20 Creative Ways to Style Your Living Room Curtains

updated May 31, 2024
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Braving the curtain aisle at your local home decor store isn’t for the faint of heart. Between the absurd amount of rods and the countless colors, patterns, materials, lengths, styles, and brands of living room curtains to comb through, there’s certainly an art to selecting the best curtains for your space. 

To avoid decision fatigue, we recommend shopping with a particular decorative vision in mind. At a baseline, always consider your budget, desired level of natural light, window measurements, curtain length, and style (including color, pattern, and fabric) before you head to the store. Living room curtains in particular require even more forethought—ask yourself questions like, will my curtains actually need to obscure light in my space or are they purely decorative? Am I looking to add color and visual interest to my living room, or do I want to my window treatments to blend in? Where do I plan to hang my window treatments and how does this ultimately affect my curtain length?

The answers to these questions will help you determine your exact curtain style, length, and look, ideally saving you from multiple trips to the store. Below you’ll find inspiration galore for styling your living room curtains, courtesy of our favorite interior designers and AT home tours. Hatch a plan now so your living room windows won’t be naked forever. 

Credit: Layne Dixon

1. Flirty and Floral

Who says floral curtains can’t be moody? Not designer Jessica Blue, who used dark and flowery drapery to punctuate a design scheme of brights in her Chicago bedroom.  The result? A striking feature that can hold its own against bold abstract art and coral bedding. 

2. Short and Sweet

When it comes to window treatments, designer Hollie Velten-Lattrell of Spaces by Hollie Velten carefully considers her setting.  In this dining room, handsome wainscoting and a radiator called for shorter drapery, so she didn’t fight the area’s architecture or features. The curtain’s hard scalloped valance adds a touch of whimsy and extra personality here, too. 

3. Perfect Pom-Poms

Don’t be afraid to add a bit of trim to your curtains or to search for a style that has it ready-made, as seen in this Detroit nursery.  If you want a whimsical touch, try tassels or pom-poms. This type of trim comes in a variety of shades, and Pottery Barn Teen seems to always have these kinds of designs in stock.

4. Clutter Control

If you have an open closet and don’t want to see your clothing, shoes, and accessories on display 24/7, use a curtain to disguise your things! Velvet is a great material for this, since it’s heavyweight and opaque, as seen in this California home

Credit: Erin Derby

5. Knotty by Nature

You can fake the look of tied back curtains on the cheap by simply knotting your panels. Keep the knots loose just in case you want to go back to flanking the window with the drapery instead. A quick pass with an iron or steamer will get rid of any creasing you don’t want.

6. Try a Roman Shade 

Designer Emily Henderson seems to have an affinity for simplistic roman shades, as evidenced by her family’s stunning Portland, Oregon living room pictured above. With minimal upkeep required, this clean, simple style is a great option for people with kids, pets, or both. You don’t have to worry as much about long, messy cords either.

7. Go Sheer

If you’re a minimalist at heart who relishes in bright, unobstructed light, look no further than white sheer curtains. Take notes from interior designer Brittany Shields and balance out your light and airy look with dark, low-slung furniture. 

8. Add Detail with a Subtle Stripe

Rather than choosing the classic white-on-white curtains, opt for subtly striped drapes to add a touch of dimension and texture to your space. 

Credit: We Are Scout

9. Go Monochromatic

The monochrome trend shows no signs of stopping, both in fashion and interior design. Get on board and match your living room curtains to your wall color and finish off the look with a tonal sofa or chair. 

10. Add Warmth with a Wooden Curtain Rod

Your curtain rods can add just as much design flair to a space as the curtains themselves. Note the other materials used in your space and select your window hardware to match. Wood or brass window hardware will warm up a space, whereas white or silver will recede. 

11. Pair Bright Curtains with a Dark Rod

Similarly, we love how Arlyn Hernandez paired her plain white curtains with an edgy, matte black curtain rod. This simple touch creates visual contrast that draws the eye upward.

12. Try Thick Blackout Curtains

If you want to have the option to block out light, opt for heavy blackout curtains. Contrary to what the name implies, blackout curtains come in a variety of colors—even light gray, white, and beige blackout curtains can darken a room in an instant. 

Credit: Emma Fiala

13. Play with Darks and Lights to Create Contrast

Layer bright white curtains against a dark wall (or vice versa) to really make your window treatments pop. We especially love Alison and Jeff Allen’s unique use of hunter green, mixed wood tones, and bright white.

Credit: We Are Scout

14. Cheat Your Curtains Closer to the Ceiling

Dealing with a small space? Mount your living room curtains closer to the ceiling to create the illusion of height. This will make your room appear much loftier, and it costs nothing extra. You can also cheat your window treatments out a little bit on each of the sides, too, so your window looks wider as well.

15. Add Punch with Pattern

Highlight an architectural feature, like this statement wall turned window nook, by painting your trim in a darker shade and installing patterned Roman shades. 

Credit: We Are Scout

16. Go Tonal

More and more designers are favoring the tonal look, and your living room curtains can certainly play into that aesthetic. Heed Dulux’s advice and stick to a two- to three-shade color palette in your living space. Keep the curtains neutral to let in plenty of light.

Credit: Minette Hand

17. Double Up

Give your living room a bohemian touch by layering rattan Roman shades under a classic white curtain. We especially love how stylist Kristin Laing mounted her curtains a foot above her actual windows to heighten her space. 

18. Go Curtain Crazy

Design is all about breaking the rules, as evidenced by architect and artist Mariana Pussacq’s unique, curtain-filled space. Section off your living room with drapery for an especially intimate gathering space.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

19. Add Personality with Shibori

Looking for on-trend statement curtains? Infuse color into your space with tie dye’s slightly more subtle cousin, shibori, just as Sarah Ashley Schiear did in her Brooklyn home. Any kind of pattern on your curtains will add a touch of personality and visual interest to your space.

20. Add Texture with Macramé

Take notes from Sara and Rich Combs and add bohemian-inspired texture to your living room via macramé curtains. We love how this gauzy fabric mixes with a cacti, Moroccan style rug, and an Eames-style lounger.