A space without shades or curtains just doesn’t look complete and as soon as you add curtains, everything suddenly falls into place. This is especially true in the living room. Curtains can offer just as much to the design of a room as the furniture. There are some basics to keep in mind when planning what types of living room drapes are best for your space. Here's how to get them right.
Keep in mind that function comes first. Before you choose living room drapes, you have to know what their main purpose is and why you want them. If the goal is purely decorative, then it’ll be all about the style. There are other important reasons to have living room drapes, mainly to provide privacy and to control the amount of light that comes into the room. These considerations will drive your choice of drapes.
For privacy, you need living room drapes that cover the window and keep out prying eyes. If this is your aim, it can be useful to combine shades or blinds with drapes. If you opt for a combo, you might have more options for the drapes as they will not need to be so opaque.
To control light, the choice of fabric is key.
Sheers will still let in plenty of natural light while blocking out harsh direct sun. Medium weight fabrics like linens will let some light filter through, but less than sheers. Heavier fabrics paired with a lining will totally block out natural light. Blackout curtains are an option that feature a special lining that keeps out all sunlight.
Keep in mind that the measurements of the actual window are not the size of the drapes that you need. For a room to look cohesive, all the drapes have to hang from the same height and be the same length.
After you measure all the sizes, be sure to measure how far each window is from the ceiling. Use the one closest to the ceiling as the measurement for all the window heights when it comes time to install the curtain hardware.
To measure the actual size of each window, measure from the top edge of the window molding to the window sill. For the horizontal dimension, measure from the outside of one molding to the other.
Depending on the height of the window and how high you want to mount the rod, you may be limited in how the curtains can hang.
Brushing the floor – These curtains will hang just above the floor by about half an inch.
Breaking the floor – Curtains hung in this fashion will hit the floor and bend at the bottom but not puddle. They are typically 1 to 3 inches longer than the measurement to the floor.
Pooling on the floor – Drapes that hang this way are anywhere from 6 to 12 inches longer than the measurement to the floor and will generously puddle at the bottom.
The width of your curtain panels depends first and foremost on whether you want the curtains to cover the entire window. If you are using drapes in combination with blinds, or if the curtains are purely decorative, you don’t need to calculate as precisely.
Since the living room is a space that all your family and friends will see, this is the place where you want to get the best quality living room drapes that you can afford, whether those are custom or ready-made. Keep in mind these things:
Choose long drapes for the living room – always.
Pick a style – pleated, grommet, pole pocket – that fits the level of formality in the room.
The fabric you choose will be driven by considerations like privacy and control of natural light, but otherwise, choose the kind you like.
Living room drapes can be plain and neutral or patterned and bold. Just keep in mind what other patterns and colors are already in the space. Also, if there are a lot of windows, any colors or patterns on the curtains will dominate the room.