How To Decorate With Popular Curtain Styles

There are many details to consider when decorating your home, but few elements can elevate a living space as effortlessly as curtains and window treatments. According to Architectural Digest, putting thought into your window decoration is essential since draperies can transform a room. When decorating a home, window treatments are often overlooked or used to cover up windows without much thought. Instead of throwing up a dark curtain with a random pattern, take some time to imagine how you want your space to look.

Curtains placed around, above, or in front of a window can provide structure and add dimension to the space. This decorative element can quite literally lift a room by just hanging there! Curtains draw attention upward, allowing the gaze to shift. When buying curtains, consider existing colors in your living room, the window shape, the amount of light, and how much drama you want. Keep reading for some tips on how to decorate with popular curtain styles in your home.

Decide on the number of panels

How many curtain panels are you supposed to have on a window? One? Two? Three? According to SFGate, the answer comes down to the actual window width. Choose a curtain width appropriate for the windows in your home to ensure fullness. Since each window is a different size, the final calculations will vary. However, your measurements should allow for additional coverage. Ideally, the curtains will completely cover the left and right sides of the window. The final width will give you a decent indication of how many curtain panels you should place on your curtain rod for appropriate coverage.

Large windows typically require around four panels, while smaller windows may only need one. If you really want to create a full effect, use double curtain rods for a multiple-layer, dramatic curtain arrangement. Curtain fullness is a personal choice when decorating windows, so panel proportion will ultimately be up to you.

Let light in with sheer curtains

The type of curtains you choose for your home is a decision equally as impactful as pattern, color, and fabric choices. If you don't want to block out the light in a room, consider going for a sheer curtain style. A sheer curtain is just as see-through as you might imagine. This curtain style will allow natural light to filter through and fill the room with a subtle glow.

Decorating with sheer curtains in your home not only lets in light. It also allows the structural features in a room to shine. According to Houzz, sheer curtains anchor and tie a room together without blocking light or other elements. This style preference has an enormous design range. A sheer style curtain can bring balance to a chaotic space full of busy patterns, instantly introduce a luxury appeal, or evoke casual elegance in a home.

Get some privacy with semi-sheer curtains

Want a little more protection for your windows? The semi-sheer curtain style is somewhere in the middle of sheer and opaque. It's not as translucent as sheer curtains and not as dark blackout curtains. According to Wayfair, a semi-sheer style curtain allows light to filter around the edges but offers more privacy and added coverage. You can pair them with blinds or window shades to make your windows more versatile. This curtain style is often crafted from thicker material and generally weighs more.

The additional opacity helps reduce glare from sunlight while allowing for more coverage control. A semi-sheer curtain style is ideal for those who want some natural light in the space but with a little more privacy. Living rooms, dens, office areas, kitchen, and dinette spaces are perfect for hanging curtains with a semi-sheer look. These open areas benefit from light illuminating the space with an element of coverage.

Create a dark and dramatic vibe

Room darkening curtains, otherwise known as blackout curtains, are perfect for those who enjoy daytime naps or light sleepers who don't want to wake up before their alarm clock rings. This curtain style is best for keeping light out of the space. Eliminating light helps create a moody atmosphere in a room. Ideal in bedroom areas, blackout curtains are the best curtain choice for achieving maximum privacy in the home.

According to Martha Stewart, these curtain panels are highly functional and can elevate your room's style. You can opt for dramatic elegance by decorating your windows with a heavy velvet fabric or keep the vibe classic with a simple neutral shade in cream, taupe, or gray. If you choose to use this decorating opportunity to introduce patterns into the space, opt for curtain panels with subtle features like lines or embroidered floral designs. Create a regal look in your home by finding the correct blackout curtains to fit your style.

Go for café curtains

For a low-maintenance but high-quality design aesthetic, consider dressing up your windows with soft and airy café curtains. This curtain style provides some privacy by blocking the bottom portion of the window. However, it still allows daylight to filter in through the top part. According to Apartment Therapy, this stylish curtain is easy to install and renter-friendly since you can create the look by using a tension rod.

A café-style curtain is a lovely addition to a kitchen window, breakfast nook, or small bathroom. It still allows light to filter into the space but provides necessary privacy. Decorating with these curtain panels adds coverage in a unique position on the window. You can decorate with café curtains made from delicate white lace or go for a breezy, sheer fabric. Compared to standard window treatments, café style curtain panels are a brilliant decorative feature to introduce a light cozy vibe into a space.

Drape a window scarf

Take your windows from drab to fab by dressing them up with a window scarf. This curtain rests at the top of a window frame and drapes down on the sides and middle sections. According to SFGate, this style drapes evenly on either side of the window for a cohesive design. You will likely need to make some adjustments to maintain equal lengths. When creating the desired draping effect, do not hesitate to tweak the fabric until it sits perfectly on your window. The drape style you choose and the window size will determine the fabric amount you need.

Since the draping effect is necessary to create this style, you'll need to choose the correct material. Consider fabric weight and pattern style when making a decision. When selecting a material, avoid heavy or overly bold patterns. For a sophisticated window scarf look, choose a lightweight fabric with a color palette complementary to existing colors in the room.

Opt for traditionally pleated panels

For a designer look in your home, consider creating a pleating effect on your existing or new curtain panels. Decorating with pleated curtains is a traditional design choice that inspires a classic and formal aesthetic in a home. When done successfully, pleats look like a line of pencils in a row. According to The Spruce, decorating with pleated curtains is a highly decorative choice that involves making a decorative header above the window. You will need to gather the fabric tightly to create a cylindrical shape.

Start by choosing a pleat style from goblet, tuxedo, pinch, pencil, French, or cartridge. Each option produces alternative folds, resulting in a unique appearance. To create your desired look, use the pleat tape at the top portion of the curtain panel. Once this piece is in place, use various pleat hooks, clasps, and round drapery clips to create the pleated folds with your curtains.

Design a ripple effect

When your curtains are closed, the panels usually lay flat and spread across the length of the rod. However, what do they look like when you open them? Do they bunch up or have a clumpy appearance? According to MyDomaine, you can achieve a more uniform look by using hooks to create a ripple effect in the folds of the curtains. These drapery circles and rod clips make different appearances in the curtain panels.

To create this look in your space, source curtain hooks that fit your rod's circumference, as these measurements vary. The hooks are a necessary accessory for creating curtains pleats over your window. The ripples will instantly lift the room's appearance and add texture to an otherwise static space. The best part of this design technique is that it completes any curtain style, length, color, or pattern, and you can alter it for a fresh look.

Achieve a unique look with knotted curtains

If you want to make the windows in your home a true original, opt for a simple yet chic design technique — knotted curtains. You can create a charming atmosphere at home with a pair of knotted curtain panels in your bedroom, living room, or office space. According to Hunker, a macrame knotted curtain can introduce a delicate touch to a room as it drapes over a window. These hip curtains are perfect for those who love bohemian style

The material of these curtains is often sheer and thin, with a transparent appearance. While a knotted set of curtains lacks privacy, it has plenty of texture. If a fully knotted curtain is not your vibe, opt for a solid-colored curtain with knotted tabs at the top. The knot placement will introduce texture, but the solid curtain panel will provide the necessary privacy. The knots at the top also allow light to filter through, making it an ideal style if you want more illumination in your rooms.

Make your own hidden curtain tabs

Curtain panels often feature sewn-in tabs at the top, on the reverse side of the curtain panels. You can slide these tabs or rod pockets onto the rod to create a classic curtain fold. This technique is a classy way to hang drapery over a window while introducing unique visual appeal. Decorating with tabs requires no additional hardware apart from a curtain rod and wall support bracket(s).

According to Better Homes & Gardens, you can sew tabs yourself for a customized DIY window treatment if your panel is missing this feature. This project is simple, and even sewing newbies can accomplish it in a few hours. A great benefit of this item is that it stays hidden behind the curtain panel but still provides a beautiful appearance. When the drapes are open, the fabric will pile up on either end of the rod, gathering in an elegant bunch.

Add a window crown

If you don't want to block your window entirely, consider adding a top-only treatment like a valance. A window valance is a decorative option that pairs well with curtains. Choosing to add a valance to the top of the window frame helps cover a curtain rod or shade roller and introduces refreshing visual texture into your space. It can be a chic element in place of artwork, and you can go for a laid-back or more formal style, depending on your taste.

These crown-like window treatments add personality to your space and are available in many different patterns and color combinations. According to Hunter Douglas, the fabric you choose for the valance should complement the existing color palette in the living space. While the window crown does not have to match the curtains exactly, the tones and designs should be cohesive, especially if placed on the same window.

Decorate the edges with trim

Want to add subtle texture to your living space without going overboard on bold colors or patterns? Consider decorating with curtain trim. Many curtain panels feature intricate details on the edges, such as lace, pom-poms, ribbons, ropes, or tassels. As interior designer Sarah Walker said to House Beautiful, "I always do leading edge banding on window treatments."

If you cannot find what you are looking for in-store, try to craft the idea yourself with a DIY project. For a truly unique appearance, consider adding a bit of trim to your existing curtain panels. You can typically sew on the details or use a hot glue gun (via Southern Nell's). You can add trim to existing curtain panels or new ones you want to place in your home. The addition can also be removed or updated in the future without purchasing a new set of curtain panels. The trim detail will showcase your individuality in a subtle and chic way.

Accessorize the panels

Decorating with curtains comes down to more than fabric, design, or style preference. You can dress up any curtain style or length with the right accessories. Curtain accessories are vast and varied, including tie back options, rod end caps, and curtain holdbacks secured directly to the wall. Some great ideas to help inspire your curtain style include medallion or leaf curtain holdbacks. You can attach these to the wall next to the window.

If you cannot find the curtain accessories you are looking for in craft stores or online, opt for making curtain tie backs yourself. The best part is that they require no installation or complicated processes. According to HGTV, household objects like doorknobs, suit ties, belts, and chains make suitable curtain ties. To add an eye-catching element to the top of your window treatment, place a glass globe or a simple solid-colored end cap on the curtain rod.

Consider color and pattern

When decorating a window with curtain panels, the ultimate goal is to create a cohesive design scheme. Your color and pattern choices should blend effortlessly into the existing environment. According to Crate & Barrel, it's best to consider the statement you are making in the space when selecting your curtain color. Are the curtains adding a focal point or an additional background layer? Answering this question will help you choose the correct color and pattern to drape over your windows.

For example, a white, beige, or similar neutral color will blend into the environment, while a vibrant shade like blue or red will become a dramatic focal point. Curtains with patterns and unique designs will add a decorative element, like pillows and rugs. With so many popular curtain styles to choose from, you're sure to find one that fits your preferences and dresses up your windows for a stunning effect.