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How to make cheap curtains look expensive?

Decorating your home beautifully doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can make inexpensive curtains look far more high-end with some simple tricks. Follow this guide to transforming bargain finds into curtains that appear custom-made.

How to make cheap curtains look expensive?

Choose fabrics and textures strategically

The fabric itself plays a major role in creating the impression of quality. Skip flimsy, lightweight materials and opt for textiles with more structure and thickness. Some affordable options that mimic luxury fabrics include:

  • Faux silks with a subtle sheen
  • Light-filtering linens and cotton blends
  • Textured wovens like jacquard and brocade
  • Faux velvets with dense pile

Consider lining your curtains as well for extra fullness and flow. Light-diffusing sheers mounted behind richer swags can also add dimension while keeping costs low.

Focus on the finishing details

Once you’ve chosen fabrics with the right look and feel, the hardware and adjustments will refine the overall aesthetic. Take time to add special touches like:

  • Elegant decorative finials, rings, and holdbacks
  • Contrasting bands, trims or fringe along edges
  • Subtle shaping through precise side hems and corner miters
  • Layering panels and scarves for height and volume

Don’t forget the hanging rods themselves. Upgrade basic metal rails to wood or brushed steel for a quick but impactful detail.

Size up for a custom appearance

Oversized curtains make a huge visual impact and immediately give off custom vibes. When mounting your panels, extend rod mounts wider than the windows themselves. This technique showcases more of the pattern and fabric texture while magnifying the sense spaciousness.

To keep proportions balanced, allow swags to generously puddle on the floor. The added yardage eliminates any appearance of skimping.

Mind the lighting

Light manipulation is key for any room but it takes curtains to the next level visually. Place rods well above the window frames and use sheers behind blackout panels. This combination diffuses incoming light, reducing harsh shadows and bright spots.

The muted, ambient lighting contributes an expensive, intentional look impossible to achieve with bare windows alone. Just adjust panels to control mood and transform the space from day to night.

Iron out every detail

Wrinkled, messy curtains undermine all your efforts in an instant. But nicely pressed treatments signal time, resources and meticulous care – the epitome of luxury.

Along with removing creases, pay attention to hanging panels just so. Take time to arrange overlapping folds and make sure lengths are even all the way across.

It’s equally important to keep dust and sunlight damage at bay in between presses. Consider lining main panels if possible or rotating stock to extend their life. A perfectionist level of care makes even bargain buys look like a million bucks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose fabrics with texture and weight like faux silks and velvets
  • Upgrade basic rods and add finials, tiebacks and fringe
  • Go wider and longer than windows for a custom look
  • Use sheers behind blackouts to control light perfectly
  • Neatly press and hang panels to maintain a polished effect


With some clever tricks – rich fabrics, high-end details, oversized sizing and meticulous care – basic curtains transform into showstoppers. Following these guidelines lets you decorate with panache on a budget. Prioritize texture and display when sourcing panels to mimic luxury. Then focus on hardware, lighting and precise installations for a custom, expensive aesthetic in any room.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the best curtains to make cheap ones look expensive?
    Some affordable fabrics that mimic high-end curtains include faux silks, light-filtering sheers, textured jacquards and patterned brocades. Linen and cotton blends also create the impression of quality.

  2. Should you hang curtains wider than the window?
    Yes, extending curtain rods several inches wider than the actual windows creates a custom, luxurious look. The more fabric on display, the more impressive the panels appear.

  3. Do expensive curtains have blackout linings?
    Blackout linings help block light but also provide insulation, so they are common in high-end curtains. Combining these linings with separate sheers is a designer trick to control both privacy and light diffusion.

  4. What hardware makes cheap curtains look designer?
    Upgrading basic metal rods to wood, wrought iron or brushed steel implies quality. Decorative touches like carved finials, holdbacks and textured rings also contribute to an overall custom aesthetic.

  5. Should curtain panels puddle on the floor?
    Long panels that generously puddle on the floor help inexpensive curtains emulate the appearance of custom treatments. The excess fabric adds volume and drama while concealing skimping.

  6. Is it better to hang curtain panels high or low?
    Placing rods well above the window frame and mounting panels near the ceiling draws the eye up to maximize height. It also allows more light diffusion for a soft, expensive look.

  7. Why iron and press curtains properly?
    Wrinkled, messy curtains look cheap and dated regardless of the fabric. But crisply pressed treatments signal meticulous care and attention to detail, hallmarks of designer quality.

  8. Should both curtains be the same length?
    Hanging panels unevenly signals lower standards while uniform lengths on both sides appear neater and more upscale. Taking time to precision-cut edges sharpens the overall look.

  9. How do you keep curtains looking new longer?
    Lining main panels and rotating stock helps maintain the color and structure of fabric over time. Keeping treatments dust-free and out of direct light also prevents premature aging.

  10. What’s the best way to hang curtain panels?
    Arrange overlapping folds in an orderly, consistent pattern across panels for a neat finish. Precisely mounting rods and ensuring even lengths all the way across also prevents a sloppy, inexpensive look.

  11. Can you make sheer curtains look expensive?
    Light-diffusing sheers layered behind richer swags or shades immediately class up a space. Upgrading to sheers with texture and luminous metallic accents also takes them to the next level.

  12. Is it better to have curtains floor length?
    Yes, puddling panels in a generous floor-length silhouette speaks to custom design rather than budget cuts. Allow at least 2 to 3 extra inches for a slight pooling effect if floor length isn’t possible.

  13. Should you tailor ready-made curtains?
    Simple adjustments like side hems, corner mitering and added header bands customize the fit and finish. DIY alternatives like trim, fringe or decorative beading also transform ready-mades from basic to beautiful.

  14. Do designer curtains have lining?
    Many high-end, custom curtains feature partial or full linings not only to block light and insulate but also provide body, structure and a luxurious hand or drape.

  15. What color curtains make a room look bigger?
    Light, bright colors like white and ivory reflect the most light to recede visually. Neutral earth tones, sheer panels and muted stripes also maximize the feeling of spaciousness.

  16. What fabric is used for expensive curtains?
    Luxurious curtain fabrics span from ornate brocades and dense chenille to faux silk, linen, embroidered mesh and patterned jacquards. Natural fibers like Belgian linen as well as velvets imply quality.

  17. How much do custom curtains cost per window?
    Professionally made couture curtains range from $1,000 for a single window up to $20,000 or more for elaborate treatments in larger spaces featuring hand workmanship and premium materials.

  18. Should you buy curtains a width larger?
    Going a size wider accommodates extra gathering volume for a richer, ruffled effect. Wider also allows more adjustability to prevent light gaps on installation.

  19. Do thick curtains block more light?
    Thicker, more structured fabrics inherently provide more light blocking. But adding blackout lining to any panels amps up darkness and insulation most effectively – even with sheers.

  20. Why are designer curtains so expensive?
    From structured custom fabrics to precise tailoring and workmanship, luxury treatment costs reflect both material and labor investment. Design fees, specialty hardware and installation also add up.


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