Curtains are a main ingredient in a well-styled room, but only if they match the “flavor profile” that you want to develop. The right ones grace a room with texture, stylish poise, cool airiness or warm opulence, depending on your style sensibilities. Fabric, color, pattern and style are the key elements to choosing the best window dressing for any space.
When you want your curtains to "own" the room, color is imperative. Warm red, orange or pink fabric pops off cool neutrals, such as gray or smoky-white walls -- or vice versa -- while cool blue or green has distinct contrast against warm browns or tans with red undertones. If you prefer your curtains to blend or "disappear" into the walls as only a textural element, use those in a color that mimics the surrounding painted or wallpapered surfaces. White and off-white curtains have an airy, country or cottage vibe, while metallic and bright tones -- silver, bronze, gold, lime green, hot pink, electric blue -- read as modern, and pastel pinks and greens have a shabby-chic edge.
Fabrics are necessary throughout a room as textural elements. Textures, from rough canvas to smooth silk to nubby tweed, keep a room from falling flat or appearing boring. Your curtain’s fabric also plays an integral part in developing an interior design style. For example, velvet and silk are opulent and suit a traditional or classic space, while lace, cotton and linen read as country casual. Earthy hemp or burlap provide edginess that goes with a hipster setting, but you can use such materials as an unexpected element to jazz up an ultramodern or minimalist space.
If solid color isn't for you, the best pattern or print for your curtains depends on the style direction in which you are going. Geometric, ikat and striped prints suit the contemporary home, floral patterns have a pastoral or hippie-chic bent, and paisley, plaid or polka dots fit with traditional decor. But store-bought or manufactured curtains are often limited in pattern options. If you cannot find what you are looking for, make your own or have them made by a talented seamstress. Tassel or bow-tie tiebacks and solid-color or mismatched toppers are custom finishes that you can use to tie the curtains into your space.
Curtains come in numerous styles, including those with countrified frills, no-fuss tab-tops, trendy clean lines and grommets, or graceful, elegant scallops. The curtain rod and finials, from swirly, rustic wrought iron to sleek, modern chrome or handsome pewter, are just as important. The hardware and fabric styles that you select, however, should work with the setting or atmosphere that you are trying to achieve. The best curtains for any room are the ones that appear to fit or blend into your space effortlessly.
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