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How to Choose Curtains for a Living Room, Bedroom or Dining Room

Have you decided to outfit your bare windows, but don’t quite know where to start? My tips for choosing room curtains will help you narrow down the choices, no problem!


First, consider the style of the room. Curtains for a formal dining room will most likely be different from what you might select for a light and airy bedroom. Decide if you’d like neutral curtains to let your furniture stand out, or bold curtains to add some extra pizazz.


Second, think about the amount of light filtration and privacy you want from your window curtains. These factors will determine the thickness of your curtains. Sheer curtains will let the most light in and provide a low level of privacy. Blackout curtains give you the option to completely keep the outside world at bay and more easily regulate room temperature. If you want the best of both worlds, go for a double rod so you can layer sheer curtains under blackout curtains or room-darkening curtains.

Hanging Style

Next, determine which kind of curtain header you prefer. Options include metal grommets, tabs, hidden tabs and rod pockets. This consideration is mostly a matter of personal preference.


Lastly, select a curtain length. Shorter curtains are ideal for high traffic areas, rooms where kids play and kitchens, while longer curtains are commonly used everywhere else. A short curtain typically reaches the bottom of the window seal and can be casual and practical, but still add a lot to a room. Long curtains can just skim the floor, resting about a quarter-inch above it, or they can puddle on the floor for a more dramatic effect.

Curtains and Drapes FAQs

Curtains should be at least a few inches wider than the window on both sides. Measure your window before you begin shopping and make sure they span the entire width, but also gather nicely on the sides. Depending on the size of your window and the look you’re going for, you’ll most likely need at least two curtain panels to achieve this. Be sure to read the product details of the home curtains you’re considering to check the width and whether it’s a single window panel or a set of two panels.

If you want the look of nice pleats when the curtains are open and pushed to the side, you’ll need curtains that are two to three times the width of the window. If the curtains are decorative and will stay open, one and a half times the width of the window should be fine. If you want a luxurious look that creates the illusion of a wider window, get a curtain rod that spans at least six inches beyond the window on both sides and factor that into the overall width you’ll need.




Your new curtains will arrive in packaging that may cause fold lines. To get them out, check the curtains’ care instructions to see if they're machine washable. If they are, give them a wash following the recommended instructions and then put them in the dryer on the cool setting.

If the curtains still have wrinkles, or if they’re not machine washable, a garment steamer should do the trick. Hang the curtains on the rod and begin at the top, working your way down releasing the wrinkles with the steamer. You can also iron your curtains on a low setting or over a towel or cloth if the wrinkles are especially stubborn and you need a higher setting. Another option is to use a wrinkle release spray. Always check the care instructions before you decide how you’ll get those pesky wrinkles out of your curtains!




You sure can! If you already have blinds or shades installed, adding curtains is an easy way to style the window while giving you more lighting and privacy options. Since the blinds will be installed inside the window frame, you can simply add a curtain rod above the window frame and hang your curtains or drapes for a layered look. Place the curtain rod high above the window frame and wider than the blinds (to make sure the window doesn’t look too crowded), and you’ll be well on your way to a Bob-approved, stylish room!




Layering blackout curtains with sheer curtains give you more lighting choices and is a DIY way to get the look of custom window treatments. Layered curtains usually have a sheer single color combined with a thicker curtain that may also be patterned.

The easiest way to layer curtains is using a double curtain rod. Just place the sheer curtains on the inner rod and the thicker curtains on the outer rod. With this setup, you can have the heavier curtains or drapes pulled to the sides while light shines through the sheer layer, and then just close the heavier curtains whenever you’d like less light or want full privacy. That’s all there is to it!

You can also layer curtains with just one rod by placing the sheer curtain panels in the middle (sandwiched between the heavier curtains). You’ll have less control over lighting and privacy, but depending on the room this might end up being a great setup!