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8 Easy Ways to Dress Up an Ugly Window

How to update a mediocre view and design around an unattractive window frame.

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Istock/David Herrmann

Hang curtains high and wide

Just because a window is tiny doesn’t mean it can’t be the focal point of a room. Create an illusion of width by using a curtain rod that extends three to six inches beyond the window frame on each side (this will also allow more sunlight to stream in when the curtains are drawn). Similarly, add height by mounting the rod four to six inches above the window frame, or halfway between the frame and the ceiling molding, advises Real Simple. To avoid an oversized look, hem the curtains properly. The fabric should either skim the windowsill or floor, or be cropped to about two inches above. These are the style secrets of people with impeccable homes.

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Istock/twinsterphoto

Hang more than two curtain panels

When it comes to concealing an unsightly window frame, the more curtain panels you hang the better. Aim for three or four. That way, you can push one panel to each side of the curtain rod in order to cover the window frame, and use the inner panel or panels to cover the window itself. Here are the decorating mistakes that make your home look messy.

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Istock/IS

Create a shelf or crown-molding display

Add visual interest to a lackluster window by installing a shelf or crown molding display underneath its frame. Secure the feature using decorative wooden brackets or floating-shelf brackets, and use the panel to display fun accessories or plants. These are tricks interior decorators wouldn’t tell you for free.

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Istock/john shepherd

Try a frosted or patterned window film

Adhesive window films can block a mediocre view while still allowing natural light to flow in. Most hardware stores offer affordable options that mimic frosted glass or that feature unique patterns. To install the films, simply cut them to the shape of each window panel and press them on. For a frosted-glass center with a clear-glass border, cut the film about an inch smaller than the panel (on all sides) and adhere the sheet to the center of the panel.

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Istock/Rebecca Grabill

Make your own stained glass

Create an inexpensive stained glass display with Gallery Gloss, a product that allows you to paint directly onto glass. Visit Create For Less for full instructions. The result will be a stunning focal point that can conceal a poor view. Try it in a window that gets a generous amount of natural light.

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Istock/byryo

Cover an air conditioning unit like this

Not sure how conceal an industrial-looking window unit? Cafe curtains are a great option. Simply use a tension rod to mount the curtains to the bottom half of your window. Allow air to circulate by opening the curtains when the unit is turned on. This is how to stay cool without AC.

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Istock/yanich

Hang a distraction

There’s no better place for an herb garden than right inside the kitchen window. Use a tension rod to hang or hook potted plants (see Shelterness for details). The plants will love the sunshine and you’ll be able to enjoy a lively display. These are the best tips for a home herb garden.

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Istock/Kenneth Schulze

Update the view

Update a window’s view by getting creative with the space outside of it. Plant a medium-sized shrub or tree at the base of the window, or add a flower box to the windowsill. If it’s an unsightly fence or property marker that’s the problem, plant a vine or plan a paint job (and definitely ask your neighbors first). These are the best flowers for outdoor design.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest