Consider A Fresh Alternative To 'Stiff' White Curtains In Your Living Room

White curtains may be considered classic, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're the most flattering choice for every living space. Changing the color and style of your curtains — even without swapping a single other item in the living room — can have a huge impact on the overall aesthetic of the space or even the home. Pure white curtains can feel harsh, cold, and even sterile, especially in a room that features contrasting warm-toned themes and colors. "A curtain color to be cautious with is stark, pure white," Jennifer Davis of Davis Interiors explains to Homes & Gardens, "as it can appear sterile against light-colored walls and draw attention away from other design elements."

Even if you're partial to light neutrals and can't imagine bringing a bolder color into your space via your curtains, there are other shades that can take the place of white. If you have ever wondered how to soften the living room in your home and make it feel more relaxed and welcoming, replacing your stark white curtains with a warmer neutral color could be the answer you've been searching for. Consider this your guide to the decorative power of curtains. 

Replace white curtains with a warmer neutral

While curtains certainly perform important functions in the home — like blocking excessive natural light and providing privacy — they are also an essential part of interior design. Curtains don't just add color to a space; they are one of the key elements in a room that add texture. Adding a soft cloth texture against a hard, cold wall or window makes a room feel cozier and more inviting.

You can think of a heavy, stiff white curtain like an extension of the wall. Instead of adding soft layers of inviting texture, they offer more cold and unforgiving structure to the room. Correcting this without removing the neutral appeal of white, fortunately, is simple. Just swap out your curtains with a new (or thrifted) set in a slightly warmer shade, like cream or oat. "Consider using soft white or cream shades to maintain a soft and elegant tone-on-tone effect," Jennifer Davis suggests. Be sure to also opt for a material that is soft, billowy, and allows at least a bit of natural light to shine through to bring in a sense of relaxation, warmth, and joy. 

Replace white curtains with a bolder color

If you're ready to start your journey with color, replacing your white living room curtains is the perfect first step. Start by identifying the main color in the room. This may be the color of your walls or your larger furniture pieces. There are three routes to selecting curated colored curtains. You can match your new curtains to the main color of the room and then find a shade that is lighter or darker than those feature, choose curtains in an analogous color, or choose curtains in a complementary color.

An analogous color will appear next to your room's main color on the color wheel. A complementary color will appear directly across from your room's main color on the color wheel. Once you've selected a color for your new curtains, choose any light or dark shade of this color that you feel represents the desired feel of the room. Again, be sure to prioritize a relaxed, soft fabric that will encourage you and your guests to unwind and feel at ease. Once you've swapped out your curtains, you'll sense an instant living room transformation.