How Your Curtains Impact Your Mental Health

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Design Tips & Trends

Hey there, I'm Michelle!

And if you're looking to hone in on your design style more, I've got just the thing for you! My free interior design style guide is here to help you find your signature style, even if you don't have an eye for design.

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Here at Cultivate Your Space we believe that our physical spaces impact our wellbeing. From paint choices, to furniture layout, our homes have the power to give us exactly what we need, or don’t.

When it comes to curtain choices, how does this impact your mental health? Well, think about lighting. Lighting has a large impact on our mood. The example I like to give is a yoga studio versus Wal-Mart. lighting is everything when it comes to setting a mood or a feeling in a space. Yoga Studio- low lighting. Wal-Mart- flickering florescence and I can feel my blood pressure rising! Really all 5 of your senses are impacted when it comes to your space, but that’s a whole other blog post.

The way your curtains play into this is how much natural light you’re allowing into your space.

I’ve met with clients who say “the space just feels dark, drab, and depressing.” I look around to see every window shade drawn with additional blackout curtains. Well, yes, zero natural light in a space will contribute to a feeling of darkness.

My morning routine begins with starting the boiling water for my french press coffee and opening every curtain and shade in my home- letting in the light first thing in the morning.

Another part of how window coverings could be impacting the amount of natural light in a space and therefore impacting your mood, is how you hang your curtains. Your curtains should act as a picture frame to a photo, perfectly framing the outdoor view, not obstructing it. This is why I recommend hanging curtains above and outside the window instead of at the window height and width. more on this later.

When done well, curtains can be the icing on the cake of a well designed room. They can add comfort, texture, and warmth, all feelings we desire at home.

Curtains frame a window, make it look larger, draw your eye OUT, and make your ceilings look taller (when done right). The idea is to make the window appear larger than it is, and well chosen and positioned curtains draw your eyes outside of the window.

This week I’m sharing tips on how to frame a window really well. It doesn’t need to cost a lot either, so make sure you read to the end as I’m sharing my favorite curtain bargains too.

How to choose the right curtains

Just as I say with rugs, I like to choose ONE big statement in the room. So if you have a busy, statement rug, go with understated curtains. If you have solid, one color bedding, try something funky with the curtains. As always, start with your intention for your space, how you want the space to feel and be sure the curtains contribute to that intended feeling. Not sure how you want the space to feel? Download my free resource here to help you set an intention for your space.

Make sure you pick curtains that are longer than the window. Curtains that stop just below the window do not add the luxurious framing effect we’re going for. You want the curtains to *kiss* the floor, no high-waters here! See this image below regarding how to hang curtains at the right length. I always find visuals incredibly helpful!

How to hang curtains well

Position your curtain rod halfway between the window and the ceiling. You can go higher than halfway between the window trim and ceiling trim (I often do) but definitely not lower. Choose a rod that is wider than your window too. Not excessively, but enough to add extra length to your window and prevent covering as much of the natural light as possible. I typically hang the wrong 8-12″ outside of the side window trim. This will depend on how large your wall space is on either side of the window as well.

When do you not need curtains?

As much as I love a good curtain situation, they’re not right for every window. If you live in a home where you have lots of natural privacy (think wooded areas with tree coverage) you don’t need to worry about having the extra layer of privacy curtains provide, however you might want them for added texture and warmth to a space.

What the inside of your home looks like matters too. If the rest of your room is minimalist in style then curtains might not suit that aesthetic. The same is true if you have more intricate style windows. Curtains will hide those beautiful features and have the potential to make the window look overly fussy.

My go-to curtain suggestions

You know I love me a good basic Ikea curtain ($20 pair, yes please). Ikea has great long length curtains in store. Most in-store options are a measly 84″, which is rarely long enough to achieve the looks discussed here. Places like Target are beginning to carry longer lengths in store, praise be!

Another current go-to is the “Aruba Blackout Curtain” from Target. About $30/ panel, but heavy and thick linen look and absolutely lovely. The blackout curtain can be used in areas you don’t even need total darkness, just the added layers of fabric make them look much more lux! These Aruba curtains also come in many colors.

Looking to make a bigger statement? Check Anthropologie for some super fun patterns, just be prepared to spend a buck (or 100). I will often wait until a sale on sale to purchase Anthropologie curtains, but I do confess I have never regretted a splurge Anthropologie curtain purchase.

For a low cost long curtain rod, the Ikea Hugad is a must. You can fit multiple Hugads together for larger windows (my personal best was 15 feet for under $20!)

Hey there, I'm Michelle!

Interior Decorator in Austin, TEXAS

As the founder and lead interior decorator here at Cultivate Your Space, I'm here to bring you the vision your space—from the baseboards to the ceilings—even if you have no idea at all what your decorating style is.

My job isn't just to design a space you love. I want your living space to be a source of peace, comfort, security, and joy...not just somewhere you lay your head each night.

Most Austin interior decorators only focus on how your space looks—but not me. I care about both how your space functions AND how it makes you feel.

Curating with intention

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