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Do curtains make a room bigger?

When working with a small room, it can be challenging to make the most of the square footage. However, there are decorative tricks that can help a room appear larger and more spacious. One such trick is to use curtains to visually expand the room. Curtains can make small rooms seem bigger in a few key ways:

Do curtains make a room bigger?

How Curtains Visually Expand a Room

  • Create illusion of depth
  • Allow more natural light
  • Draw the eye upward
  • Make walls appear farther apart

Carefully choosing the right curtains and rod placement for your space can work wonders. Read on to learn more about how to use curtains to make a room look bigger.

Do Curtains Make Rooms Look Bigger?

Yes, curtains can make a small room look bigger in three main ways:

  1. Curtains add the illusion of depth to walls
  2. Curtains allow more natural light into a space
  3. Curtains draw the eye upward and make walls seem farther apart

Curtains Create Illusion of Depth

One way curtains make rooms appear larger is by adding a layered, textured look to walls, creating the illusion of depth. This effect tricks the eye into perceiving more space.

  • Hang floor to ceiling curtains: Install the curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible, and choose long curtains that pool onto the floor. This makes walls seem significantly taller.
  • Layer curtains: Hang sheer and solid panels together. The lighter and heavier fabrics will make the window area seem deeper.
  • Choose patterned fabrics: Busy patterns and vivid colors are another simple way to create more visual interest and fake depth.

Let In Natural Light

Another way curtains make a room look bigger is by allowing plentiful natural light to fill the space. When a room is washed in light, it erases the appearance of boundaries and makes a room feel more expansive.

  • Sheer panel curtains are essential for small, dark rooms. They filter bright daylight without completely blocking it out.
  • For maximum light, opt for sheer white or neutral toned curtains. Stay away from heavy opaque fabrics in dark colors, which can make a room feel cave-like.
  • East facing rooms get beautiful morning light but can become intensely hot in the afternoon. West facing rooms receive lovely afternoon and evening light. Place your sheer curtains accordingly to capitalize on the best light.

Draw Eyes Upwards

Hanging curtains from ceiling to floor makes walls appear significantly taller, which also expands the look of a room.

  • The tallest curtains that pool slightly onto the floor create the illusion of lofted, two-story ceilings.
  • Vertical details like long draping curtains, tall rods, and floor-to-ceiling sheers draw eyes upwards, making ceilings seem higher and rooms feel more airy.

Essentially, the more vertical components you can add to windows through curtains and rods, the taller your walls and ceilings will seem.

Best Ways to Hang Curtains to Maximize Space

To create the maximum impression of space with curtains, pay attention to rod height, curtain length, and panel layering:

  1. Install Floor to Ceiling Rods

Hang curtain rods just below the ceiling to draw eyes upwards and create a feeling of expanded height in the room. Measure closely so rod brackets align neatly near the corners where wall meets ceiling.

  1. Choose Extra Long Curtains

For floor to ceiling curtains, calculate your curtain length by multiplying the ceiling height by 1.5. This allows ample fabric to elegantly puddle onto floor. Adding a delicate sheer under layer prevents opaque fabric weights from pulling curtains down unevenly.

  1. Layer Sheers Underneath

Layer in lighter sheer or lace panels behind your main curtains. The see-through fabrics maintain light while the opaque fabrics frame windows beautifully. The contrast makes windows appear set back and adds needed depth.

Curtain Design Tricks for Small Spaces

When using curtains to expand a small space, consider a few key design details:

Draw The Eye Outward

  • Widen window frames visually: Use side curtain panels that extend well past the window trim to widen the window’s presence.
  • Open rooms to outside views: Crystal clear sheers and minimal patterned curtains allow unobstructed views of lush outdoor scenery, connecting interior and exterior visually.

Maintain Plentiful Light

  • Favor lighter toned neutrals and whites for the most light reflection. For darker spaces, consider metallic sheers to bounce more light around.
  • Sheers should always be hung as an interior layer to preserve incoming natural light.

Stick With Vertical Lines

  • Bold horizontal patterns or details can cut a room short visually. Instead stick to vertical details and lines to draw eyes upwards.
  • Long draping curtain panels, extended rods, floor-to-ceiling sheers are all great vertical components to draw the eyes up.

Consider Lighting Too

Proper lighting and illumination also influence how large a room feels. Dark gloomy spaces will always feel smaller and more cramped. Consider the following quick tips:

  • Allow ample natural light during daytime hours through breezy sheers.
  • Use lighter color palettes for paint, furniture, and decor to prevent a cave-like feeling.
  • Add mirrors and metallic touches to reflect and bounce light around the room.
  • Use accent lighting in darker corners to create a welcoming glow in the evenings.

With the right curtain tricks and thoughtful lighting, even the tiniest rental rooms can take on a new expansive feeling.

Key Takeaways

  • Install floor to ceiling rods and long curtains to draw eyes upwards making rooms feel taller.
  • Layer sheer and solid panels to add depth to flat walls around windows.
  • Opt for breezy, light-filtering sheers to allow bright natural daylight to fill rooms.
  • Incorporate vertical lines through rod choice and curtain panels to expand space.
  • Reflect light using mirrors and metallic decor to brighten up small dark rooms.


Curtains can make a tremendous visual impact and really do make rooms appear significantly larger, mainly by opening up interior space vertically. Hanging extended rods high near ceilings instantly draws eyes upward. Pairing airy sheers and billowing floor-length opaque curtains creates the illusion of depth around windows. Finally, allowing plentiful sunlight to cascade into rooms erases the appearance of boundaries altogether.

With just curtains and thoughtful placement, you can entirely transform a cramped room into a sanctuary flooded with light and space. It is truly amazing what the right window treatments can do for small square footage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How wide should curtains be for small windows?
    For small windows, choose a curtain width 2-3 times the width of the window. This creates an illusion of expanded space on either side.
  1. Should you hang curtains higher to make ceilings look taller?
    Yes, install floor-to-ceiling rods positioned as close to the ceiling as possible. Super long curtains draw the eyes up which makes rooms feel more vertically spacious.
  1. Do sheer curtains make rooms brighter?
    Yes, light breezy sheers allow plentiful natural light to filter into dark spaces making rooms brighter and appear larger. Opt for crisp white or neutral toned sheers.
  1. What is the best color curtains for a small room?
    Lighter toned neutral and white curtains tend to make rooms feel larger and brighter. Bolder color choices can make spaces feel smaller. Stick to airy sheers in soft toned colors.
  1. Should living room curtains touch the floor?
    Yes, for the living room choose long curtains that puddle elegantly onto the floor, making walls seem significantly taller. Layer with breezy sheers to allow sunlight to filter through.
  1. How long should bedroom curtains be?
    For bedrooms as well, select super long curtains that pool at the floor, approximately 1.5 times your ceiling height. The vertical lines elongate the room’s proportions.
  1. Do floor length curtains make ceilings look higher?
    Yes absolutely! By drawing the eyes from top to bottom with floor length curtains you trick the eye into perceiving a taller ceiling height and expanded vertical space.
  1. Should curtain rod be wider than window?
    Yes, extending the rod a few inches wider than the window frame on either side visually expands the window’s presence making it seem larger.
  1. What curtains make a house look bigger?
    Long floor-length curtains, extended curtain rods, layered panels of sheers and opaque fabrics, and lighter toned neutral colors make homes seem significantly larger.
  1. Do curtains make kitchen look bigger?
    Yes! To make kitchens appear larger, hang breezy sheers on lower portion of windows over the sink. Opt for opaque fabrics in complementary colors on upper portions to frame beautifully.
  1. Should you put sheers under curtains?
    Yes layering sheers underneath opaque curtain panels allows copious sunlight to enter while also framing windows nicely. The dimension expands the window area.
  1. Is having no curtains better for small rooms?
    For brighter, airier small rooms consider skipping heavy opaque panels and only install breezy light sheers instead. Uncovered windows also connect interior rooms to lush outdoor views.
  1. What color sheers make rooms look bigger?
    Soft white and very light neutrals allow the most light reflection, making rooms appear bright and expansive. Bold darker toned sheers can make spaces feel smaller.
  1. Should one hang curtains above or below molding?
    For maximum height, hang rods touching the ceiling above any molding or architectural details. This draws eyes up and makes rooms feel significantly taller.
  1. Do Valances make windows look wider?
    Yes, valances draw attention to the horizontality of windows, visually expanding them wider. Pair with long draping panels to draw eyes upwards as well creating an expanded window zone.
  1. Should living room curtains puddle on floor?
    Yes! Choosing extra long living room curtains that pool elegantly on the floor makes the room feel grand and double height. Layer breezy sheers behind to allow light through.
  1. Do floor to ceiling curtains close out a room?
    No, quite the opposite! Hanging breezy sheers floor to ceiling actually makes rooms feel significantly more open, bright and vertically expanded.
  1. What length curtains make room look bigger?
    Opt for long, floor length curtains approximately 1.5 times your ceiling height. These super long panels draw eyes up vertically, making rooms appear taller and more expansive.
  1. Should curtains cover radiator?
    Check your radiator’s output but generally keeping them uncovered helps heat circulate better. Place sofas, chairs and curtains safely away from hot steam ventilation areas.
  1. Do blackout curtains make room look bigger?
    Blackout curtains in darker opaque fabrics can actually make spaces feel smaller and closed in. Opt for blackout liner shades paired with light filtering sheers instead for depth.

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