Fallen tree limbs found outside your door can be made into ideal curtain rods. To make, locate a long, fairly straight branch and modify it to match your décor with paints or fabrics; alternatively, you can allow the natural beauty of the wood add color to your window treatments. Before bringing the branch inside, spray with an insecticide that is safe for use indoors; when it is dry, sand off loose bark and debris. Finishing the branch with a clear coat of varnish or shellac will prevent the wood from rotting as well. Use curtain hooks that easily slide onto the branch to hang your curtains, just as you would a standard curtain rod.
Curtain rods made of PVC, copper, or metal piping are inexpensive hanging options. The trick to using curtain rods made of piping is to use them to hold curtains that will cover the pipe, such as pocket curtains. When using metal piping, apply a coat of paint to the piping to avoid the development of rust or tarnish. You can paint PVC piping to match the curtains, if desired, but use paint that is made for plastics to ensure that it doesn't flake off.
A length of bamboo can be used as an inexpensive curtain rod to imbue a room with a natural, Asian-inspired theme. Although delicate curtains, such as sheers, will allow the warm tones of the bamboo to shine through, you can hang any type of medium-weight curtain with this option.
Wooden Dowel and Canes
Heavy window treatments require more support than some curtain rod alternatives can give; wooden dowels are an ideal solution for these types of curtains. Dowel rods can be purchased from hardware stores in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. Paint the rods to match your décor and hang. Finials can also be screwed into the ends of a dowel rod for added interest. For a no-cost wooden rod option, cut old handles from rakes or shovels and paint them to match the curtains, or use wooden canes or walking sticks as curtain rods. If you don't have a cane at home, scour second-hand stores and garage sales for one. Many canes already have a natural finish that fits most décor, but you can sand and paint them to suit your needs.
Curtains don't have to be hung with rods. Instead of using a store-bought or homemade rod, hammer a line of nails across arched and straight windows. Evenly space the nails and paint them to match the walls or the curtains. Once the paint is dry, loop the curtains over the nails or hang them with ribbons or large hooks. Another unique option is to space old door or cabinet knobs about 12 inches apart along the top of the window; use wood screws or nails to secure them in place. Cut holes in the curtains or use tab top panels and loop them over the knobs. If you're using brass or metal knobs, paint them to ensure that the curtains won't be stained should the knobs tarnish.