The Do’s and Don’ts of Pairing Curtains and Blinds
You may think of curtains and blinds in practical terms, such as to block out unwanted light or for privacy. But when you add window treatments to a room’s décor, they have a powerful effect on the mood of the living space. Depending upon the style and how they’re installed, they can make a room look large and elegant or small and cramped. There are many considerations, both practical and decorative, and then there’s the eternal question: should you use curtains or blinds? Don’t fret—if you can’t decide which you want, you can use blinds and curtains together! Smartly paired, these window dressings provide maximum light and privacy flexibility while enhancing the room’s warmth and ambiance. In this article, we discuss the do’s and don’ts of pairing curtains and blinds for sophisticated home décor.
Reasons to Use Both Curtains and Blinds
Installing both curtains and blinds on a single-window may seem like extra work and expense. However, there are cost-effective options and having windows with blinds and curtains gives you the ability to:
- Block direct sunlight from above while allowing varying amounts of light in, as desired
- Close curtains for privacy while leaving blinds open for natural light
- Retain heat in the winter (or air conditioning in the summer) by closing both the blinds and the curtains
- Create a feeling of depth with the layered look of blinds and curtains
- Mix and match a vibrant design with a solid color to tie together other elements in the room.
What Are My Options for Curtains and Blinds?
There are many possible combinations when decorating windows with blinds and curtains. Heavier curtains are ideal for colder climates, as they provide insulation during cold winter nights. They’re also effective at blocking UV light. On the other end of the spectrum, sheer curtains won’t block damaging UV rays, but they let in the greatest amount of natural light, they’re inexpensive and they give the room a light, breezy appearance.
For a bedroom, sheer curtains can be paired with blackout blinds or shades that will block out sunlight, keeping the room dark for better sleep quality. Heavier curtains over Venetian blinds provide a great amount of flexibility, as you can have the blinds either lowered or raised and then tilt the slats to let varying degrees of light to come in. Leave the curtains partially open for visual effect or close the blinds and curtains completely for maximum light blocking, energy efficiency and privacy.
Curtains can also be used over roller blinds, Roman blinds, honeycomb blinds, pleated blinds, wooden blinds or faux wood blinds. For those on a budget, simple aluminum mini blinds are very inexpensive, whereas fancier blinds, such as pleated, Roman, honeycomb or wood blinds are more costly. If you enjoy the classic look of wood, faux wood blinds may be a great alternative.
Blinds and Curtains Together? The Do’s and Don’ts
Whether you’re planning a DIY project or plan to hire someone to install your curtains and blinds, there are some “tricks of the trade” that you should know for a successful project. Here are our do’s and don’ts for window treatments with curtains and blinds.
Measure Carefully! Curtains should either puddle slightly at the floor, just barely touch the floor or be approximately .5 inches above.
Aim for Consistency – Ensure that blinds and curtains in one room are all hung at the same height. This creates a more coherent design.
Choose Your Blind First – Determine whether you need better sun blocking, light control and/or insulation.
Choose Curtain Fabric Based on Blinds – Break patterns up with solid colors. Having a printed pattern is best for the curtains, as you’ll always see it, even when the curtain is opened. Since blinds are often opened, they’re not as visible, so a solid color is fine and likely preferable.
Hang Curtains Tall and Wide – Place curtains above the top of the window and outside the width of the window for a more expansive and elegant appearance. Installing the curtain rod close to the ceiling will make the ceiling appear higher than it is.
Ignore Your Environment – Do you live on a busy street? You may not want sheer curtains that offer little privacy. Is the room southern facing? Make sure you choose curtains and blinds that allow for natural light to come in, as this will also help you save money in energy costs.
Combine Prints – When selecting curtains and blinds, choose one solid color and one print in colors that complement each other.
Hang Curtains Too Low – Curtains shouldn’t be hung directly over the window, as this will make the room look small and cramped.
Use the Same Colors and Patterns in Every Room – Create different “moods” for each room of your home, depending upon its use and the existing decor. Choose brighter, more vibrant colors and designs for the kitchen, more soothing prints and subdued colors in a bedroom, richer and more elegant designs for a living room and a kid-friendly print in a child’s bedroom.
In Conclusion – Design to Your Environment and the Personality of the Room
There are many factors that will influence your final choice of curtains and blinds. Where you live is of great importance. City dwellers may desire added privacy as well as the ability to muffle noise and block streetlights at night—if this is the case, consider blackout shades and heavier curtains. While curtains won’t be as effective at reducing noise as soundproof windows, they’re a more affordable and easier option, and they will have some effect. For those who live in the country or on a quiet suburban street, lighter curtains will allow for more natural light.
You’ll also find that combining curtains and blinds with different colors and designs gives the entire room a new feel, so think about the type of atmosphere you wish to create in that space. Happy decorating!