Shamefully, that curtain situation has remained the same all these months. I didn't like the plain white curtains, so I bought these bright tropical ones on clearance at Urban Outfitters. Once they arrived, I discovered that though the pattern was great, the fact that the curtains were voile made them basically sheer, certainly too thin to hold out that strong Saudi sun. Also, you will note that in contrast to the too long IKEA curtains, these new panels are too short. For months now I've been promising myself I would do something with them to make the bedroom less blah.
A couple of weeks ago, I got motivated to at least pull these panels out again and fiddle with them. I thought perhaps I would like them short so I tried the arrangement on the left. Clearly too short. Then I thought to combine the panels to make one heavier but brighter curtain so I tested that out on the right. Not terrible though still too short and billowing weirdly because of the AC vent that is at the ceiling just to the right of that window. Yesterday (virtual Sunday here in Saudi), I pulled down the white curtains entirely and threw them in the wash with a bit of bleach to perk them up. Then I threw them in the dryer- apparently a mistake as they shrunk by a few inches each.
Then I made a bold move, and pulled out that sewing machine I got so many months ago. The instructions that came in the box were only in Spanish (!) but I was able to find the manual in English online. I boldly set off with no real expectations of success, but to my surprise, sewing straight lines was kind of easy. I now have four panels each made from one IKEA panel base with one UO panel sewn to the front. I removed the tabs and have the curtains hanging from IKEA rings. They are still too short, but I am going to add a black band at the end of each curtain to have them hang almost to the floor (not touching though because of the dust and sand here).
No pictures because the rest of the room is a mess (husband is traveling so I've been doing lots of projects etc) but I hope to get some posted soon. The effect is pretty close to the panel on the right above and I have to say that I really enjoy the injection of some color and pattern into this blah bedroom. Also, I am thrilled to have used my sewing machine successfully for a home improvement project; I'm sure there will be more sewing related projects in my future!