Nate Berkus Says This Is the Most Common Mistake People Make When Hanging Curtains

Updated 05/08/19
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Christopher Dibble Photography 

If you've furnished and decorated a room, yet it still feels incomplete, the one design element that may be missing is the perfect curtains. According to interior designer Nate Berkus, they're often the finishing touch to a space. "For years I tried to avoid using draperies because I thought they were too fussy, but now they feel like an important final step that needs to happen for a room to feel complete and layered," he tells MyDomaine.

The design pro even has his own exclusive collection for The Shade Store that includes a variety of signature patterns and prints made for roller shades, Roman shades, drapery. Basically, he's an expert on all things curtains, which is why you may want to glean a bit of wisdom from his experience before you start hanging drapes in your home.

According to Berkus, getting the length wrong is the most common mistake when it comes to this design element. "I really can't stand curtains that don't hang the full length from the ceiling all the way down to touching or just skimming the floor," he explains. "You want them to give as much height as possible," Berkus adds.

Now that you know what not to do, ahead, discover curtain ideas for every room in your home with tips from Berkus and interior designers Ariel Okin and Marie Flanigan.

The Living Room

Living Room Curtain Ideas
Catherine Kwong Design

When it comes to living room curtain ideas, Okin recommends starting with the architecture of the space. For example, if the windows are tall, you may consider going for long, flowing curtains, but if the windows are on the smaller side, a tailored Roman shade might be more appropriate.

Flanigan suggests going for a sheer curtain in the living room. "I love to let as much natural light in as possible, so sheers with a slight pinch pleat detailing are my favorite living room drapery," the designer explains. According to her, it's an effortless and refined look that won't block the view.

And while Flanigan is all for an embroidered stripe for a bit of visual interest, she tends to avoid any hardware that's overly ornate. Instead, she advises going for a simplistic rod with a French elbow or even drapery tracks that are seamlessly built into the ceiling for a clean, minimal look.

Pinch Pleat Drapery
The Shade Store Pinch Pleat Drapery $495
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Sheer Crosshatch Curtains
West Elm Sheer Crosshatch Curtains in Mineral Blue $69 $40
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Velvet Curtain Panels
H&M Velvet Curtain Panels $99
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Dining Room

Dining Room Curtain Ideas
Alyssa Rosenheck; DESIGN: Mel Bean Interiors

In the dining room, as in any room, Okin finds that it's best to base your décor choices off of the architecture of the space. Berkus agrees, suggesting that curtains should feel related to the rest of the space they're hung in. "The curtains could be a stand-alone feature if you’re working with a really specialized material, but most of the time, there should be a connection to what else is in the room for the space to feel unified," he explains.

If you're not sure where to start, Berkus suggests picking a curtain color that matches the color of your walls. According to him, it's a very modern look that ensures the drapes feel connected to what's already in the room.

Linen Curtain Panels
H&M Line Curtain Panels $99
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Korben Plaid Curtain Panel
CB2 Korben Plaid Curtain Panel $30
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Block Curtain Panels
Project 62 Block Curtain Panels $40 $36
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Kitchen

Kitchen Curtain Ideas
Katherine Carter 

Okin and Flanigan agree that Roman shades often work best in the kitchen. This way, plenty of natural light can be let into the space without long flowing drapes getting in the way of your cooking. Flanigan points out that if your kitchen windows are located above countertops, Roman shades will ensure that the space below the windows can remain a clean work or storage area. Of course, if your windows are located in an open area, full-length drapes can still work.

Riviera Stripe Cordless Roman Shade
Pottery Barn Riviera Stripe Cordless Roman Shade $209 $167
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Contrast Stripe Light Filtering Curtain Panel with Tassels
Opalhouse Contrast Stripe Light Filtering Curtain Panel with Tassels $35 $33
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Bali Classic Roman Shade
West Elm Bali Classic Roman Shade $247
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Bedroom

Bedroom Curtain Ideas
Katherine Carter

"I always recommend installing blackout curtains in a bedroom," Flanigan says. She suggests using a double rod so you can layer sheer curtains with blackout drapes for ultimate privacy and your best sleep possible. You can even motorize your blackout shades for a luxe, hotel-inspired atmosphere.

"I also love to mix Roman shades with drapery, often layering one over the other," the designer explains. Just don't forget to use a valance to maximize the effect of your blackout curtains, she warns. Her favorites are simple and well-tailored.

Cotton Luster Velvet Curtain
West Elm Cotton Luster Velvet Curtain $99 $69
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Inverted Pleat Drapery
The Shade Store Inverted Pleat Drapery $495
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Sheer Crosshatch Curtains
West Elm Sheer Crosshatch Curtains $69 $48
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Bathroom

Bathroom Curtain Ideas
Katie Martinez Design 

When it comes to bathroom curtain ideas, Flanigan and Okin think the Roman shades are your best option in most cases. "It really does depend on the architecture of the space," Okin points out.

Flanigan likes the look of sheer Roman shades if you have windows above a bathtub; however, if it's free-standing, you might also consider framing it with drapery panels. "[This] lends a powerful sense of drama and those panels can always be lined if privacy is your greatest concern," the designer adds.

Macrame Window Valance
Opalhouse Macrame Window Valance in White $19 $18
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Bali Classic Roman Shades
West Elm Special Order Bali Classic Roman Shades $355
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Pinstrip Curtain Panel
CB2 Pinstripe White/Black Curtain Panel $50
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