A guide to how to choose curtains for living room by Decorilla

Are your windows wearing yesterday’s trends? Dressing them right can seriously revitalize your space and simultaneously highlight its best features. Here’s how to make an informed choice, including how to choose curtains for the living room and beyond.

Designer Tips on How to Choose Curtains

How to choose curtains for the living room for a flawless finish by Decorilla
Classic living room with a flawless finish by Decorilla

Setting up the perfect window treatments involves more than just picking a fabric. Explore our designers’ tips on how to choose curtains for the living room or bedroom, ensuring that every detail enhances its interior design in both function and style.

1. Consider the Fabric Material

A visual feast with expert tips on choosing curtain color by Decorilla
Transitional living room by Decorilla

Choosing the right fabric dictates how well your curtains will hold up over time and how well they function in terms of light filtering and privacy. Heavier fabrics like velvet provide insulation and block more light, while lighter materials allow more natural light to sift through. In general, thicker fabrics are best used for bedrooms and living rooms where you desire both privacy and a substantial look. Conversely, lightweight fabrics are perfect for kitchens and dining areas where you want more ambiance and less bulk. 

Choose curtains that align with your preferred interior design style. Not sure what that is? Take our Free Interior Design Style Quiz to find out today!

A guide to choosing curtains for a mid-century modern living room by Decorilla
A mid-century modern living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: When buying curtains, always hold a fabric sample up to the light in your window to see how it filters light.

2. Measure Twice, Hang Once

Curtains that strike the perfect balance between beauty and utility by Decorilla
Luxury formal living room by Decorilla

Always measure your windows before purchasing curtains. Determine how high above you’d like the curtains to hang, and ensure they touch the floor or the sill, depending on the look you’re going for. Remember to account for the extra fabric needed for hemming and headings, as this will affect the final look.  

Right curtain length and width in a living room by Decorilla
Contemporary living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: For a more dramatic, fuller look, choose curtains three times the width of your window.

3. Select the Right Curtain Rod

How to choose curtains for the living room that elevate comfort and style by Decorilla
All-white living room by Decorilla

Ensure your rod extends beyond the window frame on both sides to balance proportions and give the illusion of a larger window. Its diameter should complement the weight and style of the fabric; heavier fabrics need sturdier rods. As for the hardware finish, it can either match your existing decor elements or provide a striking contrast. 

How to choose curtain color and style for a bedroom by Decorilla
A classic style bedroom by Decorilla

Pro tip: Invest in adjustable rods for flexibility, especially if you want to change your window treatments seasonally.

4. Match the Curtain Style to the Room

Define your spaces elegantly with the right curtain by Decorilla
Cottage charm and gingham curtains in a bedroom by Decorilla

Consider if you prefer a formal pleated look or a more relaxed vibe with tie-tops or grommets. Think about both style and function—a formal living room setting, for example, thrives on pleated drapes in luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet. In contrast, for more casual spaces like a family room or teen’s bedroom, lighter curtains with tie-tops or grommets offer a laid-back feel and are easy to maintain. 

How to choose curtain color for a teen bedroom by Decorilla
Teen’s bedroom by Decorilla

Pro tip: Coordinate your curtain style with your interior’s theme—choose geometric patterns for a modern look or gingham/floral prints for a more traditional setting.  

How to Choose Curtain Color

Embrace luxury in the bedroom with curtains that add a touch of class by Decorilla
Luxury eclectic bedroom by Decorilla

Here’s how to pick hues that complement your decor and enhance the atmosphere of your space. Whether you’re refreshing a room or rounding out a new design, these tips will guide you through the process of choosing curtain colors with confidence.

5. Complement the Walls

Tailored elegance & choosing curtains that speak to your style by Decorilla
Quiet luxury living room by Decorilla

Select curtains in a slightly darker or lighter shade than the walls for a harmonious look. For a striking contrast, choose a bold color that aligns with other decor elements in the room. However, be mindful of the color balance and intensity when selecting your curtains to ensure they enhance rather than overwhelm.

Choosing curtains for a chic living room by Decorilla
Chic living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: Use a color wheel to find complementary colors that bring balance and energy to your space.

6. Consider the Mood

Achieve the perfect ambiance by choosing curtains that enhance light and texture by Decorilla
Dramatic ambiance in a moody living room by Decorilla

Think about the ambiance you want to create. Soft, cool colors typically bring calmness, while vibrant colors can convey drama and energy. Lighter shades are typically used to make a room feel larger and more open, whereas darker shades can make it feel cozier and more contained. Always remember that a curtain color can also help manipulate the perceived dimensions of the room. 

How to choose curtains for the bedroom by Decorilla
A vibrant bedroom with orange curtains by Decorilla

Pro tip: Choose blue or green hues for relaxing environments and bold and warm colors for a stimulating atmosphere.

7. Use Patterns Wisely

Choose curtain color to set the mood in your favorite bedrooms by Decorilla
Curtains setting the mood in a coastal bedroom by Decorilla

Patterned curtains can add interest and movement if your room features solid-color furnishings and walls. Conversely, if your room already has multiple patterns, consider solid curtains to ground the layout. The size of the pattern should complement (or alter, if needed) the room’s size—large patterns in an ample area and smaller patterns in a more compact space will help maintain a balanced visual weight.

How to choose curtain color and pattern for a bedroom by Decorilla
Discrete curtain pattern in a bedroom by Decorilla

Pro tip: Introduce organic patterns to soften modern spaces or geometric patterns to add structure to more traditional decors.

8. Factor in Sunlight

Picking curtains made easy for a cohesive living room look by Decorilla
Eclectic living room by Decorilla

Sunlight can fade fabrics over time. Consider the orientation of your windows to choose materials that can handle the sun exposure in your specific climate. If the room gets plenty of light, it’s wise to avoid bright colors, as they tend to fade faster. Light-colored fabrics are less prone to fading and can help reflect sunlight, also keeping the room lighter and cooler. 

Picking curtains for a traditional living room by Decorilla
Urban chic living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: Invest in UV-protective window film to help reduce fading.

How to Choose Curtains for Living Room

A designer’s touch in picking curtains that resonate with your personal taste by Decorilla
A designer’s touch in a formal living room by Decorilla

Picking the right curtains involves a blend of color, material, and style considerations that should harmonize with your living space’s ambiance and lifestyle needs. This section will guide you through the nuances of selecting curtains that look great while suiting specific requirements.

9. Scale the Curtains to Your Space

Expert guide on choosing the right curtain for a polished look by Decorilla
A polished living room look by Decorilla

Heavier, more ornate fabrics work well in larger rooms, where they match the scale better. In addition, heavier drapes can divide spaces in open-plan areas, offering flexibility in how you use your living environment. In smaller rooms, on the other hand, it’s better to opt for lighter textiles to keep the room from feeling overwhelmed. 

How to choose curtains for dividing a living room by Decorilla
Modern farmhouse living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: Use curtain panels to create the illusion of higher ceilings by hanging them well above the window frame.

10. Enhance Your Furniture

Master the art of choosing curtains to refresh your living space by Decorilla
Curtains in a cohesive living space by Decorilla

Wondering how to choose curtains for your living room to tie the elements cohesively? Consider the dominant, secondary, and accent colors in your room’s color scheme to ensure a harmonious flow. Pick curtain colors that complement the tones of your furniture, or juxtapose them if you’re aiming for a bold look.  

Choosing curtains for a monochrome living room by Decorilla
A monochrome living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: Match your curtains with a key piece of furniture, such as a sofa or an area rug.

11. Layer Your Window Treatments

Elegance in design and how to choose curtain color for harmonious interiors by Decorilla
Elegant, harmonious living room interior by Decorilla

Layering curtains with blinds or sheers can provide additional privacy and light control, simultaneously elevating the living room’s aesthetic. This technique allows you more flexibility throughout the day. Choose materials that complement each other and coordinate with the rest of the room’s decor for a polished look.

Choosing elegant curtains for a contemporary living room by Decorilla
A contemporary living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: Use sheer curtains underneath heavier drapes in the same tone for a versatile yet subdued window treatment.

12. Reflect the Room’s Functionality

Picking curtains that complement your decor by Decorilla
Bold living room design by Decorilla

Choose window treatments that not only beautify the area but also cater to its primary purpose. If the room is used for frequent hosting and entertaining, luxurious materials can enhance it with a sense of grandeur. Conversely, if it’s more of a family gathering space, opt for durable and washable fabrics that can withstand frequent use. 

How to choose curtain color for a formal living room by Decorilla
Black and white formal living room by Decorilla

Pro tip: Consider remote-controlled curtains for a touch of luxury that is especially practical in high-traffic family rooms.

How to Choose Curtains for Bedroom

How to choose curtains for the bedroom makeover by Decorilla
Modern organic bedroom design by Decorilla

Understanding how to choose curtains for your bedroom means considering both aesthetics and functionality. This section provides key insights into choosing curtains that harmonize with your sleeping chamber.

13. Prioritize Privacy and Light Control

Transform your sanctuary with tips on how to choose curtains for the bedroom by Decorilla
Moody sanctuary with blackout curtains by Decorilla

Opt for thicker, darker curtains to block out light for better sleep, or choose layered window treatments for versatility. Materials like blackout fabrics are ideal for keeping your bedroom dark and serene. They block light and help insulate the room, potentially also saving on energy costs. 

Picking curtains for style and privacy in a bedroom by Decorilla
Modern bedroom by Decorilla

Pro tip: Combine blackout curtains with shades or blinds for ultimate privacy and darkness.

14. Create a Restful Environment

How to choose curtains to elevate your private bedroom retreat by Decorilla
Master bedroom retreat by Decorilla designer, Berkeley H.

Use soothing colors that promote sleep and relaxation. Soft blues, greens, and neutrals are known for their calming effects and can help you unwind at the end of the day. Avoid overly bright hues or stimulating patterns that might make it difficult to fall asleep. 

How to choose curtains for a restful bedroom atmosphere by Decorilla
Contemporary bedroom interior design by Decorilla

Pro tip: Extend curtain fabrics onto soft furnishings like cushions or a throw to create a cohesive and restful environment.

15. Coordinate With Bedding

How to choose curtains for a modern bedroom by Decorilla
Modern bedroom by Decorilla

Harmonizing your curtains with your bedding can create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. That doesn’t imply these elements must match perfectly; they should complement each other in style and color. Consider the primary hues in your bedding and choose curtains that feature similar shades or patterns. 

How to choose curtain color for a coastal bedroom by Decorilla
Coastal bedroom by Decorilla

Pro tip: If your bedding is patterned, opt for solid-colored curtains that pick up a key color from the pattern. Conversely, if the bedding is solid, you might choose patterned curtains to introduce complexity to your decor. 

16. Consider Length and Style

How to choose curtains for the bedroom like a pro by Decorilla
Luxury bedroom interior by Decorilla

Choose a length that complements your bedroom’s design and meets your functional needs. Long curtains are known to create a sense of drama and luxury. Curtains that puddle on the floor also add a romantic touch but require more maintenance to keep clean. Nevertheless, shorter curtains are often more practical, especially if there are heaters or furniture below the window. 

How to choose curtains for bedroom by Decorilla
Neutral curtains for bedroom by Decorilla

Pro tip: In bedrooms, opt for curtains that barely touch the floor for a clean look that requires minimal upkeep.

How to Choose Curtains FAQs

How to choose curtains for bedroom to maximize space by Decorilla
Minimal zen bedroom by Decorilla

Q: How often should I replace my curtains? 

A: It depends on the material and exposure to sunlight, but generally, it’s good to replace curtains every 5-7 years.

Q: Can I mix curtain patterns in the same room? 

A: Yes, you can mix patterns if they share a similar color scheme or style, but keep it balanced to avoid a cluttered look.

Q: Should all curtains in a house be the same?

A: Not necessarily. It’s okay to vary curtains between rooms to reflect different decors or functional needs, though some prefer continuity throughout the home.

Need help choosing curtains for your home?

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