Question: Are Curtain Walls the New Gallery Walls?

A white wall is to decorators what a blank canvas is to artists: an opportunity to get creative and imbue a space with personality. But when designing the small living room in my one-bedroom Manhattan apartment, I quickly learned that when it comes to covering a blank wall, the options are surprisingly limited. Initially, I thought there were two choices: to paint or wallpaper it (bold moves I wasn't prepared to make) or to hang a gallery wall, which didn't excite me. It wasn't until I spoke to my interior designer and the West Elm Design Crew that a third option presented itself: a curtain wall.

If you've never heard of a curtain or drapery wall before, don't worry—neither had I. Put simply, it involves hanging drapery to cover a windowless wall and often securing sconces to peep out where the curtains meet. "One of the largest challenges renters face is the inability to make a space their own," explains interior designer Jeremiah Brent. "Drapery is a cost-effective and dramatic way to add instant architecture to any room. It allows you to experiment with different textures and expands a smaller space while keeping it interesting."

Once we'd agreed on the design, West Elm's Design Crew turned the plan into reality. Cesar, our installer, hung the rod and drapes, fixed two sconces to the wall, and returned all the furniture back to normal in an hour. The best bit? The project involved zero painting, wallpapering, or hardwiring, so when our lease ends, we can remove it all without a trace.

Forget gallery walls—curtain walls are just as easy, stylish, and effective in a small space. Here's how to hang one at home.


Clarence Fuller

Step 1

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