Using curtains is an easy and affordable way to change the look and feel of a room. An important consideration when selecting curtain colors is how the curtains will impact the perceived size of the room. Certain curtain colors and patterns can make a room appear larger and more spacious, while others may make it feel smaller and more closed in. This article will explore what curtain colors work best to visually expand a room.
Factors That Impact How Big a Room Looks
Several key factors influence how large or small a room appears, including:
- Actual dimensions of the room – larger rooms appear bigger
- Wall color
- Furniture size and arrangement
- Flooring color/pattern
- Quantity and size of windows
- Ceiling height
Smart use of curtains can enhance some of these elements to create the illusion of a larger space.
Best Curtain Colors for an Expansive Look
In most cases, lighter or brighter curtain colors will make a room feel bigger, while darker hues tend to close a room in. Here are the best curtain shades for opening up a space visually:
- White or ivory – reflect light extremely well to brighten up a room
- Soft yellows/cream – warm neutrals also reflect light
- Light greys or tans
These light backgrounds help walls appear further away. They make an interior feel airy and spacious.
Pastels and Warm Hues
Softer shades like:
- Baby blue
- Soft peach
- Light sage green
While not as bright as pure whites, these pleasant pastels reflect some light to subtly expand a small room.
- White or pastel sheers under darker drapes diffuse light beautifully throughout a room. This makes the interior glow with light.
Sheer under-curtains scattered sunlight to brighten up shadowed corners effectively.
Worst Curtain Colors for Small Rooms
On the other end of the spectrum, some curtain shades will unfortunately emphasize limitations in a room’s dimensions. Avoid these colors for visual space:
Dark or Intense Hues
- Dark red, purple, emerald
- Navy blue
Darker colors absorb light rather than reflect it. This can make a room feel cavelike.
Bold Prints and Patterns
- Large plaids
- High contrast patterns
Busier prints overwhelm the eyes, making walls feel closer. Stick to solid colors or subtle patterns instead.
Tips for Making Rooms Appear Larger
A few simple guidelines will ensure your curtains make your room feel as expansive as possible:
Hang Curtains High and Wide
Mount curtain rods or tracks as close to the ceiling as possible. Extend rods past the window frame by 3-12 inches on either side. Both techniques enhance the illusion of higher ceilings and wider walls.
Select Sheer + Solid Sets
Pair a light-filtering sheer behind a room-matching solid curtain. Diffused light entering around and through the sheers brightens up the whole interior. The colored top layer then stops glare without darkening.
Adjust Opacity and Volume
Lighter, breezier curtains maintain an airy aesthetic. While billowing sheers enhance spaciousness, heavy swaths of opaque fabric weigh down a room. Adjust fabric density and fullness to find the right balance for light diffusion and size perspective.
Use Bright Colors Strategically
Sometimes dark curtains provide needed insulation or privacy. In those cases, brighten up other areas to compensate. Paint interior walls light neutral colors or offset necessary blackout curtains with light area rugs and lamp shades. Just avoid heavy, dark fabrics everywhere to prevent a gloomy, cramped feeling.
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Key Takeaways: What Curtain Colors Make Rooms Look Bigger
- Lighter neutral solids like white, ivory, tan, and light grey reflect the most light, making rooms appear larger.
- Softer pastels like sage green, lavender, and peach also brighten up space.
- Sheer curtains diffuse light evenly throughout an interior.
- Dark colors like black and navy blue absorb light and can make rooms feel small and dark.
- Large prints and bold patterns overwhelm eyes, so stick to solid colors.
- Mount curtain rods high and extend them wider than the window for an expanded look.
- Combining sheers and colored curtains balances light diffusion with privacy.
A room’s proportions can be enhanced with the right curtains. When trying make a space appear larger, opt for light neutral solids, pastels, or breezy sheers hung high and wide around each window. Avoid heavy fabrics in dark or intense colors. With smart color and mounting selections, curtains present an easy way to visually expand any small room.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What color makes a small room look bigger?
Lighter colors like off-white, light grey, or soft pastels make rooms look more expansive by reflecting light around the room. Darker colors tend to make rooms feel smaller.
- Do white curtains make a room look bigger?
Yes, white curtains make rooms look larger by maximizing light reflection and diffusion into a space. The bright, airy look makes walls seem farther apart.
- What is the best color to make a room look bigger?
Painting walls white or off-white does the most to make a room appear larger. For curtains specifically, lighter solid shades like white, cream, or pale yellow reflect light extremely well to visibly enlarge a space.
- What curtain color makes a room look taller?
Mounting curtain rods or tracks as close to the ceiling as possible helps a room feel taller. Hanging curtains high gives the illusion of a higher ceiling.
- Do curtains make a room look smaller?
Dark, dense, or heavily patterned curtains can make a room feel enclosed and smaller. But light, breezy sheers and airy fabrics in light colors have the opposite effect – making rooms feel more expansive.
- What color furniture makes a room look bigger?
Just like pale walls and curtains, lighter-toned furniture visually expands a small space by reflecting rays around the room. Round or clear pieces also take up less visual space.
- Do large windows make a room look bigger?
Yes. Large windows, especially height-maximizing floor-to-ceiling ones, make a room feel much larger by connecting the indoor area with outdoor light and space.
- What is the best paint color to make a room look bigger?
Light, cool paint colors like airy pastels, greys, and muted blues are great for making walls recede. Soft shades visually expand rooms better than white or bold paint colors.
- Should curtains touch the floor?
Not necessarily. Curtains that puddle slightly on the floor look elegant and frame windows beautifully. But stopping just above or just touching floor height maintains an airy, expansive look better for small spaces.
- What color carpet makes a room look bigger?
Light-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, especially in beige or grey tones, makes rooms appear larger. But smaller area rugs in almost any color can define cozy spaces without tightening a room.
- What color blinds make a room look bigger?
You can’t go wrong with white or other pale blinds. Light-hued shades in creamy vanilla, almond, and wheat reflect sunlight well to make rooms feel more open and airy.
- How do you decorate a room to make it look larger?
Arranging furniture compactly, maximizing vertical space with tall shelving, minimizing clutter, and using glass items all visibly expand small areas. But perhaps most impactful is sticking to light paint and fabric colors.
- Can curtains change a room?
Absolutely! Curtain updates can dramatically alter the look, ambiance, and even perceived size of a room. Changes like color, fabric, length, or mounting height modify light filtration and enclosure.
- Do sheer curtains really work?
Sheers brilliantly diffuse incoming light to prevent glare and give an airy feel. Softening sunlight fills a whole room evenly with a brighter, expansive glow. Sheers make interiors feel significantly less gloomy or confined.
- Which is better light filtering or blackout curtains?
It depends on your needs! Light-filtering curtains maintain outside views and airiness while blocking glare. Opaque blackout versions provide room-darkening insulation. Combine both sheer and blackout tiers for maximum versatility.
- Do skylights make a room look bigger?
Yes. Skylights introduce expansive lighting, presence of sky, and heightened ceilings – all tricks that make rooms feel much larger. Even artificial skylights mimic these enlarging effects.
- Does wall color affect room size?
Wall color significantly impacts the apparent proportions of a space. Dark paint makes walls visually advance and close in an area. Using light paint tricks walls into receding to open up the whole interior.
- Should you hang curtains higher to make ceilings look taller?
Yes, mounting curtains higher than the window height gives the illusion of elongated walls and higher ceilings. Extending rods wider than windows has a similar spatial effect.
- Do floor-to-ceiling curtains make rooms feel smaller?
They can. The eye tends to focus on the endpoint of fabric, so curtains hanging from ceiling to floor emphasize the vertical restrictions of a space. Keeping window treatments above the floor maintains airiness.
- Should you avoid patterns like to make small rooms feel bigger?
Yes, bold prints and patterns tend to overwhelm the eyes in a confined area. The busyness makes walls feel closer together. Choose solid colored curtains or subtle patterns instead.