Expert Interior Design Tips: Pairing Colors with Curtains

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Unlock the Perfect Harmony: Expert Interior Design Tips for Pairing Colors with Living Room Curtains

Room Space Optimization

An element that serves as both practical and stylistic, living room curtains are an essential finishing touch that can dramatically influence your experience within a space. Curtains are a means of adding colour, creating privacy, and continuing a colour palette or motif throughout a room. This is especially true in your living room, which, for many, is a space to gather with loved ones and relax at the end of the day.

To help you choose the best curtains for your living room, we consulted the experts for advice on elements to take into consideration, different types of curtains, and ideas for styling.

Color combinations for living room curtains

When selecting curtains for your living room windows, the first thing to consider is the placement and needs of your windows. For example, “if your windows face the street, adding a privacy lining to the fabric you select will do two things,” says Angela Boswell, “give you added privacy, and add light to your room through the white color.”

However, if your home is secluded, the need for living room drapery may be to filter the light at certain times of day. “I would recommend sheer or semi sheer curtains if this is the case,” says Boswell. “But if you live in an older home with windows that tend to be drafty, I’d recommend adding insulation in the form of heavier fabrics like velvet or canvas… or, line the window curtains with a blackout lining.”

Additionally, consider what you are using your living room for. Do you primarily use the space to host events? If so, drapery panels that create a bit of ambience may be what you’re looking for. Is the space a weekend retreat to catch up on reading? White curtains that filter in light may be the answer. Is the room south-facing and always filled with light? If so, room-darkening curtains could be an option.

If you’re stuck when determining your living room’s needs, Abby Evans suggests observing the natural light in the room and deciding what you want for the overall feel. Then, choose a curtain that adjusts the lighting to your preferences.

“If you want a cozy, moody element, lean into a weightier material, like velvet or satin,” Evans says. “For an open, organic feel, pull linen, cotton, or sheer.”

Length and Width for Room Space Optimization

Just like any unique feature in your home, windows come in various shapes and sizes. This means that it’s important to consider the width and length of your windows while shopping for curtains.

In doing so, however, there’s room for your individual styling preferences to shine. Some may prefer curtains that graze the floor, while others prefer shorter, practical curtains that don’t distract kids and pets. It’s all about personal preference!

According to Angela Boswell, it’s helpful to take your furniture into account while measuring for curtain length, as “if your windows are on the back of the sofa or other large piece of furniture, try apron length curtains, which are curtain panels that are between two and four feet longer than the window.”

Boswell also suggests considering your needs while selecting the style of living room curtains. “If your curtains will frame the window primarily as room decor, the ability to open and close them is less important,” says Boswell. “But if they will be opened and closed on a daily basis, choose a top style (rod pocket, grommet, or pinch pleats) that is easy to use.”

Fabric color combinations for living room curtains

Just like when you’re shopping for other home decor items, the fabric you choose greatly impacts the energy curtains bring to your space.

“When choosing fabric for a more formal area, fabric that appears heavier will contribute to the illusion of a more formal space,” says Becc Burgmann, “while a more glossy sheer is perfect in a space meant to be more glamorous.”

  • Silk curtains: Known to be a luxurious choice, silk curtains will provide a sophisticated feel to your space. Faux silk is popular for those looking for a budget-friendly variety that creates the same luxurious effect.
  • Cotton curtains: Such curtains are one of the most popular fabrics used in curtains. They are available in a variety of weights and styles. The fabric creates clean lines that complement a more modern look.
  • Velvet curtains: Classic velvet curtains are perfect for a room-darkening effect. The heavy fabric will certainly do the job while looking beautiful simultaneously. Velvet curtains are often available as blackout curtains.

Style of the Room

If your living room style is more traditional, consider a heavier, darker fabric for your curtains. On the other hand, if your living room is bright and modern, consider a sheer or linen curtain to match the aesthetic already established.

“Once the style of the room is determined, as well as the formality of the room, then you can begin to think about the specific type of fabric, as well as how it will be hung,” says Becc Burgmann.  

How to Decide on the Right Curtain Length for Your Living Room

When it comes to curtain length, there are many different (and often opposing) philosophies. However, it’s important to remember that there isn’t a right answer.

“One of my pet peeves is when curtains don’t go all the way to the floor, as in very few cases does this look good,” says Becc Burgmann. “Depending on the windows you can start just above the top of the window and go to the floor… I like it when the curtains stop just the tiniest bit above the finish floor.”

  • Puddling or Trouser-Length: Curtains that “puddle” form the appearance of a puddle on the floor, meaning that the length of fabric used in the curtain is longer than the distance between the curtain rod and the floor.
  • Breaking: Curtains described as “breaking” are 1 inch longer than floor length. This look is more stylized than the floating appearance.
  • Grazing: As the name suggests, “grazing” curtains graze the floor. Curtains that graze create a clean, uniform look.
  • Floating: Floating curtains stop within 1 inch of the floor, creating the appearance that the curtains are floating.

Match Fabrics to Wall Colors

A strategy used by many designers is to match fabrics and wall colours to create a continuous colour palette that makes the room look larger. “This will blend and make the room feel more expansive,” says Angela Boswell. “Hanging the curtain rods closer to the ceiling will also add to the illusion.”

Go Bold for Room Space Optimization

For a simple way to add colour and pattern to your living room, many use curtains as a low-risk way to add pattern or a pop of colour. “

Bold fabric can bring some life into your living room (credit: Stacy Garcia)

“Remember to choose fabrics, patterns, and finishes that compliment without overwhelming,” Garcia says.

Create Contrast color combinations for living room curtains

Joe Human uses curtains as a way to create contrast throughout a room. 

“I also style curtains to customize the look I’m trying to achieve,” Human says, “For example, the ripple fold is a more simple modern look, while pinch pleats have more fabric, but a detailed look at the tops.”

Pair Down Curtains and color combinations for living room curtains

While choosing curtains for a living space, Becc Burgmann likes to think that less is more in terms of pattern. She suggests “using wallpaper for the wow factor and curtains that compliment it, not the other way around.”

The exception to this, Burgmann says, is when using Roman blinds. “They consume less space and therefore allow for more ‘crazy material,’ without compromising anything else in the room.

Embrace Your Style

While the design appears to have “rules,” remember to have fun with it and embrace your style. 

Abby Evans says you should embrace your style (credit: Metal + Petal)

“In this Metal + Petal residential design (pictured above), we added a mauve velvet drape to embrace the cozy, luxe feel of the room and add a soft hue to the rich color of the wood paneling and shutters,” explains Evans.

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Jane Taylor

Jane Taylor

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About Me

Jane Taylor

Jane Taylor

Passionate interior designer who love sharing knowledge and memories.

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