Monday, March 26, 2012

IKEA Curtain Rails and Clips: Meeting "Needs" and Fulfilling "Wants"

It's the new hideaway bed tent but NO disassembling or storing is involved!

WHAT: KVARTAL Single Track Rail, KVARTAL Ceiling Fittings and RIKTIG Hook/Glider/Clip by Ikea (see foot of text for more links)
DOES: Curtain rods that hang from the ceiling allow your child's bed or bunkbed  to be enveloped by curtains on all open sides; the roomiest and easiest bed tent you can ever have; princess possibilities with sheer curtains too!
INVEST: $5 and up, inexpensive, but you will have to do it yourself
TOOLS: Express Yourself (decorate your curtains!), I Can Take Care of Myself (let-off-steam-site), More Make-Believe Please (bed-tent-like), Family Fix-Its (gives some privacy)

I remember when I first saw the picture of these curtain rails in the catalog.  It was one of those eureka-moments but I was only half-excited because there was no way it could come pre-assembled.

Ikea is a great store but many of the things there require you to put it together yourself.  This is where I am at a disadvantage.  If I have to measure anything, it can be a dealbreaker for me.  I also really hate reading instructions. This is where I must ask Husband very nicely for help. 

Everything done under $30 dollars but not including the sheets.

But I have "introduced" one too many "ideas" to Husband.  I think he is quite tired of me.  There is no hiding this.  I don't resent him it for putting down MOST of my brilliant-I'm-just-thinking-out-loud-I-didn't-say-I-wanted-to-do-it-yet- ideas. Thus, there was no question that he would be reluctant to put up the curtain rods but like a good team player, I bought them anyway. (We are still married.  He hasn't left me yet.)

Of course when he saw them, predictably, he balked and said that the kids would pull on the curtains and it was a bad idea.  I retorted that we could teach them to be more careful and put it in our closet knowing that he would see it everytime he opened the door but still, for months, the rails just sat there.   Clearly, I was not winning my little passive-aggressive game.  Thus, rather than making myself read instructions and creating irreparable damage on my ceiling.  I finally decided to hire someone.

I knew I didn't need to hire someone but I really really really didn't want to put up those curtain rails myself.   And while I had not calculated it (I tell myself this), soon after I announced to my husband that I would hire someone, the curtain rails became magically attached to the ceiling one day while I took Number 1 out on a playdate.  I think Husband did it really quickly too.  It didn't take too much time.

The view from the top bunk... COZY!  If I had a daughter... these would be sheer!!!!

Did the kids pull it down?  Did the ceiling come down with it?

Occasionally, the curtains came loose because the kids pulled on it or weren't gentle with it but the rail is still stuck securely onto my ceiling.  I just advise them periodically not to lean or pull on it.  It's been months now and there is no issue although there are a couple of clips missing and I just have to deal with that.

When the rails were installed, I didn't have any curtains prepared for immediate use.  Thus, I just used bedsheets and quite frankly, I had thought I would do that anyway. I have plenty of flat sheets in my house.  I do not like making beds so all to me, "making beds" means throwing the comforter over the bed in an orderly appearance.  As I thought about it more, I decided against having traditional curtains around their bed.  There is nothing specifically fun about curtains unless they are sheer or beaded which I am not inclined to buy for boys.  I also had to remember that on most days, the curtains would not be drawn since it would be used mostly just for play.

Okay, it's usually a video game in these hands but he does love this book.  He was just obliging me here. 

Clubhouse without the House (or Clean-Up)

We all love to build.  Makeshift anything is really cool but I believe that what it is equally cool is to have a clubhouse that can appear AND disappear within seconds.  There is no putting away of anything.  No pieces that didn't make it into the box only to be stepped on by me, the next day.  I love that!!!

Of course, what do they do when they draw the curtains for "privacy."?   They play a game called "Video Game Clubhouse."    Ugh, that was certainly NOT THE POINT but I know that they have fun doing other things there too.  

If they were girls, without a doubt, I would get them sheer curtains similar to what you see in the Ikea link.  Are they just beautiful?  If they weren't expensive, I would change them around month after month.  For Spring, I'd do the sheer and then maybe for fall, try for beaded curtains if I could find something fun and cheap.

But my guys are boys and so after getting sick of looking at any old flat sheet hung up like curtains, I decided to just use regular white sheets with the intent of painting them someday.

This weekend, we finally did it.  I don't know why I waited so long.  At first we just stamped them with Melissa and Doug stamps.  The stamp marks stayed even after it was washed.  Cool!  However, I felt it was time to really paint them and so I went to the art supply store and found glow-in-the-dark fabric paint!

I plan on getting more sheets and having another painting session as a rainy day activity.

Meeting "Needs" and Fulfilling "Wants"

"You're the best mom in the world!" said Number 1 as he grabbed the paint bottles and started squeezing away.  And so now their curtains feel more like curtains but really, in a sense, it really doesn't matter.  What is more important is that they have this special space and it is all their own and they decorated it by themselves.  Each cubic space above their part of their bunk bed now becomes their own little "room" within their shared room.

The fact that it is used for play mostly makes me really happy because it's my hope that the curtains that give them good play memories will be used to help them gather themselves on certain crappy days.  Number 1 is getting older and starting to stomp away and crash into his bed eventually I think he'll draw the curtains to give himself a great feeling of solace. When play curtains like these are used as a "need" on some days and used as a "want" on other days, I am inclined to believe that this is the best kind of role a toy could have for a kid.  Hey, maybe that means it's a "tool" too!  Hey, I think I know a website that talks about toys as tools.....

Come back soon... I'll be talking about this fabulous paint that I picked up for just $5 dollars to paint on BOTH sheets.

You can get this part as a corner but I chose not too because I didn't think it was necessary.  However, in hindsight, I think it would have been worthwhile. And yes, that is marker marks on the ceiling.  Just love that Number 1 Son!

Links for products associated with this idea
  • KVARTAL glide (white)   (These must be purchased to hook onto the rail and are used to hang each curtain hook.
  • KVARTAL draw rod If you want this, it's available.  I did not use it.  I suppose it could help since the kids pull too hard sometimes.

This post is dedicated to my poor husband who has to suffer through all of my crazy schemes that are presented to him as "good ideas."    But secretly, he's a toymaker at heart so I'm not too sorry.  Just look at what he made one day on his day off from work.   I have a feeling many of us here are all toymakers at heart. 

Disclosure statement: Toys are Tools has not been compensated in any fashion by the manufacturer or retailer of any of the mentioned products for the publication of this post.


  1. I have had mosquito netting bed tents that i bought on sale years ago set aside for a very similar purpose. we tried putting them up once, but the screw fell out of the ceiling and we also decided the kids were too young for them and might strangle themselves in the curtain as they played with it b/c of how it was designed. Now, we are in the midst of decluttering and redoing kids' rooms, so I may just have to give it a go once I uncover the netting and the one room from clutter.

  2. Now that I know the backstory of the painting with these curtains I appreciate them even more. You are such a great mom and educator.

  3. I love your ideas. I also love IKEA. Cheap is good and we love putting the things together as the reason for them being so cheap :)

  4. Great info. I'm about to install these for curtains and was looking for some do's and don'ts but this tells me it is probably as easy as it looks. Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  5. I almost want to cry. My kids and I have been displaced for two years due to domestic violence. I'm finally getting keys to my very own apartment. I want to surprise my kids with their new home, but I want to fix up their room. Curtains around the bunk beds is exactly what I wanted!. They're gonna be so happy. I can't wait for them to walk in to their new home. Ikea does rock.

  6. Did they damage the ceiling at all? I'm considering putting them in my dorm room. It's basically a remodeled Holiday Inn, so I think they'll hang just fine, but I don't want to damage the ceiling and have to pay a ton of money.