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The Best Kept Decorating Secret
(With Before & Afters)

by | Jan 26, 2009 | Before and After Home, Creative Before & After, Decorating Inspiration, Details

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The Best Kept Decorating Secret<br> (With Before & Afters)

Are you ready for The Best Kept Decorating Secret? I’ve shared it on The Inspired Room before, so if you have been around awhile, you might have guessed it already. But, if you are new here, come a little closer and I’ll share it with you.

Shhh….the best kept decorating secret is — CREATIVE CONCEALMENT.

Creative Concealment is a little trick I have used in numerous situations and homes to transform something not so pretty into something a little closer to fabulous. A quick and easy transformation, and no one needs to know what you have concealed (that can be YOUR best kept little secret!).

The Best Kept Decorating Secret<br> (With Before & Afters)

SOUTHERN LIVING: Windows (before)

What exactly is creative concealment, you ask?

Creative concealment is HIDING THE UGLY, TRANSFORMING THE UNLOVELY and DISTRACTING FROM THE HIDEOUS with more creativity than cash.

I love the before and after photo of the window (above) from Southern Living! It is the perfect example of what you can do with an ugly window to make it more chic and stylish WITHOUT an expensive remodel.

Below is one of my own creative concealments on a window. You may have seen this before shot on my blog before. I’m warning you, it is not a pretty sight (and I apologize for how blurry the photo is!).

Behold, my kitchen window BEFORE.

The Best Kept Decorating Secret<br> (With Before & Afters)

And, revealing my kitchen window AFTER.

The Best Kept Decorating Secret<br> (With Before & Afters)

What did we do? We didn’t rip out anything and we didn’t take out a bank loan to replace the window. The window is still there. We painted the dark trim, built a frame at the top for my curtains to hang and we used long curtain panels to finish off the windows and make them look more, well, pretty. We concealed! And for the ugly cabinets you can see in the before photo, concealed simply with new cabinet doors and paint.

I showed you another of my creative window concealments last year, but if you missed it, here it is again. I had another DOOZY of a window to conceal!

Why did I need to conceal it? The quality and style did not match my English style house AT ALL. And, it left me exposed to the neighbors because of how low the window was to the ground! I needed to feel a little more snug in my office and not like I was on a stage! While I loved the light, I could not leave this window uncovered.

The Best Kept Decorating Secret<br> (With Before & Afters)


With two old bi-fold shutter doors I had sitting around and some curtains from the discount outlet Tuesday Morning, I was able to make a hideous window a more tolerable feature of my former office! The shutters still let some light in without sacrificing my privacy and I left the top part open for added sunshine!

The Best Kept Decorating Secret<br> (With Before & Afters)


So, there you have it! Creative Concealments: One of The Best Kept Decorating Secrets!

Want more ideas for creative concealment? Click here for related articles.


  1. Meghan

    You always give me so much inspiration, especially since I live in a rented townhome.
    Now if I just didn’t have boys & a man child who would probably destroy what I put up, I would be all over this action!

    Meghans inspiring blog post..A Review, A Discussion, Call it what you will..

  2. Kristen

    I love creative concealment. Like Meghan, I live in a rental. So this is such a fabulous trick for us to make our homes lovely without having to do things for real! Thanks, Melissa!

  3. Judy Bandiera

    Creative concealment, now that is a word I need to use on my jobs, and what a great job at that.

  4. Amanda

    love it! It is amazing how much fabric can conceal little uglies and even big uglies! great job!

  5. Becky K.

    I love them both! The first is so fresh and airy. I think that makes it my favorite. Ahhh…paint and fabric placement. Miracle workers.

    Becky K.s inspiring blog post..I Was a Wild Woman….not!

  6. Vee

    Wowser! What a difference all of these creative concealments made (and I thought that I was around from the beginning). That zig-zag window…goodness, I ‘ve never seen anything like that. This settles it once and for all…you are definitely inspired!

    Vees inspiring blog post..Vanity, Thy Name Is…

  7. Lindsay

    OH, wow!!!! The two windows of yours are amazing. I never would have thought of doing what you did, but I love them. As far as I’m concerned, Southern Living should have hired you! :)

    On your office window, did you leave the top triangular portion bare? We have several windows in our new home that are arched. I absolutely love the look, but they’ve created quite the decorating problem for me in that I don’t know how to work with them.

  8. Melissa

    Oh my goodness! That picture of your office is so gorgeous it makes me want to weep.

    Melissas inspiring blog post..Who Said Nothing in Life is Free?

  9. darlene

    I will be using some tricks to make my bedroom window appear larger when we redecorate it all by the use of drapery panel placement.

    darlenes inspiring blog post..Do you have a Hidden Room?

  10. v and co

    you don’t even know how much that’s going to help with my window in my front room, i’ve been debating something close to your first window picture and now looking at it…i’m super excited to do it! thank you!

    v and cos inspiring blog post..9 years ago today…

  11. teresa

    I’m glad you shared again- I never get tired of before and afters- helps me get ideas for my home. And your Kitchen transformation is amazing! I wish I had your skills!

    teresas inspiring blog post..Joy on his Face-

  12. Eileen

    Yummy – that last window…

    I agree, taking something funky and making it shine is a ton of fun. I have this one set of windows though, that has had me stumped for the last 5 years. I have done nothing with it because I can’t think of what to do. Even had a custom drapery designer come out and… nothing.


  13. pam

    You are amazing as always.

  14. Maven

    You are GOOD!

    Mavens inspiring blog post..Merchandising and the Expression of Beauty

  15. Pretty Organizer

    What a great post! I feel like my life is one concealment job after another. Conceal the laundry, conceal the dirty dishes, conceal the floor that looks like a truck stop, conceal the crayon on the wall.

    The office photo was great! What a beautiful space. Hope unpacking is going well. Lots of love,
    Pretty Organizer

    Pretty Organizers inspiring blog post..Come Shop with Me!

  16. jennykate

    I remember these creative concealments from last time! It’s always good to be reminded…more creativity than cash…I like that idea!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    jennykates inspiring blog post..I♥Faces: JOY!

  17. Helen

    I loved reading this post today … lots of really good inspiration here!

    Helens inspiring blog post..PINK ….. and old!

  18. Valerie

    I love your before and after shots. They are always so fun. I’m curious if any of your other readers love the office window, the greenery, the light, the before. I love the after picture too, but I’d love to have the before window in my house. Please don’t misunderstand, I really like your present office I just wouldn’t consider that window as something needing to be concealed.

  19. Mrs. Q

    Wow! I had read your post on creative concealment before, but again I am AMAZED at what you did with the challenges you faced! The kitchen window turned out beautiful and I love the light streaming from the top of the office window. You turned a liability into an asset.

    Now I am going to see what I can creatively conceal in my home!

    Mrs. Qs inspiring blog post..Don’t Forget…

  20. Megan

    I love the photos you shared of your house, and I love all the decor I get to take a peek at in those!

    Any ideas on concealing our Thermostat on the wall, and our large vent air return on the other wall? If you are interested I’ll send you pics! lol


    Megan @ LittleBellaBeans inspiring blog post..What I’ve Been Up To…

  21. Misti

    I can’t get beyond the triangle windows! Who does that????? What a great job transforming and concealing those bad boys! Thanks for the great post.

    Misti @ Studio M Designss inspiring blog post..To Be or Not To Be…A Bench

  22. Rachel Going

    I love to conceal creatively…seems like it’s a way of life in this old house!

  23. cityfarmer

    By golly, I think you’ve “got it”

  24. Lazy Mom Leslie

    What wonderful ideas! Perfect long term solutions for this Lazy Mom!

    Lazy Mom Leslies inspiring blog post..Lazy Moms Store

  25. lilyhaven

    I am seriously impressed!!! I underestimated the art of concealing. You did a beautiful job w/your kitchen window and office window. WOW! Simply beautiful.


    lilyhavens inspiring blog post..Bright & Beautiful Little Ladies

  26. Deborah

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy visiting your little spot on this pretty blue planet. I am ever so happy that I found you…a little burst of sunshine even on the most difficult of days.
    **blows kisses** Deborah

    Deborahs inspiring blog post..Trying To Let Go

  27. Angel

    Wow. I want to marry you-those are brilliant makeovers. And I love, love, love the hanging lantern in your office-it is SO old world!

    Angels inspiring blog post..BlissDom(09), Here I come!

  28. Joy

    Wow, I am inspired! LOVELY, lovley photos and ideas. :)
    p.s. Be sure and stop by my blog for your chance to win a free one year mag subscription!


  29. laura

    Now THOSE are some very creative concealments! I espcecially love what you’ve done with the kitchen window. Not only was it relatively easy (or easy-ish…it’s never *really* easy when it’s your home, LOL!) I bet it brightened up the room 110%.

    laura @ the shore houses inspiring blog post..What a week.

  30. Mary

    Hi there I love the curtains in the living room can you tell me where you got then? Thx



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