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The best white curtains (hint: they are long and inexpensive!)

    White curtains soften windows, give a touch of privacy and bring warmth to a space without feeling heavy.

    (image source)

    In a bedroom, a family room, office or dining room, they are always a good idea.

    (image source)

    Our new house hasn’t cried out for curtains on every window the way our previous one did. It’s a bit darker here – and much more private – so I haven’t been anxious to cover up any of the natural light.

    I was, however, anxious to hide the orange wood trim in the family room.

    One afternoon, I found a curtain rod leftover from our old house, pulled three white curtain panels from my stack (see below), threw on some clips and hung them up.

    We have yet to touch the shell of this room (I’m itching to tear out that carpet, paint those walls, update the trim and build an awesome built-in … the time will come … ) but adding the curtains really helped to soften the space and hide some of the trim. The best part was that I had everything on hand and it only took a few minutes.

    I’ve been using the same white curtains again and again and can’t recommend them enough.

    See that stack of white fabric in our linen closet?

    Those are all curtain panels. Why, oh, why do we have so many white curtain panels?! This isn’t even including the three hanging in the family room and a stack of four more waiting to be hung in the living room. So. Many. Curtains.

    Well, here’s one reason:

    In pretty much every room in the old house, there were the same long, white curtains.

    Sometimes I hemmed them, most often I didn’t; sometimes they hung from rings, sometimes straight on the rod; sometimes I even doubled them up (like in the old dining room, for example) to give more volume.

    P.S. It’s fun to see pictures of the old house. It was pretty there.

    You can find white curtains many places, in all different fabrics, weights, lengths, hanging options (tap, rod pocket, pleat, etc), and price points.

    I have found that for a casual, non-tailored look, these curtain panels from IKEA are the absolute best.

    One of the best features is that they come long (up to 118″). Most big box store curtains are 84″ long, which is rarely long enough to brush the floor when hung from a curtain rod slightly higher than the window. They do shrink when washed, so keep that in mind when hanging/hemming.

    Another great thing: they are $24.99 for a set of 2.

    Also, the fabric has a slightly woven/linen-y texture that feels and looks nice.

    See? I’m a fan. On your next outing to Ikea, grab a pair. Or just swing by my house and take a set of mine. Clearly I have enough to go around :)

    60 thoughts on “The best white curtains (hint: they are long and inexpensive!)”

    1. Your room’s wallpaper is beautiful, and the way you hang your curtains is looking great. I was looking for blackout curtains for my master bedroom. My room’s wall color is beige, and the furniture mostly in gray shade. What do you think about the best suitable color I should go with. I found 99Blinds on the internet and suggested gray shade.

    2. I’m thinking of ordering the curtain panels from Ikea for a guest bedroom but wondering if they are too sheer? I love the price and look but worried about the sheerness.

    3. Totally bought them and I am in LOVE! Thank you for posting this. I have been looking for drapes for my office and these are just so perfect. Love blog and love that I can now shop…ordered my Mother’s Day gifts from you. Can’t wait to get them.

    4. My absolute fave as well. I have even added trim to them for a high end look. They never fail and I never tire of them. I recommend them to clients all the time. The best part???? CRAZY AFFORDABLE!!!!

    5. Love them! Are these a cream white, or a bright white?

      Also, I have never had white curtains before, how often do they need washing?

    6. Do you have a favorite source for the curtain rods that you could share? We have a house full of kids, looking for something that can withstand an occasional game of hide and seek?

      1. Curtain rods can be so expensive! I have typically purchased them from Target. Just recently I spent a bit more and bought fancier ones for our new living room from Crate + Barrel. Two things to look for:
        1. Thickness of the rod itself. I prefer something a bit more substantial.
        2. installing the brackets into studs.

        Hope this helps!

    7. Yes! I have the black and white, mattress ticking curtains from Ikea. I have used them for 10 years everywhere imaginable in our home. From cordoning off a toy area in the basement to replacing the closet doors in a bedroom (with thick black satin-ribbon tie backs) to just hanging at my daughter’s bedroom window and pooling in an extravagant pile on the floor. They are perfect for toning down her very raspberry walls! Love them!!

    8. Those curtains made a huge difference for the better! Are you able to share your light/lamp source in that room? I’ve been on the hunt for a lamp similar to that style for our living room for quite some time. Looks good in your space and I’m interested in the price/size to see if it would work for us.

    9. Does anyone know if these will work with traditional traverse rods? We have lined linen pinch pleat curtains which are so outdated, but I don’t want to replace the rods because they are expensive.

    10. Thank you for sharing this source. I do have a related question: where to hang the rod. Sometimes if feels like you hang the rod 2-3 inches above window frame, sometimes it looks to be much higher. Can you please offer your readers some way to understand the factors that prompt you to hang the rod where you do?

      I’m enjoying your writing and blog and my fandom is quietly growing!

      1. Thanks for being a fan! And for the great question.

        Every designer seems to have different ‘rules’ for where to hang the rod. I think it’s a bit of a case by case thing. For this room, I wanted the curtains to block as little of the windows as possible, so I hung the rod out as far as I could so the curtain panels on either side mostly cover the wall instead of the window. I also hung almost to the seam in the wall where the ceiling and wall meet. This was just to reduce the visual ‘lines’ you see when looking at this view.

        In most cases, hanging curtains up higher than the top of the window will give your room the appearance of taller ceilings, which is typically a good thing.

    11. We use them too. But when we sell our house, I’m leaving them for the new home owners because most people sell window coverings with the house.

    12. Hi Emily, You are an inspiration to me and its like you know what I’m thinking. :) I noticed you have long rods across all of your windows.

      I was planning to use extra long curtains for the sides of plantation shutters to add layers. I have large windows with white shutters all the way through my home. Would you add the curtains with a long rod across the top, or would you do short rods on the sides of the shutters with these curtains?

      Thank you!

    13. GINA@ginadiamond'sflowerco.

      These are fabulous and the price is dreamy! I am helping a friend with a kitchen re-do and I am going to suggest these! Thanks for the great tip.

    14. I just completed hemming some of these curtains to just skim the floor. Remember to prewash on cod gentle cycle. The texture upscales the linen look and they are perfect for layering. They will not block the sun but adding another layer will do the trick. These are going to be used along with blinds and block out shades. Imported

    15. Hey Emily!
      These look so pretty! Do you remember where you got the black rod and rings you hung them on? I have had trouble finding a rod this long.
      Thank you!

    16. I would have never looked at these online and thought they were pretty in person. IKEA needs to use your pics (with your permission of course!) to sell these curtains. haha I would have completely looked over them just by their stock photo.

    17. I have these same white curtains in our living hung up high! They’re great!
      I’m curious, in the pic from your old house of the front entryway, mind sharing where you bought that cream colored woven/natural looking rug?

      1. I LOVED that rug. I bought it on clearance at Marshalls and was never able to find another online or in stores. I had it professionally cleaned when we moved and it came unraveled. So sad :(

    18. Tina @ buildinghousemakinghome

      Love, Emily! We did the same with our master bedroom–recently moved and used some IKEA curtains we had on hand (still in the package!) to give some light control and privacy. I did have to go out to get the curtain rod, but it was very inexpensive and I have always loved how reasonable and classic the IKEA curtains are. We had them in many rooms in our “old” house. Thanks for sharing progress-not-perfection… always appreciate your candor!

    19. I love my long white IKEA drapes. I was very fortunate to be given white linen lined drapes that just fit my double slider, but I had another pair of windows in the room. The IKEA panels were perfect and I am the only one that does not realize they are not the same. 👍😄👍

    20. Would these block out the sun? I have a set of windows that face West and get a lot of sun in the afternoon. I’m looking for a way to minimize the brightness.

    21. I love your messy bed picture. Feels like we’re friends. And, I have absolutely been looking for basic white panel recommendations! The neighbors can see right in–all the time. Thank you!

    22. I have the Lenda from IKEA in several rooms and I thought they were a good deal, these are even less. Very nice. I will definitely keep them in mind.

    23. Mine shrank sooo much! I have several pairs, so I just washed another pair prior to hemming it and hanging it. Live and learn.

    24. I have these curtains on the 4 large windows in my bedroom. Love them! Only issue I had was the 98″ fit perfect and then I washed them. They are too short now!! Did yours shrunk as well? I think mine shrank 2-3″!

        1. Yes thank you! I washed mine and they had uneven shrinking too and I REALLY did not want to have to iron, but maybe I should…

          1. Try washing them again, stretch them while wet and hang them. Let them dry on the rod. Hopefully this helps!

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