Why your beautiful bedroom curtains are ruining your sleep – say experts

This feature may look good, but is it stopping you from getting a good night's sleep? Designers are in agreement

bedroom with french doors open to courtyard and pattened bed throw plus panelled headboard
(Image credit: Julia Currie)

The beauty of a light and bright space needs no mention. These qualities are, understandably, often at the heart of every designer's agenda – because who doesn't want a light-flooded home?  

From its size-enhancing abilities to its ability to make us feel happier, the benefits of light are indisputable – so you would be forgiven for designing your bedroom, and specifically your bedroom window ideas, so that they boost light levels as much as is possible. However, interior designers are warning that some of the most beautiful window treatment ideas simply aren't suited to bedrooms. 

In fact, they warn, they may be hindering your sleep schedule. 

The biggest bedroom mistake – that could be impacting your sleep 

A luxurious bed and gold patterned drapes illustrated cozy bedroom ideas.

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

'Whether you’re planning to use blinds or curtains, their ultimate function should be to block of incoming light,' says Nishtha Sadana, the creative director at NISH Online Interior Design. 'Too much light can affect sleep, and you must be careful with the exact material, color, and thickness of the curtain used.' 

When choosing your bedroom curtain ideas, it may feel natural to begin with the most beautiful drapes you can find. However, if you're looking ways to sleep better, you should prioritize control over light levels in your room. 

Designer Lauren Byington, the co-founder of Warren & Lauren, agrees: 'What happens when those gorgeous massive window coverings don't properly mask the light that keeps waking you too early?' she asks. 'Consider what extra light will do to your sleep schedule if you have the chance to sleep into the morning light.'

Bedroom ideas

(Image credit: Gunter & Co/Mark Bolton Photography)

Architect and interior designer Beril Yilmaz similarly observes this bedroom design mistake. 'Too much light can interfere with the body's natural sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep. And once you're finally asleep, too much light can cause you to wake up during the night,' she adds. 

But what is the solution? The designers agree on this, too...

What can you do instead? 

Alternative curtain ideas include tightly mounted black-out curtains or blinds, which Lauren describes as a 'step in the right direction.' However, you can opt for more significant changes instead. 

The designer urges you to consider smaller-sized bedroom windows when remodeling – especially if you struggle to fall into a peaceful sleep. 'Blocking [the] bright morning light will enable you to sleep better,' she says. 

Beril similarly recommends incorporating black-out curtains into your space. She explains that blocking out the light with blackout curtains will lead to a better night's sleep – so you can 'wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start your day.'

a pretty country house guest bedroom with floral curtains and traditional eiderdown

(Image credit: Future / Damian Russell / Ali Brown)

Choosing blackout curtains (or knowing what to use instead of curtains in a bedroom) is an effective way of keeping the light out. Though, Nishtha explains that you can also control light levels through your bedroom mirror ideas

'The primary function of the mirrors is to reflect the incoming light,' the designer says. She suggests that it may be better to keep mirrors to a minimum in a bright bedroom, especially if you struggle to sleep. 'Moreover, mirrors tend to create a sense of uneasiness and discomfort while affecting the sleep in the bedroom,' she says. Therefore, despite their benefits, they may be better left beyond the bedroom. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.