My Formula For Using Curtains vs. Shades

October 19, 2023

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We finally hung some more permanent curtains up in Greta’s room, and I absolutely love how they turned out. Her room is far from “finished,” in fact, she recently revealed to me that she doesn’t really like pink anymore (teens), but her room feels much more cohesive now. This cohesive look actually got me thinking about window coverings in general and when and why I would choose to hang curtains vs. shades or blinds. So today, we’re diving in. Let’s take a look at some examples of when to use curtains and how to choose the right ones for your home.

1. For Privacy and Light Control

First and foremost, curtains offer a lovely way to balance privacy and light. If your room faces the street or a neighbor’s window, drapes can provide the necessary privacy while still allowing soft light to permeate. Of course, curtains aren’t the only window covering that can shield you from neighboring eyes and sunlight, but that’s one of their many uses.

Greta’s Room Sources

2. To Complete the Room

When I was designing Faye’s room and trying to decide on window coverings, it took some playing around before getting it right. Since her bed is pushed up against the windows, I knew that the best way to add privacy would be by installing shades, but the room could really benefit by introducing more pattern and color through the curtains. Once we hung these custom curtains originally made for Polly’s Modern Cottage bedroom, the room just felt complete.

Functionally, they stay open at all times and frame the windows just how I like, and we simply close the shades at night.

Faye’s Room Sources

Now, Polly’s room is a different story. Her walls are covered in the prettiest scenic wallpaper, which I don’t want to cover up at all, and there’s not much room on either side of the windows for curtains anyway. Plus, I really like how the white shutters add some charm to the space.

Polly’s Room Sources

3. To Add Texture and Warmth

In the case of our walk-in closet, we needed some extra textiles to soften the look and feel of the room — easily fixed with some curtains.

Curtains (similar) | Ottoman | Vanity (similar) | Vanity Mirror (similar) | Chair (similar) | Chandelier | Cabinet Knobs

4. To Create a Focal Point

Bold-patterned or brightly-colored curtains can really capture the eye’s attention. In Faye’s Modern Cottage room, I went with these complementary gold velvet curtains to draw the eyes up to the ceiling and the cloud chandelier.

Bed (similar) | Curtains | Curtain Rod | Lamps (similar) | Mirror (similar) | Chandelier (similar) | Wallpaper | Duvet Cover

5. To Frame and Enlarge a Window

Long curtains, especially when hung just below the ceiling and extending to the floor, can make your windows look larger and your ceilings higher. My #1 tip when hanging curtains is to go high and wide to “cheat” the appearance of a large window. If you look closely at our basement, you might see that the curtain is hugging the edge of the window, making it look larger than it actually is (and who doesn’t love a big window?)

Ottoman (similar) | Floor Lamp | Curtains | Tree | Leather Chair | Curtain Rod

6. For Acoustic Benefits

Lastly, curtains, particularly thick ones, can help dampen sound, making rooms like home theaters, bedrooms, or even noisy city apartments more homey and comfortable.

For a guide on “How to Hang Curtains Correctly,” check out this post, and if you want some curtain recommendations, we’ve sorted some of our favorites priced from low to high below!

  1. Marcum Woven Plaid Curtain Panel $39
  2. Brighton Plaid Blackout Curtain $44
  3. Half Price Drapes Velvet Curtain $47
  4. Dreaming Casa Black Velvet Curtains (set of 2) $47
  5. Maison d’ Hermine Curtain $55
  6. Faux Linen Darkening Curtain $82
  7. RHODE Batik Scallop Curtain (set of 2) $89
  8. Rowena Curtain $98
  9. Broadway Curtain (set of 2) $109′
  10. Verity Tweed Curtain $148
  11. Perla Curtain $148
  12. Belgian Flax Linen Curtain $149
  13. European Flax Linen Blackout Curtain $159
  14. Riviera Striped Linen/Cotton Blackout Curtain $169
  15. Thea Print Linen/Cotton Rod Pocket Curtain $179
  16. Kelso Room Darkening Curtain Panel $725

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What do you think?

  1. curtains are the unsung heroes of home decor! 😄 Yours add such a warm vibe. Any favorite curtain shopping spots? 🏠”

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