One of the greatest finishing touches to a room are curtains! They have the power to soften the look of a room, give the illusion of taller ceilings, create a focal point, and expand the width of a wall. But they can also do the opposite if they’re not installed right. And while I’ll always encourage you to do what you like best, there are a few curtain guidelines I highly recommend –
(Psst the curtain panels shown in the images below are from West Elm!)
Don’t position your curtain rod directly above the window frame. This brings the eye down making your ceiling feel shorter.
For standard 8 ft ceilings, position the rod approx 1-3 inches below the ceiling or crown moulding. If you have taller ceilings (9-10ft) with windows that are significantly lower than the ceiling, position your rod approx 8-12 inches above the window trim. This gives the illusion of a taller ceiling and creates a much grander feel in the room.
Don’t use a narrow rod that forces your curtains to cover most of the window when pulled back.
Do position the rod 8-12 inches wider than the window frame so that when the curtains are open, they cover just the edge of the window frame. This does three things – it allows more light to fill the room, it makes the window look bigger, and it allows your curtains to hang neatly without being squished to the side.
Don’t use curtains that are too short.
Do use curtains that reach the floor. Your curtains should either be 1/2” above the floor, kiss the floor, or puddle on the floor. For 8’ ceilings, I recommend standard 96” curtains which you can then adjust up and down or hem up the bottom if needed.
Don’t use a panel on just one side of the window.
If space allows, use panels on both sides of the window (even on narrow windows). This creates symmetry and balance within the room.
(Optional) Don’t use just two panels per window.
Use four panels per window for a fuller look. This also gives the illusion of a wider window and wall.
When it comes to curtain placement, little changes can make a huge impact!
Shop a few of my favorite curtains and curtain rods below. And keep scrolling for a quick snapshot of the guidelines I covered above.
Wanna learn more about curtains? Take this fun quiz to see how well you know the different styles of curtains!
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