If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the living room must surely be its soul: It is where the family congregates to bond with one another. Household occupants talk, play, work, partake in joint activities, and rest in the living room. And when visitors do drop by, they are often hosted in the living room. It is a shared space that facilitates a lot of activities and it is also a haven for familial growth.
Therefore, it is important to set the right tone in the living room. And, in this respect, how the space feels and looks — is the lighting adequate, are the furniture arranged in a way that allows a good flow of movement, and is the overall design scheme cohesive, for instance — are critical questions that homeowners should try to address. These questions are even more pertinent now because many people are still housebound as a result of the pandemic.
Do the children need an additional space now that they are receiving lessons at home? Would the adults like some privacy for times when they are working from home? And, would you like to redecorate, not only to improve the functionality, but just so you can feel refreshed even though you are confined to the same space every day?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it is time to think about what you could do to recreate the living room. For now, however, it is best to leave major decorating projects for a later time when it is safe and viable.
This is the moment to think about small changes that are easy to implement and would give you a bang for your buck and there are very few options that would satisfy both criteria. For instance, getting new decorative items — vases, picture frames, lamps, and so on — counts as something that is easy to do but may not impact the space in a big way.
Night Owl / Collection
Curtains, on the other hand, are easy to change — not a lot of drilling, hacking, or hammering is required. And, as for impact, most interior designers will agree that window coverings are one of the most important features in a room because it can potentially change the ambience of a space completely.
Aside from helping to modulate the amount of light that streams into a space, curtains also provide privacy and insulation. And, of course, the choice of fabrics, prints, colours, and designs can turn your curtains into a pièce de résistance or a complementary element of your living room.
So, what are your options when it comes to window treatments (curtains, blinds, and other coverings) for the living room? In this regard, you are definitely spoiled for choices as there are an abundant of configurations to pick from. But if you would like to find out what’s hot and what’s not, read on to narrow down those choices to the one that would suit your heart’s (and family’s) desire.
There is no denying that the open plan layout — a hallmark of modern design — has become somewhat of a bane right now as home occupants are subject to prolonged encounters with one another. In addition to that, the need for increased privacy is not just a luxury anymore. The fact that a large number of people are working or studying from home means that there are times when spaces that are quiet and sealed off are required. Unless a wailing, shirtless toddler is something you do not mind sharing with your colleagues on a video conference call, you may want to consider partitioning some spaces.
Again, renovation works such as erecting a wall or building extensions for additional spaces may not be easy to undertake right now because of travel and social distancing restrictions. But the situation is without solution. In addition to being window treatments, curtains can also make excellent partitions. Unlike screens and panel dividers, curtains have the flexibility of being drawn open or folded away completely. This makes it easy to seal or open up a space completely when necessary.
Where and how you partition your space is really dependent on the size, layout, and fixtures in your living room. But as a general guideline, the easiest way to do so in an open plan layout is to place a partition between these spaces: The open kitchen and the dining area; the living room and the dining room; and if there are any nooks or crevices, these can also be easily separated.
There are several options on how to hang curtains across a room. The cheaper option involves using high-tension wire that are hooked to the ceiling. However, this option only allows the use of lightweight curtains, which may not be entirely useful if more privacy is required.
The other options include ceiling-mounted curtain tracks or ceiling-mounted curtain rods. Both of these are viable options but the former (curtain tracks) is designed specifically to be used as a room divider. Thus, it can go around corners and it is also possible to have a multitrack system so that you can layer the curtains if you so wish. With the tracks, it is also possible to use fabrics that are thicker and heavier. Therefore, if you would like more privacy and sound insulation, this may be a better choice.
A trendy design option for the curtain/room divider at the moment are Japanese blinds. Made of large, flat, vertical panels that slides on a track to stack behind one another, Japanese blinds can be made using opaque, translucent, or transparent fabrics. This gives you a high degree of control with regard to how much light you want in a space and how visible you want things to be to people on the other side of the blinds. Apart from that, it can also be made with a variety of fabrics such as silk, polyester, and linen, making it easy for you to choose a fabric that is in the right colour, design, and price range.
Nevertheless, is a partition is not entirely necessary and all you are looking for is a way to refresh your living room, know that there are plenty of options to go for. Keep in mind that the choice of colours, fabrics, designs, and even (curtain) lengths can provide a touch of magic and make a room look finished — but only if your selection accentuates the existing design scheme of your living room.
There are four main window treatment options for the living room: Curtains, drapes, blinds, and shades. As you may have guessed, curtains and drapes are used interchangeably to refer to window coverings made of fabric. Both are hung from rods or tracks using hooks, fabric sleeves, or grommets.
The difference between the two is that drapes are usually made of heavier, stiff fabric like damask or velvet and are lined, making it look more formal. Draperies, therefore, would be a more suitable choice if you prefer to let less light in and if your interior scheme leans towards classical design.
Curtains, meanwhile, are extremely versatile and may be a more practical choice for tropical countries as draperies tend to be stuffier and, by virtue of its material, is more restrictive of air flow. Also, draperies tend to extend all the way to the floor, pooling a little at the bottom. While floor length curtains or draperies can accentuate the height of your ceiling and generally make a room look larger and grander, the pooling effect may not be ideal if you clean your floors often.
At the moment, one of the most popular options for curtains are sheers. Made of cotton, linen, or polyester, sheer curtains allow a fair bit of light to stream into the room, giving it an airy, ethereal ambience. As most sheers come in neutral colours or light hues, it can go with almost any existing design scheme. This would be a great choice if you are doing a fair bit of work in the living room as the natural lighting would be conducive for video conference calls. It also minimises the need to turn on lights during the day, which helps you save on your electric bill.
However, sheers may be a problem at night because it will be possible for people to look into the house when it is dark outside and the lights are switched on in the living room. If your living room faces a busy street or another apartment unit, it may be good use another layer of curtains that are made of solid material on top of the sheers.
As for the design, nearly anything goes but the S-fold, or wave curtains work very well with sheer material as there are no gathering and bunching across the top of the curtain. The fluid way that it folds and drapes makes it look seamless and elegant. And because it usually does not require extraneous mechanism, it is easy to maintain — drawing it shut or open only requires that you do it by hand. And without the use of a roller, winder or cord, it can be easily cleaned at home.
Similarly, blinds and shades are also used to refer to the same thing although, technically, there is a difference between the two. Blinds are made of bamboo, vinyl, aluminum, or wood slats — also called louvers — that tilt open or shut with a winding mechanism. What we typically call Roman blinds or roller blinds are actually shades.
For the living room, shades are a better option as it comes in more patterns and designs. Apart from the two that has already been mentioned, there are also balloon shades that poufs at the top when it raised. It bears a slight resemblance to valance curtains but it is more puffy and can create an interesting visual element when it is slightly raised, forming loose scallops across a window. Although the choice of material can make a slight difference, balloon shades may not be entirely suitable for a clean, minimalist living room because it has a tendency to look slightly fussy.
If you are looking for clean lines, you cannot go wrong with roller shades. Raised and lowered using a winder, roller shades are made of single sheets of fabric that are either rolls away completely to reveal the entire window or door frame, or hangs flat when it is fully extended. This goes really well with a modern, Scandinavian type of living room. Shades can also be lined and are sometimes used beneath sheer curtains for an extra layer of privacy or sun protection.
These are merely some of the options from a myriad of others that you can pick from. And while deciding for one against so many can be a daunting task, it will be easier if you first decide on what you want and what you need. For instance, if you want to add colour to your life, you can do so by choosing a bright, exotic print. If you need adequate lighting, go with sheers. Whatever your choice is, something new will always be refreshing and exciting — and you can never go wrong with that.
Ullman, M. (2021, February 25). What are the differences between curtains, drapes, shades, and blinds? The Spruce.
Choi, S. (2021, January 11). 55 curtain designs for the most luxurious living room windows. Elle Decor.
Unknown. (2021, February 10). How to hang curtains across a room. SF Gate.
Thompson, S. (2021, May 22). The end of open plan: How the pandemic changed home design. The Irish Times.