This Soft Trend We Saw Everywhere in 2023 Will Be Huge Next Year

published Dec 27, 2023
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Living room with 3 windows with shades partly drawn, sofa with green cover and black and white checkered throw pillows, sunflowers on coffee table in black and white striped vase, large potted plants
Credit: Layne Dixon

The impact that a fresh pair of curtains can have on a room simply can’t be overstated. Fabric window coverings, which can include drapes, shades, and blinds, not only provide a function (keeping light out), but they also play a big role in the decor. Hanging curtains and other window treatments are a great way to add color, pattern, or drama to a space.

Which is why I wasn’t surprised in the slightest when I started seeing how fabric curtains were being used in fresh ways in 2023 in real home tours on Apartment Therapy. Instead of relegating curtains to only around the window, I saw renters and homeowners alike using curtains beyond the windows — covering whole walls with soft fabrics, even surrounding an entire room with the draped material. 

The result of the whole-room curtain is an inviting, cocoon-like feel to interiors. Enveloped in softness, these rooms feel peaceful, non-threatening, and like the perfect place to unwind at the end of a long day. 

But that wasn’t the only way I saw house tour participants adding fabric softness to their spaces; I also saw the resurgence of a trend from yesteryear in 2023: fabric skirts for tables and using curtains in place of closet doors. The fabric skirt, whether bought or DIY, is not only another opportunity to bring softness to a room, but it’s also a great way to hide clutter!

Below you’ll find several ways in which I saw real people in real homes use this trend in 2023 — and I predict that we’ll see even more softness in homes in 2024!

Credit: Erin Derby

1. This Prop Stylist’s Brooklyn Rental Bedroom Is Velvety 

Caity Birmingham is a production designer for movies and TV and a prop stylist for commercials and photo shoots, and her 677-square-foot Brooklyn rental apartment has lots of great decor ideas in it. One of my favorites is her bedroom. “My bedroom is tiny — only 6’x9’, which at first I thought would take some getting used to, but now I love having a tiny, cozy sleeping nook. It has a door to the hallway taking up crucial wall space, and I didn’t like the look of blocking that door with my bed, so I put up a wall of pink velvet curtains to hide the door and add to the cozy feeling,” Caity explained in her house tour.

See more of Caity’s home in their house tour

Credit: Vero Suh

2. Paris Comes to New York City in a 700-Square-Foot Apartment’s Renovation

Michelle Trinh, who’s an advisor and consultant for MK. T Consulting (a company she founded in 2022), renovated her NYC apartment, and her basement-level bedroom features a soft curtain feature wall. “While, for some, a basement bedroom is a deal-breaker, it was a bonus for me! I love it to be pitch black when I sleep, and I usually don’t hang out in my bedroom.” As you can see in her tour, the curtains, along with making the room dark, create a soft, unified look that hides two unsightly and small windows. 

See more of Michelle’s renovation in the house tour.

Credit: Leela Cyd

3. The Couple Behind “A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour” Have a Pretty Cool Curtained Bedroom

Margaret and Corey Bienert are the creative couple behind A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour. When they aren’t on the road, they split their time between a place in Michigan and this two-bedroom rental apartment in East Los Angeles. “When we moved in, since we didn’t have much in the way of decor, the bedroom was feeling pretty sad and empty,” Margaret explained of the bedroom’s style. “We tried a method that we saw on one of our tours in Oregon at a place called The Stay Away where we put sheer curtains all around the room.” 

See all of this couple’s rental home in their tour

4. The Living Room in This Colorful Miami Rental Went Viral, but the Bedroom’s Great, Too

 Phoebe O’Neill, an interior decorator, has been renting this apartment in Miami since 2022. And while the living room went viral for the blue paint color, the neat way she uses curtains in her bedroom is worth noting. The canopy bed is one of her proudest DIYs. “Though I definitely should have made the panels MUCH bigger, it looks great and I made it out of custom linen curtains and hospital curtain tracks from Amazon. It was cool to watch the sketch and idea be brought to life!” she wrote in her house tour. 

See more of this home’s neat ideas in the house tour. 

Credit: Erin Derby

5. This 425-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Apartment Feels Larger

Leecy Li is a UX designer at Google, and has owned this 425-square-foot studio apartment in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood for two years. And although it’s technically just one room, she’s made it feel a lot larger, thanks to using soft fabric curtains as dividers and doors. “Texture inspires me,” she continues. “Velvety fabric, grainy stones, reclaimed wood, reflective glass … and how they bounce against each other … muah,” she wrote in her house tour. 

See all of her great ideas in the house tour

6. A 377-Square-Foot Berlin Studio Apartment Also Feels Larger, Thanks to a Clever Curtain

Malon Kraaijvanger apartment is only 377 square feet, but it feels much more spacious, thanks to her soft curtain approach. “I think the best way to design a small home is to divide it into different areas with different focuses,” she advised in her house tour. “As my bedroom, living room, and home office (and portable dining room) are all in the same room, I needed to make clear separations for those different usages to kind of give you a feeling of having different rooms.”

See all of their great ideas in their house tour

7. This Wardrobe Stylist’s Barcelona Apartment Has a Lot of Soft Curtains

Wardrobe stylist Alissa Ashcraft’s Barcelona apartment came with stunning architectural details, and Ashcraft’s chic interior style perfectly complements it. “I don’t see much difference between my professional work, personal style, and the putting together of a home,” she explains. Perhaps that explains the lovely soft fabric that’s behind her bed.

See more of her home in the house tour 

Credit: Megan McKean

8. A Swedish Apartment’s Thoughtful Renovations Include a Chic Curtain Trick

Author, illustrator, and designer Megan McKean and her husband, Joshua, share this one-bedroom apartment in Malmö, Sweden. And there’s a great curtain trick found in one of the rooms. “We’ve done several DIYs and hacks that I am proud of — such as the console table Joshua made from an old cabinet, and a floating shelf behind the curtains in the studio to tuck away my computer,” she wrote in their house tour. 

See all the details in the full house tour.

9. This Couple’s Cool Brussels Rental Celebrates Color and Kitsch

There’s color and pattern everywhere in the 1076-square-foot rental home of Loredana, a tattoo artist, and partner, Eliot, a photographer. But I love how they used vintage IKEA curtains in their library room to hide some clutter in their big storage area. 

See all of their cool home in their colorful house tour. 

Credit: Layne Dixon

10. This Designer’s Chicago Condo Is Packed with Color and Character

Jessica Blue, the founder and principal of Jessica Blue Interiors LLC, lives in this Chicago condo, and a smart and soft idea hides clutter in the living room. “One particular hack that I have found helpful with lack of storage is using the negative space under various consoles as storage space. I buy clear, stackable shoe boxes and label the outside with the contents stored,” Jessica wrote in her house tour. “I then find a decorative fabric and have a local seamstress hem and pleat the material to create a skirt on Velcro snaps to conceal everything! This creates an elevated and decorative approach to typical storage methods and adds a layer of softness to any space.”

See all of their home tour. 

11. The Owner of a Sydney Apartment Brilliantly Overcame Bad Natural Light (and Hid Clutter Cleverly)

Bertie Ocampo, who leads event marketing for a North American tech company, immediately fell in love with her current apartment when she first toured it in 2021. And Ocampo is proud of the DIY of adding a fabric skirt to her art desk. “I hated how my art desk looked with so many items and storage underneath. I tried to find a merchant in Sydney that sold pre-made curtain skirts, but I struggled to find one that was the right size, length, and print that I wanted,” she wrote.

See all of Bertie’s home in their house tour.