Window treatments are one of the first things you notice when you walk into a room. If you have a room with windows that vary in style and height, you might question whether you can hang curtains of different lengths. We looked at what decor experts had to say and have some interesting info worth sharing.
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Typically, we avoid hanging curtains of different lengths in the same room unless it is intentional. Usually, curtains are the same style and length to create a cohesive look in a space. But, there may be a few exceptions where it is necessary to use a variety of curtain lengths.
It is essential to be intentional about dressing windows with drapery. However, for safety reasons, or if something blocks access to a window, it might not be wise to hang long curtains to match the rest of a room. Keep reading to learn how to pull off different curtain lengths, and when it's a decorating, no-no to avoid.
Decor Rules About Curtain Lengths
Most standard curtains are in three sizes. They are usually 84, 96, or 108 inches long. Depending on your sense of aesthetics and the dimensions, shape, and location of a window, you can choose the best type of curtain length.
If a radiator under a window or a bed or couch is blocking a window, it might be better to avoid curtains that dramatically sweep the floor. Or, if desired, we can tie curtains up so they won't cover potential safety hazards.
Personal style and working with the proportion of a window will influence curtain choice. You wouldn't want curtains to dwarf a window with too much fabric or look underwhelming in a room.
Many people select shorter curtains that land at the windowsill or cover half the window for bathrooms and kitchens where moisture is frequently present.
However, what if you wanted to hang curtains at different lengths in the same room? Can you get away with pulling this off, or is it a decor faux pas? The best way to pull off curtains that are not the same length is to ensure they are the same fabric and style. Also, embrace the power of optical illusion.
Trick the eye by hanging some curtains higher up or farther out, so they appear the same length, even if they differ. Station accent decor or use lighting and color to keep the eye from lingering at the windows, so a significant length difference between curtains isn't noticeable.
If you use curtains in different lengths, try to keep the difference between them around 4 to 6 inches so it doesn't stand out. Unless you are looking for something to criticize, curtains in the same style won't give away easily that the lengths for all the windows don't match.
Looking for inspiration and tips for hanging up curtains in a room? You'll want to read our article, How Long Should Curtains Hang Below Window Sill?
Should All Curtains In A Room Be The Same Length?
Most decor experts champion a room with curtains that are all the same length. However, there are some understandable exceptions, where curtains should not or cannot.
If there are a few windows that are higher than others, it might not make sense to use curtains of the same length. Also, if there is a potential fire hazard, HVAC vent, or furniture in front of a window, you'd probably want to keep the curtains shorter than the rest.
Ideally, when possible, keep all your curtains and drapery the same. When it's challenging to maintain this decor rule, ensure all drapery is at least the same color, style, and material to create visual uniformity.
What Curtain Length Looks Best?
A room's layout and intended purpose help you decide the best curtain length, besides the type of windows the drapery will cover. For some spaces, it's better to hang curtains that land slightly below the window sill, at the windowsill, or hover a few inches above the windowsill.
However, many designers love the drama and glamor of curtains that are full length and sweep the floor. But, keep in mind that it isn't always feasible to hang very long curtains, especially in a kitchen or bathroom.
With long curtains, which look good on taller windows, you want a break of 1/4 to 1/2 inch between the bottom of the drapes and the floor.
If you were curious about curtain length and hanging tips, check out our article, "How High Should You Hang Curtains? [By Ceiling Height]."
How Much Longer Should Curtains Be Than Window?
If you plan on hanging curtains, try to stick to standard sizes and go a little longer for visual oomph. It usually looks awkward when curtains stop short, even when hiding behind furniture.
When purchasing curtains, look for a set 2 to 3 times the window's width, so it looks full. The curtains should be about 4 to 10 inches of space at the window's sides. For the length, drapery should hang around 4 to 10 inches beyond the bottom of the window frame.
Don't forget to adjust the length if you have a room with a short or tall ceiling. The length of the curtains might make the room feel cramped or vaulted and spacious. Trust your gut and eye-measure your curtains. You want a pleasing amount of coverage from your drapery at the top, sides, and bottom of a window and some visual breathing room.
Is It Better To Have Curtains Too Long Or Too Short?
Visually, it's better to have too long curtains than too short. Depending on the ceiling height, you can adjust how high you hang curtains above the window. Or, you can tie curtains back to prevent them from landing on a radiator or potential safety hazard.
If you choose too short curtains, they typically make a room feel outdated. Also, if you need a bit more coverage, it can be awkward trying to distract the eyesore of incredibly short curtains. Using furniture to cover up a mistake might draw more attention to the curtain length.
Can You Hang Curtains At Different Heights In The Same Room?
Yes, hanging curtains at different heights in the same room is possible. And this might be necessary depending on the dimensions of a window and its location. When windows are smaller and higher up, it wouldn't make sense to hang curtains in the same position as lower and wider windows.
Use optical illusion in your favor, and hang curtains at heights that work with the ceiling height, make sense for the window, and look aesthetically pleasing. As long as the curtains match in material and style, you won't notice they hang at different heights right away.
Can You Have Mismatched Curtains?
You should avoid mismatched curtains unless you like a kitschy, eclectic look. Let's say you have a studio space, where you use furniture and different window treatments to carve out designated uses for different parts of the space. In this scenario, you might get away with mismatched drapery.
If you are not decorating a large one-room space used for more than one purpose, it is better to stick to the same color, style, and material for curtains. We often see mismatched curtains as poor taste and an eyesore.
How Do You Mix Two Different Curtains?
Are you interested in mixing two different curtains styles and wondering if you can pull it off? Yes, if you ease into a bold look for your window treatments, you can.
First, stick to curtains with one strong similarity, whether it's the same pattern, color, or material. You can stray from sticking to uniform drapery, but subtlety is ideal. Hang curtains in complementing, contrasting colors of the same height, or keep the pattern the same, but use a slightly different material.
Do All Curtains Have To Match In Open Floor Plan?
Ideally, most decor experts support matching all the curtains in an open floor plan. You want your space to look cohesive and well put together. However, if you are feeling brave and use furniture to divide and designate the use of your home, you can get away with curtains that don't match.
If you choose to veer from uniform curtains throughout, try to keep them in the same color family or stick to similar patterns for visual harmony. You can stick to neutral colors to play it safe if you don't feel like making a bold statement with your window treatments.
After reading this post, we hope you feel inspired to make your curtain choice work well in a space. You don't have to play it safe with dressing your windows. Take creative liberties with suggested design and decor rules for curtains to create a fetching window treatment.
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