office. . . but they allowed both strangers’ eyes and cold drafts straight through the windows.  So, in one afternoon I DIY’ed them into insulated, privacy bamboo shades.   Here’s the scoop

DIY Privacy Lined Bamboo Blinds Cheap and Easy

How to line and insulate bamboo Roman blinds:

1.  Purchase white insulating lining fabric from a sewing store.

2.  Spread out the shade, fully extended, on your work surface.

3.  You’ll see that pull cords run down the back of it, going through little rings.  Untie the pull cords from the bottom, and remove from each ring. Leave them attached at the very top, where all the fancy hardware is.

4.  Figure how much of the back of the shade you need to line.  (For example, I didn’t need to extend the lining to the very bottom, because the shade is doubled up at the bottom.

5.  Cut a piece of liner fabric to fit the shade.

6.  Grab a glue gun to adhere the fabric to the back of the shade with hot glue.

**Notes: I found that three thin vertical rows of glue worked best.  The blue arrows and numbers in the image below show how I applied the glue in three rows.   The red circles show where the rows of cord loops are.   Be sure not to apply glue too close to where the cord loops are.

DIY Privacy Lined Bamboo Blinds How To

7.  Once the liner is glued to the shade, carefully use sharp scissors to cut a very small notch in the fabric where each metal loop is.  Pull the ring through the notch.

DIY Privacy Lined Bamboo Blinds Cheap and Easy

8.  Run the cords back through the metal rings, and tie at the bottom as they were before.

9. Hang your shade, and enjoy your newfound privacy.

Tips and tricks:

  • If you have a single shade that is wider than 54″ you will need to line it in sections.  For example, if your shade is 60″ wide, you’ll want to line it with two 30″ sections just to keep things nice and even.
  • Use a coupon at the fabric store to find the fabric for less than $7 a yard.
  • If insulation, and not just privacy, is your goal – be sure to buy “insulating” liner fabric, not just privacy liner fabric.

DIY Privacy Lined Bamboo Blinds Cheap and Easy

Frequently Asked Questions

“Did you do anything to the edges of the fabric to keep it from fraying?” 

I used an insulated drapery liner fabric, and it didn’t try to fray.  Over time it still didn’t fray.  Perhaps the insulated fabric has a coating or polyester component that prevents fraying.

“I’m … wondering if the glue will still adhere when we have really hot days – when the sun is beating down on it all day. I’m just worried it’ll melt and get all gooey and gross!” 

My windows didn’t get a lot of sun, but if you’re worried about that, I would test  your window by putting some hot glue on a piece of cardboard and letting it sit in the window for a few days. You should be safe, though.  Reader Jim added, “I don’t think the hot melt glue will decompose if the sun shines on it even on a really hot day. According to Wikipedia, the standard hot melt glue gun melts the glue at somewhere between 248 °F and 374 °F.

Can I buy pre-cut fabric for the blinds?  

There are pre-made, and pre-cut privacy liners specifically for adding to existing blinds, but they cost more than if you DIY.   Check out the Designview Fabric privacy liner or Radiance Privacy Liner.

Still not sure you should try it? Here’s some feedback I’ve gotten:

“Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I recently moved into a beautiful place that came with bamboo blinds, and I wanted to keep them but had to do something about the privacy issue. They’re very narrow, so replacing them wasn’t really an option, either; at least not an option I could comfortably afford after an expensive move. I was ready to tear my hair out when I found this. It took me a few hours to add lining to the eight blinds along my front windows, but the results are exactly what I hoped for, and the total cost was less than $25. You are my hero!!”

“OMG, Jane, your instructions were flawless. What a money saver. And the finished product looks so good. I can’t thank you enough for posting this step by step how to. Truly, thank you”

how to add a privacy liner to bamboo blinds so you can get the look for less

Creating a Home Office in the Living Room

Living Room Home Office secretary desk closedWhen you live in an apartment, space comes at a premium and you don’t always have an entire room to dedicate to your home office. But whether you use your office to work from home full-time or just to pay your bills, having a dedicated workspace is a necessary part of keeping your small space organized.

I had the luxury of a dedicated home office in our small rental home but recently gave it up to create the baby’s nursery.  As an alternative, I tried creating an organized office space in an unused corner of our living room that didn’t sacrifice the style of this space we use for entertaining.

Living Room Office secretary desk in useI set up my vintage secretary desk against some unused wall space between my living room and dining area.

A secretary desk is one of the best pieces of furniture for creating a low-profile office in a common area of your home. These desks usually have drawers on the bottom, shelves on top and a fold-out desk top that can be closed up to conceal your computer and other electronics at the end of the day.

Living Room Office desk comparisonThe upper shelves are perfect for storing office clutter, but style also matters when the workspace is trying to blend with an area that might be used for entertaining, like the living room. I kept things stylish with the following storage tricks:

  • A decorative white file box holds folders for my paper clutter, such as bills to pay, papers to scan or file, and coupons.
  • A shoebox and lid, wrapped in solid and patterned wrapping paper, contains notes and cards received.
  • Binders are a great organization tool, but they aren’t exactly decorative, so our household binders also got wrapped in wrapping paper.
  • A cubby holds blank notecards, while another holds a stamp dispenser and a pretty tea box for dumping loose change.
  • The addition of a few decorative objects amongst the “useful” storage on the shelf finishes off a polished look that complements the living room.

Using a desk with drawers offers the added bonus of extra storage space. While the top drawer of my desk stores office supplies, the lower drawers hold kitchen and dining linens that don’t fit in kitchen cabinets.

Living Room Office double duty drawer storageIf you don’t have a secretary desk, there are many other options for creating a workspace that blends with your apartment’s style.

In a modern space, the simple Parsons table provides a sleek workspace, and a laptop can be tucked in the middle drawer when not in use. In a more traditional living room, an antique or vintage wooden desk with big drawers could do the trick. The addition of a few small wall shelves above the desk provides more decorative storage space.

A few tips on making an office space blend in your living room:

  • A simple desk can double as a table when placed behind, or next to, your sofa.
  • When storing office items in plain sight, get creative with decorative containers.
  • If your desk lacks storage, a decorative ottoman with hidden storage and a removable lid could double as file storage and a coffee table or extra seat for guests.
  • Instead of adding clutter with a desk chair, find a seat that does double duty, such as a comfortable dining chair that can be moved back and forth between the desk and the table.
  • Keep cord clutter contained with cord wraps or clips. A tangle of cords cascading down the back of a desk and onto the floor will quickly make a space look less put-together.
  • Charge your electronics out of sight. A desk drawer can provide concealed charging storage; just drill a hole in the back of the drawer to pass the charge cords through.
  • In very small living rooms, consider letting your computer monitor do double-duty as your TV.

No matter how small your apartment, the key to sneaking an office space into your living room décor is to stay organized and keep clutter to a minimum. An organized space is always a happier space!

Living Room Office chair at secretary desk

An Easy, Temporary Dog Bathing Solution for Renters

If you’re a renter and a dog owner, chances are you struggle to bathe your dogs easily in your apartment. In the summer you may have access to an outdoor space with a hose, but in the winter there’s not much you can do, short of putting your pup in the shower and climbing in with them. At least that’s what I used to do, in all of the homes I’ve rented with my dogs over the years. And let’s face it – showering with your dog is awkward for both parties involved!

Easy Pet Bath title

So, do you want a temporary, rental-friendly solution that’s not only affordable, but easy to install yourself – without compromising your security deposit? Here’s how I converted my shower so it can do double-duty as a pet bathing station.

I found an inexpensive shower conversion kit at my local big-box hardware store. I was initially going to bite the bullet and replace my landlord’s shower head with a fancy (and expensive) handheld shower head system, but a closer look at all the options found that there are inexpensive handheld shower conversion kits that work with your existing shower fixture.

Any handheld shower head will work well for bathing your pups, but some are simpler and more affordable than others. I chose the . . . continue reading at

7 DIY Rug Options for Renters Or the Noncommittal

When you’re decorating a room, rugs are a fantastic way to make a huge impact on a space – the bigger, the better.  However, the prices of large rugs can intimidate a renter who’s decorating a temporary space, or a homeowner who is on a tight budget.

Now that I’m trying to finally decorate our basement TV room, I’m on the hunt for an inexpensive, large rug.  I’m happy to invest in a beautiful piece of furniture, but since we are renting, now is not the time to splurge on a fancy, over-sized rug.  That led me to search for DIY and budget options – and I was thrilled by the many results I found.

7 DIY Rug Options for Renters

1.  Painted Cloth Rugs – This option seems to be a popular one with DIY bloggers.  You find an inexpensive, plain rug, then either tape off a pattern or use a stencil when you paint it.  I haven’t found much info on how well a painted rug holds up to foot traffic, but it sure looks like a fun project that could yield great results if done well.

This painted rug by Sarah M Dorsey Designs is my absolute favorite:

Sarah of Diddle Dumpling painted her white Ikea rug using a DIY stencil. It looks fantastic!

2.  Painted Jute or Sisal Rugs – Jute Rugs are another great candidate for the paint treatment.  Below, Marian of Mustard Seed Interiors gave a simple jute rug a classy upgrade with a simple white border.

3.  Sharpie Sketched Rug – This is a newer twist on the painted rug concept.   Katie of Upcycled Treasures created a great West Elm knockoff for only $25 by using a sharpie to create the rug’s pattern.

4. Fabric Scrap Floorcloth – This funky rug is essentially a small quilt!  The blogger at Craftapple turned it into into a sturdy rug with a few simple supplies.  Skeptical? I was too, until I read how she did it.

5. DIY Fabric Yardage Rug – Camila of Effortless Style sewed a chevron rug out of fabric and rug backing.  I think this is a great option for renters who are stuck with dingy wall-to-wall carpet in living rooms or bedrooms.  A simple DIY rug like this would pull the room together if placed under or a bed or coffee table, and you don’t have to worry about heavy wear since it would sit over carpeting.

6. Remnant Cutout Rug – Finally, you could get an inexpensive remnant from a wall-to-wall carpet store and have it bound.  But why do that when you could cut out a fun shape instead, like they did at Offbeat Home?  A simple wavy edge could kick things up a notch.

7.  Overdyed Vintage Rug – I’ve saved my favorite DIY rug option for last.  To transform an old, unfashionable rug, you dye it a rich jewel or dark tone.  The former pattern peeks through, but the wash of bold color helps overcome the outdated pattern.  Be sure to use a natural fiber rug (cotton or wool)  to ensure it drinks up the dye evenly.

This rug at Paperblog is my inspiration – and you’ll never believe what it looked like in the “before” image!

I also love how this one by Kristen F Davis Designs turned out:

For our basement solution, I’m leaning towards that last option – overdying a vintage rug.  Now it’s time to hit the thrift store in search of an old, unloved rug!  In the mean time, you can find more rug and floor covering ideas on my Rugs & Floors Pinterest Board.