Getting a new set of curtains is a quick and relatively affordable way to give a room a little refresh. But beyond picking the colors and patterns, other factors—like their material and length—can help you further customize the space. In an article for The Spruce, Laura Miller shares some strategies for picking the type of curtains that are the best fit for a particular room. Here’s what to know.
First, figure out what you’re looking for in terms of natural light and privacy. For example, if the curtains are for a bedroom, think about whether you want thick, blackout curtains that let you sleep through anything, or something more sheer that allows enough natural light to come through to help wake you up.
Here’s how Miller breaks it down, based on how much light you want:
- Maximum light: Opt for sheer or cotton fabrics. Even if you decide to go for curtains with a color or pattern, they’ll still let the sun shine in.
- Moderate light: Linen curtains are your best bet, because their textured weave lets in some light, but not too much.
- Little-to-no light: This is where blackout curtains come in. They have a special lining that blocks almost all light. Velvet curtains are another way to go, because they are extremely heavy and opaque.
While the curtains’ material make the biggest difference in terms of the amount of natural light that can get in a room, their length is also something to consider. Curtains come in five standard lengths—63 inches, 84 inches, 95 inches, 108 inches, and 120 inches—but according to Miller, sometimes designated terms are used to describe general lengths:
- Tier curtains – Short curtains that cover just a portion of the window.
- Apron curtains – Curtains that hang just below the bottom of the window.
- Floor curtains – Curtains that reach down to the floor. Usually look best when paired with a rod that’s closer to the ceiling.
- Puddle curtains – Curtains that reach down to the floor with some remaining fabric puddling at the bottom. Again, pair these with a higher situated rod.
In her article, Miller also provides information on buying the right kind of hardware for your curtains, and what to do if you already have existing window treatments.