Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's curtains for me!

Inside and outside temperatures in August.
Left: behind heavy curtains. Right: without curtains

I've been wanting thick, insulated curtains for my bedroom ever since I moved into my apartment. The bedroom has big sliding doors that open onto the garden, which is a lovely feature in an apartment. But sliding doors are also big glass areas, and poorly insulated. Even the best new windows perform poorly.

The problems is that I live on a single writer/editor income and prefabricated insulated curtains cost a lot. I contemplated making my own, but there is a limit to how many projects a person can actually get done.

Credit for the solution goes to my parents. Always resourceful, they came across a store selling used hotel fittings while looking for window coverings for their own house. They recently moved into a place backing onto a highway and found thick hotel curtains a good solution to highway noise.

So, instead of buying new curtains, I'm re-using some from a hotel. Now that they're up, I can easily feel the temperature difference. The window side is very cold, the inside nice and warm.

The difference?
Right now, at 9:30 in the morning on Feb. 25, 2011, the thermometer in my bedroom is reading 17.3 C. (I like a cool house.) The thermometer placed between the new curtains and the window is reading 5.5 C.

The curtains cost about $30 and are long and wide enough for a sliding patio door. New ones would have cost at least $90. Were I to make my own, they could insulate better but the materials alone would cost more than my used drapes.

They are not fashionable. They're beige with a floral print. To be fair, none of the inexpensive insulating drapes are particularly fashionable.

What I did to get around this is hang the heavy drapes flush to the wall, then hang my nicer-looking red drape a little higher and further out. Were I ambitious, I could probably remove the decorative fabric from the insulating drapes and sew the thermal layer onto my red drapes. But for now, I'm just enjoying the warmth. And in summer I'll appreciate how much heat they keep out... not to mention sunlight when it's streaming in just a little too early in the morning.

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