Living Room Curtains

Things to Know Before You Buy Window Treatments

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Light living room curtains. Stocknroll / Getty Images

Decorating windows with curtains and drapes is a great way to add style, color and personality to a living room, but before you make a purchase be sure to consider all the options.

Curtain Style

Curtains and drapes come in a variety of different styles. Think about what suits the style of your room, and the window itself. Double panels are classic and create symmetry, while single panels are great in smaller spaces; panels with a valence are romantic and traditional, while panels with a pelmet are structured and formal.

 

Also consider the type of heading you like best. Pencil pleats, grommets, French pleats and pole pockets are some of the most common, but there are other options out there as well. Look through decorating magazines and sites like Houzz to see how different styles look in different rooms.

Window Treatment Fabric

Curtains come in every fabric imaginable, but some are better suited to certain rooms than others. Also, heavier fabrics help insulate a room, which is why they work better in cooler climates (and light fabrics work best in warmer climates).

  • Silk – Silk curtains are classic and traditional. They add a sense of formality to a room – particularly if they’re pleated and puddle on the floor. If privacy is an issue be sure to have them lined. Silk curtains on their own can have a sheer quality and allow some light to pass through.
  • Cotton – Cotton is probably the most versatile curtain fabric (and the easiest to clean). It’s available in every imaginable color and style and can be formal or casual depending on the style. However it tends to be a bit stiffer than other fabrics.
  • Linen – Linen is light and often sheer. As such they lend themselves to more casual rooms.
  • Velvet – Velvet is heavy and luxurious. It can be hard to pull off in casual settings.
  • Sheers – Sheers are great if you want something that allows light to pass through, but they don’t offer much in the way of privacy.

    Color and Pattern

    Curtains take up a large amount of visual space so it’s important to carefully consider what kind of color and pattern you want. Put as much thought into it as you would chair or sofa fabric. And while curtain panels can be inexpensive to purchase, custom drapes can be very expensive so you don’t want to have to replace them very often.

    Curtain Size

    When it comes to living room curtains, size definitely matters. They should always be at least double the width of the window (even if you keep them open most of the time). It's also very important that they be long enough. For a dramatic and elegant look they can puddle on the floor, and for a more contemporary and clean look they can just skim the floor. But they should never be higher. When drapes are too short they look truncated. If you're getting store-bought panels (as opposed to having them custom made) it's better to buy them too long and then have them hemmed.

    Hanging Living Room Curtains

    There are a few schools of thought when it comes to hanging curtains, but the two safest options are as follows:

    • Mount the hardware a few inches above the top of the window casing. It’s traditional and will always look good.
    • Mount the hardware just below the ceiling. It’s currently a very popular look and will make the ceilings appear higher.

       

      Window treatments are important decorative features that take up a lot of visual space. So make sure you consider them as carefully as you would any other major piece in the room.