We've combed through our Livingetc archives and pulled out our favourite living room curtain ideas. From simple, elegant pinch and pencil pleat curtains to decorative trims, statement pelmets and wild colours, there's a curtain style and idea for every size room, every scheme and every taste.
A living room should feel cosy and functional, and adding curtains can create a sense of softness and luxury in the space. Now with autumn upon us, utilising curtains for layering purposes can be a great solution for a seasonal refresh.
Here are 20 living room curtain ideas to inspire a window treatment change...
1. Blend in
Curtains complete a living room – and a modern approach is to pair them tonally with the walls. Pick a fabric to complement the living room colour scheme you already have, for a truly cohesive and enveloping look. Navy blue linen in this blue living room helps tie the room together.
Opting for a fabric which is just a couple of shades darker than the paint will result in a layered and sumptuous look. Every so often, matchy-matchy works.
You can have a curtain match the wallpaper too, as has been achieved here, with curtains dip-dyed at the same height as the strip of colour on the walls.
A pelmet is a decorative, often upholstered board fixed above a widow to cover up the curtain rod or fixtures. It frames and adds structure and contrast to these blush pink drapes below.
3. Contrast pelmet
Turner Pocock, the design duo known for turning traditional treatments on their head, are big fans of using them in their designs. ‘When using pelmets we still try to keep an air of modernity about them, we use simple shapes with light-hearted interesting trims’, explains Emma Pocock.
Here a statement fabric was used to inject pattern and colour.
4. Decorative trim
Giving curtains a decorative trim will create for a polished, interior-designed look. The trim below also injects some extra texture into this blue living room scheme.
Whether you've got full-length curtains or a fabric roman blind, adding a decorative trim or pattern to the edges can make absolutely all the difference to turning simple window treatment into more of a feature. Interior designer Naomi Astley Clarke says: ‘I love using braids to add interest to curtains, and contrast fabrics to leading edges can make a lovely statement too.’
5. Roman blind
Roman blinds are perfect for recessed windows where there's no space for curtains to bunch up on either side of the window pane. Roman blinds can create a very streamlined look.
Crowning a Roman blind with a hanging piece of fabric – similar to a pelmet – with a matching trim will give it an even smarter look.
Create a super cosy look by doubling up on your window treatments; A fabric Roman blind for privacy in the evenings, with full-length curtains either side to frame the window. Crowning it with a pelmet at the top will create a neat and tidy finish.
‘Layering window treatments and curtains is a favourite trick of mine. Don't be afraid of adding blinds to your windows and then layering over with floor-length curtains. This adds depth and interest to the space!’ says Interior designer Alison Giese.
Interior designer Gillian Segal agrees: ‘I'm a huge fan of layering window covering types – for example having a window with a fabric roman (perhaps in a pattern) and solid drapery panels flanking it.’
‘I often use Roman shades with curtains to make the room more practical for privacy or to block light,’ adds interior designer Anne Carr.
7. Tie-back curtains
Tie-back curtains can give volume, and a regal look. They are traditionally crescent shaped and made by covering stiff cotton cloth called ‘buckram’ with a light wadding and furnishing fabric. Metal or wood versions which fix directly to the wall are also available or you can simply use a decorative cord.
8. Internal curtains
And speaking of internal curtains, curtains are also a great way of zoning spaces, sectioning of areas and creating privacy when needed.
See Also:Living room colour ideas
9. Goblet pleat
These lush, satin curtains are inspiring in more ways than one. Firstly, they are used to give this room a permanent texture, hanging in front of walls rather than windows. Secondly, the goblet pleat is a style we don't often see.
Goblet pleats are a detailed heading style where the fabric is tucked and folded to leave an opening at the top with a ‘goblet’ or ‘wineglass’ look. To keep the goblet pleats looking full and rounded they need to be shaped with interlining. They can be hung from a track or pole.
And finally, we love the layered look achieved by hanging a painting in front of the fabric. All these brave moves have paid off.
For windows that have a top half and bottom half, you could consider this approach of adding curtains along the bottom for privacy, but leaving the top halves bare to allow for more light.
11. Pinch pleat
Pinch pleated curtains essentially gather the pencil pleats into groups of two or more for a more decorative heading. This will work with most types of fabric, but bear in mind that the more pleats, the more fabric is needed and so increases the cost of the finished curtains.
Pencil or pinch pleats are the most traditional curtain heading and will work with all types of track and pole, as seen in the track example above, and pole below.
This look works both with plain fabrics as illustrated above, and patterned fabrics.
If you're looking to create dramatic volume but tie-back styles aren't your thing, you could consider the approach of using extra long fabric that bunches up at the bottom. It's a hard look to get right, but when the fabric bunches up in just the right way, the effect is quite beautiful.
For something minimalist, light and loose, sheers will make a room feel light and airy while still giving enough privacy during the day.
Interior designer Carly Madhvani favourites sheer curtains for living rooms. ‘How to truly upgrade your living space is by choosing a medium-weight-fabric which is both sheer to diffuse day-light and also cosy at night to soften darkness. I always recommend rechargeable battery powered electric opening and closing mechanisms to enjoy luxury convenience.’
14. Pattern punch
The designer below created a Palm Springs inspired look with acrylic curtain rods, tropical palm print curtains and brightly coloured furniture pieces.
15. Statement tie-back
For something a bit quirky, you could add extra pizzazz with a statement tie-back...
As if this curtain fabric wasn't punchy enough, the designer added a string of faux bananas to add humour to her tropical scheme
16. Bay window
This curtain pole bends and fits around the corners of the bay window perfectly. But rather than having just one pair of curtains to pull across the whole rail, this bay window features three pairs of curtains, allowing one pair to frame each window pane.
17. Pull aside
For rooms where a window stretches wall to wall, have the curtain rail curve inwards so you can pull the curtain right to the side, giving an uninterrupted view.
18. Double height
Got a double height ceiling? Accentuate it with double height drapes.
Allowing for extra bunchyness will give volume, drama and grandeur.
19. Colour pop
Similarly to Jonathan Adler's home above, this living room features stand-out curtains in a bold colour, injecting this space with a vibrant energy. In this case it also sets the colour scheme for the whole room.
For curtains that fade into the background and let the furniture and accessories do the talking, go for something unfussy and simple.
Interior designer Kate Lester says: ‘I usually gravitate toward solids and textures when it comes to curtains and drapery. I love keeping things simple so that the drapes frame and soften the lines of the windows, but don’t take away from the rest of the room.
‘Stay away from fancy pleats and trims and tassels, and just keep it simple and chic. Sometimes, if our clients are looking for more versatility, we’ll layer a blackout shade underneath a linen curtain. This way they get the simplicity and casual look of a linen drape – but can pull down the blackout shade behind if they need to block out the light entirely. When it comes to drapery I also think keeping the rod small streamlined and simple is key. No fancy finials or bulky rings. Less is more!’ says Kate Lester.
Interior designer Anne Carr agrees: ‘I really love a minimal and neutral look when it comes to window curtains and drapery. Window treatments are really important to not only provide privacy but also to complete the look of a room. I typically use a solid colour in linen or wool fabrics to create depth and sophistication and really like the way natural materials hang.’