What color curtains are best for summer? Designers reveal 7 key shades

Our guide to what color curtains are best for summer will give you inspiration for your windows this season

Three panel image showing different summer curtains. Neutral living room, white bathroom, green living room.
(Image credit: George Spencer Designs | deVOL Kitchens | Romo)

In the summer months when the sun (hopefully) pours through your windows filling your room with light and warmth, it can be hard to know what color drapes to have up. 

If you do live in a warmer climate it does pay to swap out heavier drapes for summer window treatments as you don't want to block the light or for your existing scheme to look out of season. As a general rule of thumb, lighter colors reflect sunlight whereas dark colors absorb it, making a room feel warmer than you may like. 

One of our most asked questions is what curtain ideas are best for summer – so we asked our experts for their top tips on how you can choose curtain colors for any room for the summer season below – and there are some lovely choices.

What color drapes are best for the summer?

It's often said that light and airy is the way to go when it comes to summer decor ideas – this works for both interiors and what we wear. But it's also about what suits your scheme. We have a look at some fabulous options below that will help you choose which color curtains are best for summer for whichever room you want to upgrade. 

1. White

what color drapes curtains are best for summer, bathroom with vintage cabinet on the wall, marble sink, white cafe style curtains

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

There's nothing lovelier than seeing pretty voile curtains blowing gently in a summer breeze, and white is perhaps the most obvious color to choose. 

It's easy to see why – light and airy – and they take up very little visual space in a room. Fabrics to consider are lace, muslin, cotton, and the perennial favorite – linen, but a lightweight version. We explore the best fabrics for your home in summer in our dedicated feature.

'Hanging some crisp white French linen up at the windows will set the scene perfectly,' agrees Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens.

Helen Parker portrait
Helen Parker

Helen Parker is deVOL's creative director. Joining in 2004 as a kitchen designer, by 2011 she had become responsible for deVOL's style, creating one-of-a-kind showrooms, sourcing antiques and gifts and designing new pieces of furniture and accessories. Over the years, she has developed deVOL's look and voice, styling all their beautiful imagery, writing for their brochures and website, and is often featured in national and international press.

2. Sandstone

what color drapes are best for summer, living room with caramel/sand leafy patterned drapes, caramel colored couch, marble and metal round coffee table nest, blue rug, oatmeal armchair, colored cushions, vase of flowers

(Image credit: George Spencer Designs)

Not keen on white? Then consider sandstone – it's a little like caramel and a notch up from a neutral like taupe or cream. It goes well with other earthy shades like oatmeal, grey and saffron. 

'During the summer months, we often want to keep spaces feeling bright, airy and cool. Lighter colors, such as cream, caramel, and pastels give a lovely summery feeling to a space; if the material is sheer enough to let a little light through, it can have really beautiful results,' explains Tim Walters, managing director at George Spencer Designs

The fabric you choose is also important, Tim shares, 'Natural fabrics are always best for curtains as they have a much better drape. Look for fabrics that are light with beautiful texture, made from natural materials such as cotton and linen.' We look at sheer window treatment ideas in our separate piece. 

headshot of Tim Walter
Tim Walters

Having previously worked for several leading names in the interiors industry, including Osborne & Little and French fabric house Nobilis, Tim Walters became Managing Director of George Spencer Designs in 2014. As well as focusing on operations in the UK, Tim is also responsible for growing George Spencer Designs’ presence internationally.  


3. Shades of green

what color drapes curtains are best for summer, taupe earthy living room with botanical print upholstered chaise, shades of green striped curtains, rug, foliage in jug

(Image credit: Romo)

Allow the lush colors of summer to dictate your drapes this season. There's something beautiful about looking through a window into your backyard that's looking full of the joys of summer, via a pair of curtains in shades of green. 

If you can't decide on one particular tone then why not pick more than one and opt for a stripe or check? Stripes will elongate visually and therefore ideal if your ceiling is low. 

4. Warm copper

what color drapes curtains are best for summer, rust living room with orange/rust walls, furniture and drapes

(Image credit: Yarn Collective)

Contrary to popular belief, you can opt for a rich color for your summer curtains. If your space doesn't get much natural light and can feel a little cold even in when it's warmer, then consider copper. 

'Warm earthy tones are a great color choice for curtains, not just in summer but all year round,' says James Gomez, co-founder, Yarn Collective. We agree, and if you don't want to change your curtains seasonally, then pick a color that works all year round, not just for summer. 

James adds, 'Terracotta, sienna or warm copper hues are full of warmth, energy and comfort which is exactly the feeling you want to imbue within your interior…think of a room filled with sunshine, it instantly lifts your spirits and makes you feel happier and these warm color schemes can help recreate that feeling within your home and help enhance the natural light within your room.'

James Gomez
James Gomez

James Gomez is the co-founder of Yarn Collective, a British textile studio designing and manufacturing a curated selection of interior fabrics for the home that marry exquisite craftsmanship with sustainable principles. By prioritising natural and recycled fibres, Yarn Collective minimise their ecological footprint and support eco-friendly manufacturing processes, ensuring that their textiles are not only luxurious but also environmentally conscious.

5. Pink and blue

what color drapes/curtains are best for summer, kitchen with pink and blue striped door curtain, stone kitchen with stone cabinets, flagstone floor, flowers, basket of flowers

(Image credit: Molly Mahon)

Two tone is a good idea if you love two colors equally, or if it suits your style. 

We asked Molly Mahon, founder and creative director of Molly Mahon, for her expert advice:

‘Fresh, vital colors will deliver an instant summer feel to your home, no matter what the actual weather is outside and a beautifully printed fabric as curtains will create a wonderful focal point, framing any views to your garden or terrace. Celebrate the colors of the garden by bringing the beauty of nature inside with fresh greens, joyful pinks and evocative blues, these uplifting colors will bring a happy energy to a room.'

And if you want to team different material types and colors together then go ahead, Molly adds, 'For a truly unique and adventurous approach, consider mixing and matching different fabrics together, this can create a dynamic and eclectic look. Keep your color palette to 2-3 colors to ensure a sense of cohesion and harmony.’

Molly Mahon’s confidence in design secrets, Molly Mahon in her pattern studio
Molly Mahon

Molly Mahon is a British block printer and textile designer who marries the traditional craft of Indian block printing with a modern English aesthetic. The Molly Mahon Studio began in 2012 as a passion project, and today is a global lifestyle brand whose mission is to keep the art of block printing alive.

6. Blush pink

what color drapes/curtains are best for summer, farmhouse style bedroom with floral wallpaper, beams, painted floorboards, blush bedding and drapes

(Image credit: Divine Savages / Always Sunday Bolthole)

Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages loves blush pink curtains for the summer months. 

'You can’t go wrong with a pale pink for a calm and cooling atmosphere. These soft, delicate pastels reflect the most light and heat, helping to keep the room cooler.'

He also suggests matching your drapes to your bedding for your bedroom curtain ideas, it will create a light and airy feel and cohesion. 'This bedroom features sheer barely-blush curtains which complement the dusky rose silk bedding and the ‘duchess pink’ shade that we named our Bloomin’ Marvellous wallpaper. The height of this room, with its original oak beams exposed by opening up the ceiling, together with the lightest touch, palest pink voile curtains, maximizes the light reflection inside making for a summery space that feels airy and bright,' Jamie adds. 

Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy
Jamie Watkins

Divine Savages specialises in creating exquisitely crafted wallpapers, fabrics, accessories and limited edition art prints for the brave and bold.  It was founded by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy in 2017. Taking inspiration from history, culture, fashion and the natural world to create an eclectic mix of influences, Divine Savages has, to date, created myriad designs whose personalities come across just as much in their names as they do visually. They are proud to create British-made wallpapers, fabrics and home accessories, to create beautiful pieces with a divine and savage twist.

7. A pretty floral

what color curtains drapes are best for summer, white modern living room with pretty floral drapes, white chaise longue, green modern chair, marble side table, bright floral cushions

(Image credit: Designers Guild)

If you really can't decide on what color drapes are best for summer then why not pick a floral design? It makes a scheme easier to pull together and you can mix and match accessories by using the colors in your chosen fabric. 

There's also nothing nicer than seeing pretty floral design on a white background – it's ideal for summer as it's so joyful visually. You could match your couch pillows to the print too and combine them with some textured plains, perfect for summer living room ideas.

Choosing the right curtain color will depend on your existing scheme, but if you like to keep things simple, then choose a white or neutral shade that will elegantly blend in. However, if you want to refresh your space for the summer and add impact, then a brighter color will lift the scheme for those cheery few months. 

When planning what color curtains are best for summer, always be sure to avoid these common curtain mistakes.

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.