If you have curtains or draperies in your home that feel a little drab or generic, don't despair. With a bit of creativity and items easily found around your home or in local stores, you can make tiebacks and swags to lend your window treatments a personal and artistic touch.

Nautical Design

Nautical decor never goes out of style, whether you live seaside, or smack dab in the middle of the country. Start with simple blue and white striped or bleached linen curtains, which are the perfect blank slate on which to add your creative inspiration.

To tie the curtains back when you want to let the sunlight stream in, try one of these ocean-themed methods:

  • rope or braided rope secured with a cleat on the wall
  • seashells, starfish, and sand dollars strung on raffia
  • iridescent pearls of different colors strung on ribbon

To adorn your curtain rods, and draw the eye upwards, (which makes your room look bigger,) hang fishnet from one end to the other or use more seashells on raffia to match your tiebacks. Long silk scarves in nautical prints (lighthouses, lobsters, scallop shells, etc.) work too.

Kids' Decor

Kids' rooms are a great place to experiment with window treatments, and they will love having your personal imprint in their decor. You can even ask your kids to participate in making their rooms special.

For younger children, big wooden beads in bright colors strung on shoelaces make easy drapery tiebacks, as do ropes of Mardi Gras beads or pre-drilled wooden alphabet blocks. Little girls who like princess paraphernalia will love glittery crystals threaded on satin ribbon or "jeweled" tiaras mounted on the wall to hold back curtains. A swag of diaphanous sari fabric in pink or lavender across the top will make the room look like it's right out of a fairy tale palace.

If you have an older child in private school, curtains pulled back with school neckties show sophisticated spirit. (You can even use this idea in your study or den with neckties from your alma mater.) Teens who are into horses might like a western or equestrian-themed room; try using leather belts, horseshoes, or bandanas to restrain their curtains, and create swags from burlap feed bags or ribbons won at horse shows.

Ideas for the Dining Room

Dining rooms feel warmer and more inviting with curtains, and they can add drama to a more staid eating space. To make your dining room window treatments memorable, use antique sterling silver cutlery bent in a U-shape to hold back drapes, or try vintage lace napkins or handkerchiefs. For a hunting lodge feel, you could use antlers mounted on the wall for the same purpose.

Nature motifs are always a good choice in dining rooms. To make one-of-a-kind swags for your curtain rods, use eucalyptus branches, grapevines, or other dried climbing plants from your garden or local flower shop.

You can alter your tiebacks and swags with the seasons or change them up whenever you want a new mood for a room. Your only limit in creating unique window treatment accessories is your own imagination.

For more information on window treatments, check out companies such as Interiors By Diane DeCero And Ann Art Faux Finishes