Plain solid or patterned curtains, which ones to choose? There are really no rules, but generally speaking, plain solid curtains are for those who want to play it safe and want their curtains to stay trendy longer, while patterned curtains are more unique, look more custom-made, and set the color palette for the rest of the room.

The following are some tips to help you decide.


Why Choose Plain Solid Curtains

Solid Curtains Stay in Style Longer

Solid curtains will technically always be in style, with a few caveats.

Design trends tend to change every 7 to 10 years, so if you plan to hold on to your curtains for a long time, this may be a good choice. You don’t have to worry about trends coming and going because you’ll always be able to update your other decor around a solid colored pair of curtains.

For example, if the trend goes from modern to traditional, you can keep your solid curtains but update the other decor around it like your lamps, artwork, or rugs.

However, keep in mind that you will still be limited.

Design trends aren’t just about patterns or being modern or traditional. If the trends change from a light gray and white color palette to darker, richer colors, then obviously you won’t be able to change out your existing curtain color unless you buy brand-new curtains.

It’s the same thing with the fabric or style of your curtain.

While the color you choose may stay in style, it may not necessarily be true of the fabric composition or style of curtain you choose.

Just think about recent design trends that went out of style like tacky jacquard polyesters or excessive ruffles and fringes that have now been replaced by organic cottons and linens and more modern curtain styles like grommets or simple pleats. It didn’t matter that the fabric of the curtain was solid, they still went out of style and became dated.


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Solid Curtains Use Less Fabric and Are Less Expensive

When purchasing fabric for curtains, they can typically range from $15 to $300 per yard. If you need extra long curtains or curtains that require double or even triple widths, it can really add up.

Large fabric patterns also means that the workroom will need to waste a lot of fabric while lining up the patterns. So if you’re on a budget, it’s better to go for solid fabric as it requires less fabric yardage and fewer labor hours to manufacture.


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Why Choose Patterned Curtains

Patterned Curtains Have a Custom Look

Patterned fabrics are more likely to be found in custom sewing workrooms and less in pre-packaged, mass produced curtains you find at the store.

Because of this alone, they’ll help your room exude that look of being created by an interior designer even if that’s not true.


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Patterned Curtains Set the Color Palette in a Room

Because patterned curtains often have two, three, and even four colors, this will help set the color palette in your room and give you the template you need to create design flow in your room.

For example, if a patterned curtain features red, peach, cream, and taupe colors, you’ll be able to tell a story by carrying those colors in the rest of the room. You’d typically want to use the more subtle colors for larger home decor items and only use the bolder colors sparingly. For example, you could do:

  • large cushions or pillows in the taupe color,
  • small cushions or pillows in the peach color,
  • lamp shades in the cream color,
  • rugs in the taupe and cream color,
  • vases, artwork, and smaller decorations in the bold red color.

Because your curtains already provided the color template, you can now go out and start looking for pillows, lamp shades, vases, rugs, decorations and other things in your room by just pulling from the colors you see in your curtains.

And because you already have a pattern in the curtain, you can now look for simple and solid colored decorations to complete the look and create balance. By creating a balance between something busy/bold and something simple/solid, your curtains will then naturally become the focal point in the room.


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Curtain Ideas

In conclusion, both plain solid and patterned curtains have their pros and cons. The following are a few ideas to help you decide.


This curtain style allows you to pull from its yellow and white color palette and continue it in the bedding, throw pillows, and art work.


The Shibori Dot curtains feature a green that was carried over to an adjacent accent wall and adjacent artwork.


These cream curtains in a home library were topped off with a cornice with trim. The cream color stands out beautfully against a dark red wall.


If you really want to play it safe and be timeless, then solid curtains in a cream color on a matching wall is for you. In this example, the curtains were topped off with matching box pleat window valances over the transom windows.


Did you know that not all your windows have to be dressed the same in a common space? In this example, solid white pinch pleat curtains were used in the breakfast area, but the kitchen window featured a coordinating Roman shade in a gray and white buffalo check.

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