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Design

Choosing Curtains For a Small Space: Ryann Has 3 Different Style Options And Needs Your Help

Welcome to another episode of “Ryann can’t seem to make a design decision without writing a whole post about it”. This week’s dilemma is all about window treatments so you can expect a rollercoaster of emotions and of course a healthy dose of fear and anxiety over making the wrong choice. THE FUN AWAITS.

The last time we chatted about my living/ dining area I was so young and naive, thinking that deciding on a paint color was going to be our biggest hurdle. Ha. ha. ha. Cut to now, I’ve spent weeks agonizing over curtains and wish it were as easy. My problem is I have a small space and two windows (well, technically 3) within 8 ft of each other that require window treatments. Also, surprise! We finally painted and we love it. So once again, here’s the layout:

pardon the mess but please note my design assistant Gus:)

As you can see we have a fairly wide window behind the TV and two corner windows where my beautiful new desk is (from Sunbeam Vintage). The windows have been undressed and exposed for over a year now because I have been putting off this part of the design process for as long as possible. Curtain shopping is terrifyingly difficult but after months of searching I’ve narrowed down my choices (for now). Here we go:

OPTION 1: MOODY ECLECTIC

I know someone will hate that these are not blackout curtains but let me explain why. We get a fairly good amount of natural light in this room which I love, and I worry blackout curtains will darken the room way too much. This area is also where I work so the last thing I want is for it to feel like a movie theatre in here. Yes, it makes it hard to watch TV during the day but cutting down our TV consumption is never a bad thing. That said, in the corner where my desk lives is where the most sunlight comes through and at certain times of the day it is blinding. So, I’d prefer thicker curtains there so I can finally work without sunglasses on (true story) while leaving the living area brighter.

Now, I can’t wait to talk about the knotted curtains. I am in love with the shape and the elegant drape of them. I’ve never called curtains dreamy, but these totally are. I really love the look of them paired with these diamond patterned ones that have a really special delicate design. My only worry is how they will look paired with our current living room rug. The rug is multicolored and does have some hints of purple so it could work well or it could very well clash with the busyness… should I take the risk?

OPTION 2: ELEGANT MONOCHROME

This option might be my favorite (though it’s my boyfriend Rocky’s least favorite of course). Here we have my favorite dreamy curtains this time in this beautiful muted green color paired with simple olive green linen curtains. Going monochrome with all the green seems pretty cool and calming for a workspace, plus it would give us so much freedom to play around with art and decor.

OPTION 3: BRIGHT & BOLD TRADITIONAL

When I wrote about my living and dining room, I was contemplating between these velvet mustard curtains or these matte velvet ones. Clearly things have changed since then but what hasn’t changed is my attraction to these crushed velvet curtains and how I imagine they would look against the paint color. I think they’d really brighten up the space and complement our old-world art and decor very well. The living room curtains are simple enough but still have some really special detail with the tassels and subtle design that I love. This is Rocky’s top choice so if it’s your favorite too I wouldn’t blame you because he has really great taste.

In the spirit of designing for real life as the ever-wise Arlyn urges us to do, I want to assure you that I did consider roman shades for the corner windows for the sake of practicality. I was told it might be annoying to have long curtains where my desk is, but after much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that it will be manageable because I just really love the look of curtains. The desk is very light and easy to move and there is enough space there that it does not need to be flush with the wall. With some tie backs, I can easily pull them aside to let some sunlight in when need be. ๐Ÿ™‚

So there you have it. If you have made it this far and are wondering why I wouldn’t have all the curtains match, truthfully, that had not crossed my mind until just now. Ha! I guess we always pictured them being mix-matched to add some more style and dynamic to the space. As always, I want to hear what you think! What is your favorite option? I’d love to pick your brilliant brains. xx

Opener Image Credit: Design and Photo by Emily Cosnotti | From: House Tour: Original Woodwork, Moody Walls & A Gasp-Worthy Wallpaper

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Erin R
8 months ago

Option 1 is my favorite! go for the purple, it will look great!

Megan
8 months ago

Number 3! or number 2

Karen Tolva
8 months ago

The purple ones have high drama (like the wall color) without being movie theater curtains. So that’s a point in favor!

Not a big fan of the diamond patterned ones, though–they don’t seem to coordinate with anything in that corner, so it’d be kind of noisy. Cream or tan or yellow would coordinate with the wicker on the hutch in that corner and complement the dark teal walls! (Maybe not gold, if you get the purple curtains–too much contrast!

8 months ago
Reply to  Karen Tolva

I agree! I’d do the purple in the living room and the tonal green linen by the desk. Or, I actually like the white fringed ones better for the living room, but for the sake of appealing to your love the purple are good too!

8 months ago

I love the contrast of the warm mustard against the cooler blue-green wall, and it picks up the same tones from the painting on the far right. Number three is definitely my pick of the bunch!

Kristi
8 months ago

I love 1 so so much.

Bre
8 months ago

I will always vote for a hunter green and mustard combo, so I vote 3. BUT I would strongly advise to use curtains with metal rings. From someone who have to open and close curtains everyday, you do not want to make it any more annoying than it already is.

8 months ago

I like the third option best. I’m just not a fan of the drapey, knotted look. Have you considered doing roman shades on the corner windows by your desk? Then you can push the desk to the wall and it will be less in the way of the view and your work surface.

sara
8 months ago

Two allows everything else to pop. I think your wall color, the rug and cobalt pouf, your art and the vintage furniture should be the focus, and the curtains should just all softness and texture without pulling attention away from the already carefully selected other pieces. In one and three my eye sees the curtains first, in option two I see everything as a whole, which to me feels more collected and calming, which is nice for multi-use spaces, I think.

Bo
8 months ago
Reply to  sara

Absolutely #2. It’ a bedroom and visual stimulation should be toned down. Let us know the direction you take.

Adam
8 months ago

3! …or 1

8 months ago

Number 3 would be my personal pick because it’s fun and it has a good mix of contrasting color and coordination with other elements in the room. Number 2 would be more “photo ready” probably, thinking of Aryln’s post this morning! Rocky is probably right about #3 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cat
8 months ago

3! I love that mustard with your wall color!!

number 3 – that gold!

Rachelle
8 months ago

I would very much do the same curtains for both… and think of going more matching the wall colour for behind the tv?
Will the curtains be closed at night? If you have cream curtains and a big black rectangle in front might just draw too much attention to the tv. If you don’t need to close them I like the living room number 3 option, and if you really want different curtains I would go with the wall matchy corner option of number 2… Or do those number 2 curtains in for both (less busy, and tv won’t stick out so much).

suzanne
8 months ago
Reply to  Rachelle

Yes, I agree whole heartedly. Same room. Same wall. Same curtains. For me it would be to fussy any other way.

Kann
8 months ago
Reply to  suzanne

Completely agree. Same drapes or window treatments in the same room – same wall.

Jeannette
8 months ago

I love your options! Have you considered what the light will look like coming through the mustard color? Just a thought. I vote for No 2 in the summer and No 3 in the winter. Am I the only person who switches out curtains seasonally? Iโ€™m afraid that while I love the purple it may be dark – whatever just go with your heart not your brain!! ๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

Julie
8 months ago

I like the colours of option 1 and 2 but am really really not digging the knotted detail.

Donna
8 months ago

If you really don’t want to do a roman shade in the corner, I would do the olive green curtains as they seem to blend nicely with the wall, making that area seem more spacious and drawing less attention to the size and shape of the two small windows. When they are drawn, it would be serene, and open the two windows might look like one corner window since you won’t see the definition between the wall and curtains. Then, you are free to choose whatever your heart/s desire for the large living room window. Just a tip, I have warm toned curtains, and I happen to like warm tones, but know that when the sunlight shines through, it casts a warm golden tone on the whole room. If you like the look of sunset and candlelight, that’s great. If you don’t – maybe reconsider the velvet curtains.

Lisa
8 months ago
Reply to  Donna

I had yellow curtains in my childhood bedroom and it was like waking up the sunniest, happiest day every day – it truly was the best!!! – I also think that point about the olive green curtains for the corner is really good… ๐Ÿ™‚

Moxieville
8 months ago

Iโ€™m loving the deep Olive-Teal curtain on Olive-Teal wall (paint hue). Looks rich, timeless, elegant and gives the illusion of fading into the wall (More spacious) which allows you to be more versatile with art, rugs, etc!

Kirsten Ritter
8 months ago

#2 is hands down my favorite. But I could also imagine a scenario in which you used the same curtains on both windows. I’m also a fan of floor-length even behind your desk. After all, that beautiful wall color you chose deserves to be “dressed” with drama! I can’t wait to see what you choose!

Megan M Herscher
8 months ago

#2!

Have you considered moving the TV off the window? Perhaps next to the front door and float the couch, create a little entry/foyer where the TV currently is?

Lily
8 months ago

Hi Ryann! I think combining options 2 and 3 would be amazing: the pale green diamond for you with the punchy mustard for Rocky!

Glenda
8 months ago

Option 3 โ˜๏ธ
Go Rocky ๐Ÿ™Œ

Juanita Hendriks
8 months ago

We have paper Japanese roll up blinds on all downstairs windows, and then mini bamboo roll-up shades on all our upstairs windows. From the outside of the house, it gives a nice unified view of the window coverings. The mini matchstick bamboo will keep out more later light than the paper … I’m just thinking from your description of the light, that you actually do need some shading…. you can choose your curtains to then hang decoratively open all the time; you would only be rolling up or rolling down the shades. There are also more modern gray solar fabric blinds you could layer…. But with your described style, I really think the roll up mini matchstick bamboo would go well with the interior color and furnishings. Then just go with your favorite textile ( but I think it will be more unified if you choose one instead of two different ones). Good luck!

Ddtiz
8 months ago

Ahh was hoping for a natural roman shade option to tie in with the other wicker accents!

Lisa
8 months ago

3!!! That mustard with that wall colour really makes my heart sing and I actually really like the tassel detail on the living room ones! Or 2… I like that its tonal, really soothing with the greens and it would give you lots of freedom with your other decor – I have to say I’m personally not a big fan of the knotting detail though – I think the only place that would properly shine would be in an old world house with really high ceilings, but everywhere else I would be afraid it would look messy and kind of cut the wall of at a weird hight because the knots come down so low and show so much of the wall, so it might kinda make the wall look lower? thats just my two cents though… It looks so good already!!! Eeeeek!!

Beth Cote
8 months ago

Hi Ryan, Can you sell me on drapes in general? I understand that you are looking at using them, but in a smaller area I tend to be team shade. (That sounds so nasty doesn’t it!) What are the benefits in a small space, or are you a major team drape. Just would love a shade vs drape post. Thanks!! Btw, I think that the idea that the drapes don’t need to match is genius and I do like the idea that the corner would become it’s own little room framed by the drapes.

Chandra
8 months ago

As much as I love curtains, for style, I have hated them with my dogs. I have a small house with big windows and they are also a pain when furniture is near the window. After having curtains for awhile, I went with higher end wide blinds. Maybe not as stylish, but they are pretty good with light and can be customized to all the window sizes easily. Just a thought.

Addie
8 months ago

I like how curtains add soft texture to any space but I don’t know that they necessarily need to be a big design statement in every room. So I am not immediately drawn to any of the options here: I like the contrast of the mustard velvet and the texture in theory but it seems overwhelming in this not-huge space.

So if I had to choose from these options, I would go for the olive green linen. It’s stays with the moody vibe and will help your walls recede, less contrast overall for the room’s shell. Then your art, furniture, rugs and decor will shine. For sure, I’d dress all windows the same. Even though you use the corner as office space, it’s still the same room.

Emily
8 months ago

I love your green dramatic walls and the color of your sofa. …some thoughts 1) would you ever put your TV on the non window wall? 2) not sure how much your dog sheds but velvet plus fur + a mess! 3) I actually love the photo with this post/ article with the subtle green curtains– I also think that would be less distracting if you are staring at the TV 4) some of the examples of curtains are too soft. have you thought about a linen or a stronger less wispy option? west elm ( they have a wasabi color curtain) and pottery barn have nice options and target and world market. I layered the duettes blinds with a see through curtains in my bedroom which might work very well for the corner area. In my office I have 2 sets… a see through white pattern on white for privacy in the middle and heavier curtains on each side. 5) what is the purpose? to screen out at night or when you are watching TV? will curtains behind your corner desk be problematic and better to just have a diffused shade to pull up and down? I have duette… Read more »

Emily
8 months ago

West elm

besides a curtain color wasabi they have a green curtain called olive….that might work with green on green like the beginning photo and they are both linen and drape nicely.

Jessvii
8 months ago

Option 3

Erin Dae
8 months ago

The purple seems like it is speaking to you so I would go for it – but for the desk area I would recommend some clean shades in a wood/matchstick like others have suggested, or a fabric shade to tie in (or contrast) the drapes by the tv. Drapes in the desk area seems like it will pull too much weight to that corner. Shades/blinds will give you functionality but also allow that beautiful desk and hutch to be the stars of that end of the room rather than your eyes being drawn to a set of drapes. A cool piece of art above the hutch to tie in the drape color by the tv would be nice also. Thanks for letting us participate in your design process – especially those of us who dream of having a career change from the corporate world to the design one!

Ev
8 months ago

I know this isn’t the most cost effective option but I would do shades on the corner windows and decorative curtain panels flanking it! That way you have a much easier control of how much light/shade in front of your workspace. With the curtain, if you wanted to say, cover half the window, you’d have a sliver of light right in front of where you work. With shades you could draw them down so that it’s not in your eyes and still flooding the desk and adding light to the room!

I’d get curtain panels for the TV area first, then use them to quickly pin up and test if you like having curtains in the corner, or if you think another treatment might work better there for how you use it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jessica
8 months ago

It would be nice to have the rug in the mood boards, since thereโ€™s so much color in it and itโ€™s visible from both spaces. Bonus points for including Gus too (the perfect muse)

MB23
8 months ago

Diamond pattern or the mustard yellow. I think you need to lean into the eclectic nature of the room a bit more. Maybe because it is too multifunctional to be too sleek?

MB23
8 months ago

Actually, another comment below changed my mind! Just mustard yellow. But with rings!

Elizabeth
8 months ago

I agree with a comment below about the coverings needing to be easy to open and close. I have a similar situation with a tv in front of a window and too bright windows at some times during the day and time of year. I have somewhat sheer curtains and the classic white roller shades that are inexpensive and easy to install (the store also cuts them to size). The shades fit into the window casing, which are white so they basically disappear when they are rolled up, but block the sun completely when down.

Lori
8 months ago

I like #3 (texture!) with #2 as a runner up, but with bamboo shades added to tie the different areas and furniture together. I personally would also do everything in my power to move the TV to a solid wall instead of blocking the window. I also think there needs to be a taller piece of art above the hutch to sort of balance everything out.

8 months ago

I think the Olive curtains will kind of disappear on your wall in a near-miss kind of way (I have them!). I don’t love knotted curtains and can’t imagine having them for years and years, (and curtains are so expensive!), so my vote is for #3! I love the creamy white against that paint color, and a burst of gold will look so lovely.

Brigitte
8 months ago

Of the choices provided, I would do a combination of 1 & 2. The white curtains from #2 on the big window and the pattern curtains on the side windows from #1.

However, if I had a choice I would not hang curtains in such a tight space. Instead I would chose roller shades, maybe this Nate Berkus Remy pattern in Narwhal? https://www.theshadestore.com/shades/roller-shades/custom-roller-shades?preselected_collections%5B%5D=designers-rollers

And I know this store has blackout and light filtering options. So for the big window you can do light filtering and the corner ones a blackout options.

8 months ago

#1!!! (But maybe get a different rug.)

Suzanne Bonser
8 months ago

I would go monochrome- in a small space it will be calmer and make your space feel bigger. It looks like you could position your rod almost to the ceiling and it will make your ceilings seem higher.
Also, black out curtains can be hung separately on a second rod under the main rod- you could use a tension rod or a rod used for sheers.
That way you can add them in the summer when the sun is direct, and remove them in winter.
A win win!

Isabel
8 months ago

Have you tried swapping the placement of your TV and couch? Also I vote for #2!

Terri Lax
8 months ago

So, im confused about where drapes should hang. How do you decide where to place the rod? If you had space between the top of the window and below the ceiling, whether itโ€™s 8 inches or as much as 24โ€. What is the rationale on where the rod goes?

Andrea
8 months ago

Don’t you need wider than 50″ curtains for above the TV?

Terri Lax
8 months ago

I really appreciate the thought you put into all of them, but Iโ€™m in love with the yellow-gold in Option #3.

emily jane
8 months ago

So, I know you like the look of curtains buuuut I wondered if you ever considered going with a DIY roman shade (the kind on pinterest made from regular old blinds) for the corner office..? Your curtain/fabric choices wouldn’t be impacted/you’d still get to choose fabrics that make Your hearts beat a little faster but I feel like it would streamline the design overall (as in: it’s going to be a LOT of curtain back there and I worry other important design elements -like that delicious caned cabinet and/or any art that might find it’s way onto the walls- would be overwhelmed..?). I am a firm believer in choosing what You Love when designing your own space even if you can’t explain the ‘how’ or ‘why’ it will work on a mood board/in a blog post. Can’t wait to see which direction you guys go in! (I wonder if trusting your gut despite any lingering intellectual uncertainty is precisely what leaves enough oxygen/wiggle room for ‘design magic’ (that thing Arlyn was talking about when a space manages to go beyond ‘good design’ and reflect the quirks of personality of it’s inhabitants) to occur..? For example: When I saw your blue… Read more »

nora
8 months ago

2 wins.

3 is pretty good.

1 is too eclectic, bordering on kooky.

Amanda McCullough
8 months ago

Tough choice because they are all amazing and lovely…..I’m team Purple!

Suzanne
8 months ago

I really love the mustard color with the olive walls. Of course, Iโ€™m biased, since I just bought mustard velvet curtains for my living room.

8 months ago

Option number one looks the best in my opinion. Would recommend it to anyone.

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