Don't settle for plastic or ordinary shower curtain hardware when you take the time to decorate a themed bathroom. Enhance the look you worked hard to create with imaginative curtain rings, rods and special curtains. Think bamboo for a serene Asian-style bathroom. Conjure up a Sailor's Hornpipe with a few nautical knots. Finish off a traditional look with a matching or contrasting valance. Regard hanging the shower curtain as an exercise in creativity.
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For a nautical bathroom, forget about shower curtain rings and go with rope. A thin manila rope will give the right look for a blue and white or sailboat design shower curtain. Manila rope comes in natural hemp, which appears suitably marine-like and will hold a knot. Knot the rope through the grommets in the shower curtain and loosely over the curtain rod. Or if the placement of the curtain rod leaves no room for a rope "ring" to slide, make a knotted loop for each hole in the curtain and leave the rope a little bit loose so you can attach it to a shower curtain hook or clip. In either case use a nautical knot for authenticity. Choose from a double half-hitch, a square knot or a bowline; easy-to-follow knot-tying tutorials are online. Tighten each knotted rope loop so it won't unravel with use.
In your "green" bathroom, use a renewable resource to hang the shower curtain. A length of bamboo--the rigid type that ages to a nice mellow yellow colour--makes an attractive curtain rod. Cut the bamboo to fit, and slot the ends right into the regular shower curtain brackets. If your shower curtain hangs in such a way that it has no brackets, suspend the bamboo rod from the ceiling using fixed rods, clear fishing line, chain or braided rope. A bamboo rod is also used for the outside shower curtain and a very Zen look. The waterproof inside curtain pulls across the metal or plastic shower rod in the usual way, and the outside curtain is a split Japanese Noren---a sheer two-panel fabric door covering with a traditional design like cherry blossoms or lotus. The Noren hangs on its own bamboo rod and remains stationary. The best way to use this design is to split the inner curtain so it is separated in the centre for entering and leaving the bath through both waterproof curtain and Noren.
Decorate your bathtub with a shower curtain and valance. Use a lower curtain rod for a plain waterproof inside curtain and pretty fabric outer curtain. Install a second rod, just above the lower one for the valance. You can save some money by using a wooden dowel for the upper rod. Fold fabric that complements the outer curtain over the top rod in triangles. You might choose a tablecloth for the main shower curtain and use napkins for the valance. Or simply cut material into squares to drape over the upper rod with points hanging down. Overlap the triangles, and use a staple gun to fasten them along the top of the wooden dowel, or stitch the triangles about 2 inches down from the fold to create a "sleeve" to slip over a metal curtain rod. Attach tassels, shells or large decorative beads to the points of the valance that hang down over the fabric shower curtain to hold it in place.
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