With 70 million Americans experiencing some chronic sleep issue, it’s no wonder that numerous people turn to blackout curtains and other layering techniques to darken their rooms and get a little shut-eye.
However, that’s not the only use for curtain layering. Learning how to layer curtains can also create a more dynamic space and add aesthetic appeal to an otherwise dull room. From sheer fabrics to velvet fabrics — the possibilities are endless!
Keep reading as we dive into everything from fabric selection and hanging tips, so you can confidently layer curtains for your next interior design project.
First thing first. What kind of curtains can you layer? You can layer just about any curtain you wish. However, some styles of curtains work best for layering versus others.
These styles include sheer or lace panels, heavy drapes or blackout curtains, Roman blinds, bamboo shades, and more. Each layer adds a different look, feel, and function to your windows while creating a great mix-and-match effect. Even layering two types of the same style curtain can create an amazing visual impact.
What’s the best option? It depends on the style of your home and your functional needs. Let’s explore the two most popular options for layering curtains below.
Sheer curtains are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to add a unique and airy touch to a room. Still, few people know about the secret weapon behind sheer curtains: layering! Sheer curtains are particularly great for layering because they let the sun’s natural light filter in a while still providing a layer of privacy.
Layering multiple sheer curtains lets you add a subtle hue to your window treatments, create different patterns and textures, or even mix sheer styles with blackout treatment in one window. Plus, sheer curtains are much lighter than heavier fabrics, making them easier to hang up and on your wallet. Who doesn’t love a good win-win like that?
All in all, sheer curtain layers provide never-ending performance and aesthetic possibilities that can transform any window into an impressive showcase.
Not only do blackout curtains effectively block out unwanted light, but they also have the bonus of adding an extra layer of insulation against heat and cold. This makes blackout curtains incredibly popular for homes and businesses that need total darkness for sleeping, viewing movies, or similar activities.
When layered with other curtains or blinds, blackout curtains help reduce noise pollution and provide additional privacy for homeowners. Their versatile style allows them also to be used as an additional decorative piece to tie together a room’s décor in beautiful harmony.
Before we jump into layering tips, let’s chat about blinds. Namely, are they necessary? Or, if you’re planning on using blackout curtains to block out light, will blinds create too much of a cluttered look?
Ultimately, it’s up to you. However, layering curtains with window blinds can create a stunning look for window treatments. You don’t have to sacrifice style for function, either. Window blinds do more than provide privacy. Blinds act as an additional layer between the window and curtain, so they can also help regulate the temperature in your home.
Plus, window blinds come in a range of stylish designs that will elevate any room’s look. Whether you already have curtains and want to add more privacy or upgrade your window treatments from plain curtains to something that makes a statement, window blinds are worth looking into when layering curtains.
Keep in mind that you want to focus on function over style first. If you don’t really need blinds for privacy or light reasons, adding them might make the space feel cluttered. However, if you want to enjoy the added benefits of blinds, consider a style that pairs well with your layered curtains.
So, you want to learn how to layer window curtains but aren’t sure what to look for or where to start. Keep scrolling to read through a few tips on selecting the right curtains before we start teaching you how to layer curtains below.
Layering curtains is an ideal way to spruce up your room, but if you want to do it properly, it pays to consider the style of the room itself. The way you hang them is directly related to the look you’re aiming for.
When layering curtains for a more formal appearance, go for a rod pocket or grommet top style. This creates a smoother, more pulled-together look. If you’re going for something less stylized and more relaxed, opt for tab top panels, which leave loops of fabric visible along the top.
Next, consider the color and pattern of the curtains you want to layer. Light colors usually fare better in sunlight, while dark colors will often look better from the outside as they can be used to create a mirror effect against the glass.
If you choose sheer curtains, you will want to choose something that complements your decor since many colors are available. On the other hand, blackout curtains commonly come in solid colors like dark burgundy, navy blue, or forest green. This helps to effectively block out light while simultaneously coordinating well with your sheer curtains.
If you have window shades, consider the color of those shades when choosing your curtain color.
When layering curtains, create contrast by combining textures, fabrics, and colors. Keep one element consistent when mixing them. This way, you can create harmony among the three elements mentioned above.
For example, keep the fabric similar but vary the hues; or combine different textures with similar hues. In any case, create a combination of materials that go well together and will create interest in your space. Experimenting is part of the fun when designing a room – try out a few combinations before you find the one you love!
To ensure you get the curtain length just right, you must be aware of some factors when shopping for curtain panels, such as curtain rod or track placement, window size, and curtain heading type. You want the curtain to hit just above the windowsill for optimal aesthetics, so if your curtain pole is close to the ceiling, then you’ll need longer curtains than if it is lower.
Additionally, measurements of your actual window are important: if your window is wider than tall, go for a shorter curtain, while vice versa calls for taller curtains. Finally, consider your curtain heading type. Different curtain headings come in various lengths and cannot be altered.
To use a tieback or to not use a tieback, that is the question. At least, it’s what some homeowners ask themselves when layering curtains. So, should you use them?
On the one hand, using curtain tiebacks will shape your curtain in an aesthetically pleasing way, adding a certain level of flair that would otherwise be lacking with plain curtains. On the other hand, they might not fit in with the color scheme or texture of your curtain material, distracting from its overall beauty.
It’s best to experiment with different colors and materials until you find the ideal for your room’s decor and curtain style.
Additionally, curtain tiebacks usually require more care and maintenance than regular curtains as they are not permanently fixed in space and can become tangled easily if not used correctly. They may also not be suitable for heavily textured curtain materials since they tend to bunch the fabric together rather than neatly draping it around.
Assuming you’ve chosen the right color, length, and style for the curtains, it’s time to learn how to layer them! If you have standard curtains, follow the steps below. If you’re looking for specific step-by-step instructions for a particular type of curtain, keep scrolling, as we’ll provide some tips on how to layer curtains with sheers and more.
Without further ado, here are the steps for how to do two-layer curtains.
Installing the hardware for your layered curtain look is the first and most important step. To get the best results, select a double curtain rod bracket that is suitable for your chosen style and fits perfectly with the length of your window, whether short or long.
If you have a wider window that runs more than 30 inches across, you must install a center support bracket to give extra stability and strength to the rods. Once you feel your rod is properly secured, it’s time to start layering.
Once you have the rod mounted, layer the curtains onto it. Your base layer could be a sheer or opaque curtain, shade, or blind — whatever best works with your intended design. Once it’s in place, thread the panel through the rod and clip it into position.
To finish up, layer up your second outer layer of curtains, which is typically a more opaque or blackout option. It’s as easy as that to get great-looking double-layered curtains that increase privacy and efficiency. However, we’re not done yet.
If you’d like, you can add the finishing touches, too. Consider sprucing the rod up with finials. Or, as mentioned above, you can add a tieback for a touch of elegance and style. Feel free to play around here.
Our pro tip? Add a detail, and then let it sit for a day or two. Give yourself time to view it from different angles and lighting. If, after a few days, you decide you don’t like how it looks, you can swap it out for something else. Or, you can remove it entirely.
What if you want to layer sheer curtains? While two sheer curtains might not provide you with much privacy, they’re a great option for those with windows on upper floors or spaces where nobody can see through your window.
Follow the same style guides mentioned above. Try to choose two colors that mix well together but create a harmonized sense of contrast. For added style, consider using a transparent or neutral sheer curtain as the base layer and then add a textured or patterned sheer curtain on top.
To layer, start by mounting a pole on either side of the window frame. Fit the first curtain layer onto the pole, ensuring it hangs evenly when open. Next, layer the second sheer curtain over the first layer. Attaching clips to each layer helps keep the fabric looking neat and stops them from bunched up in any spot. This also ensures full coverage of your window.
Finally, for a romantic effect, you could opt for tie-up layers tied back with ribbon or fabric ties that coordinate with your color scheme. This sheer layer look lends a classic, timeless elegance to any room.
Now that you know how to double-layer curtains, what if you want to layer blackout curtains? This isn’t typically necessary, as one blackout curtain is enough to block out light. However, you can find blackout curtains that offer 50% blackout, for example, which means you might want to layer two 50% blackout curtains on top of one another.
In this case, we suggest following the style guidelines above. Choose contrasting colors and patterns that create a harmonious look. When it’s time to layer the curtains, you’ll put the lighter or more sheer curtain as the base layer. Then, add the more colorful, vibrant curtain (the one you want to pop in the space) as the top layer.
At Artistic Windows, Inc., we believe that how you design your home is how you define your lifestyle. For over 20 years, we’ve been helping clients craft timeless and comfortable homes with our custom window treatments. From draperies and blinds to cornices and more, we offer it all.
Whether you’re interested in learning how to layer curtains to add a modern touch or simply want to chat about your home design needs, we can help create your personalized space for you. Click here to get in touch!