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Dining rooms serve an important role in many homes, offering a central place to sit down with loved ones and enjoy a delicious meal while making new memories. Given its importance in so many households, it’s never a bad idea to spend some time optimizing your dining room’s interior design, and your window curtains are a great place to start.
From voile, valance, and linen curtains to room darkening and sheer curtains, there are many different window treatments to choose from. To help you decide on the perfect dining room curtains for your space, we’ve rounded up our favorite expert-approved tips and tricks for every aesthetic.
Meet the experts
At Living Cozy, we produce our content alongside interior design, home decor and drapery experts. In this guide, you’ll advice on dining room curtains from:
How to Choose the Perfect Set of Dining Room Curtains: 3 Things to Consider
The first thing folks consider when buying new dining room curtains & drapes is usually the way they look. But while style is important, you also want to make sure the curtains function well in your unique space. For instance, if you anticipate needing to block out light for any reason, maybe you want blackout curtains. On the other hand, if you want to maximize natural light, then light-filtering curtains might be a better bet.
“Consider if you’re looking for something purely decorative, or if you need your curtains to provide privacy or block out light,” advises Karen Rohr. “This will help when you are deciding on the material and the color of the curtains.”
To help you refine your window curtain options, Paul Linenberg recommends thinking about the following questions with respect to functionality:
Will this dining room be used on a daily basis or is this a more formal dining room intended for special occasions once or twice a year?
Will their dining room be a space for intimate dinners with close family and friends or more as a place to host large celebrations and neighborhood get-togethers?
Will this dining room be a place for casual conversations over tea and coffee or do they want an air of refinement and glamor?
2. Hardware and Size
Once you have an idea of what functionality your window treatments will need, you can start thinking about the size and hardware that will serve your dining room best.
Although window curtain hardware is typically subtle, it can really help define your aesthetic. For instance, if you have a glam dining room design or lots of brass home decor accents, you might want brass curtain hardware to match. “Curtain rods and rings are simple and subtle details that can be just as important as the fabric to create the perfect look for your dining room,” says Karen Rohr.
Of course, size is also incredibly important when it comes to finding the right dining room curtains, so you always want to “Measure the window before you buy,” advises Karen Rohr. “This will ensure that your new curtains fit perfectly and look their best.”
If you can’t find the right size window treatments for your space in stock, Elizabeth Ryan recommends, “Reaching out to a local seamstress or workroom for custom drapery panels. Working with a custom workroom may also give you the ability to order fabrics in colors and patterns to complement your space.”
While there are no strict rules in interior design, if you’re not sure of the right window curtain length, you really can’t go wrong with dining room curtains that extend all the way to the floor. Floor-length curtains can enhance the overall ambiance, helping to make your ceilings look higher and the room more expansive, especially when they’re hung well above the window.
According to Elizabeth Ryan, “When selecting your curtains, you want to make sure they are long enough to touch the floor when hung about 12 inches above the highest point of the window.”
For many of us, budget is an important factor when purchasing new dining room window treatments. Fortunately, you can find beautiful, high-quality window curtains at just about any price point.
Dining room curtains in standard sizes that are already in stock are typically the most affordable, while custom curtains are usually the most expensive. According to Eddie Rider, “There are some beautiful ready-made curtains for under $50 per curtain panel, while custom curtain panels might cost up to $1,000.”
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How to Choose the Right Color Dining Room Curtains
From solid colors to vibrant patterns, dining room curtains come in many different hues and styles. The right color for you will depend on the rest of your room decor, as well as bigger pieces of furniture in the space, like the dining chairs and table. According to Paul Linenberg, all of these elements can provide helpful inspiration:
“I like to know what furnishings are staying in the dining rooms, especially when it comes to upholstered chairs and area rugs since these elements offer inspiration for colors, patterns, and textures that complement each other.”
In addition to your furnishings and room decor, your dining room walls are also incredibly important since your window treatments will be laying right next to them.
“Select a color or colorful pattern to emphasize what is happening on the walls,” advises Elizabeth Ryan. “If the walls are a dark color, will contrast be interesting and vibrant? Or will doing the same shade on the drapery bring a beautiful moody vibe? If you have patterned wallpaper, consider layering another pattern in similar colors to generate some energy.”
Speaking of energy, certain colors can affect how we feel in a space, so it’s also helpful to think about the feelings you want to stimulate and the ambiance you want to create. For instance, if you want an extra dose of energy, Paul Linenberg recommends incorporating red: “I have always been partial to reds in a dining room since they can stimulate appetite. Reds are also energizing and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.”
Finally, consider the rest of your home’s style when deciding on window treatments. “I love to observe the surroundings of the entire home,” says Paul Linenberg. “I pay particular attention to any adjoining rooms, such as a kitchen or living room.” Creating cohesion among adjoining rooms ensures that your aesthetic seamlessly flows from one room to the next while giving your home a strong design point of view.
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8 Dining Room Curtain Ideas from Professional Interior Designers
1. Keep the Focus on the Furniture
If you have beautiful dining room furniture, your curtains can help you emphasize your favorite pieces. In this design, the window curtain panel pair features a subtle, traditional print that perfectly complements the heirloom dining set.
“For this dining space in our Purdue project, we aimed to highlight the heirloom furniture with fresh white walls and curtain panels trimmed with a classic floral print,” says Elizabeth Ryan.
2. Pull Inspiration From the Room
Figuring out just the right drapery color can feel challenging, but a good trick to make it easier is to look for hues you already have in the room and choose curtain panels that match one or more of them.
“I like to pull the color from something else being used in the room such as a rug, fabric on the chairs, or a piece of art,” says Amy Peltier. “It doesn’t need to be an exact match—you can pick a shade lighter or softer than what's going on in the rest of the room and they will complement the space rather than compete.”
Interior Designer Eddie Rider also recommends “layering into the color palette of the room and not pulling the visual away from the furniture.”
3. Mix and Match
This space offers another gorgeous example of how you can pull out one color that already exists in the room, such as light blue in this example, and incorporate it into the window curtains for a cohesive design. And since the curtains already feature a dominant color in the room, it’s easy to mix in different patterns without overwhelming the look.
According to Elizabeth Ryan, “The draperies in our Robinhood dining room add a layer of light blue in a room with light blue art and wallpaper. Each surface has a different pattern which makes the space both harmonious and energetic.”
4. Drapery Treatments
Drapery and window curtains are similar, but drapery is more often lined to provide a room darkening effect, whereas curtains might be sheer, semi-sheer, or fully opaque. Here, the subtle drapery does a wonderful job of grounding this space, allowing for the statement-making chandelier to shine brightly.
“I frequently use drapes that stretch from the ceiling and just skim the floor."
As far as the right height, Amy Peltier recommends hanging the rod near the ceiling and allowing the drapery to lightly touch the floor: “I frequently use drapes that stretch from the ceiling and just skim the floor. This creates a beautiful finishing touch to the room and can add a bit of formality while still being livable. Drapery, even if it’s as simple as can be, makes a huge difference in any space.”
5. Go Abstract
One of the fun aspects of window curtains is that they come in so many different styles, colors, and patterns. And since they don’t take up too much space, you can play with more colors and patterns than you might want to with something like wallpaper.
“The abstract pattern on these dining room curtain panels adds a playful layer to this richly patterned dining room."
For example, the window treatments in this space rock a bold pattern that enhances rather than overwhelms the room. “The abstract pattern on these dining room curtain panels adds a playful layer to this richly patterned dining room,” says Elizabeth Ryan.
The most dynamic interior designs tend to experiment with contrasts to create lots of visual layers. For instance, “In this dining room, we paired a gray grasscloth with a light, vibrant pattern for the drapery panels,” says Elizabeth Ryan.
The rich, dark gray walls contrasted with semi-sheer patterned window curtains create just the right balance between heavy and light, giving this room a layered, dynamic feel.
7. Opt for Neutral Colors
When in doubt, you can never go wrong with neutral window treatments. Not only are neutral hues an easy match for most interior designs, but you can feel confident that they won’t go out of style, so you can get many years of use out of them.
Neutral window curtains also offer an easy way to balance out bolder colors in the room. “For this dining room, we wanted to balance the dark seating with matte black curtain rods,” says Angela Boswell. “The walls are painted in a light olive green, while the white functions as a neutral. As the seasons and holidays change, the tablescape will always stand out.”
8. Choose Grommet-Top Curtains
Grommet-top curtains, also called eyelet curtains, feature metal rings on the top that the rod slides through. They offer a more modern look than rod pocket curtains, and they’re a breeze to hang, open, and close.
“Grommet-top curtains are a popular option if you're looking for something more modern."
According to Karen Rohr, “Grommet-top curtains are a popular option if you're looking for something more modern. These curtains are easy to hang and allow you to experiment with different textures and patterns. You can also go with sheer curtains, which offer a light and airy feel in case you want to open up the dining room.”
Kelly Weimert is a writer, editor, and interior design expert with 10 years of experience writing about design and home decor. She's written for interior design publications such as MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, Domino Magazine, and Hunker. When she's not writing or editing, she's probably busy obsessing over how to beautify her home.
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