Small living room curtain ideas — 5 designer-approved ways to add flair

Our interior designers love using small living room curtain ideas to transform spaces

Small living room curtain ideas can transform a space, such as this yellow living room with curtains, a window, a blue couch and ottoman, and a colorful rug
(Image credit: AVCO Design)

Windows looking a little weary? Small living room curtain ideas are about to become your best friend. You may not have paid much attention to your curtains in the past, but trust us — they can make or break a space.

We've got you and your windows covered if you want to zhuzh up your curtains. Our interior designers have shown us what they do to make these shine in their clients' spaces. Breezy fabrics and coordinating colors are just some of the ways they do this.

If you're searching for small living room ideas, paying attention to details such as curtains will give your space the wow-factor it deserves.

Small living room curtain ideas

Curtains are an important part of making small living rooms feel cozy, so it's a good idea to get yours looking fab.

Where our experts have recommended specific styles, we have also found curtain buys to help you shop their tips.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Add drama with length

A brown living room with striped curtains, two couches, and wooden beams on the ceiling

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

By maximizing vertical space, you can make a small living room appear bigger, as the eye will be drawn upwards. This is a clever trick to easily tick off with curtains.

“A fantastic way of making a small living room look more spacious is utilizing floor-to-ceiling curtains (we like these Lilijan Home & Curtain Panels from Wayfair),” says Ivo Iv, home improvement expert and founder of Decor Home Ideas.

A black and white picture of Ivo Iv, a man wearing a black shirt against a black background
Ivo Iv

Ivo Iv is a home improvement expert and founder of Decor Home Ideas. He loves inspiring people with interior design ideas and showing them the practical steps to make these happen. 

He adds, “One thing you need to pay attention to is your curtain height. It needs to be long enough to touch the floor barely, or else they’ll look unfinished.”

Ivo also says hanging your curtains at ceiling height, rather than window height, adds an element of drama to your space. 

2. Go light and airy

A white living room with white shades, a white ccouch, brown ottoman, and a brown woven rug

(Image credit: Caroline Kopp Interior Design / Rikki Snyder)

Going for breezy vibes with your curtains will lighten your space and give your small living room a boho look.

Ivo explains, “Sheer curtains are great at diffusing light, allowing a soft glow which will make small living room feel airy.”

He adds they also lend a soft, textured look to your space, and you can layer them with much thicker curtains to add interest.

As well as curtains, you could also go for sheer shades (these Hidodo Light Filtering Shades are Amazon's Choice) for a similar effect.

“They function super well, are adjustable to cut the light, and give a gauzy and soft element to the windows without taking up space,” says Caroline Kopp, interior designer and founder of Caroline Kopp Interior Design.

A picture of Caroline Kopp, a woman in a white dress standing in a door frame
Caroline Kopp

Caroline Kopp Interior Design is a full-service interior design firm dedicated to creating beautiful interiors that are tailored to one’s lifestyle and personality, such as designing small living rooms with curtains.

They are also a great solution if your windows have big sills, like the ones in the New York City apartment Caroline designed.

3. Play with color

A living area with yellow curtains, black patterned wallpaper, and a bench with three yellow curtains

(Image credit: Mindthegap)

One of our top tips is to use curtains as a colorful small living room idea, as this will help you bring vibrancy to the room. 

Ivo explains, “Curtains are an excellent avenue for completing or enhancing a room’s color palette.”

This is especially useful for those who are renting and can’t add the best paint colors for small living rooms (we can relate to this pain).

“I recommend choosing curtains which complement the color of your walls to make your room feel much more open and brighter,” Ivo adds.

If you want to add extra pizzazz, you can still use a contrasting color, but Ivo says to make sure you use matching accents to create a cohesive look.

4. Bring in fun patterns

A yellow living room with curtains, a window, a blue couch and ottoman, and a colorful rug

(Image credit: AVCO Design)

It’s not just color you can use to create a striking interest point with your curtains, you know.

“The benefits of adding patterns to small living rooms include creating dimensional accent walls, providing privacy, and adding character in spades,” says Stephanie Meyer, principal designer and owner of AVCO Design.

A picture of Stephanie Meyer, a woman wearing a brown cardigan
Stephanie Meyer

Stephanie Meyer is the principal designer and owner of AVCO Design. Her practice focuses on transforming client intentions into interiors for living well, meaningful connections, and lifelong memories. 

She adds, “A small living room can be just the place to imbue personality to gathering spaces.”

From gorgeous geometric prints (these Exclusive Home Geometric Curtains at Target are stunning) to fabulous florals (we're swooning over these Jinchan Paisley Curtains on Amazon), there is so much style potential.

5. Choose shutters

A blue living room with white shutters, a brown piano, and plants

(Image credit: Styled by Storms / Raquel Langworthy)

You can also add shutters to give your space even more light and privacy. These can either be hung by themselves or alongside curtains.

“I prefer for the shutter to be on the lower portion of the window if they are double hung, so there is still natural light coming through unobstructed,” says Sarah Storms, interior designer and founder of Styled By Storms.

A picture of Sarah Storms, a blonde woman wearing a denim jumpsuit
Sarah Storms

Sarah Storms is the interior designer and founder of Styled By Storms. Her unique background in fashion and editorial point of view allow for her creative passion for interiors, textiles, color to shine through every project. She has designed plenty of small living rooms.

You may need to get this custom-fit for your windows — you could always DIY your own if you’re particularly crafty — but the slick result will be worth it. 

Curtains are a quick, easy way to elevate your small living space. If you don’t want to purchase new curtains, you could even sew up your own with material from secondhand furniture stores for a statement piece no one else will have.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.