Our Senior Designers Weigh In: How to Pick the Perfect CurtainsDesign Guides
Window treatments, drapes, curtains: whatever you call them, they can be a pain in the neck. So don’t go it alone. Our senior designers have these tips for picking the perfect curtains.
Height is easily the most important factor in selecting curtains. A curtain should extend well past your window, and land just above the floor. And for a more traditional style, give them an extra inch of fabric to drag along the floor.
Pro tip: if you want to make your ceilings look higher than they actually are, hang your curtains a few inches above your windows, instead of right above the windowsill. Check out how we did it in this chic, urban loft off Union Square.
When deciding on curtain color, go for something that compliments the existing colors in your room. It doesn’t have to match perfectly, but select a hue that you can find elsewhere in your home redesign. Usually we advocate for neutral-colors, but every once in a while, we decide to go for a bolder option. In this Central Park West penthouse, we selected window treatments in a rich gold color, to match one of the client’s existing art pieces.
Curtains are an accessory that are easy to swap out, so we recommend rotating your curtains year round. In the winter months, go for a heavier gauge option, as it helps keep your house warmer. But in the summer months, consider going for a light-gauge material, like sheer. In this light-filled apartment we selected white sheer curtains, to let in as much natural light as possible.
Pattern can be a tricky balance when it comes to curtains. Too little, and your design can look boring; too much and your space can start to look cartoonish. To strike the perfect balance, pick a simple pattern in neutral colors, like we did in this contemporary Connecticut colonial.
Pro tip: A vertically striped curtain can help make your ceilings look higher than they actually are.
Coordinate Your Curtains
If you’re picking a curtain fabric or pattern that has a bold or vivid look, then consider ways to integrate them into your space. In this New Jersey home office, our client wanted to source a pair of bright pink curtains, so we also had two accent pillows custom-fabricated in the same pattern and fabric.
The drape of a curtain refers to how much of the curtain drags along the floor. For a more contemporary or modern look, they should land an inch above the floor. But with transitional or traditional design schemes, let out an inch or two of drape to drag along the floor. For this transitional Upper East Side apartment, we gave these two-tone curtains a few inches of drape, for a more traditional look.