The dining room needed drapes to soften things up, so I enlisted my mom (Grandma G in the comments around here) to pretty-please sew me some panels. I ordered home decor fabric online for $6 a yard on clearance at fabric.com (now sold out) and shipped it to her, sight unseen. Normally I'm not a huge paisley fan, but it seemed like it could work in this dining room. Mum has dubbed the room's style "grand hotel."
She cut four 3-yard panels for me and pressed, hemmed, and pressed again. Maybe that sounds easy, but I knew it would be a huge pain since that is A LOT of fabric to maneuver. I was too chicken to tackle it myself— I'm certain I would have created 3-yard-long seams that were puckered and crooked, and it would have taken me three days per panel. Despite reporting some highway hypnosis while driving along that paisley print, Mum's work is perfect. With matched patterns at the top, of course, because she's good like that. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the sewing on her blog here.
My work was just to put in grommets, which was the easiest part of the project. I bought these Dritz plastic curtain grommets. You trace around the supplied circle template to mark the fabric, cut out the hole, and snap the front and back grommet pieces together around the cut-out. No special tools are needed.
This dining room is coming along! Something is bugging me, though, and I think I've figured out that besides the table, the main visual offender for me is the fireplace tile. It's original Rookwood tile that people here get excited about, so I'm hesitant to change it. It's pretty cracked and beat up on the hearth, but the face of the fireplace is mostly okay.
Let's pretend the tile was pale gray or white. And the table was dark wood and the light fixture was swapped out. Better?
I need some art on the walls to tie things together, but we're making progress.
P.S. If you want a really nice tutorial for how to sew your own drapes with grommets, check out these instructions at Deuce Cities Henhouse.