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How to Make Your Curtains Look Expensive?

Curtains can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a room. Having luxurious, high-end curtains automatically elevates the aesthetic and creates an atmosphere of refinement. However, designer curtains often come with expensive price tags that aren’t accessible for everyone. With some clever tricks, you can make affordable curtains look like they cost much more without breaking the bank. This article explores easy, budget-friendly ideas to make any curtains appear rich, lush and elegant.

How to Make Your Curtains Look Expensive?

Select the Right Fabrics

One of the easiest ways to make curtains look expensive is through your choice of materials. The fabric is the star of the show when it comes to curtains, so opting for luxe-looking textiles goes a long way towards establishing high-end style. Some affordable fabrics that mimic luxury options include:

  • Faux Silks: These polyester fabrics mimic the texture and sheen of real silk for a fraction of the price. They come in gorgeous, rich solid colors and shimmering satins that look elegant as curtains.
  • Velvets: Cotton velvet curtains in jewel-toned colors look plush and formal when dressed with ornate decorative rod hardware.
  • Faux Linens: Textured linen-look curtains made from synthetic fibers provide dimension and interest.
  • Faux Chenille: This very thick, soft fabric provides beautiful draping effects.
  • Cotton Velour: Cotton velour has a velvet-like plush feel and comes in vivid solids and patterns.
  • Thick Faux Fur: A lush, long-fumbled faux fur on curtain panels adds untold elegance and sophistication.

The most realistic imitation fabrics typically cost more than basic polyester curtains but are still reasonably priced compared to actual silks or velvets. Choose fabrics in darker, richer tones over pale pastels for the most striking upscale look.

Invest in Quality Hardware

No expensive-looking curtain is complete without high-end hardware tying the whole window treatment together visually. Pay attention to the finials, rods and rings you select to take the curtains into truly luxurious territory through metallic shines and carved details. Some top hardware picks include:

  • Ornate Bronze or Nickel Finials: Look for finishes with etched filigree-like detailing or crystal/faux gemstone elements.
  • Thick Rods and Poles: Thicker hardware looks more upscale than thin, wimpy rods. Aim for 1-3 inch diameters.
  • Decorative Curtain Rings with Clip Tops: Pinch pleat tops with embellished ring fasteners add a delicate designer touch.
  • Roped Curtain Tiebacks: For a five star hotel vibe, integrate tasseled rope tiebacks in coordinating metallic hues.

You can buy very elegant looking hardware pieces that coordinate beautifully with faux designer fabrics without overspending.

Mind the Details Through Styling Techniques

When it comes to curtains, sweating the small styling details pays off exponentially. Take the time to implement these techniques for next-level expensive appearance:

  • Choose Longer Lengths: Floor puddling curtains instantly class up a room so consider lengths that kiss the floor. Hang curtain rods higher and wider than the window frame itself.
  • Add Lining: A matching lightweight lining helps fancier curtain fabrics hang properly, move fluidly and stack neatly when opened.
  • Crisp Pleat Tops: Taking the time to perfectly pinch pleat the tops of the curtains makes them look professionally done.
  • Utilize Layering: Hang sheer behind richer fabrics to play with dimension and textures for a glam designer touch.
  • Embrace Symmetry: Make sure you have two matching panels spaced symmetrically on both sides of the window.

These subtle choices lend curtains an orderly, bespoke aesthetic that reads expensive and polished.

Incorporate Dimension Through Layers

One of the hallmarks of high-end curtains is abundant dimension. Layer lighter and heavier fabrics to create interesting contrasts and textures within the window treatments. Some easy layering concepts include:

  • Sheer Curtains Behind Blackout Curtains: Achieve both privacy and softness.
  • Matching Valances Over Main Curtains: Define the architecture of the window area.
  • Contrasting Throw Swags Over Base Curtains: Add Baroque flair.
  • PairCafe Curtains with Floor Length Drapes: Mix cottage and formal.
  • Roman Shades Beneath Sheers: Play with opacity.

Build out a layered curtain scenario slowly over time to spread out costs. The sheer abundance of fabrics makes everything look infallibly grandiose.

Add Opulent Embellishments

Historically, ornamentation equaled luxury. Don’t be afraid to add decadent decorative touches on and around curtains to mimic palatial aesthetics. Ideas for fancy enhancements include:

  • Tassels and Trim: Adorn curtain edges with long, swinging metal, silk or twisted cord tassels. Contrast woven trims stitched on add ornamentation.
  • Banding: Vertical strips of passementerie, grosgrain ribbon or decorative fringe bands build in detail.
  • Lavish Tiebacks: Find large tiebacks with beads, crystals, golden leaves, carved flowers, feathers or faux jewels for ultra dramatic hold back style.
  • Ornate Holdbacks: Look for external hardware pieces that mount into the wall with scrolling metalwork flourishes.
  • Artisan Pleats: Hand-tack pleats, cartridge pleats and pinch pleats manipulate fabric in clusters for richness.
  • Textural Weaves: Choose fabrics with visible high-low groupings of threads and fibers for organic patterning.

Visually interesting curtains command attention and speak to custom design qualities found in spaces like royal castles and manors around the world.

{{< youtube CwQyxyOcN-4 >}} Watch this quick video for more budget ideas to make cheap curtains look expensive.

Key Takeaways

  • Select affordable imitation fabrics like faux silks and cotton velvets over cheaper polyester basics. The thicker and richer the fabrics look, the more expensive the curtains appear.
  • Invest in upgraded metal hardware like textured rods, crystal finials and ornate rings for a wealthier aesthetic.
  • Implement stylistic details like floor-length cuts, crisply pinched pleats and perfectly symmetrical panels.
  • Build out dimension through layered sheers, matching swags and multi-length pairing.
  • Think embellishments! Source tiebacks, trims, tassels, fringes and bands for extra decorative details.


With some savvy selecting and strategic styling, you can transform bargain curtains into beautiful bespoke window treatments. Follow the tips above for choosing elite looking fabrics, accessories and construction approaches suitable for royalty. The right textures, abundant dimensions and ornate decorative touches build perceived value. With a little creativity, it’s surprisingly easy to make inexpensive curtains rival the look of elite designer originals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the best fabrics for expensive looking curtains?
    Some top picks are faux silks, cotton velvets, thick faux furs, textured linens and cotton velours. Aim for fabrics that mimic luxury textiles at accessible prices in rich, saturated solid colors.

  2. Should curtains puddle on the floor?
    Yes, for formal spaces floor length curtains help rooms feel grand and expensive. Hang rods wider and higher than windows themselves to enable ample puddling.

  3. How wide should curtain hardware rods be?
    1-3 inch diameters tend to look best. Scaled up hardware makes more visual impact over standard skinny rods.

  4. What type of pleats make curtains appear high-end?
    Crisply tacked symmetrical pinch pleats at the tops of curtains look custom made. Cartridge pleats and hand-sewn clusters also read luxury.

  5. What kind of embellishments add perceived value to curtains?
    Tassels, trims, fringe bands, textural ribbon borders, hand-tacked pleats, large tiebacks and holdbacks all take curtains up to the next level through ornamentation.

  6. Should you hang sheers behind or in front of main curtains?
    Typically sheers layered behind heavier primary window panel fabrics looks best. The transparency of sheers prevents obscuring intricate expensive patterns and details.

  7. Do more curtain panels equal a richer look?
    Yes, buying multiples of the same panels to stack wider on big picture windows implies custom size and grandeur.

  8. How important is high quality hardware?
    The right finials, rods, holdbacks and pleat tops are make-or-break. Bronzes, carved wood, crystal and ornately etched metals help average curtains look elite.

  9. What type of lining helps curtains hang nicely?
    Light cotton sateen lining is ideal. It adds body for beautiful draping without making curtains too heavy. Match colors closely to base fabrics.

  10. Which rooms look best with fancy curtains?
    Living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and studies take well to upgraded window treatments. Baths and kitchens tend towards simpler window dressing.

  11. Should you invest more in curtains or curtain rods?
    The fabrics are the true stars so allocate more of your budget to the panels themselves over hardware. Cheap curtains on nice rods still look cheap.

  12. Do wide curtains make small rooms appear larger?
    Yes, generous cut floor-to-ceiling curtains draw eyes up vertically giving illusion of higher ceilings. Wider widths also make windows feel bigger.

  13. What colors make a room feel luxurious?
    Deep, saturated jewel tones and metallics like emerald green, burgundy, sapphire blue, gold and silver read especially expensive and formal. Crisp brights also attract attention.

  14. Should living room and bedroom curtains coordinate?
    Ideally, yes – connect spaces through matching colors and trim embellishments. Vary lengths and pair different companion fabrics to differentiate functionality.

  15. Do patterned or solid curtains look more expensive?
    For curtains, rich solids typically achieve a more formal, tailored look over busy patterns. Intricate damask or tapestry prints can work in traditional décor though.

  16. How much fabric do you need for basic window curtains?
    As a rule of thumb, buy 2-3x the width of window frames. For floor length also account for sufficient vertical yardage top to bottom rods.

  17. Where can I buy affordable designer-looking curtains on a budget?
    Amazon, fabric and craft stores like JoAnn, overstock outlets like Tuesday Morning, discount home goods stores like HomeGoods, and budget mail order sites like Lush Décor offer deals. Scope sales.

  18. Should curtain heights match in one room?
    It’s best if curtains flanking one window or mirrors/artwork installed above complementary pieces like sofas coordinate in height and style. Hanging them at slightly different levels looks uneven.

  19. Can you make curtain panels from bed sheets or tablecloths?
    Yes! Repurposing vintage linens like embroidered sheets into curtain panels adds perceived value through uniqueness and handmade appeal. Hit thrift stores hunting for monogrammed finds.

  20. Should living and dining spaces share curtain designs?
    If the rooms flow openly into each other without separation, matching window treatments can help unite zones. Tie spaces together with color palettes or trim embellishments. Vary functional layers as needed per use.

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