Living room curtain ideas to dress windows with style and welcome insulation

Want winning ideas for living room windows? We asked the experts to share their top tips

If you’re thinking about living room curtain ideas, the style and size of your windows is your biggest consideration. Whether you have a traditional bay window, modern picture window or classic French doors, you’ll want a window treatment that complements the design and solves any problem areas.

Design and colour palette come next when it comes to living room ideas. ‘Choosing a pattern for curtains or blinds can be daunting, but don’t let it be,’ says interior designer Bhavin Taylor of Bhavin Taylor Design (opens in new tab). ‘For those of you taking your first pattern step, I’d suggest you choose a pattern that you love.’

‘And then try to keep the colour palette of the pattern to just one or two colours, so it doesn’t become too specific to your current interior, allowing you to ring the changes without changing the curtains or blinds.’

Living room curtain ideas

‘When it comes to longevity, there’s no simple answer when it comes to choosing curtains, blinds or shutters  – it all depends on your interior and the style of your home as to what will suit best,’ says Bhavin. 

‘My advice would be to always listen to your gut and choose what you like and not what you think other people would like. It’s your home and it should reflect you and your personality – that’s how to get a look that lasts for you.’

1. Combine curtains and blinds for an elegant look

a large living room with full length light green curtains, a bright green sofa, a pink armchair with matching footstool, on top of a patterned rug

(Image credit: John Lewis)

‘Combining curtains and blinds at one window can work, but it depends on your budget,’ says interior designer Helen Harry (opens in new tab). ‘I love a Roman blind finished by full-length dress curtains to frame the blind – obviously with a beautiful pole that complements the fabric and wall colour.’

When there are multiple windows in the same living space, keep the look consistent and dress each window the same.

2. Create the illusion of width at narrow windows

living room with full length green patterned curtains, a matching rug, a brown wood coffee table with glass top, and a sofa with cushions to the side

Zaha Forest curtains from the Margo Selby collection

(Image credit: Hillarys)

‘A pet hate of mine is mid-length curtains,’ says interior stylist Charlotte Boyd (opens in new tab). ‘For me, they just don’t work in any room and make a space look dated. If you can’t have floor-skimming curtains then just go for a blind instead.’

Make tall, narrow windows feel wider by fitting a curtain pole that is wider than the window and extends further on each side. This will allow you to draw the curtains to the very edge of the window frame, creating the illusion of width and allowing maximum light into the room.

3. Highlight a beautiful bay

living room with bay window covered by full length pink floral curtains, a rich blue sofa with matching blue and floral cusions and a green rug

Darcia velvet Roman blinds and Aurora Moonlight curtains

(Image credit: Hillarys)

‘If you have your heart set on curtains but are not sure about having to draw them across the bay window every day, combining them with an easy-to-operate bespoke blind could be your ideal solution,’ says Lisa Slack, head of product design at Thomas Sanderson (opens in new tab). ‘This then allows you to select a curtain fabric for more of a decorative feel as dress curtains.’

Highlight an elegant bay window idea in a period property by combining bold floral curtains with plain Roman blinds. The dark grey colouring brings out the colours in the floral and having individual curtains accentuates the angles of the bay.

4. Match wall and curtain colour

blue living room with matching full length curtains and mantle, wooden floorboards, grey sofa and pink armchair

(Image credit: Habitat)

‘Matching curtains to wall colour creates a feeling of space and uniformity so is a good option for smaller spaces,’ says Yvonne Keal, senior product manager, Hillarys (opens in new tab). ‘Play with contrasts however, for dramatic effect and to create a focal point within the room.' A great small living room idea to make the room feel bigger.

Make a rich peacock blue scheme pop by bringing in accent pieces in luxe brass and gold. Hang plush velvet curtains on a gold curtain pole that will draw attention and accentuate the window’s height. Team with gold wall mirrors, table lamps and accessories.

5. Add warmth with dusky shades

living room with earthy red pink walls, matching pink floral full length curtains, a purple sofa with cushions and a wooden coffee table on a rug

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)

‘Window dressings can help to drive pattern and colour in your interiors scheme or quietly complement it,’ says Yvonne. ‘And curtains are another way to add texture, colour and intrigue to a room scheme.’

‘A classic-looking space can be made to look more contemporary with a stand-out curtain print. Or if pattern is dominant in other pieces in the room, such as a patterned sofa or patterned carpet, then a neutral window dressing will help to temper it and act as some respite.’

6. Choose textured weaves for a cosy feel

living room with dark green walls, grey textured full length cutrains, a console table by the window behind the curtains and a mustard yellow armchair with cushion

(Image credit: John Lewis)

‘Bold patterns tend to date more quickly,’ says interior stylist Charlotte Boyd (opens in new tab). ‘A good-quality plain linen or sumptuous velvet will stand the test of time and can easily be incorporated into a new colour scheme.’

‘If you want to add a bit of subtle pattern, choose a textured weave or a damask. These also have the advantage of being thicker, so are more insulating.’ A styling trick not to be missed for cosy living room ideas.

Add warmth to a chilly living room over winter months by opting for a combination of curtains and blinds at windows. Mix and match fabrics and colours with subtle woven stripes and a tone-on-tone damask in rich shades of navy and gold.

7. Be brave with flamboyant patterns

living room with green jungle pattern curtains, blue sofa with green, blue, gold and orange cushions and a gold and glass coffee table

(Image credit: Dunelm)

‘People tend to think that plain or simple means long term,’ says Bhavin. ‘But in my world, plain means boring, which can actually age a window treatment quite quickly.’

‘There are so many colours, textures or patterns that will offer you a classic, timeless look and everyone should be open to these and be braver with their choices. Don’t be safe… be individual.’

If you’ve fallen for a bold curtain fabric, ensure that it ties in with the rest of your living room scheme. Go for a colourway that complements a sofa, armchair or even a rug. Then add cushions in toning colours and in patterns that echo the curtain print.

8. Keep out the chill with lined window coverings

living room with pink and orange dragonfly wallpaper, a window with cream curtains and two tone blinds, a grey sofa with pink and white cushions and a pink throw, and a white coffee table on an orange patterned rug

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘Deciding whether to line curtains - or not - depends on the situation, privacy and room darkening requirements,’ says interior designer Leah Brandwood, head of design at Blinds2go (opens in new tab). ‘Lining gives curtains and blinds a more luxurious feel as well as reducing the amount of light entering the room. But unlined fabrics are also a very stylish option for allowing natural light to gently filter into the room.’

‘Go for the right weight of lining,’ adds Helen. ‘There’s nothing worse than a Roman blind with insufficient lining so that the light comes through and changes the look of the fabric when the blind is down.’

9. Show off a bright pattern

grey living room with yellow pattern curtains, a white sofa with colourful cushions, and a grey coffee table with plants sitting on a tray on top

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)

‘Think about how the curtains will look when closed as well as open, says Yvonne. ‘If the window is big, curtains in a bold colour or busy design will become a substantial feature when drawn. And a pattern that is obscured when the curtains are open will be fully visible once they are closed.’

Curtains are a brilliant way of bringing colour and texture to a room scheme, keeping things interesting. If you love colour, then pick out a matching or complementary colour from your existing décor, perhaps from an armchair, footstool or rug, mirroring this in your curtain colour and accent accessories.

10. Add luxe with rich, jewel tones

grey living room with turquoise curtains, rug with colourful triange pattern and bright pink and turquoise armchairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)

‘Heavy drapes in luxe fabrics like velvet or damask not only look lavish and opulent but help keep rooms cosy and warm,’ says Yvonne. ‘Choose a thermal lining if insulation against draughty windows is required.

Complement a dark wall colour in a modern living room idea, by opting for curtains in a similar tone, rather than going for pale shades. Jewel-coloured curtains will pop against a dark wall and look opulent teamed with velvet upholstery and plush soft furnishings. Choose a simple pleated heading for a sleek look.

11. Choose a timeless weave for classic style

pink living room with pink walls and curtains, white and grey sofas with pink cushions, a colourful pink pattern rug and an industrial style coffee table on top

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)

‘Window treatments can be expensive, so choose wisely and think long term, rather than treat them as a fashion accessory to change up frequently,’ says Bhavin.

A small-scale weave will add a subtle pop of pattern without overpowering a living room scheme. Match it to wall colour in a toning shade for a chic co-ordinated look or go for a bolder colour against a calm neutral if you want your curtain colour to stand out.

12. Mix and match for modern style

blue living room with cream curtains and blue and cream blinds, a grey sofa with an assortment of cushions, a wooden coffee table and a wooden storage unit

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore)

‘If you can afford it, I would always go for made-to-measure curtains or blinds,’ says Bhavin. ‘Treat them as an investment and get them made by a good curtain maker. There is nothing nicer than a hand-sewn or hand-finished pair of curtains that have been made for the specific dimensions of your window.’

Use complementary colours to give your living room a calm, cohesive look. Try a patterned Roman blind at a tall living room window, teamed with plain floor length curtains, in a toning shade. Edge curtains in a darker plain - picking out one of the darker colours from within your pattern for a co-ordinated look.

13. Combine sheers with patterned curtains

living room with grey walls, wooden floor, green pattern curtains and a grey sofa with pattern cushions

(Image credit: Blinds2go)

‘Many windows require a permanent screen of some kind to ensure passers-by can’t look right in,’ says Yvonne. ‘This is where sheer curtains and blinds come in. Sheers are generally layered under a thicker window dressing, screening the window from outside to give privacy.’

In a corner bay window, treat each section of window individually with a sheer roller blind at each to give privacy during the day time. Add heavyweight curtains in a heritage floral print to add colour and pattern. They can be pulled back fully during the day to let light in and drawn across at night.

14. Keep curtains running smoothly

a grey and white living room with grey curtains at a bay window, with light carpet and a white velvet sofa with matching cushions

Silhouette Matisse blinds and Porthos Dove curtains

(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

‘As bay windows project outwards from the rest of the room, a traditional curtain pole can limit how much material can move around the bay,’ says Lisa. ‘Choosing a curtain track instead will allow the material to glide around each corner without any fabric catching or getting trapped.’

‘Another benefit of a curtain track is that your fabric will stay more uniform each time it is pulled across the window. With no need for curtain rings, sets of pleats can be hooked onto the track at even points, allowing it to hang elegantly whether tied back or fully drawn.’

How do you choose the right window dressing for your room?

Consider the style of your living room first and the mood you want to create. Whether its cosy, country chic, classic period style or a modern, contemporary vibe. Then think about fabric options and colour choices that will suit.

Then consider more practical pointers, such as number of windows, problem areas, is the room overlooked or lacking in natural light. Insulation is another factor to think about, especially over the colder winter months.

What is new in living room curtains?

Pattern is big, from lush palm prints, exotic florals and bold abstracts, to calmer nature-inspired greenery and foliage. Statement prints are an easy way to add wow at a window and can give a plain living room a focal point.

Matching walls and curtains is another look that’s popular, whether tone on tone with plain curtains and paint in the same shade, or pattern on pattern with matching curtains and wallpaper. The effect is to create a seamless look with windows and walls merging as one.

Velvet is back in fashion, with plush drapes in rich jewel colours alongside velvet upholstery and soft furnishings. Ideal in colder months, heavyweight velvet blocks light, deadens noise and provides excellent insulation against the cold.

Additional words: Jennifer Morgan

Lisa Fazzani
Lisa Fazzani

Lisa is a freelance journalist who has written about interiors for more than 25 years and has worked on all the major homes titles, primarily Ideal Home, but also including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Style at Home, Livingetc, Woman & Home, Easy Gardens and Good Homes magazines. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person, as well as being a serial shopper/bargain hunter.