How to Choose the Right Colour Curtain

15 September 2021

Sophie McCreadie

Sophie McCreadie

When it comes to choosing the perfect curtains for your window furnishings, it can be difficult knowing what is the “right” colour. There really is no “right” colour – just the colour that’s right for the room setting or the look that you’re trying to create, and the colour that makes you happy. You’ve probably instinctively chosen colours you’re drawn to already, but if you’re starting with a blank or neutral canvas here’s some frequently asked questions to consider.

Are curtains old fashioned?

There’s no denying that the concept of curtains has been around seemingly for ever – indeed, the use of animal hides between rooms as a hanging divide dates back to Egyptian times.  But the different ways in which that initial concept has adapted and progressed is testament to their deserved longevity.
With modern textiles available, not to mention both traditional and contemporary headers, plus poles, tracks and tiebacks, you can choose curtains that are quintessentially timelessly classic or up to date and right on trend.

Which type of curtain should I choose?

Different styles of curtains can be created by simply changing the header and it can be far more impactful than you may think. The standard look tends to be a pencil pleat, with the more traditional classic which offers a three inch pleat, or opt for the deep pencil pleat, and these are both versatile options for both track and pole. If you’re looking for something with a little more formality take a look at double pinch pleat curtains, with their uniformed folds, with the triple pinch pleat giving the fullest look. Eyelet curtains provide a more contemporary look, and are ideal for wide windows or doors, thanks to their sleek appearance and as they require a pole fitting you can bring individual styling into play with colour, finish and finial shape. A more unusual option is wave, a contemporary style which creates soft, wave-like folds for an informal and relaxed feel. Fitted on specialist poles or tracks, wave curtains fold up neatly when the curtains are fully open. Wave header curtains are really growing in popularity, and they look at their best when fitted at ceiling level.

Should curtains match the wall colour?

Your curtains can be chosen to match the colour of your walls, but there’s no design rule that says they must. For example, if your walls are white or cream you may choose to inject some colour with curtains, perhaps to match a rug or sofa, but white or cream curtains can also visually merge into similarly coloured walls, which can help make the room appear bigger, as the eye doesn’t see visible breaks in colour. If you’re still undecided, consider curtains that are one shade lighter or darker than your walls, which creates enough difference that the curtains are noticeable, but not so much of a contrast that they seem a statement.

Should curtains match throughout my house?

There’s something to be said for that sense of continuity of colour, which creates a flow from one room to the next. But don’t sacrifice form over function just for the sake of it. If the style of each of your rooms is very different – for example if your dining room is very formal while your kitchen is country chic then it’s unlikely you’re going to have curtains that will work to their best in both rooms – then don’t worry about this uniformity and choose different curtains for each room throughout your home to match each individual room. If your home is more open plan, then you can think slightly differently, as you want to keep more of a visual unity to heighten the benefit of an open plan setting. In this case, you can use the same curtains, as you’re unlikely to have different styles, but If you want to create a more defined look in certain areas, consider keeping to the same or a similar colour and simply changing the type of curtain, say voiles, or a textured curtain instead of a plain, which will be a visual signifier while still blending with the remaining curtains.

What’s the right colour for my bedroom curtains, and should they match the bedding?

There’s a great deal of psychology when it comes to colours, and probably one of the most important rooms to get right is the bedroom. Colours that make you happy but also that create a sense of serenity and peace are the best option. This tends to mean shades of blues, greens or greys and of course more neutral colours. The bed will be the focal point of the room, along with the bedding upon it, so look to make some connection between this and your curtains. The colour needn’t be an identical match, but again, a shade or two darker or lighter will work equally well. You could also look to unite the two by texture, especially if the bedding features a decorative trim, such as lace, or a distinctive feature, such as a jacquard weave

What colour curtains go with white walls?

With white walls, your options with curtains are almost as bountiful as there are colours. Choose a colour that reflects any furniture or soft furnishing and make it a focal colour. Choose a neutral background but exploit the use of pattern to inject colour or shapes into the room. A popular look currently is a far bolder proposition – pairing white walls with dark curtains for a totally contrasting look, where the whiter walls, the more the dark curtains stand out.

What other curtain options are there?

An increasingly popular option are voile curtains. Put aside any thoughts you may have of old fashioned net curtains because they bear no relation to these beautiful new curtains that cover a wide range in both fabric composition and also in colour. Gone are the days of white with a cut-out pattern, it’s time to embrace linens, linen blends, and even micro jacquards. These flowing curtains just soften the light a touch without spoiling your view, creating an elegant but relaxed setting. Choose more traditional creams and whites for more formal areas while new colours, including the ever popular grey bring a modern look.

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