Here’s the biggest decorating mistake I’ve ever made and how I fixed it. This post offers an easy solution to a challenging problem.
Last week I was reading an article about decorating mistakes.
The author interviewed a number of designers and asked them what the most egregious decorating missteps that people typically make when decorating their homes. And then? The author ranked the mistakes from 1-10.
I couldn’t stop reading.
And when I got to number one?
I literally laughed out loud because they were talking about me.
I have made that mistake (and tons of other mistakes on the list) SO MANY times before.
Until I figured out what a difference it makes in decorating a room and how easy it is to fix.
Can you guess?
Because you are smart and brilliant and amazing you probably figured out that I was doing this.
The biggest decorating mistake I ever made?
Hanging my curtains at the wrong height.
Please tell me I’m not alone.
The thing is—once you see what a difference it makes and how easy it is to fix? You’ll never look at a curtain rod in the same way again.
But why just talk about it? When I can show you exactly what I’m talking about with these photoshopped examples.
Here’s a photoshopped photo of the curtains in my bedroom.
I lowered them to the top of the window molding.
The challenge of hanging curtains like this? It makes the ceiling height appear shorter and the windows appear smaller. It’s a trick of the eye. Because the curtains are hung right at the top of the window, the eye sees all that space above the window and it diminishes it.
Does that make sense?
Here’s the exact same window with the exact same curtains.
Except these curtains are hung above the window frame. I typically hang them about six inches above the top of the window. Now? The eye thinks that the ceilings are taller and the windows are bigger because there’s less space between the top of the curtain and the ceiling.
Here’s a side-by-side of the exact same window with the exact same angle.
The windows are the exact same height in both pictures.
The ceiling is the exact same height in both pictures.
The curtain rods and rings and curtains are the same in both pictures.
But the window on the left? Doesn’t it look so much bigger?
The only difference? The curtain rod is hung about six inches above the top of the window instead of directly above it.
Here the curtains are hung above the windows about 4 inches below the crown molding.
Hanging curtains like this is kind of like wearing heels.
Taller curtains like taller shoes make you look…
Here’s another example in the dining room.
In this room I used another eye-fooling trick. I actually hung the curtains about a foot outside the edge of the window. So the curtains are actually hung above and outside the window which creates the impression of a much larger window.
Why? Why would I want a window to be larger?
Because in the dining room, the window on this wall we’re facing is actually much, much smaller than the set of two windows on the right side of the picture.
And I wanted to create a symmetrical look in the room.
So I created one with an illusion.
Here are some commonly asked questions about windows and curtains like this in my house:
If you move the curtains up over the top of the window won’t they be too short on the bottom?
How high do you hang 84-inch curtains?
For 84-inch curtains, the general rule of thumb is to hang them about 4 to 6 inches above the window frame. This makes the window looks so much larger and allows the curtains to touch or slightly graze the floor when they’re fully extended.
How far should curtains be from the top of the window?
Curtains should be hung a few inches above the window frame to open up the space. I usually recommend (and hang my own curtains) around 4 to 6 inches between the top of the window frame and the curtain rod is recommended.
When you hang curtains, should they touch the floor?
It depends on your personal preference and the look you are going for. Generally, curtains look best when they lightly touch the floor or have a slight break. This means they rest about half an inch to an inch on the floor. I have seen a trend recently with curtains that hover just above the floor for a more modern and tailored look.
Can you hang curtains all the way from the top of the ceiling?
I have hung my curtains all the way to the ceiling before. Hanging curtains from ceiling to floor make the windows appear larger. It also allows more light into the space when the curtains are open since there are no gaps between the top of the curtains and the ceiling.
Sometimes hanging curtains all the way to the ceiling doesn’t work. Ceiling height, window size, and the overall style and proportions of the room should be taken into consideration.
As I was writing this post? It actually occurred to me that one person’s biggest decorating mistake sometimes is another person’s biggest decorating triumph. With decorating you have to do what you love and what works well in your space. Swimming upstream in a world of decorating can be exhilarating sometimes.
But as for me and my windows?
I agree with the designers on this one. It took me a while to learn this tip. I used to hang my curtains at the top of the window. But once I started hanging my curtains in a way that made such a difference and made my spaces look bigger and my windows look larger?
I never looked back.
And now my windows are so much happier.
When discussing tips and ideas, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand decorating words.
So I’ll leave you with this one. 🙂
disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.