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, and drapery. Since he's an expert on all things curtains, we decided to glean a bit of wisdom from his experience with hanging drapes.
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," Berkus explains. "You want them to give as much height as possible," he adds.
Work With the Architecture
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. If they're on the smaller side, a tailored Roman shade might be more appropriate. Here, open drapery frames large windows to let in plenty of natural light.
Always hang your curtain rods as high and wide as possible: Not only does it let in the maximum amount of light, but it makes your space look larger, ceilings higher, and style more elegant.
Layer Multiple Patterns
For an eclectic vibe, layer multiple patterns and colors over each other. In this living room, bamboo shades are hung beneath floor-to-ceiling curtains in a geometric print. Alongside the wall art, what ties this space together is its color scheme: Deep blue hues pair with soothing neutrals to keep the patterns from becoming overwhelming.
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.
Hide Your Hardware
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 sleek look. Here, the minimalist effect comes through white curtains matched to white walls with built-in hardware that doesn't distract from the room's clean lines.
Find Your Color Scheme
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. Here, an all-white room gets its finishing touch with floor-to-ceiling elegant drapery. Paired with creamy furniture and a sheer chandelier, this space feels like dining on a cloud.
Complement Your Décor
Berkus suggests that stylish 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. A soft gray shade on the drapery complements the dining chairs in this open living and dining space.
Blend With the Walls
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. The window coverings in this space are perfectly matched to the walls and light fixtures, while bold natural trim frames the room.
Opt for Roman in the Kitchen
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. Matching the shades to the wall color in this kitchen makes the window coverings feel seamlessly connected to the rest of the room.
Match Shades to Your Cabinetry
Another great design trick to make your window coverings look built-in is to match their color to your kitchen's cabinetry. This dark shade of teal blue contrasts against bright white walls, upper cabinets, light fixtures, and island seating. The accent color extends to the wall art for a tied-together finish.
Keep Your Counter Space Open
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. Here, patterned Roman shades bring just the right amount of personality to a sleek, clean kitchen.
Layer Sheer Curtains and Blackout Drapes
"I always recommend installing blackout curtains in a bedroom," Flanigan says. She suggests using a double rod to 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.
When layering sheer curtains underneath blackout drapes, choose drapes a few shades darker than the curtains for a blended effect that complements the rest of your color scheme.
Match Hardware to Decorative Accents
To tie together your bedroom's design, opt for curtain hardware that matches your light fixtures. Here, gold rods match the inside of the pendant light's finish, while metallic side tables complete the space. Paired with simple gray-and-white décor, the bright hues bring a chic touch to the room.
Mix and Match Styles
"I also love to mix Roman shades with drapery, often layering one over the other," Flanigan 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. Here, rather than styling Roman shades and curtains together on the same windows, the space feels balanced with floor-length curtains for the large statement windows and a white Roman shade on the back wall.
Design a Curtain Wall
If you're looking for a bit of extra privacy (or want to let in the light while covering a not-so-stellar view), consider styling a curtain wall. This design is reminiscent of luxury hotel rooms, and it also makes the window wall feel like a cohesive whole. Soft sheer curtains bring out a hint of pink to complement the rest of the room's décor.
Try Out Bamboo Shades
If you're not a fan of standard sheer or opaque shades, opt for a bamboo version. This natural-hued woven material brings plenty of warmth to the room without a pattern or bold color. Paired with a wood bed frame and side tables, the Roman shades feel intentional and balanced with this bedroom's design.
Install Unique Curtain Hooks
For a simple touch that brings a burst of personality to your drapery, install unique curtain hooks like these golden hands. Next to an oversized gold leaner mirror, these metallic finishes add an air of elegance to an all-white bedroom. Simple black window frames bring contrast and depth to the bright space.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to bathroom curtain ideas, Flanigan and Okin think Roman shades are the best option in most cases. "It really does depend on the architecture of the space," Okin points out. Since this bathroom features two small windows behind the tub rather than one large opening, matching Roman shades add the option for privacy without taking away from the room's clean, white lines.
Achieve Drapery Drama
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. Styled between two matching vanities, these tall drapes create a focal point behind the standalone tub.
Keep the Privacy
Opaque Roman shades are also a great touch for a bit of added privacy in the bathroom. Here, a bright open window pours in light next to the sink and vanity. When it's time to shower, simply pull the shades down for a personal oasis all to yourself. Symmetrical wall sconces framing the mirror provide plenty of light when the shades are closed.
Let in the Light
We love these sheer half panels that create privacy while letting in light (just check the mirror for a beautifully reflected view). Since the vanity and walls are white, the bright shade on these curtains allows them to blend in with the rest of the space. Simple touches like a white orchid plant carry the color throughout the design.