Stylists and interior designers will often tell you that curtains can really make a bedroom, but only if chosen with care. We've pulled together some of our favourite bedroom curtain ideas to help you pick the perfect pair.
Choosing bedroom curtains can sometimes feel overwhelming with heading type, fabric weights, length, pattern, colour and practical considerations all needing careful thought. However, before getting bogged down in the finer details it is important to remember that the primary role of bedroom curtains is to block out the light and keep your bedroom warm. When considering any bedroom ideas and decor decisions always keep this at the back of your mind.
Bedroom curtain ideas
'Curtains are always in fashion in one form or another,' says interior designer Yvonne Jones. Yvonne advises that curtains are the ideal window treatment idea for adding both warmth and sound insulation, 'I think living in a colder climate means we like to feel wrapped up and having curtains frames the view. They also create a different aesthetic, giving a bigger visual effect,' she says.
'Curtains can give a room something it's lacking, whether that's warmth, simplicity, elegance or drama.'
1. Seek voiles for privacy without blocking out light
Bedrooms require privacy at all times, but where having heavy curtains drawn limits the light quality within the space voiles are the perfect solution. The lightweight window treatment restricts the view in but doesn't restrict the brightness, ideal for a small bedroom idea to invite an airy and open feel.
'Using voile curtains in combination with black out roller blinds is a really effective way to gain a high level of control over lighting and privacy levels' advises Hannah Cooley, product designer for Hillary. 'Allowing for night time privacy and darkness that can easily be switched up to let sunlight through during the day.'
2. Introduce pattern to a plain room
Nothing adds drama to a plain bedroom better than a big, bold pattern. Tropical or botanical prints, similar to these curtains, are always popular for bedroom decor to add a touch of timeless appeal. When opting for a colourful patterned curtain, keep the rest of the room simple to allow your curtains to do all the talking. This grey bedroom idea has been finished in a pale blue to work with the dark blue and green pattern.
3. Draw attention to a shapely bay window
When planning how to dress a bay window, make a feature with a combination of blinds to accentuate the shape of the bay and elegant drapes to highlight the height of the room.
Choosing a pattern helps to add interest, but keeping the pattern subtle helps to avoid overwhelming the room. Loosely matching the colour to the bedding creates a seamless look.
4. Choose a pattern that goes with the view
'Choose a fabric that enhances your view – life a leaf pattern,' suggests Yvonne. In this bedroom, the view of the garden has been framed with floral print curtains in neutral colours. The curtains continue the botanical theme running through the rest of the room. The same pattern has even been used to create scatter cushions to tie them together with the vibrant green bed. Add authentic botanical touches with a scattering of house plant ideas.
5. Hang lined curtains to reduce light leakages
When choosing what fabric to use Victoria Walker, product manager at Hillarys (opens in new tab), suggests thinking about the function, you want the curtains to perform in your bedroom. 'Voiles are sheer and translucent and a great way of letting the light in while still offering privacy, but black-out, lined curtains are a better choice for bedrooms.'
'I'd always line curtains though – unless they are voiles – as lining makes your curtains look fuller, helps reduce light leakages and provides extra privacy. Coloured lining is also available – think about grey or black facing out instead of white or ecru.'
6. Invest in linen curtains for a relaxed look
Medium-weight linen or a linen mix curtain are perfect for creating a relaxed look. The navy blue curtains here hang all the way to the floor and add another layer of texture in this modern bedroom. However, they are quite sheer so it is worth investing in a blackout window blind idea to hang behind them, to make sure you still get that good night's sleep.
7. Choose a pattern that will standard the test of time
If you do decide to opt for a pattern make sure it's a design you'll love for a long time. 'Good curtains last for years so you need to really love the pattern,' advises Yvonne. These pink patterned curtains feature a timeless design that will work with a variety of colour schemes from neutral beige to a bright pink or red.
8. Hold curtains back with alternative tie-backs
'Avoid fabric-shaped tie-backs, which are old-fashioned, and choose woven leather, beaded or even tasselled ones instead,' says Yvonne. Tie-backs are a great way to update existing curtains, swap your fabric tie for something more modern like a leather tie or these rope ties with wooden hearts.
9. Allow curtains to puddle in front of a tall window
If you have long windows in your room order curtains that are a little longer than the window so they puddle. This works best with lightweight linen curtains that you don't need to worry about creasing badly.
However, puddled velvet curtains can also look sumptuous when creating cosy bedroom. Just make sure you don't go overboard, and only add an inch or two of extra length – you don't want them to become a trip hazard.
10. Pair velvet curtains with a sheer voile
'I love well-made, hand-finished curtains hanging almost ceiling to floor, with a sheer voile,' says Victoria. A sheer voile is the perfect solution to add some extra privacy to your bedroom if it overlooks the street, while still allowing light in. For a luxurious look, pair the delicate sheer voile with dark heavy velvet curtains.
11. Add a wooden pelmet to a traditional floral design
What you hang your curtains on can make just as big an impact as the window dressing itself. Pick a pole that co-ordinates with your fabric and suits your furniture style. The wooden rail in this bedroom compliments the earthy green and navy blue bedroom colour scheme. The wooden design also works with the brown leather armchair in the corner of the room.
12. Match your curtains to your walls
Make a bold statement by colour blocking in your bedroom and matching your curtain colour to your walls. The cobalt blue curtains wrap this entire blue bedroom idea in the vibrant blue hue. When colour blocking, add variation by playing with different shades and textures in the same colour.
13. Add a boxy pelmet
'A flat, boxy, straight pelmet adds neatness to a window,' says Yvonne. 'When choosing a pattern. Make sure you take the whole room into consideration.' The boxy pelmet in this bedroom echoes the smart grey wall panels, and ties the retro geometric pattern in with the rest of the bedroom. In a small bedroom (opens in new tab) such a bold pattern could be overwhelming, however the pelmet ensures it looks neat and tidy.
14. Team patterned curtains and blinds
Curtains and blinds can look wonderful when layered together. You can keep it simple with a plain blind under a patterned curtain. But for a more playful look team different patterns. In this room polka dot blinds have been partnered with contrasting striped curtains.
When clashing patterns, it is important to make sure that they have at least one thing in common, whether that is colour or pattern style. In this room the curtains have the same purple colour scheme in common.
Which curtain style is best for bedrooms?
Heavier, lined curtains that will minimise any light leaks will be the most natural fit for a bedroom. That isn't to say you can't opt for a light linen curtain, just bear in mind you will probably need to consider investing in a blind to hang underneath. The same goes for delicate voile curtains which are best paired with heavy velvet curtains.
If you are still choosing between blinds and curtains in your bedroom, it is important to note that while they can both look amazing, blinds aren't a good fit for all windows. 'If dressing a really wide window, blinds can look awkward and out of scale,' explains Sarita Sharma, Ideal Home's resident stylist. 'Likewise, on a really tall window, blinds can become cumbersome. Especially Roman ones, as you have to pull the full weight of the fabric up each time.'
Should bedroom curtains be long or short?
This is all down to the size of your windows, and personal preference. The biggest benefit of long bedroom curtains that hang to the floor is insulation, so if you know your room can get particularly cold this might be something you want to bear in mind. You will also need to think about the shape of your windows and what will suit them.
In general, hanging curtains to the floor will always help a room look stylish and elegant. 'I love curtains that are fitted to the ground – well 1cm off if I'm being fussy,' says Victoria. Yvonne agrees: 'I like them to just touch the floor. If they puddle, then the fabric can crease or kind and not drape properly, as well as making opening and closing a nightmare.'
However, puddle curtains can look lovely against a tall window. However, you will need to be careful with your fabric choice, and bear in mind how you are going to clean under them.
What colour should bedroom curtains be and should they be lighter or darker than the walls?
It is a good idea to consider soothing and peaceful colours such as green, blue or pink in a bedroom. These colours are all known for their soothing and calming qualities. Blue has even been said to help fight insomnia and anxiety.
When choosing the colour and shade of your bedroom curtains it is important to bear in mind the colour scheme and décor of the rest of the room. As a general guide there should only be one stand-out star in a bedroom. So if the rest of your bedroom is littered in bold colours and patterns consider keeping your curtains in a subtle neutral tone. However, if your room is already neutral, you can inject some life into the room with vivid coloured curtains.
Should bedroom curtains match the bedding?
Matching curtains to your bedding is an easy way to tie a bedroom together. However, beware of creating a stiff dated look by making them too matchy-matchy, for example using the same material pattern on your curtains and bedding. If you have patterned curtains, matching scatter cushions are a subtle and fool-proof way of tying the room together.
Alternatively for a more modern look, opt for bedding and curtains that are in a similar or complimentary colour palette. You can even choose to match textures instead of colours, for example pairing linen curtains and bedding in complimentary colours for a relaxed bedroom.
Have you been inspired by any of these bedroom curtain ideas?
Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.
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