Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 26 May 2012 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you…. that’s you lot… the readers! This week’s problem is from Sue May.

Hi! I wanted to share this dilemma with you guys. I have a set of two lovely fairly big windows but due to a recent break-in at my neighbor’s house we decided to place these awful iron bars. I truly feel like I’m living in a concrete jail.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make them less hideous. I’m going to make two plant boxes for flowers and herbs. But besides that I’m lost.

christa says:

Hmmm, this is a tough one. The flower boxes are a nice idea – use TALL plants, maybe a bamboo, so the bars are obscured all the way up.

I would consider starting with an easy, less expensive idea, like a soft, semi-opaque white blind that obscures the view but allows in a lot of natural light. I would also consider having the bars painted a matte gray to lower the contrast – glossy black or white will draw attention where gray will dissolve into the background a little more.

You could have metal grates beautiful made in a moroccan pattern wrought iron, or some kind of ornate floral scrollwork. That will be very costly, but it's the only way to provide security without looking like a jail bars. I hope they catch the thieves so you can rest easier.

I would consider security shutters that you can lock during the day or when you are out and open when you are home and want to enjoy the view.

I also live in a neighborhood where everyone has bars on the windows. Not us. I can't abide looking out through bars — makes me feel like a prisoner in my own home. I would rather take my chances and pay my insurance deductible. Keep all irreplaceable items or valuables offsite in a secure location or in a safety deposit box.

AMR says:

As I see two dogs in the photo, for all those that suggested keeping a permanent light drape or blind across the window, I would bet the dogs would vote against that idea if they like to look out…as doggies usually do.
I'm with Christa in painting the bars a light colour. When you look out the windows, choose a paint that's close to the light colour that dominates outside.

Very sorry that your beautiful country is going through a difficult time. May that change soon.

Sue May says:

Thank you guys! I believe the first thing will be the plant boxes with tall items, as one of the commenters suggested. Then paint the bars a light color and maybe put twinkle lights and some other distracting things .

As you can see in one of the pictures I was trying window film but due to the size of the windows it would have been a bit expensive.

Those awful bars were expensive on it's own, around 800 dollars 🙁 that could have been used for something beautiful.

Again thank you for your advice and kind words.

I like the tape idea. Or can they be spray painted? White, orange and so on… could turn into a piece of art. Sheer curtains in a solid subtle color would frame out the piece.

Emma says:

Can you take down the bars, spray paint them a gorgeous color, before putting them back up, and then arrange your living space to reflect that color? That way, you'll incorporate the outside with the inside and perhaps that will make it feel less like a jail and more like a happy place.

Georges says:

haha… You can tell from the wall posters that he/she is a BattleStar Galactica fan, we still do exist… I have no advice about design but I wanna salute my fellow scifi fan.

Sue May says:

Yes I am! I have a few other posters from firefly as well 😀

MoHole says:

I live in Johannesburg where we all have bars on all our windows, so I know how lame they are!
I definitely suggest painting them white or a light color – but don't go crazy & make them too colorful, or else they just draw your eye even more. Making them somehow ornamented can also help distract from the jail-like nature. Could you find a few funky ornamental wrought iron pieces and attach them (like this

The best antidote is windows with pretty glass, but that's an expensive undertaking. I also love the idea of trellising ivy & wrapping them in lights.
Good luck!

Annie says:

I honestly think if you combined the above comments, and painted the bars and frame a white or a very light colour, and then got drapes that could be tied off to the sides, (so doggies can look out and plants are ok on inside and out_ – you could put planter boxes in a matching white on the inside, or even find a way to attach strings of little crystals or mirrors in the gaps in between the bars, to make it look more like a pattern.

bar, mirror string, bar, mirror string, etc… and then you have the soft organza drapes framing the whole window.

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