What can I use instead of curtains in a bedroom?

These designer alternatives will soften your space without hindering your sleep – for a therapeutic windowscape

vintage bedroom with paneling, buttoned headboard and vintage frames on the wall
(Image credit: Colin Poole)

'What can I use instead of curtains in a bedroom?' It's the question you may ask if you're looking for a cooler alternative to the timeless window dressing. But it's important this substitute doesn't hinder your sleep.  

While it is easy to see the appeal behind luxurious bedroom curtain ideas, this ageless furnishing is not for every home. In all their richness, curtains can retain heat whilst offering a somewhat regal style to your space. So, if you're looking for how to sleep better (especially in a hot climate) – or you're aiming for an exclusively modern aesthetic in your room – then you may be looking for an alternative.

Like all bedroom ideas, your window design decisions are important to get right. However, you could do far worse than follow advice from these experts. This is what they suggest for a good-looking, sleep-including space. 

green painted four poster bed with yellow canopy fabric

(Image credit: Polly Wreford/Sally Denning)
Megan Slack Head Shot
Megan Slack

Over the past year, Megan has written a host of sleep content for Homes & Gardens – including pieces on color psychology and the best bedding for a restful slumber. 

All her sleep articles, including this one, explore the relationship between wellness and interior design – to help you curate a space that looks good and promotes better well-being in your bedroom. 

What can I use instead of curtains in a bedroom?

The best window treatment ideas are those that mimic your bedroom's style while enabling therapeutic temperature and light levels. Here are three curtain alternatives that combine beauty and functionality for the perfect space. 

1. Roman blinds

Window seat with Vanessa Arbuthnott blind

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Roman blinds are perhaps the most natural curtain alternative you can choose. And unsurprisingly, Zaeem Chaudhary, architectural draftsman at AC Design Solutions (opens in new tab), agrees. However, the expert hangs these blinds with a difference.

'You can choose to install a blackout roller or Romans blind on the exterior or in the recess of a recessed window,' he says. 

Zaeem recommends 'utilizing multiple window treatments' by hanging your Roman blinds in such a way as to maximize light in your room during the day. 'A blind that is hung from the outside allows you to completely cover the window's edges and can be combined with other smart design choices to ensure that no light is let in at all,' he explains. 

2.  Blackout shades 

bedroom with double bed and windows dressed with neutral curtains and green patterned blinds

(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

Light levels have a direct impact on your sleep, meaning your window blind ideas have unrivaled importance in the bedroom. And among the most powerful of these blinds are those that block light from your space. 

Florida-based designer Perla Lichi from Perla Lichi Design (opens in new tab) recommends investing in blackout shades or zebra shades which are good for both dark and light filtering rooms. 'You can add a partial drape that has an ascetic to soften up the ends,' Perla adds. 

3. Shutters

country bedroom ideas

(Image credit: California Shutters)

The debate as to whether a bedroom should be light or dark divides sleep experts, but Sam Hildreth, a sleep health content specialist from Mattress Nerd, (opens in new tab) argues the latter. And his solution to a cocooning bedroom comes in the shape of a traditional shutter.

'If you’re looking to forego bedroom curtains, you can use shutters to block out light while you sleep,' Sam says. He explains how they offer a softer look that can easily be adjusted to let into your room. This is important when looking to improve your slumber. 

'Ideally, you want your room to be as dark as possible while sleeping,' the expert adds. It's certainly something to remember whether you opt for shutters, blinds, or traditional curtains. 

How can I soften a room without curtains?

Yes, it is possible to soften a room without curtains. The best way to do so is through shutters, as these often have a subtle, wooden aesthetic that can make a room feel natural and cozy. However, you can also soften your space with textiles in other areas of your room, such as with pillows, blankets and rugs, in some cases. 

Is it OK not to have curtains?

It depends. If you find you sleep better in a lighter room, it may be okay to go bare. However, as the experts suggest, there are some curtain alternatives that will allow you to control temperature and light levels, so you can curate the best sleep environment to suit your personal preferences and needs.