How do I Choose the Best Panel Curtains?

Malcolm Tatum

Panel curtains are a simple but effective way to dress a window in just about any room of the home. The trick is to match the right panels with the other elements in the room, allowing the curtains to work with the other design elements in the space rather than clashing. To choose the best panel curtains for a given space, make sure to consider three key factors: function, texture, and color scheme.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

As with any type of curtains, panel curtains serve more than a single purpose. One function is to accentuate the lines of the window, visually harmonizing the area with the rest of the design elements in the room. The right set of curtains will help the room looking inviting, comfortable and visually appealing. In order to aid in this process, paying close attention to the colors used in the panels is very important. Ideally, picking a color that pulls that same color from upholstery and other elements in the room can help unify the look of the space in ways that would not be possible otherwise. In terms of patterns or prints, use your judgment when it comes to using solids or prints in a room that already has several prints in use. It is possible to harmonize multiple prints, but it can be tricky. If you are uncomfortable with trying this approach, go with a solid that works well with the other prints.

Along with the color and the pattern on the panel curtains, consider the texture of the material used for the curtains. Depending on the general décor, you may want to choose something that is heavier or something that is relatively light. While there are exceptions, a more contemporary feel to the room would call for lighter textures that allow more natural light into the space. At the same time, a room that is rigidly decorated in one particular period may require the use of heavier materials for the window treatment.

The goal with panel curtains is to not only achieve the right look, but also the proper function for the space. For example, a bedroom require curtains that can effectively block the light or provide a greater degree or privacy, while a living room may do very well with lace panel curtains that let in plenty of natural light while still offering a minimum of privacy. If you are also using blinds or shades as part of the window treatment, privacy may be less of an issue. Just keep in mind that some types of blinds and shades mute light but do not block it altogether. Make sure the curtains you choose will work with other elements in the window treatment and achieve the function you have in mind.

If the panel curtains you desire are beyond your decorating budget, consider sewing curtains that are ideal for your needs. Many fabric stores provide simple patterns that can be used to make the panels out of any material you desire. The sheer simplicity of this curtain design means that even if you’ve never sewn anything before, you have an excellent chance of producing panels that will work well in the home for many years to come.

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