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Which curtains are best for living room?

The living room is often the centerpiece of a home, a welcoming space to relax and entertain guests. Choosing the right curtains is key to tying the room together visually and setting the desired ambiance.

Which curtains are best for living room?

When selecting living room curtains, consider factors like privacy, light control, style, and durability. The best curtains for living rooms complement your decor, insulate effectively, and stand the test of time.

Use curtains to control light and privacy

Curtains serve the practical functions of managing sunlight and visibility in living rooms. Consider:

  • Privacy level – Sheer, layered, or blackout curtains offer varying privacy levels. Choose sheer curtains if you want soft filtered light. Opt for thick, layered curtains or blackouts to block street views and enable sleeping. Consider moving vehicles or pedestrians likely to peer in.
  • Window direction – South-facing windows receive the most light. North-facing ones get ambient or indirect light. Use thicker blackout curtains for southern windows subject to prolonged sunlight. Lightweight sheers may suffice for northern windows depending on your privacy and insulation needs.
  • Insulation – During warm months, closed thick curtains can lower indoor temperature by up to 20°F by insulating against heat gain from windows. In winter, opened curtains let welcoming sunlight in and trap warmed air better than blinds.

Complement your living room’s decor

Your curtains should integrate into your living room’s decor and design.

  • Match or coordinate the color and pattern of your curtains to your walls, furniture, and other fabrics in the room. Contrasting colors can make curtains stand out as a unique decorative focal point.
  • For formal living rooms, choose luxurious curtains made of silk, velvet, brocade or faux silk. Casual living rooms can rock breezy linen or cotton curtains.
  • Floor-length curtains extending to the ceiling make living rooms feel cozy and elegant. Pooled curtains gathered elegantly on the floor add a luxe vibe.
  • For small living rooms, opt for simple tailored curtains ending just below the windowsill to avoid overwhelming the space. Hang rods extra high to elongate the look.

Select durable, easy-care fabrics

Since the living room sees everyday use, opt for fabrics that will withstand activity and clean easily, including:

  • Cotton – Natural cotton is soft, breathable, and machine washable. Choose pre-shrunk or permanent press cottons to minimize shrinking. Cotton/poly blends add durability.
  • Linen and linen blends – Natural linen has a casual, relaxed vibe. Linen mix fabrics with polyester or cotton for improved wrinkle-resistance and durability.
  • Faux silk or velvet – For affordable elegance, faux silk and crushed velvet work beautifully. They mimic silk and velvet’s lush look without the dry cleaning. Some can be gently machine washed.
  • Microfiber – Affordable microfiber polyester has a luxuriously soft drape and feels cozy. It’s durable and washes easily.

Mid-weight medium-dark solids show less wear than whites or loud prints. Consider washable fabric treatments to repel stains.

Styles and top treatments

Classic rod pocket panels or tab topped curtains work well in most living rooms, depending on the aesthetic you want.

Elegant gathered styles

  • Pinch pleat curtains – Timeless and formal looking with pleats pinched and tacked to frame the window
  • Grommet curtains – Casual and modern grommets as hanging loops instead of rods
  • Back tab curtains – Crisp panels with tabs rather than top casing for a tailored effect

Relaxed styles

  • Rod pocket curtains – Simple and casual panels gathered on rods
  • Ruffled curtains – Playful frilled flourish along lower edges
  • Tiered curtains – Soft look with panels gently stepped to frame windows

Valances, swags, tails and tiebacks add decorative richness while also blocking light gaps at curtain edges.

Measure correctly

To save time and frustration, carefully measure each window when shopping. Account for hardware when deducing finished lengths and widths.

  • Inside mount: Ceiling height to windowsill minus 1-3 inches
  • Outside mount: Exact window height plus desired overlap on each side (4-12 inches each side usually optimal; more for better light control).

Most brands have detailed measuring guides online. Avoid returns – measure twice to ensure accurate sizing!

Key considerations when choosing living room curtains

Choosing new curtains might seem straightforward initially, but several key factors come into play for living rooms depending on your needs and style.

Light and privacy control

Assess how sheer or opaque your curtains should be to filter light gently or block it entirely based on window exposures and privacy needs. South-facing windows receive much more intense direct sunlight compared to north-facing ones which may only require lightweight sheers. Consider foot traffic outside windows as well when weighing opacity for privacy.

Insulation needs

During warmer months, closed thick curtains can reduce heat gain from windows significantly, lowering indoor temperatures by up to 20°F. In winter, curtains trapped warmed from sunlight help reduce heat loss through glass. Evaluate your climate and living room exposures when prioritizing insulation.

Noise reduction

Sound from outside can intrude on relaxation at home. Some curtains substantially reduce unwanted noise, especially hung in layers. Lined curtains and heavier, dense fabrics like velvet and tapestry block external noise most effectively.

Durability and care

More family activity means curtains wear faster. Opt for durable, easy-care fabrics like washable cottons and microfibers over silk or linen which require dry-cleaning. Consider stain-resistant fabric treatments to simplify maintenance.


Prices range widely from discount panels under $10 up to designer curtains over $500. Set realistic expectations – more lavish fabrics and better quality construction will demand higher prices. Save where possible by customizing readymade panels instead of full custom.

Prioritize needs over impulse buys, assess options in your budget thoughtfully and invest in the best quality reasonably affordable. With proper care, higher quality curtains should grace your living room stylishly for years.

7 Best Fabrics for Living Room Curtains

Fabric choice plays a lead role in how living room curtains not only look, but also wear, function and feel. Tailor options to your personal style, light control and privacy needs, window exposures and family lifestyle.

Linen and linen blends

Linen has an breezy, casual vibe perfect for relaxed living rooms. Often left undyed in natural hues, linen feels beautifully textured but shows wrinkles easily without blending. Opt for polyester-linen blends for better drapability and wrinkle resistance.


A natural favorite, cotton offers soft everyday appeal and breathability. Choose pre-shrunk or permanent press cottons to minimize shrinkage over time. Cotton/poly blends add further durability and structure.

Faux silk

For the luxury of silk at just a fraction of the cost, faux silk mimics the opulent drape without the dry cleaning. Available in a spectrum of colors from regal damasks to chic solids. Some varieties can be gently machine washed even.

Velvet or velveteen

Crushed velvety textures infuse living rooms with cozy elegance and visual depth. Graceful draping frames windows beautifully. Dry clean only for most velvets – some machine washable varieties now exist too.


Durable, pet-friendly microfiber resists stains and stands up well to living room wear and tear over time. Lightweight and super soft with reliable light blocking if opacity needed as well.


Ranging from breezy voiles to subtly luminous jacquards, sheers filter sunlight gently for rooms wanting dimmed light but not fully opaque darkness. Layer over other panels to combine airy and dense.

Blackout fabrics

Where total light control is essential, specialized blackout fabrics eliminate all external light. Pair with blackout linings for enhanced darkening. Useful for living rooms occasionally serving as media rooms or guest sleeping quarters.

Aim for a fabric hand that feels pleasant and durable enough to suit your family’s lifestyle and cleaning willingness. Live-in luxury need not cost a fortune.

How Much Do Living Room Curtains Cost?

The cost of living room curtains varies widely from basic bargain panels under $10 apiece to lavish designer creations over $500 each. Assess your budget, style priorities and functional needs thoughtfully before jumping in.

With some smart customization, discount readymade curtains can mimic higher-end looks for a fraction of designer prices. Semi-custom offers increased sizing flexibility. Bespoke customization coddles rooms with unusual shapes or sizes the most accurately.

Cost range overview

  • Inexpensive – $10 to $30 per panel
  • Mid-range – $31 to $130 per panel
  • High-end designer – $131 to $500+ per panel

What impacts living room curtain costs?

  • Fabric quality and durability
  • Construction quality – side hems, heading types, lining, stitching
  • Brand reputation
  • Added detailing and embellishments
  • Volume discounts for more yardage/panels
  • Customization level needed
  • Design complexity like pleats and tabs

Assess floor space, window measurements and desired fullness when budgeting overall costs. Barreling through with too little fabric risks skimpy coverage needing additional panels bought piecemeal. Plan thoroughly and buy quality able to go the distance through laundering and sun exposure over time.

With numerous retailers online, shop around for sales, coupons and price matching opportunities before overpaying. Industry pricing lacks regulation though so focus on overall value over fixating on precise dollar amounts compared vendor to vendor. Prioritize quality construction and fabric durability to truly minimize cost long-term through years of use.

How to Measure Living Room Windows for Curtains

Skipping precise measuring risks poorly fitting curtains requiring returns or replacements. Measure each window individually from ceiling to floor accounting for desired overlay.

Follow this process:

Gather gear

Get your metal tape measure plus paper and pencil for notes. Use a tall ladder for tall ceilings. Download retailer measurement guides as reference.

Option 1: Inside window frame mount

Measure from top of window frame to sill. Standard deduction is 2-3 inches off height for fitting onto rods inside frames cleanly. This avoids light gaps top and bottom.

Option 2: Outside mount extending beyond frame

Start at ceiling height where rod will be installed. Measure down to where curtains should puddle for fullness and light control. Add 8-12 inches ease minimum beyond window height itself. More overlap darkens rooms better.

Deduct finials

If using decorative finials allowing rings to thread through, deduct their height so panels long enough to puddle remain.

Account for header depths

Tab tops, back tabs and more add extra height in heading not part of the main panel height. Check specific dimensions and deduct appropriately.

Measure width or length across each window section needing coverage. Add 12 or more inches ease on each side. This prevents too-narrow panels risking light gaps. More fullnessboosts elegance in formal spaces. Measure and deduct for wall, corner or bay window protrusions so panels drape smoothly front to back.

Trust measurements for reliable fit. And expect some manufacturer variance in finished sizes. Relax hems or add trim to fine tune onsite.

Living Room Curtain Ideas

Experiment with lengths, layers, colors and accessories to showcase your personal style beautifully.

Energize with color Saturated solids or vibrant prints Signal fun in casual spaces. Boost bold colors with equally bright accessories

Soften with sheers — Layer airy sheers behind opaque panels to filter light elegantly. Luxurious without darkening completely.

Maximize height — Extend rods higher with ceiling-height panels pooling at floor level for drama. Choose thick fabrics mimicking velvet or tapestry for lush look.

Upcycle character — Repurpose embellished sari fabric remnants, lace or brocade panels from vintage dresses for eclectic charm.

Convey coziness — Fur throws, woven textural linens and crushed velvets infuse irresistible plushness for curling up comfortably.

Insulate smartly — Seal out light completely with honeycomb shades or thermally-insulated curtains to regulate temperatures better. Close them in summer or winter as needed.

Splurge selectively — Invest in custom floor-length showstoppers for living room focal window. Score deals on solid panels from discount stores for secondary windows.

Incorporate patterns — Integrate dynamic global prints, geometrics, florals and ikats for personality. Tone vibrancy up or down with background color.

Detailing makes the difference – experiment fearlessly! Choosing curtains warrants thoughtfulness but enjoy exercising creativity in the process.

Key Takeaways

  • Seek curtains matching your living room decor in color, pattern and formality level. Luxurious heavy fabrics suit elegant spaces while breezy cottons and linens fit relaxed rooms.
  • Assess privacy, insulation and light control needs based on window direction and outdoor visibility factors. South-facing windows demand thicker light blocking usually compared to northern exposures.
  • Fabric selection impacts appearance, durability and maintenance enormously. Favor easy-care medium weight cottons, microfibers and linen mixes over silk or velvet unless dry-cleaning readiness assured.
  • Measure windows carefully from ceiling to floor to avoid poor fit. Allow ample width for light gaps and some manufacturer variance.
  • Costs range widely from $10 bargains to $500+ designer splurges based on fabrics, construction quality, customization and accessories. Seek quality durables in your budget that enrich spaces.
  • Play with fun colors, energizing global prints or European classic stripes. Incorporate layers, luxury floor length panels, ceiling height drama and textural fabrics like fur throws and velvet for maximum coziness.


The quest for living room curtains warrants thoughtfulness since this multipurpose space sees so much daily use and shapes first impressions substantially. Luckily even discount panel options exist offering customization opportunities to unique needs if lavish designer originals strain budgets.

Consider room use, traffic patterns, decor and architecture along with practical privacy and insulation priorities. South facing windows demand thicker coverings to prevent overheating in summer usually. Goal setting and thoughtful planning of design impact prevents underbuying or overspending needlessly. Taking measurements meticulously saves the hassle of returns down the road.

Expect some variance from stated manufacturer sizes as fabrication precision varies across the industry. Allow enough length and width ease so light peeks and gaps get prevented for harmony. Install curtain rods squarely level to prevent uneven unwelcome sagging later on. Most retailers guide you step-by-step on measuring correctly before ordering customized pieces.

Make layered light control the priority in living rooms needing it. Sheers behind thicker liners accommodate both aims. Beyond just functionality, creative embellishments infuse rooms with energy, softness or texture through color, pom-poms, patterns and trim accents. Incorporate whimsy and personal style unapologetically. This room deserves vivid self expression.

Choosing living room curtains offers much latitude for infusing spirit and becoming wiser about managing sunlight gently. Transform plain windows into your newly vibrant focal points and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which curtains are best for living rooms?
    For living rooms seeking decor flexibility, medium weight poly-cotton blends offer durability, stylish draping and light insulation. Linens or textural fabrics add cozy personality through visible texture vs flatness.

  2. What colors curtains go with a gray couch in the living room?
    Vibrant yellow or turquoise make gray pop beautifully. Neutral whites and ecrus allow bolder art and accessories to shine as focal points instead. Deep hues like merlot and navy inject drama.

  3. What length curtains should I get for my living room?
    For living rooms, floor length curtains give a polished, elegant look. They can pool slightly at floor level. Curtains ending just above the floor also allow more light in while still making a style statement.

  4. Should living room curtains match?
    Not necessarily. You can mix different patterns or fabric textures to add visual interest. Just ensure all colors and styles coordinate pleasingly. Anchoring rooms with matching curtains framing the main focal window keeps spaces from appearing too busy.

  5. How wide should living room curtains be?
    For adequate overlay helping insulate and block light, allow a minimum of 8-12 inches ease beyond the window width on each side. Wider overlaps of 14-24 inches provide even better light control and elegance in formal spaces.

  6. What kind of hardware should I use for living room curtains?
    Simple slim rods suit most casual living spaces well. For enhanced elegance, thicker rods and decorative finials amplify the high-end hotel style further. Incorporate sleek modern metallic finishes or antiqued bronze for character.

  7. Should I get blackout curtains for my living room?
    Blackout curtains make sense for living rooms occasionally used as media rooms or guest sleeping spaces needing daylight control. Thermal blackout curtains add further insulation benefits. In multipurpose spaces, opt for lined curtains instead of full blackout to allow some restful natural light in during daytime use.

  8. What curtain ideas go well with grey walls in the living room?
    Vibrant yellow or turmeric orange add cheerful contrast. Crisp whites keep the palette light and airy. Charcoal gray with yellow accents mirrors the outdoorsy aesthetic of gray skies meeting golden meadows, quite soothingly.

  9. How do I choose curtains for a large living room window?
    Floor-length curtains make the biggest impact for large statement windows. Opt for ripple fold styles, pleated or pinch pleated headings adding fullness for elegance. Deep vibrant hues like emerald green or sapphire telegraph high drama in substantial spaces.

  10. Should living room valances match the curtains?
    Stylistically, matching or coordinating valances with the paired curtains looks most polished. A contrasting valance color makes it more of an accent piece drawing attention upwards. Take care not to introduce too many disparate colors in more compact living rooms though – the overall palette risks becoming visually chaotic.

  11. What type of curtains are best for living rooms that get a lot of sun?
    South-facing sunny living rooms demand thicker light-blocking lined curtains, thermal panels or layered sheers with blackout liners. Close them fully during warm weather months to prevent overheating and higher utility bills. Opt for light ivories, whites and neutrals which reflect sunlight well compared to darker hues absorbing and radiating heat indoors.

  12. What curtains go with brown leather couches in the living room?
    Rich caramel, chocolate or oatmeal colored curtains integrate beautifully with brown leather sofas. Crisp whites and ivories keep the scheme airy. Contrast interest comes from maroon, gold, emerald green or sapphire blue tones.

  13. What fabric is best for soundproofing living room curtains?
    Among common fabrics, velvet offers very effective noise reduction paired with blackout lining. Multiple curtain layers also help absorb sound better. Honeycomb shades layer well with velvet panels for added density muffling outside noise.

  14. What should I consider when choosing living room curtain rods?
    Assess window height, width and architectural elements like arches or trim corners needing navigation. Scale rod diameter and finials proportionately to windows – slimmer for average windows, thicker for larger. Allow for ceiling hooks clearing any ceiling lights or fans projected sweep space.

  15. How do I choose eco-friendly living room curtains?
    Seeking sustainable fabrics benefits the planet long-term. Organic linens, bamboo, hemp, wool blends offer natural durability without synthetics. Consider recycled polyester blends as well. Local production minimizes shipping impacts when available.

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