Decorating UNschool: My Favorite Recipe for Windows

This post is part of my Decorating UNschool series… if you’re new here, you can find the introduction here and the other posts here.  Thanks for stopping by!

Nothing makes a room feel more finished than some beautiful curtains.  They are the icing on the cake and the jewels in the crown.  Often when I visit someone’s home for a consultation, I feel as though all they need are some beautiful long curtains for their windows and the room would have such a finished and put together feeling.

I know it can feel overwhelming, because there are so many options out there.  How and where do you get these beautiful and elusive curtains?  How do you hang them?  Aren’t they expensive?  How do you choose what color or pattern that will go with what you already have?

If you find yourself overwhelmed with those kinds of questions and decisions, I’m here to make it really simple for you:  Long white curtains hung high and wide on a black rod.  I’ve found this to be a pretty widely used and no-fail solution.  I’m not saying its the only solution, but I’m saying if you’re feeling paralyzed by the massive number of choices out there and you’re just not sure how to proceed, here’s a way that will look great pretty much every time.

Living Room // The House of Figs

Ikea Ritva curtains in my living room

The Ikea Ritva curtains are my absolute favorites.  They have a linen-like texture, are not super bright white (so they even look great on white walls) they hang so nicely, are a great price, and come in two lengths: 98″ and 118″.  Super long compared to your standard 88″!  The longer they are, the higher you can hang them.

Spa Inspired Master Bedroom // The House of Figs

Two sets of Ikea Ritvas give fullness on each side of this master bedroom window seat.

The curtains should at least hit the floor and its okay if they puddle a few inches on the floor, but they should not be above the floor (unless you’re going for a specific look that is several feet above the floor, for example in a kitchen window). Do you remember that phase in the late 90s and early 2000s when if you wore your jeans too short it wasn’t hipster or ironic it was just plain dorky?  That’s how your curtains still feel if the wall is showing.  You don’t want to have highwaters on your windows, okay?

Sometimes when there are multiple narrow windows in a row, I like to treat them as one big window.  For example, in this living room below, it would have felt fussy to have too many curtains in between each narrow window behind the couch.  The homeowners hung one long rod all the way across three narrow windows and hung one panel on each side (sorry the pic doesn’t show them all).


Long Ikea curtains hung high and wide in this living room.

For this wall of windows, where the wall itself is sort of a focal point of the room, we put panels in between each window.  I also adore the texture that natural fiber shades bring in.  The bamboo shades in my house are from Lowes (kitchen and kids rooms)  and Select Blinds (living room). In this client’s home, the windows had beautiful moldings, so we hung the bamboo shades on an inside mount.

The Montgomery House_Master_4 Small WM

These are the Ikea Lenda curtains with tab tops in this master bedroom.

the nester curtains

source: The Nester

Fixer Upper Curtains

Even Joanna Gaines knows the secret of beautiful white curtains.

And now, how to hang them?  This drawing perfectly illustrates where your curtain rod should go.

Both windows are the exact same size, but window 2 has a much longer rod that is hung higher and wider.  My preference is all the way to the ceiling (or just under crown molding) if possible!  As you can see the window panels are not covering hardly any of the window at all in the picture on the right- allowing more light and the appearance of a bigger window.  This gives the whole room a larger and more designed feeling.

Curtains hung like this also take up more wall space, so there is less of a desire to hang “littles” in between windows or near windows because you have the big beautiful curtains.  When you focus on the main important pieces of the room: “the bigs,” you find you don’t need as many “littles” to compensate or fill in for what’s lacking.  When you have great lighting, a great rug, curtains that are hung well, a furniture layout that works well for your family, it really is true that “less is more.”

So what do you think?  Do you have curtains in your home?  Have you ever bought Ikea curtains?  I do love beautiful patterned curtains as well, but white or cream curtains are definitely my favorite!  How about you?

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9 Responses to Decorating UNschool: My Favorite Recipe for Windows

  1. Teri March 10, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    I liked learning the pointers here about curtains, and when I read your advice on the length, I had to laugh at myself a bit. The first time I ever saw “puddling” was in your Willis home, and, trying to be helpful, I believe I offered to hem them for you! haha! “Old-school-stuck-in-the-90’s” but getting more hip by attending House of Figs un-school!!?

    • Bethany March 11, 2016 at 6:07 am #

      Hahaha! Don’t worry, I don’t even remember that! 😉

  2. Jessica Panos March 14, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

    Great article!!! No high water curtains please! Love it!!!

  3. Eva @ Design Café April 7, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    White linen or linen-like curtains are my favorite! No fail with these 🙂

    • Bethany April 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

      Absolutely. xoxo

  4. Mika April 20, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

    Favorite curtain rods? I have a 7-foot window and will need a 9-foot rod.

  5. Bethany April 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    Hi Mika! Several brands have extension rods… here is one I’ve used before
    Hope that helps!

  6. Kimberly December 9, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    Can you tell me the color of the shades in the master bedroom? I am looking on their site, but can’t tell which one these match. Thanks!

    • Claudine October 27, 2018 at 12:42 am #

      Can you tell me the ength for the bamboo blinds if you only want them to look like a valance?

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