How to Select the Best Drapes for Your Living Room

Decorating your living room windows with drapes or curtains is one unique way to add your own touch of style, color, and personality. With the right know-how, you can confidently select the perfect living room drapes.

What’s the Difference Between a Curtain and a Drape?

The two terms “curtain” and “drape” are often used interchangeably, though one noteworthy distinction is that drapes are typically made using heavier materials such as silk, velvet, or damask (other fabrics, too). Drapes tend to be longer in length, and more “formal-looking,” and they often have a lining, while curtains are more typically unlined. 

What Are the Different Types of Drapery and Curtains?

Drapes and curtains can be found in a wide variety of styles and prices. Be thoughtful about what style goes the best with your living room décor, as well as the window in question. The function should come first. If you have children or pets at home, do you need drapes that can withstand everyday wear and tear? 

Also, consider how you want your living room drapes to hang. With grommets or clips? Pencil or French pleats?

How Do You Choose Drapery Fabric?

Drapery and curtains are crafted in just about every kind of fabric you can think of. Some fabrics are better suited to your living room than others. As a rule of thumb, heavier fabrics help insulate a room and are better for cooler climates, while lighter fabrics work best where the climate is warmer.

Also, consider how much light you want to let into your living room and how much privacy you’ll want.

Here are a few common examples:

  • Cotton and polyester are the most versatile curtain fabric and among the easiest to clean. These fabrics do tend to lay a bit “starchier” and “stiffer” than others. Cotton and polyester are available in every imaginable color and style and can be formal or casual depending on what you’re going for. They are also less expensive than many other fabrics.
  • Sheer drapes or curtains, made of any material, are excellent if you are looking to create layers and to have drapes or curtains  that allow for light to filter through. They are not the best for privacy. 
  • Linen is usually used in more casual rooms, and tends to be more lightweight. It is frequently used for sheer materials. 
  • Silk curtains have a reputation for offering a classic, traditional look, with more of a formal feel. Even more so if they are crisply pleated and are long enough to puddle on the floor. Note that silk curtains have a sheer quality and can allow some light to filter through, so you might consider a privacy liner.
  • Velvet is among the most heavy and luxurious of fabrics, and it’s not as common to see velvet drapes or curtains in casual settings.

What Color Should the Drapes Be?

Drapes and curtains take up a significant portion of your living room’s visual space, so be thoughtful in terms of what color or pattern would suit your home well. 

Consider the patterns and fabrics of your living room furniture and the color of the walls. Use these as a visual reference point. Be sure to request a sample and visually inspect how it looks in your room’s colors and décor. 

Neutral colors like shades of white, ivory, beige, grey, black, and taupe feature a fresh and contemporary look. Be sure to choose drapes at least one shade lighter or darker than your living room walls to help prevent them from blending and getting lost.

Remember that light colors tend to be sheerer than darker colors.

What Size Should the Drapes Be?

You want your drapes or curtains to be the right length for the look you’re after. If you are looking for an elegant look you’ll want them to long and flowy so that your curtains or drapes puddle on the floor; If you want a more modern and clean look, measure them so that they barely skim your living room floor; for shorter windows, you can go with longer drapes or curtains that extend below the bottom of your window, or with shorter drapes to cover just the window, for a stylish café look. Maybe you want living room drapes to create a layering effect with another type of window covering, like Roman shades or cellular shades.

Keep in mind how far above your window(s) you want to hang your drapes. For a more traditional look, mount your curtain rod just a few inches above the window casing. Mounting your curtain rod just below the ceiling will offer you a more contemporary look, and can help your ceilings look higher.

You may also want to consider ordering your drapes or curtains with tiebacks (matching, of course), to ensure your living room looks neat and well-kept, and that it enjoys the incoming light during the day. Here are some handy tips on measuring your windows for drapes and curtains.

Fullness vs. Flat

Curtains and drapes either feature fullness or flatness. The flat fabric panels that curtains and drapes consist of can be made to your exact measurements with no fullness added. To get a richer, fuller look, most designers recommend ordering double the width of your window for fullness when your drapes are closed.

Select Blinds Customer Favorites

Here are some of our customer favorites in drapery for your living room. 

Essential Class – Our Essential Class products include budget-friendly, simple designs in familiar styles. They are made of materials known for strength and easy cleaning.

Signature Class – Our Signature Class products feature affordable, thoughtful designs in trendy styles. They are made with fabrics known for durability that are anything but basic.

Premium Class – Our Premium Class products are an excellent investment created in timeless styles. Crafted with high-quality materials that are made to last.

Create pillows and other beautiful accent pieces with artfully patterned and colored fabric that perfectly match your living room drapery:

Let us help you find exactly what you’re looking for to treat your living room windows right!

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