What Color Curtains Make a Room Look Bigger?

Colors have a significant impact on the decor in your home, as you can use them to draw the eye to a particular corner or make the room look bigger than it is. Since most rooms have windows, a great way to put color to work for you is with your curtains. What is the best color to choose to make a room look larger? We did the research to find the best.

To make a room seem open and airy, choose curtains that are:

  • White
  • Tan
  • Light Grey
  • Otherwise brightly colored
  • Or simply patterned, like with stripes.

Texture, too, can play a role in either crowding your living spaces or opening them up. And of course, your color choice should depend a little on the rest of the decor. For more tips on picking the perfect curtains for your home, read on.

Modern interior living room with white sofa set and white curtains, What Color Curtains Make a Room Look Bigger

Why Light Colors?

Picture your bedroom, and give your window wine-colored curtains. Think about how little light makes it through the deep red and notice the way your eye is distracted by the window.

Now picture white curtains for your room. The space opens up immediately because it's getting more light. Additionally, light-colored curtains don't demand to be the focal point of a room. Your eye is free to take in the room as a whole, rather than just one feature.

What Colors Make the Room Bigger and Brighter?

It's simple science: light colors reflect light while darker colors absorb it. This principle is especially useful when it comes to home decor. Having too many dark colors in one area creates a void that's unpleasant to the eye.

On the other hand, you can make a small room appear much larger than it is merely by filling it with neural, light colors. White, beige, sand and even certain shades of grey are excellent base colors.

That sounds boring, you say? Well, you can easily add a bit of life to rooms with unsaturated hues of bolder colors, like sage green, lavender, and baby blue. If it's light enough, these shades won't detract from the overall effect of a mostly white or tan room.

Which Curtains Should I Choose for My Room?

Modern bedroom with brown curtains on a large window

Based on this advice, you might think that white lace curtains are the best choice across the board. However, you still want to choose pieces that complement the rest of your decor. White lace might work for an elegant and timeless sitting room, but it looks entirely out of place in mid-century modern bedrooms.

For the Lover of Classic Decor

Let's start with the basics. Consider these curtains, for example.

Get them on Amazon.

They're sheer, simple, and a tasteful neutral color. The understated elegance works well in just about any room but looks most at home in classic decor.

Are you looking for a pattern? Stripes are always the way to go.

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This traditional-style curtain has unassuming stripes that'll elongate your room with ease.

Want something a little more playful that'll still fit your elegant style? Check out these curtains.

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The detailing adds just enough visual intrigue to catch the eye without being too demanding.

Modern Looks

Looking to play with color while still following the rules we've proposed? Look no further than these curtains.

Available on Amazon.

The baby blue offers the perfect compromise between bold and inadvisable.

Dainty detailing on this fabric creates a celestial vibe that works wonderfully in contemporary spaces.

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Finally, this tasteful gradient on the sheer fabric is eye-catching and will open up any modern space.

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How Can Curtains Change the Look of a Room?

Wide angle shot of a comfortable bedroom

In addition to color, the texture is essential. For example, think of heavy, velvet curtains. Placing this kind of fabric in a room that already feels a little crowded would overwhelm the space. Not only does light not break through these thick curtains, but the amount of fabric will also surely feel like too much.

Therefore, if you're trying to create the illusion of space, you'll want to go with something light and breathable. Lace, gauze, and even lightweight cotton all work perfectly.

For even more examples of sheer curtains that'll open up your room, check out our article with 11 different types!

Of course, if you're worried about insulation, you can always change out your curtains for the cooler seasons. A thicker texture complements autumnal and winter aesthetics, anyway, and if you pick a lighter color, you can still create an open design.

To Pattern or Not to Pattern?

A final component to consider is whether your curtains should be patterned. The answer depends a lot on what you prefer. A simple polka-dot, for example, won't do anything to overwhelm the eye, but it might seem a little childish. This kind of pattern would work best in a child's room or during the spring.

Plaids can work, but they might also counteract the work you're doing to open up your space. If you're anxious about how cramped your room looks, it's best to avoid this pattern. The same goes for busy floral or damask prints.

However, not every pattern is too bold to fit into smaller spaces. It's worth noting that specific patterns can even enhance the overall spaciousness of your room quite well.

How Can I Make My Ceilings Look Higher With Curtains?

Living room with striped carpet and curtain

One such pattern you can rely on to create more space rather than detract from what's available is vertical stripes. Much like they do in fashion, vertical lines can elongate any canvas. Therefore, if you're trying to make your ceiling seem higher than it is, this pattern is the way to go.

For the best results, pick thin rather than thick stripes, and favor pastels over jewel tones.

How Do You Hang Curtains to Make a Room Look Bigger?

How do you hang curtains to make a room look bigger

Now that you have the perfect curtains for your room, you're going to want to hang them. There are a few tricks of the trade to extend the illusion even further and make your space seem as open and airy as possible.

Rod Placement

Picking the right rod for your window is a bit more complicated than you'd guess. You will need to get one that extends a couple of inches past the edge of the window on both sides. Once you have one that's the right length, mount it several inches above the top of the window. In addition to using stripes, this is a trick you can employ to make your whole room seem taller than it is.

Touch the Ground

The curtains themselves should be hung, so the bottom gently brushes the ground. You don't want the fabric to pool, especially if you have children or pets, but extending the material from the top of the window to the floor gives the illusion of length.

For more help on striking the right balance, check out our article on whether curtains should touch the floor.

Cover the Walls

This won't work in every room, but you can try covering the length of the wall on either side of the window with curtains to create more space. The eye won't be able to tell where exactly the window ends, making it seem bigger. Having bigger windows automatically opens up the room.

Do Blinds or Curtains Make a Room Look Bigger?

White curtain hanging in the window

As a general rule, curtains make rooms look bigger while blinds have the opposite effect. The shuttered look tends to give off a caged vibe, and the shadows they cast as light comes through the windows don't help.

Of course, there is an exception to the rule: pairing shades and curtains. Similar to how covering your walls with your curtains makes it harder to tell when the window ends, covering the top of a window with a shade or blinds keeps the eye from seeing exactly how tall a window is.

Keep in mind that this is a bit of a tricky maneuver and requires color and texture coordination, as well as a good sense of spatial reasoning. For this reason, it's best to leave this particular trick to the experts. Going simple is the best way to achieve an open and airy look for your small room.

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