Dining room curtain ideas to turn your window dressings into something special

Set the scene with curtains that will add the perfect finishing touch to your dining room and make meal times a treat

A dining room with retro furniture, a statement red pendant light and geometric print curtains
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Dining room curtain ideas are essential to creating a dining room your family wants to gather inside. Whether your dining room is used for formal occasions or all year round it is important to think about how you use the room and what you need from the curtains to create an inviting space for family and guests.

Curtains are a great way to make a statement with your dining room ideas, especially if they are bold or in a tactile fabric. It all adds to the feel of the space, and they can create drama or be an elegant backdrop to the furniture. 

But it’s important to do your homework and decided what type of curtain ideas you need. Do you want full-on heavy curtains with a thermal lining to keep out the winter chills, or do you plan to use the space during the day and want something to soften the light consider semi-transparent voiles. If you want to create a more private space you might need a combination of curtains and blinds.

Once you have decided on the type of dining room curtain idea you need, before you get carried away with colours and patterns it is important to settle on a material. ‘When it comes to choosing curtains for any room, your first consideration should always be fabric choice as the material will be the dictator to how well your curtains function and last. If the fabric is too heavy then they won't fold nicely when drawn, too light they won't hang correctly at all,’ says Emma Deterding, Founder and Creative Director, Kelling Designs.

When settling on a colour, consider the dining room colour scheme. You may find the perfect curtains or curtain fabric that you can’t live without, so much so, that you are willing to change the colour scheme to match. However, if you want your curtains to complement rather than overpower the space it might be worth sticking to a neutral. 

Dining Room Curtain Ideas

Having curtains made is a costly business, but bespoke curtains will last forever and fit perfectly, they can also be re-purposed at a later stage or sold to a specialist shop. However, there are plenty of ready-made curtains around from high street stores that are really stylish, Dunelm has a great selection of ready-made curtains starting at £15.

When choosing the perfect curtains, Martin Waller, Founder of global design brand, Andrew Martin has a golden rule to help integrate them into your dining room decor ideas: ‘Use the 60/30/10 rule in a dining room scheme.

‘Choose your three tones and split them into these ratios, 60% of your space should be one colour, perhaps through the paint on your walls and larger pieces of furniture. Choose another shade to be your 30 per cent colour and apply it through textiles such as curtains and rugs. Finally use your third colour throughout with accents and accessories, using it across 10 per cent of your space to create a balanced and well-thought-out look that will appear almost effortless.’

1. Choose dress curtains in a bay window

A decorative dining room with grey walls geometric rug yellow chairs and botanical print curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Choosing curtains for a bay window can be tricky. They will need to be fitted to a curtain track that bends, or be attached to a bespoke pole, made to fit the bay. There is also the added issue of working our how the curtains will hang when open so they don't cut down on the light.

Instead, having dress curtains on either side of the window will add pattern and colour and will frame the window, then made-to-fit blinds can be used for privacy. 

2. Use voiles to let the light in

Coral pink dining room with textured statement sideboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Barely-there voile curtain ideas can look lovely, and are perfect for summer or in a light decorating scheme where you don’t want anything too bold. Voiles add softness to the hard edges of windows and doors add subtle colour without overpowering the space. 

These aren't the voiles you remember at your Nan's house, nowadays they can look whispy and ethereal or create an on-trend boho-vibe with relaxed whisper thin linen.

3. Puddle curtains for a luxurious look

Navy blue dining room curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC)

A lot of interior designers ‘pool’ or ‘puddle’ curtains on the floor for a luxurious touch, it takes practice to get it right and depends on the weight of the fabric, but it does add an elegant touch. 

For a ‘break puddle’ add an inch of extra material to the bottom. For a ‘true puddle’ add anything between 6” and 16” fabric to the bottom for a sophisticated train of fabric and then fan out the bottom for the right look. 

A ‘fold-under puddle’ is as it sounds, add 16” or over and fold the excess under, then poof the fabric to give a cloud-like shape for a natural look. This look works well with linen and heavier, soft fabrics, stiff fabrics will be difficult to pool, so best avoided.

4. Add a self-fabric pelmet for a simple style win

Wooden table in dining room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you like plain curtains but just want to add a bit of detailing, creating a self-fabric pelmet looks stylish and is perfect for relaxed look. It’s simple to do and it is an easy DIY project to do yourself.

It’s basically a longer piece of fabric that is folded over at the top with a hemmed edge, or you could add a trim or fringe. These curtains have been attached with curtain clips to a narrow pole, so it couldn’t be easier to do. 

5. Keep out the cold with a thermal lining

Dining room with white walls, wooden floor, white table and chairs and taupe curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

If you're planning to use your dining room for Christmas dinners and on dark winter nights, it is important to consider how your curtain ideas will keep the space warm, as well as pretty. Choose a thermal lining for your curtains to cover the window and keep draughts out. 

Linings come in light or heavy weights, so choose the one that is right for you, or choose ready-made curtains with a thermal lining. It’s a great heat-saving idea and makes the room feel super cosy.

6. Add drama for autumn entertaining

Heavy patterned curtains in brown room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

To create a moody vibe in the dining room, team dark panelled walls with a bold, deep-tone fabric. Choose a patterned design to add contrast and have them full-length from floor to ceiling to add a dramatic touch. These are attached to an invisible track so all you see is the fabric.

‘One of the main fabric trends I see for curtains is patterns and motifs, curtains are becoming a centre piece of the room, and as such there is a willingness to go bolder with the fabric choice,’ Says Hayley McAfee, Head of Villa Nova. 

‘Alternatively combining natural textures to create a soft, ‘cocooned’ feel,  can be created by having a heavier blind with floaty curtains or by adding a border to the bottom section of the curtains in a different texture,  for example, a pair of linen drapes with a border of velvet.’ 

7. Team your curtains with a wall paint detail

Grey dining room with curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC)

For a simple and easy to achieve scheme, pick out the colour of your curtains and use it to create a striped paint effect dining room wall decor idea. It complements the curtains and grounds the space. Then to enhance the stripes, place self-supporting shelves on them to display favourite pieces.  

8. Bring nature in and add privacy with coloured voiles

Green and pink curtains in dining room

(Image credit: Villa Nova)

For an uncomplicated window treatment in the dining room, and for privacy, voiles are ideal. These ones have subtle green and blush tones to bring the outside in and to add design detail. 

The green splodges echo the sage green paint on the wall. The curtains are attached to a pole with ties at the top for a charming, informal look. These ones are pooled onto the floor as well for a sophisticated finish. 

9. Opt for neutrals to complement a bold design scheme

Foxed mirror in dining room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Your curtains don't need to do all the talking in a dining room. They can be the perfect backdrop to a patterned space in beautiful neutrals. 

'I always opt for neutral curtains if there's a lot of colour and pattern in the room already. Not only does this help to balance the scheme, but if you have spectacular views out the window, then this will allow them to flow into the room making the room feel a lot larger,' says Emma Deterding at Kelling Designs.

10. Design a complementary scheme with co-ordinating patterns

Patterned curtains and chairs in dining room

(Image credit: Villa Nova)

For a co-ordinated look, choose different fabrics that complement each other and in the same colour palette. Choose one fabric for the curtains and a different fabric for upholstered chairs for a really pleasing effect.  If you don’t have upholstered chairs, you could make seat cushions in the fabric instead and have a table runner or tablecloth made. 

‘We believe mixing and matching complementing colours, patterns and textures is a great way of bringing a scheme together.’ Says Nina Tarnowski, Founder and Creative Director, Woodchip & Magnolia. ‘Make sure you choose similar shades for your curtains to complement your table too.’

11. Welcome the outside in

White dining room with leaf print curtains and a wooden dining table

(Image credit: Blinds2Go)

Use patterned dining room curtain ideas to add a touch of greenery and elude to the garden beyond. Welcoming touches of nature are ideal in a social space to create a calming environment in which to spend quality time relaxing. 

'If you have a neutral design scheme, then introducing some colour and pattern through curtains will not only make a statement, but will automatically draw the eye to the window, again making the room feel more spacious,' says Emma Deterding at Kelling Designs.

12. Add privacy in an overlooked dining room

A dining room with retro furniture, a statement red pendant light and geometric print curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Thomas Sanderson)

If your dining room is at the back of the house and overlooked by neighbours, you will benefit from curtains to add a level of privacy so you don't feel on display.

When hosting after dark the room is more exposed by the light, meaning without curtains the room shines bright to those looking in. A simple pair of curtains provides a hit of colour or pattern during the day to enhance the decor, but once drawn they offer total privacy.

In a small dining room hang a curtain pole that is the same colour as the wall to make it blend in seamlessly. The curtains will appear to float either side of the door or window, without the pole drawing too much attention to the space above and making the space feel more enclosed.

13. Coordinate the kitchen and dining area

Kitchen dining area with matching taupe curtains and blinds

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

You can have the smartest cabinetry, stunning flooring and Instagram-worthy accessories. But if you've got an open-plan kitchen that incorporates a dining space and the window treatments don't match, it's going to look a mess.

Ideally, use different treatments depending on the space, so blinds in the kitchen and curtains next to French windows, all made from the same fabric.

There's no saying the fabrics have to be identical. Simply following the same colour palette is enough to coordinate the soft furnishings in the same space.

14. Blend into the background

A neutral dining room with wall storage and a plate rack

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

If you're unsure about the presence of dining room curtains, try a softly softly approach by making them blend into the background.

A good window treatment can be purely for show in certain rooms, simply there to soften the framework of windows and doors. A simple tonal approach helps to keep the social space calm and inviting.

Consider ambient dining room lighting ideas and add pops of an accent colour through tableware and wall decor to enhance the scheme.

15. Make a style statement with colour choices

Dining room with colourful chairs and pendant lights

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

There are many options for curtain finishes, from pencil and pinch pleats to tab top and eyelets you can determine the overall look you want for your space.

To inject personality into your dining room decor, adding colour is a great place to start. As this example shows you can up the ante with your curtains by choosing a colour pole on which to hang your design, enhancing the look.

Adding a decorative pelmet at the top helps to draw attention to the curtain tops, rather than allow them to blend in.

This design approach is ideal in a bigger dining room where you can afford to make a statement, without it feeling overwhelming for the space.

16. Match your curtains and table linens

Country dining room with block print wallpaper and yellow curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Here's a natty twist on colour blocking – a strong green on the walls contrasts with lemon yellow curtains and table linen. When laying a table, instead of placemats, denote your settings by laying runners across the table for a bolder look.

17. Stay neutral to enhance window frames

A dining room with log burner with patterned curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

There are advantages to going bold with your curtains (see below). But if you have frames that are beautiful in their own right, choose neutral curtains that are pretty but don't steal too much attention.

The leaf-print curtains in this grey dining room provide the perfect balance – they complement the painted timber frames when open, and provide a restful backdrop when closed.

18. Draw the eye with a dark print

A dining room with dark green pendant light and curtains and beige padded dining room chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nick Pope)

Keen gardeners take note – if you want people to notice the fruits of your labour outside, hang curtains that will instantly draw their eye to the window.

These curtains do just that, while coordinating accessories (the rise-and-fall light and jug on the table, for example) will give the scheme cohesion. It's a clever way to introduce a significant amount of colour if you'd rather keep your walls neutral.

 Should you have curtains in the dining room? 

Curtains look great in a dining room, they can instantly add colour and pattern to the decor, softening the harsh architectural presence of windows and doorframes. In addition to adding decoration, dining room curtain ideas can be hugely practical too, welcoming privacy for overlooked rooms to set the scene for more intimate dining occasions.

‘Whether a dining room is used occasionally or every day, it’s important to create a comfortable aesthetic to host valuable meal times with families and friends,’ says Rebecca Drury, Co-Founder, MissPrint. ‘Curtains are a nice touch, providing an intimate and cosy feel. Dining rooms are sometimes considered formal rooms too, so it’s important to dress your windows in a pattern or colourway, projecting interior flair to impress any guest.’

Do dining room and living room curtains need to match? 

‘Using the same fabric for your curtains across each room in the home will effortlessly tie the home together,' says Amy Bant, Soft Furnishing Manager at Graham and Brown. 

‘However, if you prefer more variety then we recommend adding different patterns in each room but using the same colour palette for a harmonious look.’

 What should your curtains match? 

‘This will completely depend on your scheme,' says Juliette Thomas, Founder and Director of Juliettes Interiors. ‘Curtains a great way to make a statement so choosing a tactile texture or interesting pattern will add depth to the space and draw the eye immediately. Pair this with the other soft furnishings in the room or your wall colour for a cohesive look. Alternatively, if you want your furniture to be the focal point, opt for a more neutral palette for your curtains in a lighter material such as linen.’ 

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike. 

With contributions from