Country curtain ideas for living rooms – window dressings for rural settings

Ensure your living room has true country style with temptingly tactile treatments to suit any style of window

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-featured
(Image credit: Hillarys)

Calm and considered interiors are at the core of a country home, where a restful scheme will soothe and invite you to relax and enjoy the charms of your rural setting. In the living room, curtains can enhance that feeling. 

Framing your windows correctly will allow you to enjoy any country views you may have been blessed with, while offering privacy when you need it and creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere inside.

But where to start? Every country property is very different – from quirky cottages with small windows and hickledy-pickledy walls to more grandiose properties boasting beautiful bay windows, which means you may need to cater for different variations, heights and aspects. 

The living room, in particular, is where you want to create a real impact, both with your curtain’s print and the fabric, so that you can enjoy them year round. 

1. Create extra height

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-1-Style-Library

(Image credit: Style Library)

With some careful planning, you can give low ceilings and small windows the illusion of being taller than they are by using the wall above your windows. 

‘Traditional country homes can often have smaller room dimensions, however, with a clever window dressing it is possible to make a room feel larger than it is,’ says Debbie Leigh, design manager at ILIV. 

‘For example, hanging panels higher than the window will add to the sense of height in a room. Measure from the top of the window (plus the added inches of height where the curtains will hang from) to the floor.’ 

Curtains in Pure Honeysuckle and Tulip embroidery, £188 per metre, Morris & Co at Style Library.

2. Mix curtains with blinds

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-2-Colefax-Fowler

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

When paired together, blinds and curtains can provide the perfect balance of style and function, with the blind enabling you to control any bright light from the sun and the curtains creating a layered effect that adds a softness and warmth to your room. 

If in doubt when it comes to fabric choice, opt for patterns that complement each other, with the bolder print reserved for the curtains to really let them shine. 

Curtains in Callista, £92 per m, and blind in Alys, £112 per m, Colefax and Fowler. 

3. Show off a bay

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-3-Thomas-Sanderson

(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

Bay windows can be tricky, but if you use a curtain track instead of a rail it will allow the material to glide around each corner smoothly, without the material getting caught. ‘Choosing the right length of material for your bay window curtains is also key,’ says  Laura O’Connell, product designer at Thomas Sanderson. 

‘If your bay has a window seat or radiator below it, make the curtain length above or just below the sill to ensure the material doesn’t gather or block any heat. On the other hand, if the bay area continues to the floor, choose a full-length curtain drop. This helps the curtain to beautifully frame the window throughout the day with luxurious effect.’ 

Curtains in Abstraction Ember, from Thomas Sanderson

4. Ward off draughts

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-4-Style-Library

(Image credit: Style Library)

It’s not only windows that can benefit from curtains – country homes can often be draughty, so use a single panel to separate a hallway or interlinking room. Pull the curtain across at night to keep your space cosy and draw back in the day to open up the space. 

Lining your curtains will also help add an extra draught excluder for colder months. ‘Fully lined curtains can help to prevent heat from escaping through windows but, for added cosiness, consider a thermal lining,’ says Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys. 

Curtains in Lismore, £62 per m, Sanderson at Style Library

5. Keep it short

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-5-David-Hunt-Lighting

(Image credit: David Hunt Lighting)

If you have a radiator sitting directly underneath your window that you’d prefer not to cover, opt for a shorter length curtain and include tie-backs to keep your radiator free during the day and let heat circulate. 

This check-style design works perfectly in a rustic living room, and while adding some colour to the scheme it also allows the windows and view to be the main focus. 

Lighting from David Hunt Lighting.

6. Go for grandeur

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-6-Colefax-Fowler

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

For a more sophisticated feel, a covered lathe is a good option and if you want to make life easier when closing them, choose to have them on a corded track. 

‘Using a pelmet or covered lathe is ideal if there is a lot of wall between the bottom of the cornice and the top of the window architrave,’ says Janie Money, associate director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. 

When it comes to the fabric, you could opt for the same design as your curtains, as shown in this Eloise design from Colefax and Fowler, or perhaps a plain neutral or stripes to compliment a more busy pattern. 

7. Consider the details

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-7-Chelsea-Textiles-HR

(Image credit: Chelsea Textiles)

If you have period fittings in your home, such as cornices, it would be a shame to hide them, so factor this in when deciding on the type of heading you want for your curtains, where they are to hang and also the curtain pole that you choose. 

Here, a triple pleat design hangs from large hoops and a pole, both of which are in a matt neutral shade to match the ornate coving around the room. 

Curtains in Duchess fabric by Robert Kime for Chelsea Textiles.

8. Match soft furnishings

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-8-Colefax-Fowler

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

The beauty of tailor-made curtains is that you can choose to have other living room pieces in the same fabric – or one from the same collection – to keep your scheme feeling cohesive. 

‘Matching curtains with other soft furnishings, such as cushions or upholstery, is a good way to bring fabric into the room,’ says Janie Money, associate director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. 

Benches, armchairs, cushions, window seats and footstools can all tie in with your curtains if you wish, creating a truly personal setting, as shown here, with this Oleander fabric, £85 per metre from Colefax and Fowler.

9. Choose modern country

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-9-Terrazzo-Hillarys

(Image credit: Hillarys)

While traditional prints are perfectly fitting with country interiors, adding a modern pattern – one that’s not necessarily deemed ‘country’ – into the mix is a good way to combine different styles. 

Here, a Terrazzo Pure print from Hillarys is shown in a neutral colour that blends beautifully with the wood and brown tones from natural elements in the room. 

‘Earthy hues and natural textures won’t be disappearing any time soon,’ says Yvonne Keal from Hillarys. ‘Linens, heavy weaves and silks create a sophisticated and classic feel.’ 

10. Add a trim

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-10-Samuel-Sons

(Image credit: Samuel & Sons)

If you’re concerned that curtains in a bold pattern or colour may overpower your room, try using incorporating it with a border or trim instead. 

This Le Soir Ikat border in Sky, £64 per m by Samuel & Sons, livens up an otherwise plain grey fabric – while a similar border has been used beyond, to line a window seat and tie the fabrics together for a cohesive scheme. 

11. Experiment with headings

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-11-Vanessa-Arbuthnott

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

From pencil pleat to eyelet or sheer, your choice of curtains can create different styles, from fabulously feminine, to more tailored and structured. 

‘I love cottage pleat heading for curtains,’ says Vanessa Arbuthnott of her Flora & Fauna design, shown here. ‘They create a soft and pretty feel, rather than formally pleated curtain headings.’

What are the classic ways to dress country living room windows?

When it comes to country window dressings, there are no hard and fast rules. However, if you would like a traditional country look, curtains that sit slightly ‘puddled’ on the floor are common, so you may want to consider adding an extra two or three inches to the curtain length to enable them to pool beautifully. 

Another common factor is to have your curtains hanging from a pole, rather than a track. As many older-style country homes feature wonky ceilings and beams, using a pole means you can easily control how your curtains line up.  

Of course, there are other decisions to be made – do you want your curtains lined, should you use tiebacks, how about using them alongside a blind, and what of the heading? For the latter, you may want to look at what’s called a ‘cottage’ pleat curtain, which features a slightly more frilled top – ideal for adding some femininity to an old rustic property.

What patterns are on trend for country living room curtains?

Country-living-room-ideas-2-Style-Library

(Image credit: Style Library)

Country-style curtains often feature timeless patterns, with stripes, checks, florals and nature-inspired or watercolour prints all order of the day. 

‘Florals are still a popular choice and have taken a moodier turn of late, with dark blooms creating an air of faded grandeur,’ says Laura O’Connell, product designer at Thomas Sanderson. ‘Bold, dramatic, large-scale florals are perfect for those looking to make a statement and work particularly well on floor-to-ceiling windows. 

If patterns aren’t for you, Vanessa Arbuthnott recommends keeping things simple. ‘I think for a country home, a linen fabric with a one- or two-colour print creates a Scandinavian simplicity and beautiful country feel,’ she says.

It’s also worth considering whether your living room gets a lot of light – if so, then brighter colours are likely to fade a lot faster than neutral shades. 

‘For smaller windows, it's best to stick to smaller scale floral designs or plains for the window and use cushions to introduce a feature pattern,’ says Debbie Leigh, design manager at ILIV. ‘Checks are often a great way to introduce a simple pattern and create a cosy country feel for a more minimalistic style.’ 

How do I choose curtains for my window?

Often, it’s the window itself that will dictate your choice – for example, if you have limited space above the window for a pole, or if you have a radiator underneath that you don’t want to block.

Start by measuring up and decide on the length you’d like your curtains to be, as well as the style – choose from pencil pleat, pinch pleat, eyelet or sheers and various other designs. 

The fabric you choose is also an important factor as it will determine how well your curtains will last. Cotton mixes and lightweight linens will suit most rooms, while slightly heavier linens can crease easily and don’t drape quite so well. 

Suede, tapestry and tweed fabrics can all help keep heat in, and if your living room is prone to draughts, you could consider interlining your curtains, which means slipping a thicker felt-like piece of material between the lining and face fabric. 

Calm and considered interiors are at the core of a country home, where a restful scheme will soothe and invite you to relax and enjoy the charms of your rural setting. In the living room, curtains can enhance that feeling. 

Framing your windows correctly will allow you to enjoy any country views you may have been blessed with, while offering privacy when you need it and creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere inside.

But where to start? Every country property is very different – from quirky cottages with small windows and hickledy-pickledy walls to more grandiose properties boasting beautiful bay windows, which means you may need to cater for different variations, heights and aspects. 

The living room, in particular, is where you want to create a real impact, both with your curtain’s print and the fabric, so that you can enjoy them year round. 

1. Create Extra Height

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-1-Style-Library

(Image credit: Style Library)

With some careful planning, you can give low ceilings and small windows the illusion of being taller than they are by using the wall above your windows. 

‘Traditional country homes can often have smaller room dimensions, however, with a clever window dressing it is possible to make a room feel larger than it is,’ says Debbie Leigh, design manager at ILIV. 

‘For example, hanging panels higher than the window will add to the sense of height in a room. Measure from the top of the window (plus the added inches of height where the curtains will hang from) to the floor.’ 

Curtains in Pure Honeysuckle and Tulip embroidery, £188 per metre, Morris & Co at Style Library.

2. Mix curtains with blinds

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-2-Colefax-&-Fowler

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

When paired together, blinds and curtains can provide the perfect balance of style and function, with the blind enabling you to control any bright light from the sun and the curtains creating a layered effect that adds a softness and warmth to your room. 

If in doubt when it comes to fabric choice, opt for patterns that complement each other, with the bolder print reserved for the curtains to really let them shine. 

Curtains in Callista, £92 per m, and blind in Alys, £112 per m, Colefax and Fowler. 

3. Show off a Bay

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-3-Thomas-Sanderson

(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

Bay windows can be tricky, but if you use a curtain track instead of a rail it will allow the material to glide around each corner smoothly, without the material getting caught. ‘Choosing the right length of material for your bay window curtains is also key,’ says  Laura O’Connell, product designer at Thomas Sanderson. 

‘If your bay has a window seat or radiator below it, make the curtain length above or just below the sill to ensure the material doesn’t gather or block any heat. On the other hand, if the bay area continues to the floor, choose a full-length curtain drop. This helps the curtain to beautifully frame the window throughout the day with luxurious effect.’ 

Curtains in Abstraction Ember, from Thomas Sanderson

4. Ward off draughts

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-4-Style-Library

(Image credit: Style Library)

It’s not only windows that can benefit from curtains – country homes can often be draughty, so use a single panel to separate a hallway or interlinking room. Pull the curtain across at night to keep your space cosy and draw back in the day to open up the space. 

Lining your curtains will also help add an extra draught excluder for colder months. ‘Fully lined curtains can help to prevent heat from escaping through windows but, for added cosiness, consider a thermal lining,’ says Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys. 

Curtains in Lismore, £62 per m, Sanderson at Style Library

5. Keep it short

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-5-David-Hunt-Lighting

(Image credit: David Hunt Lighting)

If you have a radiator sitting directly underneath your window that you’d prefer not to cover, opt for a shorter length curtain and include tie-backs to keep your radiator free during the day and let heat circulate. 

This check-style design works perfectly in a rustic living room, and while adding some colour to the scheme it also allows the windows and view to be the main focus. 

Lighting from David Hunt Lighting.

6. Go for grandeur

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-6-Colefax-&-Fowler

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

For a more sophisticated feel, a covered lathe is a good option and if you want to make life easier when closing them, choose to have them on a corded track. 

‘Using a pelmet or covered lathe is ideal if there is a lot of wall between the bottom of the cornice and the top of the window architrave,’ says Janie Money, associate director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. 

When it comes to the fabric, you could opt for the same design as your curtains, as shown in this Eloise design from Colefax and Fowler, or perhaps a plain neutral or stripes to compliment a more busy pattern. 

7. Consider the details

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-7-Chelsea-Textiles-HR

(Image credit: Chelsea Textiles)

If you have period fittings in your home, such as cornices, it would be a shame to hide them, so factor this in when deciding on the type of heading you want for your curtains, where they are to hang and also the curtain pole that you choose. 

Here, a triple pleat design hangs from large hoops and a pole, both of which are in a matt neutral shade to match the ornate coving around the room. 

Curtains in Duchess fabric by Robert Kime for Chelsea Textiles.

8. Match soft furnishings

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-8-Colefax-&-Fowler

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

The beauty of tailor-made curtains is that you can choose to have other living room pieces in the same fabric – or one from the same collection – to keep your scheme feeling cohesive. 

‘Matching curtains with other soft furnishings, such as cushions or upholstery, is a good way to bring fabric into the room,’ says Janie Money, associate director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. 

Benches, armchairs, cushions, window seats and footstools can all tie in with your curtains if you wish, creating a truly personal setting, as shown here, with this Oleander fabric, £85 per metre from Colefax and Fowler.

9. Choose modern country

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-9-Hillarys

(Image credit: Hillarys)

While traditional prints are perfectly fitting with country interiors, adding a modern pattern – one that’s not necessarily deemed ‘country’ – into the mix is a good way to combine different styles. 

Here, a Terrazzo Pure print from Hillarys is shown in a neutral colour that blends beautifully with the wood and brown tones from natural elements in the room. 

‘Earthy hues and natural textures won’t be disappearing any time soon,’ says Yvonne Keal from Hillarys. ‘Linens, heavy weaves and silks create a sophisticated and classic feel.’ 

10. Add a trim

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-10-Samuel-&-Sons

(Image credit: Samuel & Sons)

If you’re concerned that curtains in a bold pattern or colour may overpower your room, try using incorporating it with a border or trim instead. 

This Le Soir Ikat border in Sky, £64 per m by Samuel & Sons, livens up an otherwise plain grey fabric – while a similar border has been used beyond, to line a window seat and tie the fabrics together for a cohesive scheme. 

11. Experiment with headings

Country-curtain-ideas-for-living-rooms-11-Vanessa-Arbuthnott

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

From pencil pleat to eyelet or sheer, your choice of curtains can create different styles, from fabulously feminine, to more tailored and structured. 

‘I love cottage pleat heading for curtains,’ says Vanessa Arbuthnott of her Flora & Fauna design, shown here. ‘They create a soft and pretty feel, rather than formally pleated curtain headings.’

What are the classic ways to dress country living room windows?

When it comes to country window dressings, there are no hard and fast rules. However, if you would like a traditional country look, curtains that sit slightly ‘puddled’ on the floor are common, so you may want to consider adding an extra two or three inches to the curtain length to enable them to pool beautifully. 

Another common factor is to have your curtains hanging from a pole, rather than a track. As many older-style country homes feature wonky ceilings and beams, using a pole means you can easily control how your curtains line up.  

Of course, there are other decisions to be made – do you want your curtains lined, should you use tiebacks, how about using them alongside a blind, and what of the heading? For the latter, you may want to look at what’s called a ‘cottage’ pleat curtain, which features a slightly more frilled top – ideal for adding some femininity to an old rustic property.

What patterns are on trend for country living room curtains?

Country-style curtains often feature timeless patterns, with stripes, checks, florals and nature-inspired or watercolour prints all order of the day. 

‘Florals are still a popular choice and have taken a moodier turn of late, with dark blooms creating an air of faded grandeur,’ says Laura O’Connell, product designer at Thomas Sanderson. ‘Bold, dramatic, large-scale florals are perfect for those looking to make a statement and work particularly well on floor-to-ceiling windows. 

If patterns aren’t for you, Vanessa Arbuthnott recommends keeping things simple. ‘I think for a country home, a linen fabric with a one- or two-colour print creates a Scandinavian simplicity and beautiful country feel,’ she says.

It’s also worth considering whether your living room gets a lot of light – if so, then brighter colours are likely to fade a lot faster than neutral shades. 

‘For smaller windows, it's best to stick to smaller scale floral designs or plains for the window and use cushions to introduce a feature pattern,’ says Debbie Leigh, design manager at ILIV. ‘Checks are often a great way to introduce a simple pattern and create a cosy country feel for a more minimalistic style.’ 

How do I choose curtains for my window?

Often, it’s the window itself that will dictate your choice – for example, if you have limited space above the window for a pole, or if you have a radiator underneath that you don’t want to block.

Start by measuring up and decide on the length you’d like your curtains to be, as well as the style – choose from pencil pleat, pinch pleat, eyelet or sheers and various other designs. 

The fabric you choose is also an important factor as it will determine how well your curtains will last. Cotton mixes and lightweight linens will suit most rooms, while slightly heavier linens can crease easily and don’t drape quite so well. 

Suede, tapestry and tweed fabrics can all help keep heat in, and if your living room is prone to draughts, you could consider interlining your curtains, which means slipping a thicker felt-like piece of material between the lining and face fabric.