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Power Couples: How to Expertly Pair Curtains & Rugs (+ 30 Combos to Try)

designed by courtney bishop

Apparently, I have a pretty intense fear of pattern combo-ing (outside of a classic grid, of course). This was profoundly brought to my attention when Arlyn assigned this post to me. After my momentary panic (clearly marked by my eyes opening as big as possible while I exhaled a “sure, no problem” in a medium pitched squeak) was over, I thought that what better way to get over this insane “fear” than to dive in head first into as much pattern combo-ing as my little plain white linen heart could take. I’m sure you feel super safe in my hands now. But I think my initial hesitation only works in your favor because I have rounded up options that both the patterned obsessed and patterned avoider can both love as I am more or less in the middle…as any true balanced Libra would/should be.

Let’s first go in hard with the pattern on pattern combos. Ready to see what I came up with???

Emily Henderson Rug And Curtain Combos Inspo 1
photo source | designed by pierce and ward

WAIT. First, in true EHD fashion, let’s talk rules or, better yet, guidelines when it comes to pairing patterned rugs and curtains.

1. Scale, scale, scale. Mix them up! This is probably the most important guideline. If you have a large scale pattern on your curtain, you’ll want to choose a rug with a small scale pattern and vice versa. This way, your eyes won’t be in visual overload and it will give your space dimension.

2. Consider your color palette. This is kind of a no brainer and is a rule for all three of our categories today but just make sure your colors at least talk to each other. Choosing a bunch of random colors won’t look cohesive and will probably be visually overwhelming.

3. When in doubt, just go for it. Okay, so this isn’t a “rule” more than a good piece of advice. Pattern on pattern can be intimidating, but as long as you love what you’ve picked out and considered the previous two guidelines, then just do it.

4. Don’t be too matchy. If you have a floral curtain, avoid going floral in your rug. Same goes with geometrics. You can pull it off if the scales are different enough and you have more going on in the space, but you want to side step being too matchy-matchy here to feel natural and not forced/amateur.

Okay, now let’s get into the EHD-approved pattern on pattern recommendations:

Emily Henderson Rug And Curtain Combos Roundup Pattern On Pattern 2

1. Light Floral Curtain // Blue Plaid Rug | 2. Embroidered Border Curtain // Jute Braided Flatweave | 3. Striped Curtain // Blue Grid Rug | 4. Blue Patterned Curtain // Diamond Wool Rug | 5. Diamond Curtain // Lattice Rug | 6. French Toil Curtain // Black Plaid Rug | 7. Tassel Curtain // Leopard Print Rug | 8. Embroidered Curtain // Multicolored Rug | 9. Vines Curtain // Circle Rug | 10. Pink Florals Curtain // Blue Rug

My personal favorites are #1, #2, #5 and #8.

Emily Henderson Rug And Curtain Combos Inspo 2
photo source | designed by billy cotton

That last category was like a peaty scotch that smacks you in the face (in a great way) but now let’s take it a little easier with some easier drinking. If that just went right over your head I am now taking you onto the pattern + solid combos. Still fun but a little more palatable to the pattern adverse. But first, rules…

1. Pick your moment. We typically love a bold patterned rug and solid curtain but if you have patterned furniture then a patterned rug might not be the best choice. However, a fun complimentary curtain might be. It’s always about balance.

2. Keep it interesting. You don’t need to always go for the safe white curtain. I’m also talking to myself here. Pick a color, even in a textured fabric like velvet. A great way to choose a color is to look to your rug for one of the more subtle colors. It will be more of a visual surprise and also bring it out in your rug.

Combo time…

Emily Henderson Rug And Curtain Combos Roundup Pattern On Solid

1. Forest Green Linen Curtain Panel // Wool Cotton Boucle Rug | 2. Linen Curtain Panels (set of 2) // Color Block Tufted Rug | 3. Aina Curtains (set of 2) // Scale Natural Jute Rug | 4. Tasseled Moira Curtain // Bella Rug | 5. Velvet Curtain Panel // Stockholm Flatwoven Rug | 6. Honeycomb Light Filtering Curtain // Pamela Wiley Zigzag Rug | 7. Belgian Linen Curtain // Alrik Rug | 8. Fringed Linen Curtain // Mosaik Teal Rug | 9. Concentric Squares Curtains (set of 2) // Raymie Rug | 10. Tie Tab Window Panel // Patchwork Design Rug

Yikes, I don’t know if I can choose a favorite. But if I HAD to then maybe #1, #3, #6, #10. But as you can see, each one has a dominant piece (mainly the rugs) and most of the colorful curtains were chosen by the least assuming color of its rug buddy.

Emily Henderson Design Milk Modern Pink Black And White Jaimie Derringer Living Room Reveal 5
photo by tessa neustadt for EHD | from: the design milk family room reveal + get the look

This last roundup was unexpectedly challenging because how does one make a solid rug and solid curtains interesting without the furniture and decor getting involved??? Well, I figured it out and here are my secrets…

1. Vary up the texture. It’s the quickest and easiest way to keep it solid and visually interesting. This works particularly well if you’re going with neutral on neutral. For instance, a velvet curtain paired with a chunky woven rug, or a textural linen drapery combined with a raised tonal tufted pattern on a rug.

2. It doesn’t have to be all neutrals. If you don’t want a lot of different textures then have fun with color. Whether it’s high contrast (two very different colors) or tonal (two very similar colors). It’s an easy way for the space to look very cool and pulled together.

3. Follow all the rules at one. Doing both of the above rules together (texture and color) is also totally great. 🙂

Emily Henderson Rug And Curtain Combos Roundup Solid On Solid

1. Cordless Roman Blackout Shade // Natural Fiber Rug | 2. Light Filtering Linen Curtain // Gray Boucle Jute Rug | 3. Lace Trim Curtain // Fawna Handwoven Rug | 4. Worn Velvet Curtain // Flokati Wool Rug | 5. Paper Rollup Shade // Chunky Woven Jute Rug | 6. Herringbone Curtain Panel // Navy Shag Rug | 7. Textured Blackout Curtain // Fleka Rug | 8. Velvet Curtain Panel // Marled Patina Rug | 9. Stitched Linen Curtain // Border Twill Rug | 10. Sanela Velvet Room Darkening Curtains (set of 2) // Cable Knit Sweater Area Rug

For the solids, I have to go for #4, #5 and #8. That shag rug in #4 is so good!

Wait, before we go, we had to round it all out with some drapery hardware and rings…it’s a one-stop shop here at EHD!

Emily Henderson Rug And Curtain Combos Roundup Curtain Hardware

1. Matte Black Drapery Rod | 2. Classic Curtain Hardware Set With Cap Finial | 3. Drapery Ring Matte Black, Set of 7 | 4. 1 3/8″ Drapery Rod With Wood Finial | 5. Amp Black Curtain Rod Set | 6. West Slope Drapery Rod | 7. Sculptural Wood Rod | 8. Clip Drapery Rings for 1″ Rods | 9. Rorke Black Curtain Rod Set | 10. French Curtain Rod | 11. Seamless Black With Brass Band Curtain Rod Set | 12. Cast Iron Clip Rings | 13. Racka Curtain Rod Combination | 14. Cast Iron Curtain Rod | 15. Decorative Sphere Finial – Marble & Brass  | 16. | 17. Black Curtain Rings, Set of 7 | 18. 1″ Drapery Rod With Acorn Finial | 19. Matte Black Ring Clip, Set of 7 | 20. Matte Black Rod Set | 21. Mid-Century Wooden Rod

That’s it. I know already?! I hope you liked the combos, learned some good tips and if you were pattern fearing before that you are now less fearful. Rugs and curtains are such a fun opportunity to bring some personality to your space in a big way. So go forth and have fun…it is Friday after all.

So did you have a favorite combo? Are you convinced and are going to try a pattern in your house? Do you have any curtains and/or rugs you love and want to share with the world? Then please comment below.

Love you, mean it.

More Power Couples to Check Out:

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5 years ago

My philosophy (and I may be alone in this) is: Say NO to Curtains. I don’t have any curtains in my house. I just don’t like them. I don’t like all that extra fabric hanging around and collecting dust. They’re just one more thing to vacuum. Unless you’ve got huge rooms (and I don’t) curtains make a room feel cluttered and claustrophobic and, to me, look old-fashioned. Plus, I like to see the windows.

Call me Shade Girl. Honeycomb shades, roller shades, roman shades, bamboo shades — I’m on board. But curtains … no thanks.

5 years ago
Reply to  FivebyFive

Hahaha fivebyfive I am the exact opposite!! It’s funny how people can have such different opinions on decor & yet still have beautiful homes (which I am sure yours is!)

I am a curtains girl all the way, and avoid shades or blinds if I can. There’s just something so “old movie glamour” about throwing open floor length curtains and seeing the light suddenly pour in.

I do however love a good roman shade where a curtain wouldn’t be fitting.

Happy Friday all!! Awesome roundup!!

5 years ago
Reply to  Jenna

Me too. Love curtains, opportunity to for room to shine.

5 years ago
Reply to  FivebyFive

I’m with you. I live in an older home with plenty of great natural light. There’s lovely wood casing on all the windows. Some windows have venetian blinds for privacy &/or to manage light levels but itherwise, I prefer nothing at all on them. I tried curtains but they came down after a few months

Monique Wright Interior Design
5 years ago
Reply to  FivebyFive

Oh girl…

5 years ago

I’d love to see a post about other window treatment options like shades! I am so over curtains myself; my living room feels like walls of fabric everywhere since I have lots of windows (not a complaint!). I want clean lines these days to reduce the visual clutter.

Melissa Jane Griggs
5 years ago
Reply to  FivebyFive

I also prefer shades. When up, they disappear.

5 years ago

Sometimes I think about how many hours are spent imaginarily shopping at EHD for these posts. Quite the spread today!

5 years ago

Thank you for this post! I’m moving into my first solo apartment (get the keys Monday!) and while I have all of my furniture pieces, I’m buying a new rug and curtains to make it feel like its own space. Great timing!

Michelle @ And Then We Tried
5 years ago

LOVE curtain and rug pairings! I pulled together a list of my favorites last year, if anyone wants bold options:

5 years ago

Michelle, just wanted to say I adore your pairings! Nicely done … such eye candy! 🙂

5 years ago

I just bought the Chantilly outdoor curtains from Pier 1 for our patio. They are a beautiful warm white with a great texture (it’s much prettier IRL than in the web photo) and just a bit sheer.–curtain/PS66392.html#q=Outdoor%2520curtains&origin=gridswatch

5 years ago

A word to the wise: those IKEA Sanela Velvet Room Darkening Curtains are DARK. Like, almost black. Perhaps they look more green in a room with lots of natural light, but in my one-window bedroom there was no hint of green in them. Just want to save you the disappointment if you don’t live near an IKEA and can’t return them easily. 🙂

5 years ago
Reply to  Meredith

They used to have them in the most perfect grey green and discontinued that colour for an unknown reason. Really regret not buying them in time

5 years ago

I loooove the pattern on pattern combo #2, but the link for that rug is incorrect! I’m having a hard time finding that beautiful rusty orange guy on Target’s website. Any chance you could correct that link?? Thanks a mil!

Ishra Solieman
5 years ago
Reply to  Keara

same! I love that rug and would like to see it on the target website!

Zoe P
5 years ago

FYI number 2 in the first round up doesn’t go to the right rug…

5 years ago

Love this post – we have many rooms & windows in our new place to decorate

For the living room, we went pattern & pattern =) Floral for the drapes & abstract for the rug:
The picture doesn’t do them justice – makes me smile every day!

Drapes are Eastern Hibiscus Charm from Tonic Living – these are my single favorite thing in our house. The abstract rug from Overstock (Unique-Loom-Tybee-Chromatic-Rug)

5 years ago
Reply to  damiarain

So pretty! I love the way the colors work together.

5 years ago

This is so helpful — and timely, as I need to replace the window treatments and rug in my son’s bedroom. I’d love another tutorial/blog post on ideas for pairing drapes with shades and blinds and matching with wall paint. I’m sooo lost — too many options with woven shades, roman shades, roller shades, solar shades (what % openness for a bedrooms?) blinds….and do I do the drapes in blackout lining or the shades . . . gaaahhhh! And while I’m at it, can I request a blog post on sourcing and styling an outdoor patio, but one that’s truly all-weather!!?? With all the rain we got in the Bay Area, my outdoor cushions and rug are moldy and ruined. I’m way too lazy to bring them indoors. I’d love options for outdoor furniture that is comfortable, not matchy matchy, and works for us lazy folks. 🙂

5 years ago

Thanks for this! Do you have a tutorial/guideline about how large the run should be depending on the bed and room size?

5 years ago

Loved this post! Question: How do you feel about different curtains for different rooms in an open space plan? Right now I have beige linen ones all throughout the first floor of the house (kitchen, living room, dining room). Given that I can see all three rooms from one spot, does it make more sense to keep them all the same for flow, or do I have a shot at changing them per room?

5 years ago
Reply to  Gi

well, I think this can be tricky, BUT if they are in seperate ROOMS, even though you can see them, it’s okay to have some variety. Just make sure they all look good together (i.e. nothing that would clash or you wouldn’t naturally put together).

Monique Wright Interior Design
5 years ago

Love the mix + match combos. I’m all about rugs and curtains in every room. It would have been nice to see examples of the curtain/rug combos you are linking as some of the photos – I think the design photos you highlighted are with curtains and curtain hardware that is all custom. It’s beautiful but obviously would cost quite a bit more than your store and cost examples and links. Plus sizing! Non-custom curtains come usually in 3 sizes and it can be hard to have the “skim the ground” look. ? P.S. LOVE Pierce + Ward!

Julie S
5 years ago

Hey, these are really excellent combos. I normally skim the pairings posts but this one caught my attention. I’m a low-pattern gal and we have yet to install our LR curtains (our bamboo blinds work well but I feel the extra softness of curtains would make the room even better) – anyway our walls are white, our rug is faded oushak layered over seagrass, and the curtains will be the pale tan-cream of the rug’s background. Should be a soft but more noticeable impact than white fabric on white walls – that’s the hope anyway!

5 years ago

Great article – it is tough to tie curtains and rugs together.
And, I love beautiful, well done curtains.

Question: Do you use eggshell or satin finish paint on your cabinets, trim and doors? We are painting a new house and can not come to a consensus! We use Benjamin Moore paint.

Brandon Henderson
5 years ago

Those rust velvet curtains want me to have them! Great roundup.

5 years ago

I love how approachable and affordable you made this post. Even if a person was going to go for higher end (i.e. more expensive), these rules would still apply. I LOVE that I could easily procure everything on this round up.


5 years ago

This was so helpful! Thank you!

5 years ago

THIS IS AMAZING! Thank you for this!!!! I also have one comment and one question. First, just wanted to let you know that the link for #16 (of the curtain rods) is missing! And I’m pretty desperate for that link! 🙂 Second, I’m stuck. I am currently shopping for curtains for my sliding glass doors in my kitchen. Normally, I’d just leave them be, but I live in a townhouse and my neighbor is getting a deck. Therefore, he will now be able to see directly into my kitchen which will be an issue as my husband pretty much walks around the house naked half the time. Anyway, my doors are quite literally 7 inches away from my cabinets. I have 9ft tall ceilings and my cabinets only go up to 7.5ft. My instinct is to put them halfway between the top of the doors and the top of the cabinet, but there’s another issue to consider. Directly across from the sliding glass doors are the windows in my living room which are tall and already have curtains. If I follow my instinct, my curtains in my living room will be hanging much higher than the curtains covering the sliding… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

I think you should hang them at the same height as your other curtains and not worry about the cabinet height. Could also be an option to put window film on your doors so that the light still comes in but you can’t see through it. Unless you specifically want to be able to look outside, that is.

5 years ago

I need help to think that one through, thanks for posting.
Info Link Alternatif

5 years ago

Loved this post! I love curtains but I always struggle to find good affordable ones. Also, I think Emily suggested this idea a couple of months ago, a post on how to make budget curtains (which in Australia is basically Ikea curtains :)) look more custom made. Emily at The Sweet Beast has done it a few times and they look amazing, and I was thinking maybe a roundup of DIY options for this would be great. Not sure if other people would be interested too?
Thanks anyway!!!

5 years ago

The drapes in the main photo where are they from

5 years ago

Such a good post! Loving to the max: – Pattern x Pattern no. 6, – Pattern x Solid no.s 3 and 8 – Solid x Solid no.s 4, 5, and 8 For hardware, I wish I could immediately snatch up anything from Schoolhouse. Thank you for sharing! I have a (somewhat) unrelated question, too. This summer, I’ll finally be moving in with my partner of almost 7 years (sounds crazy, I know). We’re moving to a new city, I’ll be going to professional school, he’ll be getting a new job, and we’ll be… well really busy! It’s really important to both of us to be comfortable in (and just a little proud of!) our living space. I really want to help us create a space where we can really feel at home during down time. I’ve been crossing my fingers for a post that addresses this experience! Then I thought.. I should just ask. A few things I have been “thinking about” (read: moderately obsessing over): 1) Consolidation of goods! (Though we’re not getting married yet, I’ve been downloading wedding registry pdfs to use as inventory lists since we have a lot of duplicates.) 2) Merging styles and tips for… Read more »