When decorating a room, you're probably quick to try to figure out the "important" things, like your major furnishings, the wall color (or print if you're going with a paper), maybe even what's at your feet like flooring and rugs. What's on your windows is often a bit ancillary, but shades and draperies should really be top of mind as your choice could affect the whole feel of your space. For instance, faux silk or velvet panels that pool on the floor come off quite glam and posh, while a simple bamboo roller shade feels boho or coastal (plus it can be far more functional in some instances). Read on for 25 ideas to consider when it comes time to cover your windows.
Bay windows like the one here in Bonnie and Per's San Francisco home can be tricky to outfit with coverings, since it feels like you need so many panels. Just bring in the softness of draperies by flanking the set of windows with a pair of curtains instead.
Wide Roman shades are the ideal solution for covering up your windows when you might be dealing with awkward lengths due to low storage. The owners of this Berkley, California, home went with a light off-white similar to their walls so light could still get through while keeping the room private.
Similar to the previous solution, Roman shades can also work for French doors (and smaller windows without much clearance on the sides for rods or drapery hardware). It's a super clean look (that worked great in this coastal Newport Beach home).
Kitchens can be a bit of a disaster zone at times, with sauces accidentally flying everywhere and rogue grease splatters (oh, is that just me?), so curtains aren't exactly a recipe for cleanliness and success. Take a cue from the NYC home of Sarah Jacobson, which employed a bamboo Roman shade on the kitchen window instead of drapes.
In a mostly neutral room (with the exception of a killer rug, of course), a splash of deep gem-like emerald on the curtains really draws in any greenery from the outdoors (especially helpful in a Nordic environment like the one this Swedish home is set in).
Make a large window appear even dreamier by pulling back your curtain panels to introduce a bit of a drape (it doesn't hurt that this home looks out to Valencia, Spain, of course). It softens the whole room.
In some rooms, it's a crime to block soft, warm light from streaming in just so. In these instances, as in this LA studio, sheer panels keep that sweet, sweet light flowing during all daylight hours.
For a full look, space out panels between windows. Sheers, like the ones in wedding photographer Anna Zajac's Chicago home, keep things light and wispy.
Do you have some windows or sliding glass doors that go just about all the way up to the ceiling? Try curtains hung via a track system (affixed to your ceiling as seen in this home) so you're not dealing with any weird gapes.
Lots and lots of windows need lots and lots of draperies and curtain hardware (if you're attempting to cover them, that is). A way to keep it all looking tidy (and generally, a more affordable option) is to install Roman shades instead (they save the day again!).
Similar to Romans but generally less expensive and more modern looking, roller shades come in a bunch of different widths (some sites let you customize exactly what you need, in fact — a good option for a homeowner), colors and opacities. Sarah's shades are pretty sheer, but rest assured there are many, many options out there.
Buying a colorful sofa can be pretty scary (#commitment). A less semi-permanent decision if you like color? Curtains. Pull a hue from the rug in the room (or throw pillows and other decor), and use it as a solid on your windows. It'll give you the pop you're looking for without the fear of fatigue (after all, panels are far cheaper to change out than a sectional).
Of course if you're the fearless decorator, a bold pattern (rather than a solid) is a great way to make a splash. One tip though is to bring in some black and white. The zebra rug in this room might draw a lot of attention because of its motif, but the neutral colors kind of ground all the other elements in the space.
Not to sound like a broken record but...Roman shades (again, sorry!). Here, they work great to block light from coming in through small windows (because of TV glare likely) without having to unnecessarily be tucked between the sofa and the wall as drapes would be.
We already talked about curtains affixed to a track on the ceiling, but a double track will get you that layered look loved by designers. It's not just lush looking, but also really functional. A sheer layer lets in light but keeps things at least a little more private, while a thicker layer blocks out light entirely.
We've heard it been said that some people don't love curtains because they look stuffy and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be that way! We're not trying to twist your arm or anything, but here's an idea from a super charming South Caroline home: match the color of your drapes to your wall so they blend in seamlessly. This works particularly well in white and cream rooms.
A similar approach but with a bit more contrast: Curtains like these that are close in color to the wall (particularly in a darker hue) from the sill down keep things grounded, but a lighter shade on the upper part of the panel helps the room to remain open feeling.
Stash this away as a fun DIY to do one weekend: Dip died curtains look fresh, boho-inspired and add an element of the unexpected to a room.
Bamboo roller shades are inexpensive yet add so much texture to a room. They're also a great way to inject some earthiness to a room with lighter colors and something like a floral wallpaper.
It's not always ideal to put a key piece of furniture (like this piano) up against a large window, but if you have to do it, a nice way to frame it out is with curtain panels.
The tone-on-tone look isn't for everybody, but if it's for you, take inspiration from this blogger's Michigan dining room. Having curtains with just a bit of a pattern (instead of a solid in the same hue as your walls), helps to bring a little texture to the room.
In a room with ornate ceilings and stunning floors (not to mention the chandelier!), you want to avoid stealing too much attention away with something like draperies (there's a time and place for that, people). Here, the curtains serve the function of providing privacy more so than adding substantial style to the room.
Here's a layered look that works great in a bedroom: layered roller bamboo shade + sheer(ish) panels.
Need to put your bed up against a window but don't want to deal with dusty blinds? You guessed it...try a Roman shade (ahh the versatility!).