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When decorating with curtains, there's often a plain side and a more fashionable or decorative side. However, both sides are visible (one from inside the room and the other from outside the house). So which way should you orient the curtains? Who gets to enjoy the glamorous side, and who gets to look at boring white?
While one option is to select double-sided curtains and avoid the issue altogether, the more attractive or patterned side of a curtain always faces the room. The plain side faces out to the street.
Keep reading to learn how to use curtains in your decor, rules for using blackout curtains, how to use curtains with blinds, and more.
Which Way Do Curtains Face (and Why?)
Curtains face with the decorative side into the room and the plain side out to the street. The fact is, you spend a lot more time in your house (same for any guests you entertain). Because it's the side viewed most often, you should focus on creating an appealing sight from inside the room. The few occasions that people may be outside, or walking by your home, can not justify structuring the most pleasing view in their favor.
Of course, double-sided curtains are always available. With both sides displaying the pattern or color, you won't have to give anyone the "dull" side.
How Can Curtains Change The Look of A Room?
Curtains, when carefully selected, can make a large or imposing room seem cozy. They can also make a small room seem bigger by using light colors. Using visual tricks such as vertical lines (particularly thin ones) can make the ceiling seem higher. Read more about Can Curtains Make A Room Look Smaller? and What Color Curtains Make a Room Look Bigger.
The room's look is influenced not just by curtains but by how those curtains are hung. Hanging the curtains several inches wider and higher than the actual window makes them (and the room) seem larger. Using three curtain panels, instead of the typical 2, to cover multiple side-by-side window panes softens the look.
In addition to creating the right aesthetic for each room, your curtain selection can also help block sound, retain heat, and create privacy. A layered look of sheer and solid curtains offers a variety of light and privacy options. Read more about options for curtains here: 30 Different Ways to Hang Curtains [Picture Inspiration]
Should Curtains Be Light Or Dark?
Light and dark curtains both have their place in home decor. Positives of light curtains include:
- Fading from the sun is less apparent.
- Small rooms look more open and well-lit with lighter curtains.
- Does not absorb the sun's heat as dark curtains do
Advantages of dark curtains are:
- A large room, or one with a lot of open space, can seem fuller and cozier with dark curtains.
- Dirt and grime tend to be better concealed in dark curtains (read more: Do Curtains Attract Dust? [And How To Keep Them Dust-Free])
- Dark curtains can create a striking visual contrast between the walls and the curtains.
Select a color that is complementary to the wall color for an instant ambiance with little effort. Alternatively, choosing a curtain in the same color family as the walls is a modern and popular choice, though you should pick curtains that are one shade lighter or darker.
Which Side of Blackout Fabric Faces The Window?
Blackout curtains often are sewn as a liner directly into the curtain. If attached to the curtain, the blackout liner faces the window.
When blackout curtains are sold as a separate material (not sewn into the curtain), they have a fabric side and a coated side. The curtains' orientation does not affect their performance (they will function the same regardless of which side is turned out). But the fabric side (also described as the woven or rough side) is made to face the window because of the durability. Face the fabric side out to avoid yellowing or sun damage, which will preserve the lifespan of your curtains.
Should I Put Curtains Over Blinds?
Absolutely! There's no reason you can't use curtains and blinds together. Done well, this can create a nice focal point or make a small window look larger. Read more about how to pair curtains and blinds here: Do Curtains and Blinds Go Together?
Another advantage of layered window treatments is that it offers more lighting and privacy options, and the extra layer provides insulation.
What Curtains Look Good With Blinds?
Two broad categories exist for blinds and shades-hard or soft window treatments. Hard window treatments, such as shutters or wood blinds, can be used with any kind of curtain. With soft window treatments (roman shades, for example), you simply need to avoid mixing patterns because the effect can be visually confusing or cluttering. For patterned shades, select a solid color curtain. If the shade is solid, feel free to select a pattern for the curtain.
It is typically easiest to select the curtain first, and next, select a shade in the matching or neutral color.
Pair with a neutral shade
- This textured geometry print curtain would go well with a cellular or honeycomb shade in a neutral tan color.
- These curtains are perfectly perfect with a simple rolling shade, are available in various colors, and even come with two matching throw pillows. Could decorating be any easier?
Match with a bold color shade
- The eye is immediately drawn to the strong print. Follow with a tone-matched roman shade for the best look. Available in 6 colors.
For vertical shades
- Available in 4 neutral stripe patterns, the sheer lines complement a vertical shade.
Use with wood shades or shutters.
- Paired with wood or bamboo shades or shutters, this rustic western style curtain solidifies any room. You'll feel like you're living right on the ranch.
- A colorful choice for the free-spirits among us, and what could be more fitting than coordinating this curtain with a bamboo or wood shade?
Curtains offer several ways to change a room's look and feel, such as the color, length, and even how they are hung. While there's no limit to how you can arrange curtains to reflect your style (even by combining with blinds or shades), the plain side of the curtain always faces the street. The decorated curtain panel faces into the room.