Do Dining Rooms Need Curtains? (Design Tips)

Here’s a guilty little secret; we don’t have curtains in our dining room yet – but should we?

Dining rooms do not absolutely need curtains, but most interior designers recommend floor-length curtains, blinds, or drapes to create a finished professional look in your dining room, even if your windows do not go fully down to the floor themselves.

Let’s dive down into the subject of dining room curtains in more detail, and answer all the questions you might have on why you need them and how to fit them…

Do Dining Rooms Need Curtains?

Are Curtains or Blinds Better For a Dining Room?

There are a surprising number of window treatments for dining rooms. You can choose just one, a couple of them that go together or none at all. The choices are yours. The hard part is the choosing, so here’s a little help.

Dining rooms are, in many ways, the heart of your home. Sure, the dining room is the locale for all those over-the-top holiday meals. But it’s also homework central, and where you work on that side gig after hours. It’s where you spread out with your hobbies. You could say that the dining room is the most versatile space in your home.

Whether you choose curtains, drapes, horizontal blinds, vertical blinds, roman shades, hobbled shades, cellular shades, fabric panels, shutters, valances, scarves, or swags, choose the treatment that suits your style and your needs. 

Here’s a good introduction to 14 types of window treatments

But how to decide? In an ideal world, only your taste would rule the choice. Realistically, check out the bank balance because window treatments can become pretty pricey. The good news is that curtains and blinds come in a wide range of costs. 

Setting a budget will help cut down on the number of choices. If you are not a DIY person, include the cost of installation in the budget.

Then, spend at least 12 hours observing the light cycle in your dining room. Direct sunshine can blind dinner guests and fade your carpets. Or, perhaps you have the opposite situation – no direct sunlight and a little dark. The amount of light you get in your dining room will narrow your choices.

Privacy is another important consideration. You probably don’t want to share your family dinners with neighboring houses or apartments. If you have close neighbors, consider opaque choices, like black out curtains.

Remember that you don’t have to choose just one type of window treatment. Combinations of shades and curtains may work best for your space. If you need all the light you can get but have close neighbors, consider an opaque valance hung in the bottom of the window that will give those seated some privacy. Or shades with a top and bottom that operate independently.

Once you’ve whittled down the choices by budget, light and privacy, the next thing to consider is your own personal style. Call it casual, contemporary, bohemian, traditional, industrial or an eclectic mix of them all – your home is your castle. Sure, check out the designer trends (we do), but ultimately pick a style you want to relax in.

Some designers say that window treatments are the jewelry of your home – that they are essential finishing touches. But if you’ve chosen your home for its gorgeous natural setting and you have privacy galore, you may not want them at all. That’s OK too. 

What is The Best Color For Dining Room Curtains?

There are many interior designer opinions about color choices. Major color trends at the time of writing are neutrals, dusty rose, blue-grey, sage green, and light mustard yellow. Designer trends are sheers, blackouts, natural linens, botanical prints and pom-poms for that boho look.

There are plenty of opinions out there on how to choose your curtain colors. Here are a few: match curtain curtains color with your favorite table linens or choose light-colored curtains in dark rooms and vice versa. 

Some designers say to go bold by introducing a new color. Think “pop” of color – not an overwhelming one. Colorful printed curtains can liven up a neutral dining room. Prints add personality and texture.

We looked for the very latest articles on dining room curtain trends. This one has 29 great curtain ideas.

Dining room with curtains

How Long Should Dining Room Curtains Be?

If you are buying your curtains ready-made, there are lots of panel lengths available, from 63 inches to 144 inches. Most experts say to take your curtains to the floor, even though your windows might not be. 

For most windows, you’ll want to hang the curtains outside and above the molding or frame. An exception is when your home has custom moldings around the windows that are unique and adorable. In that case, consider a tension rod inside the frame. 

For curtains hung outside the window frame, you’ll need to buy your panels at least two to 2 1/2 times wider than the window. That way, the panels will close easily and completely. When you pull the panels open, you expose almost all of the glass. 

For the curtains to almost clear the glass completely when open, the rod you buy should be 10 to 12 inches wider than the window frame. Your windows will let in more sunshine and appear bigger.

Most interior designers recommend hanging the curtains above the top frame (aka the window header). Designers say to never hang curtains directly above the widow header – hang them at least six inches above, maybe more. 

If you have a lot of space between your window header and the ceiling, consider hanging your curtains halfway to two-thirds of the way above the window header and the ceiling. Some designers like the “floor to ceiling” look, where you hang your curtains just below the ceiling. This can make your dining room look taller.

For those with really tall ceilings and windows, design experts say, “go for it” and let the curtains make the windows look even longer, grander, even imposing. Hang the curtains just below the crown molding or at the ceiling, as much as 24 inches above the window header. 

For floor-length curtains, interior designers refer to four choices: the kiss, the float, the break puddle, and the puddle. Kiss floor-length curtains should just skim or kiss the floor. Float length is slightly shorter – no shorter than 1/2 inch above the floor. Just remember – no high water curtains!

Break puddle (aka trouser length) curtains are from 1 to 2 inches longer than the floor, so there is a small fold at the floor.

Puddling lengths are usually between 1 and 3 inches longer than the floor. Designers say you can puddle curtains up to 10 inches for a glam effect, but before you do, consider the maintenance of deeply puddled curtains. The dust bunnies. The vacuums that suck them in and shred them. The trodding on. The stacks of pet hair.

Experts say that if you are trying to pick ready-made lengths and your windows are in between – go longer. If you are not the greatest tailor, find one in your neighborhood. 

Take several measurements – in many older houses, floors, and ceilings can be a little crooked.

How Do You Hang Dining Room Curtains?

This is a great video on how to hang curtains:

These simple seven steps are from the video:

1. Measure and buy curtains. Measure the window. If you have several windows you are buying for, be sure they are all the same. 

2. Choose a rod. Rods can be singles, doubles, or even triples, depending on how many layers of curtains you have. 

3. Create a template. This is a great idea if you will be hanging curtains in more than one window. Make your template from sturdy cardboard and keep it.

4. Mark your bracket spots. Using your handy template, mark where you want your bracket to go with a pencil.

5. Install the brackets. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If your window is wider than four feet, and depending on the weight of your curtains, you may need a support in the middle. Also, if you can’t mount the brackets into studs, you may need drywall anchors.

6. Double check that your rod is level.

7. Hang your curtains

Final Words

So it looks like there are some very compelling reasons to fit curtains in your dining room, and maybe it’s time we did.

We never had curtains in the dining room when I was growing up at home, but times change and so do style choices.

If modern interior designers agree it’s the way to go then who are we to argue 🙂