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Do Living Room Windows Need Curtains?

A modern living room with long window curtain.

While it’s not a requirement to hang curtains in your living room, window treatments offer all kinds of benefits. Not only can curtains enhance your living room decor, but they can provide privacy and even protect your furniture!

Curtains come in countless colors, styles, and materials, which means you’ll be able to choose something that’s exactly right for your living space. Don’t leave your windows bare! Take the time to find the perfect curtains for your living room. 

The Benefits of Living Room Curtains

A woman opening a window curtain.

There are many different ways to cover your windows, but curtains are the ideal choice for the living room. They’re cost-effective, come in every color and style you can imagine, and are the perfect finishing touch for your living space. These are just a few of the many perks you’ll enjoy if you choose to hang curtains.

They Provide Privacy

Curtains can keep neighbors and people that pass by from peeking into your home. You can use curtains as a barrier even when you have your windows open, ensuring that you feel completely comfortable when you’re relaxing at home. 

They Protect Your Furniture

Regular exposure to the sun’s rays will cause your furniture to fade overtime. By hanging curtains over your windows, you can limit the amount of sunlight that comes into your living room and keep your furniture safe. 

They Keep Out Dust

A window with curtains and dust particles.

No one wants to spend all of their time dusting! Thankfully, your curtains can gather some of the dust that comes in through your windows. If you choose curtains that are machine washable, you’ll be able to clear away that dust with minimal fuss!

There Are Endless Options

Whether you’re interested in luxury window treatments or something that’s inexpensive and practical, you’ll be able to find curtains that are exactly right for you. Even if your budget is tight, you’ll have lots of beautiful curtains to choose from

The Best Types of Curtains for Living Rooms

Rolls of linen cloth with different texture.

“You really want to think about how you want your space to feel,” says Karla Dreyer, an award-winning interior designer. “Do you want to feel relaxed? Vibrant? Warm and welcoming? That’s going to dictate the material you choose for your curtains.”

It’s important to consider the appearance of your curtains, but you’ll also want to think about how practical they are. Ideally, your curtains should be durable, washable, and drape well. These fabrics are fantastic choices for living room curtains. 


A room with white linen curtain and a sofa.

Whether you choose curtains made from 100% linen or a linen blend, this natural fabric is breathable and drapes beautifully. Linen is known for its durability, and curtains made from this fabric are likely to stand the test of time. 


A living room with green apples and cactus.

This affordable natural material is one of the most popular choices for curtains. If you opt to hang cotton curtains in your living room, look for thicker curtains with a higher thread count. These curtains should be able to hold their shape even without a lining. 


While muslin is technically a type of cotton, there are distinct benefits to choosing this fabric for your living room curtains. Many muslin curtains are semi-sheer and look lightweight and airy when hung over windows. 


Luxurious golden colored window curtain.

This synthetic material is inexpensive and capable of mimicking the appearance of other fabrics, including cotton and silk. While it’s easy to care for, it’s less breathable and durable than natural fabrics. 


A woman opening a silk window curtain.

If you want to add a hint of luxury to your living room, silk window treatments are an excellent choice. This rich natural fabric can be expensive, and it does need to be hand washed, but it’s still a gorgeous and elegant option. 


A double window curtain with metal holder.

If you’re a fan of silk’s shimmery appearance, but don’t love its price tag, satin curtains are an excellent compromise. An added bonus of satin curtains is the thickness of their weave. Curtains made from this fabric are very effective at blocking out light.


A thick velvet window curtain.

This soft, thick fabric is perfect for more formal living rooms. While it tends to be very heavy, it drapes beautifully and is available in many stunning shades. 


If you live in an area with a colder climate, wool curtains could help to insulate your living room. Although wool curtains are very heavy, many curtains made from wool are machine washable. They can make your living room look warm and inviting when it’s chilly outside. 

What to Avoid When Choosing Curtains

If you want to enjoy all of the advantages of living room curtains, you’ll want to make sure you avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when selecting curtains for their home. 

Make Sure Your Curtains Are the Right Size

If you pick curtains that are too small for your living room windows, they could make your windows look smaller than they actually are. Measure your windows before picking out your curtains. Make sure your new curtains touch the floor!

Related: How to Measure Windows for Curtains

Choose the Right Rod

Metal window curtain rod with different edge.

“Ideally, you want to make sure your rod is about four to six inches wider than the outer frame of your window,” says Vivien, the owner of budget-friendly decorating blog Posh Pennies. “Make sure you’re not suffocating your windows by having a rod that’s too narrow.”

Hang Your Rod at the Right Height

Many people make the mistake of hanging their curtain rod too low. Ideally, you should hang your rod somewhere around the halfway point between the top of your window frame and your ceiling. When you hang your rod higher, it can make your windows and your ceiling look taller. 

Pick the Right Curtain Panels 

When you choose curtain panels, you should be sure that they’re wide enough for your windows. As a rule of thumb, your panels should be around one and a half to two times wider than your windows. 

Caring for Your Living Room Curtains

A woman folding window curtains.

To keep your curtains and your living room looking their best, you’ll want to give your drapes the care that they need. With proper care, you can prevent odors and discoloration and keep your curtains looking new. 

Make sure that you read the cleaning instructions for your curtains before tossing them in the wash. If your curtains are machine washable, they should always be washed alone. Don’t put your curtains in the dryer; hang them up and let them dry naturally. 

In addition to washing your curtains in the machine or by hand, you may want to give them a steam cleaning from time to time! Steam cleaning can revitalize your curtains and can remove bacteria or odors that haven’t come out in the wash.