Curtains for Tall Windows: Ideas + Alternative Window Treatment Suggestions

You can’t help but marvel at the window wall in your new living room. Tall windows add drama to your space and make a statement that can’t be ignored. But think about the ways to dress them, and you might feel that excitement frizzling into despair.

Tall windows need special dressing care. They are the natural focal point of your room and draw eyes to themselves no matter how you adorn them. Do it right, and they’ll make you look like a decor diva, but do it wrong, and it can ruin your entire room’s look. 

In our experience, curtains for tall windows can be used for all types of decor,  whether you’re after a retro, classic look, or hip and trendy. Curtains aren’t just versatile in their look but also cover a range of functions such as light control, privacy, and thermal conservation.   

Here are some exciting ideas to dress your higher-than-average windows for both aesthetics and functionality. 

6 Functional Ideas To Dress Tall Windows With Curtains

When you’re dressing up tall windows, you need to keep both the beauty and the function at the forefront of your efforts. The way you hang the curtains depends on the windows’ height, shape, distance from the ceiling, and the look you wish to create.

1. Full Coverage

Full-length curtains play upon the drama of tall windows. They can make them look regal or minimal depending upon your fabric and design choice. However, keep in mind that long panels accentuate the height of your windows. If your room is small, tall curtains can give the illusion of a bigger space. 

curtains for tall windows in nyc

Full coverage can make a big room look apathetic or cold. Try pairing heavy fabric with sheers to give your room some warmth. Sheers also filter sunlight in the morning and offer privacy without blocking the view. Full coverage is essential if you have tall buildings nearby or live in a lower apartment. 

2. Partial Coverage

If you don’t require a complete blackout, consider covering only a part of your tall windows. If you live in an upper-story apartment, you can preserve your view without compromising your privacy by installing window treatments only on the lower half of the window.

curtains for tall windows of living room

Partial coverage is suitable only if privacy from the upper half of the windows is not a concern. Similarly, you cannot use partial coverage if the sun glares through the upper part of the windows. If privacy isn’t an issue, you can choose to add window treatments on the top half only, to block the sun without sacrificing the view and the light coming in from the lower level.

3. Multilevel Solution

Having separate curtains for the upper and lower part of tall windows offer maximum light and privacy control. Whether you want to flood your room with light or get a complete blackout, the choice is yours. Multilevel window treatments also break continuity and make your windows look less tall. 

Draperies and curtains for tall window doors

They pull the focus off the height of the windows and make your room look snug and cozy. For a chic, minimalist twist, you can use scarf curtains on the higher windows and use curtains or shades for the lower windows for light control and privacy.

4. Add Valances or Cornices

Valencies and cornices make the curtains on tall windows look grand and classic. Loosely hanging valances give off a traditional vibe. Longer valances that race downward look regal and draw the eyes down with them. Since cornices are stiff, they can make your tall windows look stunted. So they might be more suitable for tall windows in large rooms. 

fancy curtains for tall windows

Valances and cornices may look overbusy in a smaller room and make the space feel congested. On the upside, they hide the header pleats, tracks, and rods to give the curtains a uniform appearance. You can use valances or cornices with bare windows and install solar or cellular shades for light and privacy for a trendy twist. 

5. Diminish the Window Height

If you wish to play down the height of your windows, make the lower parts of the curtains busy. You can use two-tone curtains with bolder colors or patterns on the lower part to give the illusion of shorter windows. The darker shades draw the eyes down and take the focus off the window height. 

patio curtains for tall windows

You can also pair solid-colored fabrics with bolder patterns towards the end of the curtains. Avoid bold, in-your-face patterns through the entire length of the drapes because they’ll draw eyes to them and bring windows in focus. Stripes are a big no because they can make your windows look even bigger. 

6. Accentuate Window Height

Use two-tone curtains with bolder colors or patterns on the upper part of the curtain to draw the eyes up. The darker tones further up bring attention to the window height and make your window look even taller. Vertical stripes are quite famous for giving the illusion of height. 

two tone curtains for tall windows

You can also hang floor-length curtains a few inches above the window head or on the ceiling to accentuate height. Valances and Cornices bring windows in focus and draw eyes up. 

How High Should You Hang Your Curtains?

How high you hang your curtains isn’t random. The rod placement can have a significant aesthetic effect on your window and room. Let’s discuss how high you should install your curtain hardware in a few common situations. 

  • Taller windows usually have very little space between the ceiling and the window frame. So it’s better to hang curtains as high to the ceiling as possible. 
  • If there’s no room at all between the window and ceiling, a common sight in modern houses, you can hang windows directly from the ceiling. 
  • The best practice is to hang your curtains midway between the window and the ceiling if you have more space at your disposal. 
monotone curtains for tall windows

According to designers, raising the rod more than 8 inches above the window frame in a room 10 feet or higher can look awkward. Similarly, if the room is of average height, i.e., around 8 feet, hang curtains no less than 4 to 6 inches above the window to make the room look taller. 

Tall Windows With Arches and Transoms

Arches and transoms look cool, no doubt, but they are also the most difficult to dress. 

  • It’s best to think of a tall window with a big arch as a single unit and hang the curtain above the arch. 
  • If the arch is a transom, it’s best to keep it bare and hang the curtains just below it, i.e., between the window and the transom.
  • If your window has two rows of transoms, hang the curtains above the second transom and keep the top one bare for the best aesthetics. Hanging curtains any lower can make your windows look stunted and awkward.
solid curtains for tall windows

Multiple windows peeping from sheers look odd. Heavier fabrics work best because they present a solid, continuous look when the curtain is closed. Sheers and light colors are best for tall and thin windows and French doors because they don’t steal attention from the beautifully designed windows.

Alternative Window Treatments for Tall Windows

If long, flowing drapes aren’t your thing, you can treat your windows with a range of other trendy and traditional window coverings. Let’s discuss a few low-maintenance window treatments that offer you light and privacy control, just like the curtains.

Cellular Shades

Cellular shades are a stylish way to decorate your windows while saving dollars on your energy bills. Their honeycomb structure protects you from the midday heat and keeps interiors cool. Choose single, double, or triple honeycomb layers to get the required amount of insulation. You can also control the light entering your room by carefully selecting the light or dark hues. 

alternative to curtains for tall windows

Roman Shades

If you prefer fabric window treatments with a neat, tailored look, consider Roman shades. From sleek and trendy to soft and traditional, you can achieve the exact look you want for your tall windows through Roman shades. They have a timeless appeal and can make your windows look tall or stunted, depending on the colors and patterns you choose. Besides, they are easy to maintain and save you from sunlight and peery neighbors.

Roman Shades for tall windows

Top Up/Bottom Down Shades

You can get a top-up/bottom-down mechanism in almost all types of shades and blinds. Top up/bottom-down system allows you to position your shades for exact light and privacy control. You can roll the shades up or down or keep them in the middle to block direct sunlight. Sun’s glare is particularly troublesome for older adults or those working with screens such as a laptop or television.  

top to down shades for tall windows

Bare Windows

If light and privacy aren’t a concern, why not leave your tall windows bare? Bare windows look clean, modern, and minimalist. But if they feel stark and cold to you, you can add a bit of softness and warmth with decorative scarf curtains. 

For a more dramatic and glamorous look, add soft or majestic valances without pairing them with curtains, shades, or blinds. Bare windows look best if you have beautiful scenery outside, and the windows do not get direct sunlight at any time of the day. 

bare window treatments for tall windows

Should You Motorize Curtains for Tall Windows?

Since tall windows are hard to reach and can be challenging to manipulate, getting them motorized makes sense. Mechanized window treatments can also be automated and used with presets through a smart home hub.

Most modern window treatments can be motorized, and curtains are not an exception. Motorization allows you to effortlessly pull curtains, blinds, and shades open or close. With a click of a button, you can control the light, privacy, and feel of your room. 

However, if you select curtains for tall windows, you will need to hang them through track rods if you wish to motorize them. Curtains tracks also hide behind the curtains and don’t snatch the focus off of your big windows and yards of curtain cloth.

motorized curtains for tall windows

Benefits of Using Curtains for Tall Windows

Curtains elevate the look of your room and add a touch of class and finesse to your tall windows. Although modern high-ceiling window treatments are in vogue, curtains offer many benefits that blinds and shades cannot. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should consider curtains for tall windows. 

1. Room Looks Bigger

Yards and yards of fabric draped in front of windows from top to bottom make your room look bigger. Tall windows wash your room with sunlight in the morning. Bright daylight fills your space to make it look open and vast. And when you pull the curtains close, the sheer size of the fabric gives an illusion of grandeur and enormity. 

2. Extremely Functional

Curtains allow precise control of light and privacy. You have a lot of variety from heavy fabrics to sheers, and dark tones to light, depending upon the amount of light you want in the room when curtains are drawn. You can even pair dark and light shades in heavy and sheer fabrics to ensure day and night privacy, light control, and room darkening. 

functional curtains for tall windows

3. Add Elegance and Warmth

Being one of the classic window treatments, curtains are an elegant addition to any room. Smooth drapes and curves add a softness and warmth to your space, making it feel like home. You can choose bold patterns with vibrant colors or soft and earthy tones to reflect your personality and personalize your space.

4. Soften Other Window Treatments

Modern window treatments such as shades and blinds make your room hip and trendy. But at the same time, they can also feel too crisp and cold. Due to this reason, many people pair curtains and drapes with shades and blinds to soften their look and make their room comfy and relaxing.

Using custom curtains for tall windows adds an unmatched style and sophistication to your home decor. The sheer variety of fabrics, materials, colors, and patterns allows ample room for experimentation and innovation. You can turn your vision into reality by seamlessly pairing curtains with modern window treatments and astounding everyone who steps into your room.  

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