How do you make curtains look fuller? The 5 things to do that'll make your window dressings look better

With a few clever tricks, there is a range of ways to make your curtains look fuller — here are the rules interior designers live by

Neutral coloured bedroom with curtains and green chair
(Image credit: Simon Eldon | YAM Studios)

Wondering how to make curtains look fuller? No matter whether you’re adding new window treatments to your bedroom, living room or office, making your curtains look fuller can help to give your space a much more luxurious appearance and feel. 

On the surface, you might not think curtains are the most enticing or exciting part of decorating the rooms in your home. But once you've gone all in on these modern window treatments, you'll be surprised by how much of a difference curtains can make.

To help get your window dressing right, we asked interior designers how you can make your curtains look fuller. Here’s what they had to say…

1. Go wall to wall 

Red curtains in a pink bedroom

(Image credit: Ruth Maria Photography / Kingston Lafferty Design)

Gone are the days of only using curtains to dress your window. Instead of stopping where your window starts and finishes, Becky Russell, CEO of award-winning Ireland-based Kingston Lafferty Design, recommends running your curtains the full length of the wall, like these colorful bedroom curtains

‘Not just sitting curtains at the sides of your window will have two big effects on your room,’ Becky tells us. ‘It will open up the room allowing more light in as the fabric sits off the window when the curtains are open. It will also give you fuller, more luxurious looking curtains with more fabric that dresses the wall of the room adding dept, softness and texture.’ 

2. Choose thicker fabric

Blue Georgian-style study with desk, globe and picture wall

(Image credit: Simon Brown | K&H Design)

The thicker the fabric, the fuller your curtains will look. Interior designer Katie Glaister and founder of London-based K&H Design says: ‘The thickness of the fabric is very important.' 

'For instance, a weighty velvet will always make a curtain look fuller. For a Georgian Rectory’s home office, we chose blue vintage velvet from George Spencer for the curtains to compliment the Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue joinery. The delicate handwoven bronze braid trim by Jessica Light subtly catches the afternoon sun.’

3. Double up 

Pink bedroom with curtains

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

You don’t have to pick a heavy fabric for your window dressings to make your curtains look fuller. Oh no. Some rooms are best suited to translucent materials like sheers and light linens. But to help them ooze luxury, you could try doubling up by layering sheer and blackout curtains

‘To add weight and quality to curtains, I always include an additional interlining — an additional layer of fabric sewn between the curtain fabric and the back lining,' Irene Gunter, founder of London-based interior design studio Gunter & Co says. 'It not only gives curtains a fuller look, but also helps to reduce heat loss and noise pollution.’ It’s a win win. 

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Shop curtains at Wovn

If you're looking to shop for curtains online, you can find contemporary styles with a luxurious look from retailer Wovn. 

4. Choose pleated curtains 

an apartment with a curtain room divider

(Image credit: Justyna Wasiluk-Ptaszyńska)

This classic style of drapery never goes out of style. Especially if your interior design style is much more geared towards being traditional than modern. But no matter whether you choose three-finger pinch pleats, inverted box pleats, a goblet pleat or a rod pocket pleat (the list goes on) — these cleverly designed window dressings help to create the look of fuller curtains for a more cozy living room or bedroom. 

However, according to Davina Ogilvie, founder of custom window treatments brand, Wovn Home, just remember: ‘If the curtains have pleats in them, you generally want to have at least twice as much fabric width as the span you're trying to cover. Some designers prefer to even use 2.5 times as much fabric for a very elegant and dramatic look.’

5. Invest in wave curtains 

Neutral coloured bedroom with curtains and green chair

(Image credit: Simon Eldon | YAM Studios)

If you’re not sold on pleated offerings, you could always try wave curtains which offer a hit of modern and a double dosage of contemporary to any window. They're given their name because when opened, the curtains stack back on each other in a smooth, 'wave-like' effect. 

'I personally love wave curtains,' interior designer Kashi Shikunova of YAM Studios says. ‘Because of their S-shape, they create a fuller curtain look which looks expensive and modern.’

While they're not suitable for every space, they’re ideal for large windows or large expanses of glass, like sliding or bi-fold doors.

What color curtains make a room look bigger and why? 

Working with a smaller space? That doesn’t mean you can’t dress your windows with curtains. 

But what color hue should you stick to? Here’s the good news: ‘This seamless idea of running the curtain the full length of the wall will make your room appear bigger whatever colour you go for,’ Becky Russell CEO of Kingston Lafferty Design tells us. ‘Also having a simple pelmet painted in the same finish as your wall will disguise your curtain rail and tracks giving a cleaner result. This fuss free finish simplifies what your eye see and makes the room appear bigger.’

While if you’re stuck for choice on hue, Russell recommends picking a curtain fabric that is close to the color of your walls. ‘This will make everything feel more open your eye will only be picking up on one colour tone so everything will seem less cluttered,’ she adds. 

Freelance writer

Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.