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How do I choose curtains for my room?

Choosing the right curtains for your room involves factoring in practical elements like room and window sizes, along with your aesthetic preferences for style, fabric, color and pattern. Assessing your room’s size, shape, window measurements and lighting are key first steps for finding well-fitted, functional curtains tailored to your space. You’ll also want to consider how much privacy you need, and choose curtain styles and linings accordingly. Don’t forget to pick patterns, textures and colors that will look cohesive with your existing decor. With some thoughtful measurements and design decisions, you’ll end up with window dressings that suit both practical and stylistic needs.

How do I choose curtains for my room?

Measure Your Windows and Room Size

Before shopping, measure each window width and height as well as the room’s proportions to ensure proper fit:

  • Window height: Measure from the top of the rod’s planned placement to where you want curtains to fall – sill, floor or in between.
  • Window width: Measure across the entire window frame opening from edge to edge.
  • Room shape/size: Note room’s shape (square, rectangle etc) and dimensions. Tall ceilings? Wide room? This impacts style choices.

Knowing precise window sizes will ensure you buy curtains wide and long enough without excess fabric bunching or falling short. Assessing room shape and ceiling height guides aesthetics like curtain length and volume.

Consider Lighting and Your Needs for Privacy

Assess room lighting and consider privacy needs for functionality:

  • South-facing rooms receive significant sunlight, requiring offerings like blackout curtains.
  • Rooms facing public spaces or close neighbors may prioritize opaque curtains for privacy.
  • Rooms used day and night may need light-filtering sheers behind blackout panels.

List your room’s cardinal direction, noting lots of direct sun or public views. This informs not only style but also lining choices balancing aesthetics, light control and visibility from outside.

Choose a Style Compatible With Your Decor

Select a curtain style complementing your existing decor:

Casual styles: For relaxed rooms, consider breezy, natural styles like linen panels or tiered cotton curtains with tie-tops in neutral solids or simple patterns.

Formal styles: Formal spaces suit pleated or shirred curtains in silk, velvet or other luxe fabrics matching elegant surroundings.

Window architecture: Frame attractive exterior views by working styles and mounting into your windows’ structural details. Floor-to-ceiling, rod-pocket sheers maintain visibility and highlight trim.

Your room’s overall aesthetic helps guide appropriate styles, whether casual and breezy, formal luxury or window-framing transparency. Choose mounting and heading types that work with both permanent architectural elements and your removable decor.

Choose Fabrics Suited to Use and Care

Factor frequency of use, sunlight and cleaning method into fabric selection:

Light-filtering fabrics like casual cottons and linens suit low-traffic spaces and allow some sun through, requiring occasional gentle cleaning.

Lighter opaque fabrics like polished cotton sateen offer room-darkening qualities for daytime sleeping spaces, withstanding occasional machine washing on gentle cycles.

Heavy fabrics like velvets tolerate infrequent dry cleaning only, suiting formal living rooms or bedrooms drawing closed at night.

The right fabric increases durability, handles intended sunlight conditions, and sustains your preferred care method whether machine washable or dry clean only.

Select Colors and Patterns That Complement Your Decor

Choose colors and prints pairing attractively with room decor:

Color palette: Hold fabric swatches up to furniture, bedding and paint colors for attractive combinations high in contrast or coordinating tones.

Style cohesion: Keep overly embellished damasks or floral prints within grandmillennial spaces. Allow slim stripes to suit modern minimalism or graphic geometrics for contemporary rooms.

Texture mixing: Combine varying textures of complementary hues. For example, pair smooth, solid velvet panels with a nubby cotton area rug below in the exact same color.

Harmonious colors look cohesive and balanced rather than clashing. Patterns suit the room’s overall stylistic concept. Mix and match textures in same-toned fabrics for visual interest with a unified appearance.

Key Takeaways

  • Measure window and ceiling height and width to ensure proper curtain fit.
  • Factor in room orientation, sunlight and privacy considerations.
  • Choose styles, mountings and fabrics that coordinate with your permanent architectural and removable decorative elements.
  • Select colors, patterns and textures complementing existing aesthetics for a cohesive look.


Choosing new curtains requires assessing practical factors like window measurements and lighting alongside your personal taste. Define functional needs like blackout capabilities or sheers’ backlight filtering based on sun exposure. Collect exact window dimensions for proper length and width. Measure ceiling height impacting visual weight and volume. Note features like attractive exterior views or close proximity requiring privacy. With measurements and functional factors defined, select aesthetics using your space’s existing decor for guidance. Colors, patterns and textures should coordinate beautifully with your beds, furniture, paint and other fabrics already creating a cohesive style. With careful assessments and well-matched choices, you’ll achieve wonderfully fitted, functioning and fabulous curtains showcasing both practicality and polish.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What length curtains should I get?
    Choose curtain length based on personal preference, style and window size. Lengths range from sill length (just covering window sill) to floor length (puddling onto floor). Standard lengths fall anywhere from below apron trim to just above floor.

  2. How wide should curtains be?
    For proper coverage allowing minimal light leakage, curtains should extend 12-18 inches past window frames on each side, up to 2-3 times window’s width depending on style and fullness.

  3. What fabrics are best for bedrooms?
    Bedrooms suit light-filtering sheers able to dim incoming sunlight paired with room-darkening drapery panels blocking out daylight for sleeping. Choose soft, machine washable cottons or linens.

  4. What type of curtains are easiest to make?
    Rod pocket panels are simplest for beginner sewers. Hem top and bottom, leaving top long enough to feed onto rods. Sew one vertical side seam to create rod pocket channel.

  5. What curtains are trending right now?
    Breezy, casual curtains in natural fabrics like linen, cotton and jute suit 2023’s preference for relaxed, unfussy styles often framed by rattan, clay and wood textures.

  6. Should curtains match the walls?
    Not necessarily. Contrasting colors can make attractive pairings. However, be sure any stark whites don’t glare against warm painted walls. Undertones should coordinate.

  7. What color curtains go with grey walls?
    Soft greys beautifully pair with neutral taupes, creams or oatmeals as curtain colors. Crisp whites also suit. Bolder accent colors like navy, yellow and emerald green pop nicely against grey backdrops.

  8. What color curtains for what color walls?
    Warm paints like tans, aubergines, navies and emeralds match same-toned curtains. Cool greys and blues pair well with contrasting warm metals and naturals. Whites/patterns always work.

  9. What color curtains for white walls?
    Any color curtains enhance crisp white walls which provide a neutral backdrop. Go for contrasting deep hues or soft accent colors like champagne metallic sheers. Avoid matching pure whites.

  10. What color curtains for north facing room?
    North-facing rooms need warmth. Try touches like mustard or blush curtains against greige walls, or navy blue against warm white. Add texture and metallic sheen for depth against the flat light.

  11. What color curtains for south facing room?
    South-facing spaces need cooling hues like airy linens in foggy greys and greens against blue-grey walls. Accent boldly with cadmium yellow or vermillion red in small hits.

  12. What’s the most popular curtain style?
    Tiered curtains topping sheers rank amongst the most popular by combining softness with definition. Fashionable yet classic, the layered look provides dimension with flexibility in draw-open amounts.

  13. What curtains are in style 2024?
    Billowy, light-filtering linens and cottons in solid neutrals or simple vertical stripes suit 2024’s casual, unfussy aesthetic often contrasted by wood, cane and ceramic textures.

  14. What should living room curtains match?
    Match length first, mounting next and style/color last. Length should appear purposeful relate to architecture, ranging from puddled to slightly above floor. Mount inside frames using pole pockets or cleanly outside with grommets. Finally style and hues should coordinate with paint, furniture finishes and textile patterns already establishing an aesthetic.

  15. What are the best curtains for bedroom?
    Bedrooms need blockout panels layered behind sheers. Colors should remain soft and peaceful. Match lengths to window height, mounting within frames using simple pole pockets or noise-muffling rings. Select cottons or linen providing adequate darkening and gentle texture.

  16. What type of curtains keep a room the coolest?
    Sheer organza, lace and linen filter sunlight’s rays but allow air circulation, maintaining cooler temperatures. Light hues reflect heat whereas darker colors absorb warmth. Ensure western sun exposures have adequate window coverings. Close fully at peak daytime hours, drawing back open for cross breezes at cooler times.

  17. What are the best ready made curtains?
    For quality yet convenience, brands like Serena & Lily and Pottery Barn offer attractive classic styles in trustworthy natural fibers like Belgian Linen and 100% cotton. Adjust fit by selecting exact lengths and widths needed per window. Ensure presence of both sheers and shades/panels for layered light control.

  18. What are the best blackout curtains?
    For room-darkening effectiveness, leading manufacturers like Niche and Coolaroo use dense fabrics with blackout thermal linings and side hemming to prevent light filtering in. Blinds with curtains increase efficacy. Maintain darkness further by mounting curtains high and wide with ring/tab tops outside frames.

  19. How wide should living room curtains be?
    Floor-to ceiling looks require 3× the window’s width. For casual coziness, extend just past frames’ edges using 2× their width. Width depends on functional needs like insulating for heat/cooling retention and desired aesthetic ranging from subtly framed to lavishly draped. Measure precisely for minimal gaps.

  20. How do I know if my curtains are too long?
    If puddling curtains look overwhelming rather than luxurious, they likely appear too long. Visually balance proportions by hanging rods higher, closer to ceiling. Hemming above floor helps but risks too much light gap at bottoms. For shortened looks, add waistline tiebacks or mount high-and-low styles staggered vertically.

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