6 affordable ways to make your living room curtains look much more expensive than they are

‘Luxuriously finished windows don’t have to demand high prices’ say experts

A neutral-coloured living room with a soft sofa and pleated curtains
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Much like choosing the right rug or wall paint colour, living room curtains have the power to pull the space together and further elevate it if the pick is carefully considered. But that doesn’t mean the curtains have to cost you an arm and a leg – in fact, there are several ways to make living room curtains look expensive without spending too much on them.

Living rooms are all about comfort and cosiness which is best achieved through textures - so the right sofa, rug and curtains, all of which inject texture, can make or break the room. The challenge is choosing well. That’s why our interior experts have come up with 6 living room curtain ideas for a luxurious look that cover everything from the right finishes to the best accessories that will elevate the window dressing and the space as a whole.

A living room with limewashed walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Massey)

How to make living room curtains look expensive

‘Luxuriously finished windows don’t have to demand high prices,’ confirms Ana Zuravliova, trend specialist at Blinds Direct.

So without further ado, these are the 6 window treatment ideas for an elevated living room style.

1. Choose the best material and finish

Damson-painted living room with dark, patterned velvet curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

‘To make your curtains look more expensive, start by choosing the best quality materials available to you,’ Ana says.

Velvet is at the top of the list, but linen and silk will also look great. ‘Velvets and more affordable faux velvets are often great places to start, especially when combined with a pattern or design such as jacquard, florals or paisley,’ Ana continues.

Leah Aspinall, head of design at Curtains 2go, agrees and adds that curtain colours for a living room, as well as appropriate patterns (or the lack thereof) also matter, ‘If you want to make your living room curtains look more expensive, choosing higher quality materials such as velvet, silk and linen will help, as do darker and neutral colours over bright or pastel colours. Plain styles can also help to make your curtains look more sophisticated and expensive than patterned styles.’

2. Add a lining

A black-painted living room with matching curtains and a brown leather sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

Often the abundance and thickness of a material translates to a more expensive look. And that’s how adding a lining to your curtains, or buying already lined curtains, can help in creating a luxurious finish.

‘You can also make a curtain look more expensive by adding a quality lining to it. Curtain linings provide a fuller appearance which in addition, enhances their style credentials,’ Ana explains.

3. Don’t forget about the curtain pole

A living room with two-toned curtains and a pink velvet sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Wreford)

Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise – carefully chosen and considered home accessories can lift a room to new heights, whether it’s a lovely lamp or in this case, a curtain pole that goes perfectly with your curtains.

‘The style of rod they are hanging from matters, too. Metals like brass, iron and brushed nickel are the best choice for helping to create a shiny, luxurious look,’ Leah says.

Ana continues, ‘Finding the right curtain pole will also make your curtains look more expensive, some of the best options include dark woods, rich bronzes, and of course ornate finials.’

4. Consider sheer curtains

A peach-painted living room with a matching velvet sofa with voile curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Sheer living room curtains are something of a current home decor trend. And they can look extremely chic and luxurious, whether they are hung on their own or layered with thicker curtains. Especially if you opt for a natural material.

‘Light and airy curtains can look elegant with the right surrounding colour palette and can create the illusion of more space by allowing more light into the room,’ says Ryan Calvert, product expert at Hiatt Hardware. ‘Darker, heavier materials can also look luxurious in the right space but you should always be conscious of these types of curtains looking stiff or particularly droopy. Rich materials are pleasing on the eye but won’t hang as well as others.’

Leah adds, ‘Lots of people tend to want to create a bright and airy space in their living rooms which sheer curtains are great at helping achieve. Their intricate and delicate feel also creates visual interest in your living room.’

‘If you want to keep your current curtains but create that expensive, voluminous look without needing to buy new ones, try layering them with sheer curtains to add depth,’ she concludes.

5. Opt for the right curtain headings

Grey living room with console table, cream sofa, pink armchair and yellow curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When trying to choose expensive-looking curtains, don’t forget about the curtain headings as some look more luxurious than others.

‘It’s also important to consider what heading style is best for your needs. Pinch or double pinch pleat header options offer a timelessly classic finish while for a more boutique hotel finish, consider adding wave headings,’ Ana advises.

Leah agrees, ‘Wave curtains are a great option. Like the name suggests the design of the track allows the fabric to sit in soft and uniform folds for a sleek and luxurious finish.’

6. Get the length right

A neutral-coloured living room with a soft sofa and pleated curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Much like when making bedroom curtains look expensive, getting that luxurious living room curtain look also partly rests on the right length.

‘For a luxurious look, we recommend pooling your living room curtains. This is when there are 6 or more additional inches that are left to drape - decorative curtains that are kept open can create quite the statement in a room when they are pooled on either side of the window,’ Ryan says.

He adds an alternative, ‘If you’re looking for a sleeker, more precise look you can also hang "grazing" curtains, which is when the curtain panel lies just above the floor, hence the name. This style offers a clean, elegant and uniform look to the space.’

But short curtains are definitely a no-no here.

Get the look


How can I make my plain living room curtains more interesting?

There is nothing wrong with leaving your living room curtains plain, especially if they are made with a lovely material. But if you do want to jazz them up a bit, there are a few things you can do.

‘Plain curtains don’t have to mean boring curtains. They can feature decorative tiebacks or have a beautiful heading to make it noticeable without needing to be overly patterned,’ says Ana Zuravliova, trend specialist at Blinds Direct.

Leah Aspinall, head of design at Curtains 2go, has a few more ideas, ‘To make plain living room curtains look more interesting, try layering them with textured sheer curtains or adding decorative tiebacks for a touch of luxury. You can also sew on trim or tassels to the edges of the curtains to introduce texture and create something a little different. These small enhancements can transform plain curtains into a stylish focal point in your living room.’

A green-painted living room with a blue velvet sofa and a voile curtain

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

How do you hang living room curtains to look fancy?

When it comes to hanging your living room curtains correctly to create an elevated look, it’s all about height and width.

‘To create an upscale appearance, ensure your curtains are mounted as high and wide as possible. This not only makes your windows appear larger but also allows more light to flood into the room when the curtains are open,’ says Leah Aspinall, head of design at Curtains 2go.

So from now on, there will be no more sad, short living room curtains on a cheap-looking curtain pole since you have all the tools you need to make them look more luxurious, just by making the right choices.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.