There are some things you can’t unsee. Luckily, clutter isn’t one of them. Swiftly push it behind a short curtain and it’s like it was never there.
Designer Jo Sampson’s Victorian home in London is the definition of luxe (her marble and brass kitchen says it all). But look beyond the shiny hardware and sleek expanses of marble and you’ll discover it’s full of down-to-earth ideas. In her daughter’s room, for instance, sits an IKEA Kallax shelving unit with a twist. In an effort to hide all the toys, Sampson tacked fabric panels to the frame. It wasn’t just the sheer simplicity of the fix that struck us the most. It’s the fact that it looks better than an ordinary cabinet with doors. (And it was definitely less expensive than buying a brand-new piece of furniture.)
You can follow suit, no toolbox necessary. First, the fun part: picking out the fabric. A bold print like Sampson’s concentric circles ensures the detail will feel modern, not dated. Next, trim the textile to your desired length, leaving an extra inch to create the hem. To secure it, our style editor, Elaina Sullivan, recommends adhering sew-on Velcro backing to the curtain and the shelf. “It’ll make it easier to remove for washing, which is especially important in a kids’ room,” she says.
Next, sew the one-inch hem for a smooth edge. “If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can also use Stitch Witchery,” says Sullivan. “It’s a super-quick and easy tape that you can just iron into the hem.” You don’t have to limit yourself to transforming kids’ rooms. Use a curtain to disguise doorless kitchen shelving, conceal the unsightly empty space below the bathroom sink, or turn an empty niche into a makeshift closet. Here are six swatches to kick-start your next organizing mission: