I’m subscribed to r/InteriorDesign on Reddit, which is less about interior design and more just a bunch of people who have recently moved into their first studio apartments asking advice on furniture placement. I mostly hang out there because I’m a creep and like to see the inside of other people’s apartments, but occasionally there are posts there that make me want to give up hope for America’s youth and just shut off my internet connection forever. The questions all start so innocently: “Is this sofa too big for the space? Is there a better place I could put it?” or “I own all black furniture and a black rug and a red comforter, what shade of institutional gray should I paint the walls?” and you mostly get the sense that these are reasonable people who are looking for some friendly advice.
But then you scroll down to their pictures and your eyes are assaulted by something like this:
Curtains are not a sweatshirt for your window. In my opinion, curtains are like 80% there to look nice and 20% there to block light, with that proportion reversed for blinds or shades. If you cover functional blinds with ugly curtains, you are basically actively harming your home and your emotional wellbeing.
The purpose of curtains is not to disguise the fact that there’s a window in the wall, but to enhance the window and make it look fancy. If you have a tiny crappy window, tiny crappy curtains are NOT the answer. Basically you want your curtains to be so fabulous that everybody forgets to notice the sad prison window behind them. This optical illusion illustrates what short curtains do to short windows.
Not that I really blame anyone for buying short, sad curtains–despite the fact that they’re almost never appropriate, stores stock tons of them!
West Elm: trying to compensate for absurd length by hanging the rod uncomfortably low
Urban Outfitters: the company that convinced an entire generation of girls that you only need one panel per window, because there’s no way your mom was going to buy you TWO shitty gauze panels at $80 each. And again, compensating by hanging the rod IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING WINDOW. Unless your charming Parisian pied-a-terre has adorable arched window frames, do not ever do this.
OH MY GOD WAYFAIR, GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE WITH THIS. I can only imagine that the stylist who put this together immediately went home and committed suicide.
So maybe you’re looking at this one and thinking “well obviously the curtains are short because of the baseboard heaters, what else can you do?” My answer would be “what in the world kind of baseboard heaters do you have that get so hot they will ignite cotton?” Cotton is the highest setting on your iron! Seriously, if your baseboards get that hot you have a lot more pressing problems and you should stop reading this post and immediately get on the phone with somebody who sells renter’s insurance.
It seems like 80″ is the default length for curtains, but even that tends to be too short, especially if you’re not squishing your curtain rod right on top of your window like in the West Elm picture. It’s like all stores entered some agreement that everyone should have goofy looking windows or something.
Well, all stores EXCEPT IKEA. THANK GOD FOR IKEA. All Ikea curtains start at 98″ and are all SOLD IN PAIRS. Don’t even get me started on individually-packaged curtain panels. They are called curtainS for a reason, West Elm. Ikea’s Merete curtains give me hope for the future-they’re long, they drape nicely, they go with everything, and they’re only $30. If you don’t have strong opinions on curtains and want something easy and neutral, you literally cannot do better than some Meretes. They even come with iron-on hem tape so you can make them the exact perfect length for your windows/ceiling.
Believe it or not, this post was going to be much longer, but I just spent two hours trying to talk my stepmom though downloading an iPhone app and now I have to run to a doctor’s appointment to see if anything can be done about my constant night sneezing. If you happen to own some too-short curtains that you love regardless, I’ll be back Thursday to show you how to lengthen them!