Inspiration: Bold-Patterned Draperies

Inspiration: Bold-Patterned Draperies

Susie Nadler
Apr 6, 2009
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After moving into a new house last year, we decided at first not to worry about window treatments in the living room; why not enjoy the view for a while? Soon, however, we realized that our little block, because it connects to a scenic staircase, is part of a popular walking tour, and so our afternoon napping and dog-playing and Dexter-watching has been on display for a steady stream of tourists. Think it's time for some curtains, don't you? We're usually drawn to bold prints on draperies, but since this can be a tough look to pull off, we went in search of some inspiration…

Here are some rooms we discovered, and the ideas we gleaned for making bold-patterned curtains work:


1 Of course, keeping the rest of the room simple and uncluttered, like this kitchen from Dufner & Heighes (via Houzz), will make a printed curtain stand out in a good way.

2 Matching a curtain print with the wallpaper, lampshade, or upholstery is a bold choice that unifies a room. Designer Jamie Molster does it here with Ikea fabric.

3 Similar idea in this living room from House Beautiful; the diamond pattern is repeated in the texture of the fiber rug.

4 Choosing a pattern with just a touch of color, and then echoing that color throughout the room, can create a harmonious look. Nicole from Making it Lovely picks up the red from her Marimekko curtains in her sofa fabric and in the small artwork hanging alongside.

5 In a dramatic room, why not go for long, dramatic printed curtains? The windows in this palatial dining room from Elle Decor are a statement in themselves, so the designer plays up the drama even further with the drapes (and with the crazy oversized light fixture).


6 Layering different black and white patterns and accenting them with pops of color (like the red lamp and poster in this photo) creates a chic look. Photographer Kimberley Hurst used Target curtains in her office.

7 Or you can reverse the idea, and go with a bold color for your curtains, sticking to black and white in the rest of the room. Photo from the Marimekko blog Always Mod.

8 In this vignette from Galbraith and Paul, different patterns in the same colorway are layered, tying the curtains in with the rest of the room.

9 Anthropologie's catalog layouts always contain lots of print and pattern inspiration. We love the way the curtains here are paired with a wallpaper that contains similar shapes, but contrasting colors.

10 This look seems like an inevitable success: a print with lots of bold colors paired together with natural linen furnishings. From De Sousa Hughes.

For all our fellow print and pattern lovers: Do you have curtains in bold prints? How do you make it work?

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