8 Curtain Tricks Only Interior Designers Know


Ashley Webb Interiors

Curtains are obviously largely utilitarian, but there is a right and a wrong way to go about selecting and installing them in one's space—just ask designers! We spoke with several pros who weighed in on the eight most important things to keep in mind during the curtain shopping and hanging process. Some of their insights may surprise you.

Meet the Expert

  • 01 of 08

    Different Curtain Styles Create a Unique Mood in a Space

    sheer curtains

    @houseofchais / Instagram

    The curtains you choose will greatly inform the room that they go in, designer Lauren DeBello explains. "Do you want a luxurious, romantic feel? If so, curtains that puddle on the ground may be the right look for you," she comments. "If you want a cleaner look, choose curtains that graze the floor," DeBello advises. "Make sure to consider this when choosing the length of panels."

  • 02 of 08

    Curtain Style Can Vary From Room to Room

    sheer curtains in living room

    @houseofharvee / Instagram

    There's no need to opt for a matchy-matchy look all throughout the house.  "For example, it is helpful to use blackout lining in bedrooms for better sleep, whereas in living rooms, you don't need blackout lining," DeBello states. However, there are still ways to ensure that your home looks intentional and not like a hodge podge of different items. Suggests DeBello, "Keep things cohesive by using similar materials or colors."

  • 03 of 08

    Height is Everything

    curtains in bedroom

    @dommdotcom / Instagram

    Yes, there most certainly is a strategy when it comes to determining where your curtains should hang in relation to the windows, DeBello comments. "Curtains should be hung as high as possible to draw the eye upward," she says. "Position them at least one-half to two-thirds of the distance between the top of the window frame and the ceiling." And keeping the width of your windows top of mind is just as key." Panels should be two to two-and-a-half times the width of your window for fullness and coverage," DeBello adds. "If you are purchasing off the rack curtain panels, you may need to purchase several to achieve this look."

  • 04 of 08

    Lining Your Curtains is Key

    lined curtains

    @sarahlyon9 / Instagram

    "If you are getting custom curtains made, you should definitely get them lined," advises Stephanie Purzycki, CEO and co-founder of The Finish. "The sun can fade and damage drapery over time so it's worth protecting your investment by adding a fabric liner." And there are other ways to jazz up your curtains to add a little extra flair, she explains. "You can enhance store bought drapes with trim to give them a custom look."

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Patterns are Tons of Fun

    patterned curtains

    Emily June Designs

    By no means do curtains need to be a solid color if you're more inclined to go bold. "I love incorporating fun patterns and colors in drapery treatments," designer Emily Spanos comments. "They bring both depth and texture to the room and the way the pattern plays with the surrounding wallpaper is a fun way to showcase added personality and charm!"

  • 06 of 08

    Ordering Fabric Samples is a Must

    bedroom curtains

    Interior Impressions

    Before you get too excited about using a certain fabric, you'll want to take a closer look at the colors and patterns in your own home. "More often than not, the color of something you see online is not exactly the same when you see it in person," designer Anna Franklin states. "By taking the time to order samples and sit with them for a few weeks, you can see the true color of the fabric in the space you would like to place it in and really know if it is right for you." This is also a smart strategy given that you'll be able to experience the colors and how they appear whether it's dark or light outside. "Doing so also allows you to see how the color may be affected during different times of the day as the lighting changes and shifts within a room, and will ensure you aren’t stuck with a full set of curtains you don’t love," Franklin adds.

  • 07 of 08

    You'll Need to Train Your Curtains

    white curtains

    @afrobohemianliving / Instagram

    When your final curtain selections do arrive, you'll want to practice this helpful habit from Franklin. "If you select curtains that are styled with folds and/or pleats, you will want to 'train' them to hang correctly when open," she explains. "To train your curtains, pull them back as far as they will go on each side, and securely tie them in this position a few times from top to bottom." Then, leave the curtains like this for two to three weeks—after that, they'll hang perfectly whether opened or closed.

  • 08 of 08

    Don't Skimp on the Curtain Rod

    curtain rods

    Britt Design Studio

    We get it, you may feel tempted to pick up the cheapest curtain rod you see and call it a day—but designer Leslie Dapper cautions against this practice. "Using a good quality curtain rod is the best investment for a beautiful window treatment," she states. "It's worth the extra money, especially if your curtains are going to be operable. If your curtains are stationary and just decorative you can get away with an inexpensive, box store rod."