Curtain Tips

If you’d like more space in your small room but aren’t quite ready to knock out walls and extend the room beyond its current borders, there are ways you can give it a more spacious look and feel. The curtains you choose can either add space or take it away. Choose your curtains carefully, and employ a few tips and tricks to maximize your room’s visual square footage.

Simple, Airy Curtains
Curtains made of lightweight fabrics give a feeling of spaciousness, especially when they are unlined and allow sunlight to filter softly through. One reason is because a well-lit room feels more spacious than a dreary, dark one. Another reason is that lightweight fabrics take up less space in your room, both literally and visually, than curtains made of multiple layers of heavy material. If you prefer a step up from plain-Jane panels and would like some detail on your curtains, keep those light and simple as well, such as ties at the top, simple fringe along the bottom or small tassels down the sides. Multiple stuffy details — for example, poofy swagged top treatments and heavy trims — add weight and take up more visual space in your room.

Floor-to-Ceiling Curtains
Hang your curtains as close to the ceiling as possible, then let them drape all the way to the floor. These long panels of fabric will make your ceilings seem higher and your room larger. Hem your curtains so they fall just to the floor, because while “puddled” curtains look rich and luxurious, the extra fabric takes up valuable floor space.

Color-Coordinating Curtains
Keeping a cohesive color scheme is another way to give your room more visual square footage. When you match your curtains to your wall color, the monochromatic color scheme gives walls a longer, wider, taller look and feel. Contrasting curtain and wall colors divide walls and break them into shorter sections, which makes your walls appear chopped and divided and seems to subtract space from your room.

Light Colors
Calm, light colors add visual space, while strong colors take it away. This is doubly true if you have matched your curtain color to your wall color. Choose curtains and walls in soft gold, light tan, spa blue or pale gray over louder, more intense colors such as dark red, bright purple, teal or dark brown.

Open the Curtains
Open your curtains whenever possible. This lets in light, which adds space. It also extends your room to the outdoors, making it seem larger. If your room is quite tiny, keep visual clutter to a minimum by using curtains that draw only to one side of the window as opposed to being split in the middle and drawing to both sides. Keep furniture placement simple and uncluttered so it is not necessary to crowd furniture around your window. Too much furniture placed near your window blocks views and incoming light and sometimes even prevents you from opening your curtains.

Make It Wider
If you have a long, narrow window in your living room, like the kind found on either side of an entry or other exterior door, keep your window treatment narrow to make the window look wider. Use a curtain that isn’t as wide as the window to cover it, so woodwork and a sliver of window peek out the sides. This creates the impression that the window is wider than it actually is, and in the case of an entryway, the window treatments will also make the door a focal point.
If the narrow window is in another part of the room, you can create the illusion that the window is wider by using longer curtain rods and wider curtain panels.

Go Short
If your narrow window is short or average length, think about skipping the longer curtains for a shorter curtain style such as a valance. Using a valance will keep your window treatment from overpowering the window, and unlike other window treatments, a valance over a narrow window will keep the window’s proportions, which may be important if you have more than one narrow window.
If fabric valances aren’t your thing, try wooden blinds.