How do I Decide on the Right Style of Curtain?

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A living room with large floor to ceiling curtains on the windows

Sarah Wooldridge Design explains how to choose curtains for your home

There are a lot of aspects of interior design that I feel fairly confident with when it comes to my own home. However, one of the areas that I have always felt completely overwhelmed by is window dressings. Choosing the right ones for your home is so important and can make such a huge impact on how you feel in the space, how the light enters the room and how good it looks. It’s a tough call and one that I think needs some serious consideration and potentially expert help. Working out how to choose curtains for your home is particularly tricky. There are so many different styles as well as materials and colours to choose from. You will also need to ask yourself whether you would like them to be decorative, practical or both? To make the decision process easier I have teamed up with Sarah Wooldridge Design a curtain and blind design studio in order to create this quick guide on curtain options.

Different Curtain Styles to Consider

So the first thing you will need to consider when looking at how to choose curtains is the style that you like and that will work best in your room. Here are some of the main styles of curtains you will want to consider:

Classic Pinch Pleat Curtains

Opting for pleated curtains can add depth and drama to a room. These full, luxurious window dressings are great for those wanting elegance and a more formal effect. Pinch pleat curtains are our most popular design, available as single, double or triple pinches. They create an elegant appearance and allow the curtains to stack beautifully when drawn back.

A close up of pinch pleat curtains by Sarah Wooldridge Design

Pinch pleat curtains create an elegant appearance and stack beautifully

Wave Curtains

A truly fashion-forward style, wave curtains are great with sheer or voile fabrics across large picture windows and extensions. A soft, continuous, fluid movement is created with this look as soft waves of fabric form a smart but simple finish that’s easy on the eye.

Eyelet Curtains

With the curtains starting above the pole, eyelet curtains achieve a casual and contemporary effect which stacks tidily when open. The added fabric above the pole means this heading works best on floor length curtains.

Tab Top Curtains

Tab top heading curtains can offer a simple yet appealing look. They work particularly well in bathrooms and kitchens. Made in linen, they can offer a casual look for your interior.


Lightweight cafe curtains or half curtains are the perfect solution for a kitchen window as they let in plenty of light but provide a little privacy if your kitchen is at the front of the house where passers-by may be able to look in. These can create that ultimate short and sweet look, which is simple yet stylish, contributing to a more informal sitting area. Think linen fabrics and even sheers.

Trims, Contrasts, Pelmets and Tie-Backs

Once you have chosen the style of your curtains, you may want to think about adding trims and braids to any of the edges of your curtains. Fabric covered buttons can feature in your pinch pleats too.

An increasingly popular option is to apply a contrast leading edge or bottom edge to your curtains with a bold colour or textural variation.

Pelmets can be added to provide decorative detail and hide curtain fixtures if required.

Matching or contrasting tie-backs will add a finishing touch and keep your curtains looking neat.

Curtain Fabrics

A close up of the top of a pair of tab top curtains hung on rings

Design-led curtains can make a great statement in a room

Choosing the fabric is another important element that takes careful consideration. You will need to consider the style of your room and what else you have going on with the wallpaper, furniture and carpets. You want to choose a fabric that complements the overall scheme rather than clashes with it.


Think striking green leaf motifs, abstract patterns and more statement curtains that draw the eye as soon as someone walks into the room. These are an incredible way of adding a theme into an otherwise plain or quiet room without having to disrupt the current decor. This could be a really good option for putting your personal stamp on a rental property if you aren’t allowed to change the walls.


Stripes can elongate and offer an inexpensive update to any room. Classic prints really do offer a timeless look and can be very easy to pair with other patterns in the room, allowing you to update the scheme without having to change other aspects.


A living room featuring floor to ceiling sheet curtains on the windows

Sheer curtains are a good option for protecting your privacy

A modern take on traditional lace curtains, sheer curtains made from voile or chiffon fabric are an excellent option for dressing windows in rooms that you want to allow light into, but don’t want passers-by to be able to see in like glazed outside doors or cloakrooms. 


Plain and simple doesn’t always leave a ‘plain and simple’ finish. Think large, monogrammed vintage curtains, basic colours and even basic patterns. These can finish rooms elegantly and easily. From using basic pincher clips attached to rings or even unlined panels without the need for thick, expensive fabrics, these can be ideal in a room that needs a quick and simple finish.

If you’ve always struggled knowing how to choose curtains for your home, hopefully, these tips will help make the process easier. However, as I said, it is always worth consulting experts if you can as window dressings have such a huge impact on a room and it is so easy to get it wrong.

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  • Thank you for explaining that pinch pleat curtains can create an elegant appearance to your room. I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of curtains I should use in our living room to give an elevated feel to our home. I’ll be sure to look into this design since it seems like it could offer the kind of look and feel that I am going for in my mind.