How to complete a room with sheer curtains

Window dressings, in addition to looking great and finishing a room, are also extremely practical.  One of my favourite choices to dress a window are sheer curtains – curtains that are simple and unlined that you can just see through when the light shines on them.  Sheers can look contemporary or more classic depending on the fabric and heading that you select.  I have lots of ideas and advice to give you here.

How to finish a room with sheer curtains
Ringo collection from Zepel Fabrics

The amount of natural daylight that a space receives has a huge impact on an interior decorating scheme.  Real estate agents will impress upon buyers the appeal of expansive bi-fold doors to the outside or the beauty of rooms with a dual aspect.  Windows and doors are of course absolutely integral to the look and function of a room both from the outside and inside, but of course you have all these fabulous windows and doors but what to do with them?  This is a question I am so often asked.

Daylight is wonderful but regulating the temperature and controlling damaging UV light can present a problem and one of the smartest solutions are the use of sheers.

How to use sheer curtains to complete a room
Jatani Collection from Warwick Fabrics

The finishing touch – why is it so important?

Finishing touches can make or break a decorating scheme and I find that it is often not until you add them to a space that you realise this.  What is a good room can become a great room that you love to spend time in, just by paying attention to how to finish a space.  So before jumping onto the next interior project, assess a room you have decorated to see what may be lacking.

How to finish a room with elegant sheers

A recent project that I worked on had the most magnificent arched feature window but the heat and light at certain times of the day were fierce.  By using these elegant 100% natural linen sheers, we were able to block out the heat without compromising on the light.  The sheers can then be drawn back on a gloomy day or when the sun changes position, giving the client the best of both options.

Aren’t sheer curtains dated?

Absolutely not!!  Curtains now come in many guises and are equally at home in an elegant country style house or an ultra-contemporary loft conversion.

You just need to select the right style, heading and fabric to achieve a myriad of looks that will complete the look of the room, frame your windows and doors and provide you with heat and cold protection. 

This is where sheer curtains come into their own.

How to finish a room with sheer curtains
Salinas from Warwick Fabrics

The contemporary take on sheer curtains

Sheer curtains are simple, chic and very adaptable.  They are no longer the white net curtains that twitched throughout suburbia.  Sheers today can be the ultimate finishing touch for a room:

  • They can come in a soft, lightweight linen, polyester or a mix of the two for a more contemporary style.
  • Sheers are transparent, some more so than others, diaphanous and flowing.
  • They can be draped along the floor for a billowing, overstated effect or simply skimming the surface for a more tailored approach.
  • Sheers are so adaptable and can be used by themselves to simply frame a window and add that all important finishing touch, softly diffusing the daylight to bring some comfort to a room when drawn.
  • If you require more privacy then you can add layers either with a blockout fabric on a dual heading that can be drawn separately or you can install simple blockout blinds into the reveal.

Related: Roman Blinds – My top 10 favourites

How to finish a room with sheer curtains
Zepel Fabrics

A more classic approach to sheers?

So you love sheers but want a more classic feel – then you should opt for a simple lightweight unlined linen that will be transparent but slightly more formal than straight synthetic and consider partnering them with bamboo blinds or a patterned fabric blind to soften the look.

How to finish a room with sheer curtains
Warwick Fabrics

Top tips for headings for sheer curtains

  • To successfully pull this off, sheer curtains need to be very generous or the look can be mean.
  • The whole point is for them to be flowing and you will therefore need at least double the width, if not two point five times to achieve a look that is fluid.
  • The wave track or S track creates a smooth contemporary finish and the curtains will stack back neatly without any obvious heading.
  • An inverted pleat or box heading also works well but is a touch more formal, however the curtains can be pushed back even further with this type of heading which is useful to remember if you don’t have a lot of wall space to the side of your window or door.
  • Sheer curtains can be made to look prettier with a more traditional heading, for example a double pinch pleat from a simple metal rod or even a subtle eyelet solution.


How to finish a room with sheer curtains
Inverted pleat (box) heading from Pret A Vivre


How to finish a room with sheer curtains
Eyelet heading from Pret A Vivre
Sheer Curtains
Sisalla Interior Design, Melbourne

The S Wave heading shown above is perfect for a contemporary style look for sheers.  This heading system can be placed above the window or on the ceiling.

Final word – The main six points to remember about sheers

  1. Keep it simple – no tiebacks or frilly edges, simply let them fall gracefully to the floor
  2. The track and heading you choose is important – consider how the curtains will fall and the look you want to create. Do you want to make a feature of the track, for example a black iron rod or do you want a wave track, cleverly hidden behind a built in bulk head?
  3. Don’t skimp on fabric – the look should be fluid and full
  4. Consider how much direct sunlight the room receives – fabrics are expensive and often delicate so you may also need to have sunscreen blinds to protect them at certain times of the day/year
  5. Consider the colour – naturals work well for sheers but you can add a touch of understated colour.  Remember to view the fabric sample against a wall to see the colour it will be at night time and in the sunlight to ensure you like both effects.
  6. Any type of curtain looks best with a long drop so if the top of your window is not particularly high, consider fixing the rod or track 15-20cm above the window to give you that extra length.  There is no rule that says that curtains tracks should be fitted at window height.

2 thoughts on “How to complete a room with sheer curtains

  1. Avatar
    Judith Bizzaca says:

    Do you think antique linen velvet also lined would work with this rod system. Or have double rods one for velvet the other for lining.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Judith You really need to consider the weight and bulk of the curtains and whether you would use the lining separately as a sheer at any time. If you would only ever have the whole thing drawn at one time then I would keep the lining with the main curtain and ensure that the rod is fixed correctly to take the weight. I do like the double track system so that you can either have sheers or the two together but it depends how you use the space and whether this would ever be used. I hope this makes sense Samantha

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