6 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Curtains

A living room with long window curtains

The Spruce / Jason Donnelly

Have the curtains in your home seen better days? If your curtains have been damaged by the sun, appear a bit outdated, or simply don't complement your design aesthetic anymore, it may be time to say goodbye to them and opt for a new pair. We asked design experts to share the most common signs that your curtains have got to go. Read on to learn six key factors to watch out for that will help you determine whether it truly is time to switch things up in your space.

1. When They Reflect Sun Damage

Your draperies receive a lot of sunlight, and the elements can take their toll on fabric over time. "From a practical standpoint, it's time to update your draperies when the sun has damaged them, either through fading, or if you live in a climate where the sun is relentless, like I do, when it has dried out the fabric to a point that it's stiff and too fragile to handle," designer Rachel Cannon of Rachel Cannon Limited explains.

sunlight by curtains

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2. If They're Overworked or Fussy

There's really no need to go overboard with your curtains, Cannon notes. "Tailored, simple window treatments will stand the test of time and help you stretch the shelf life of a look a lot longer than anything that is wrought with swags, tassels, jabots, or puddling," she explains. Cannon is instead a proponent of well-made, blackout-lined custom drapes that "whisper simple elegance."

Designer Morgan Farrow agrees that over the top curtains will just make your space appear old-fashioned. "Few things can date your home faster than drapery that looks straight out of a castle," she says. Minimalist is the way to go here.

formal curtains

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3. Your Cords Need to be Fixed

This factor applies specifically to roman shades. "If cords start to get brittle and break it time for a new window treatment," designer Traci Connell of Traci Connell Interiors explains.

4. They've Been Worn Out By Pets or Kids

Have your furry friends taken to your curtains? Odds are, pets have viewed your window treatments as a playground at some point. "Cats love to shred sheers and climb up textured curtains, while dogs can destroy longer curtains by running over puddled hems and constantly jumping up on windowsills," says Cheri Chu, creative director at Lush Decor. In a household with active children? Check your curtains for dirt and dust. "Curtains show signs of dirt from opening and closing (or a good game of hide and seek with your little ones’ sticky hands)," Chu adds, noting that curtains should be taken down and cleaned every three to six months no matter what.

curtains and pets

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5. They Don't Reflect Your Lifestyle

There's no reason that your curtains shouldn't make your life a bit easier. If they're not helping you feel more comfortable at home, upgrade 'em! As designer Kevin O'Gara explains, perhaps this means adding blackout curtains in the bedroom or installing a sheer layer for added privacy in another space. "If you’re upgrading the furniture in your home, you’ll want to make sure your curtains reflect the quality of the new pieces as they are an essential part of a room’s foundation," he says.

curtains with lining

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6. You're Craving a Fresh Look

Maybe you simply are getting tired of staring at that same pair of curtains you've had for five years and are ready for a change. Why not shake things up a little with a new print or color scheme? "Window treatments are an overlooked way to add texture, pattern, and color into a space and have the ability to completely transform an area’s look and feel," designer Leslie Murphy says. You can even choose to switch out your curtains depending on the season. "Sometimes I opt for swapping curtains for a thicker style in the winter and a more gauzy material in the summer or playing with various styles and silhouettes to continue to add dimension and layers," Murphy shares. What's great about curtains is that they can easily be folded and tucked into under bed bins during the off season. When you're ready to hang a particular pair, just give them a quick steam and they'll be good to go!