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A bright room with glass doors has Tailored Pleat Drapery of Jasmine, Sky, showing when to choose curtains or no curtains
January 22, 2024

Curtains or No Curtains: How to Choose

Deciding between curtains or no curtains is an important decision that will affect your space’s overall aesthetics as well as its functionality. Drapery can complete your space by adding warmth and visual interest, plus, drapes provide privacy, light control and insulation. However, Drapery isn’t the only window treatment option, as you can also choose Blinds and Shades based on your needs.  

The choice between curtains, another type of window treatment, or bare windows will ultimately depend on your specific needs and preferences.

When to Choose Bare Windows

A modern ranch home in the middle of the desert decided between curtains or no curtains, bare windows was the way to go

Since window treatments are essential for providing privacy and light control, there are only a handful of instances where bare windows are a good option.

Best applications for bare windows include:

  • Homes with a stunning view in a remote area.
  • Minimal privacy concerns as neighbors do not have a clear visual into your home interior.
  • Homes with minimal natural light where curtains aren’t needed to filter light or privacy.
  • In sleek, modern spaces, where bare windows create a clean, open feeling.
  • On oddly shaped windows like a port-hole style window where drapery may look out of place.

If light and privacy control are a concern in any of these instances, a less dramatic window treatment option like Solar or Roller Shades may be a better choice.

If your home doesn’t fall into one of the situations above, then you likely need window treatments to provide the right level of privacy and light control. Learn the benefits of curtains as well as Blinds and Shades for a better understanding of which might be right for your space.

When to Choose Curtains

Between curtains or no curtains, a modern study chose Tailored Pleat Drapery made of Vanda in Midnight and Breeze in Sand

When deciding between curtains or no curtains, learn the best situations for choosing these elegant window treatments to see if they align with what you need.

Choose curtains for:

  • Added warmth and elegance for a polished, finished aesthetic.
  • Lots of customizations, including pleat style, hardware, lining, fabric and more so you can create just the right look with the right functionality.
  • Great privacy and light control, especially when you add on privacy or blackout lining.
  • A sense of height and breadth for your window and overall space when hung high and wide over your windows with panels that trail to the floor.
  • Good insulation for a more temperate interior, especially when adding privacy or blacking lining with cotton flannel interlining.

If you’re looking for any of these benefits without the dramatic, sophisticated fabric panels of drapery, consider Blinds or Shades as an alternative.

Compare Blinds & Drapery in Depth

Take a closer look at Blinds vs Curtains in this comprehensive comparative analysis to determine which is right for you.

When to Choose Blinds & Shades

Between curtains or no curtains, a rustic dining room chose Flat Roman Shades made of Lowell Tweed in Flint

Blinds and Shades provide many of the same benefits as Drapery but offer a more tailored fit for your window. Learn when these window treatments might be a better choice than Drapery.

Choose Blinds or Shades for:

  • A more tailored, streamlined look thanks to their custom fit on your window.
  • A wide variety of customizations in terms of style, control types, material options, and more so you can capture just the right look with the right functionality.
  • Install flexibility since they can potentially be installed in an inside-mount (inside the window frame) or outside-mount (on the wall or ceiling above the window frame) application. Keep in mind inside-mount applications require a minimum depth requirement for a secure mount that’s usually at least ¾-inch. 
  • Great privacy, light control and insulation with the right materials (and lining for Roman Shades and Woven Wood Shades).
  • Affordability as they typically use less material that Drapery which can make them lower in cost.

Compare Blinds & Shades in Depth

For a better understanding of Blinds and Shades, compare each in depth to determine which is the better choice for your space.

MORE Considerations for Curtains or No Curtains

Now that you know the best applications for bare windows, as well as some of the best reasons to choose curtains, blinds and shades, learn what other factors to consider to help you decide.

These tips can help you further narrow down the best choice for your space:

Room-Specific Considerations

Between curtains or no curtains a bedroom chose Ripple Fold Drapery made of Canvas in Natural with blackout Roller Shades

The type of room you’re renovating will dictate which, if any, window treatments are right for your space. Rooms where privacy is essential, like a bathroom or bedroom, will likely require window treatments. Additionally, bedrooms may also require a room darkening effect for better sleep, so it will be important to choose window treatments with blackout material or lining. For rooms like dining rooms or living rooms where privacy isn’t essential, you might consider bare windows if these rooms also have a beautiful view. Or opt for light-filtering window treatments like sheer curtains or Solar Shades for softened light and a bit of privacy.

Privacy & Light Control Needs

Only if your room needs no privacy or light control are bare windows a good option. Most rooms need some level of privacy and protection from the sun. Luckily, there are several levels of light and privacy control you can attain depending on the type of window treatment you choose. For instance, Solar Shades block UV rays while still allowing natural light to filter in and they can help you maintain your view to the outdoors thanks to their transparency levels. At the other end of the spectrum, Drapery with blackout lining can provide an excellent room darkening effect and great privacy for your bedroom or media room.

Aesthetic Preferences

Between curtains or no curtains a modern home with floor-to-ceiling windows chose Solar Shades made of 10 percent in Black

The aesthetic effect you want to achieve in your room is an important factor to consider when choosing between curtains or no curtains. Bare windows will give you a minimalist, open look and create a bright space that seamlessly bridges the outdoors with the indoors. Curtains will add an elegant warmth to your space with their long fabric panels. Blinds offer a clean, linear design that can suit a range of aesthetic styles. Shades come in a variety of styles from sleek, modern Roller and Solar Shades to elegant Roman Shades to organic Woven Wood Shades.

Budget Considerations

The type of window treatment you choose as well as the material, control type, size of your windows and more will all affect your costs. Curtains will usually be the highest price since they use the most material in their long panels of fabric. Certain Shades are more affordable than others, with Roller Shades, Solar Shades and Cellular Shades being the most affordable. Blinds also are typically an economical choice depending on your material and control type choice.

Inspirational Ideas for Curtains or No Curtains

Still struggling to decide between curtains or no curtains? Explore curated spaces with curtains and spaces with Blinds and Shades to help you visualize the perfect design for your own room.

Ideas with Curtains

Think Curtains Are the Right Choice for You?

Get expert design tips on the best way to hang them to accentuate your window and room.

Ideas with Blinds & Shades

Finalize Your Selection: Curtains or No Curtains?

With lots of inspirational ideas as well as benefits of either curtains or no curtains, you likely have a stronger sense of what approach will work best for your space. To finalize your selection and make the best possible choices for your home, schedule a free design consultation with one of our expert Design Consultants. With their expertise in all things window treatments, they’ll be able to answer all your questions and guide you toward the right selections.

Two women having a design consultation for window treatments as they look at material swatches in a showroom


Schedule a free design consultation with our talented Design Consultants for guidance on product choice, material selection and more.