Should Curtains Be Lighter Or Darker Than Walls?

Light green pattern curtains in living room

Homeowners are becoming increasingly concerned about how the design elements in their rooms should all come together. This is one of the reasons why in this article, we will discuss whether curtains should be lighter or darker than the walls of any room.

Design-wise, in one instance, the curtains should be either a lighter or darker shade of the color of the walls. Alternatively, the curtains and walls can have complementary colors to each other. However, ultimately, your curtains can be any color you want them to be, whether they match with or contrast the walls or not.

When it comes to choosing colors for interior décor, it can be a little tricky because what may seem like a tiny error may throw the entire look and concept off. A general and helpful rule of thumb is to complement or contrast the colors chosen.

So, different shades of the same color can elevate the look of your space by providing a cohesive look. On the other hand, choosing colors that are in contrast to each other can also do the trick. This does not mean two color combinations will work out, but an expert can help you decide.

Advantages Of Using Lighter-Colored Curtains Compared To The Wall Color

There are several benefits derived from using lighter-colored curtains compared to the color of the wall.

1. Psychological Impact

Lighter-colored curtains can surprisingly help work on your mind. If the color of your curtains is lighter than your walls, it can create an airy and spacious feel. This is notably even more beneficial to comparatively small rooms. Aside from that, lighter-colored curtains tend to enhance the mood of the space by making it more relaxing.

2. Effects On Natural Light

If the room being decorated has comparatively small-sized and fewer windows, it is most likely that the amount of natural light entering the space will not be as much. In this scenario, having lighter-colored curtains compared to the color of the wall can maximize the little light entering from outside and make the room appear brighter.

3. Room Size Considerations

Stemming from the fact that lighter-colored curtains invite more natural light into a room, they can also make a room bigger than it is. Smaller rooms can therefore benefit from lighter-colored curtains compared to the wall color.

4. Ability To Blend Easily

Having curtains that are a lighter color than your walls makes it easier to pick out and blend in the other elements in the space. Lighter-colored tends to be more versatile as it is easier to decide on other colors of items in the room to bring out the theme.   

Advantages Of Choosing Darker-Colored Curtains In Relation To The Wall Color.

1. Cozy And Intimate Atmosphere

For a warm, intimate feel in a space, the way to go is darker-colored curtains in contrast to a lighter-colored wall. This ambiance primarily works for living rooms and bedrooms, as most people crave such warmth in those spaces.

Unless you want to choose the feeling of intimacy over visual illusion, do not go for darker-colored curtains if the room is comparatively small, as that will make it appear even smaller.

2. Enhanced Privacy

Curtains, in general, increase the level of privacy in a space. Therefore, the darker the curtains, the more privacy your room gets. Depending on how much natural light enters your space, darker-colored curtains can also give you better control of the light.

Unlike lighter-colored curtains, which make it easier for light to filter into the room, darker-colored curtains block as much light as desired.

3. Contrasting Focal Point

Darker-colored curtains can serve as the inspiration around which all other room design elements revolve. Using darker-colored curtains as your focal point, you can have more subtle-colored pieces and a handful of bolder-colored elements to create an elegant, sophisticated look in the room being decorated. Darker-colored curtains thus create a contrasting focal point for the entire room.

Other Factors Influencing The Decision For Lighter Or Darker Curtains

Regardless of the advantages of lighter-colored and darker-colored curtains against contrasting wall colors, it is not cut in stone that you must adhere to these rules of interior décor. Some other factors can also influence one’s decision to use lighter or darker-colored curtains against the wall colors.  

1. Wall Color and Tone

Ideally, most people would have initially painted their walls before choosing and installing their curtains. Thus, the existing wall color and shade can influence your choice of a curtain color, either light or dark colored.

In all, the existing color scheme with regard to other design elements in the room can aid in choosing a curtain color that will tie in well with the entire look. You must, however, decide whether you want to select different shades of the same color or stick to contrasting colors.  

2. Room Purpose And Mood

The ambiance you desire to create in a particular room can influence your choice of curtain color against the wall color. Darker-colored curtains will work best against lighter-colored walls for intimate moods in spaces.

For an airy, more relaxed room, you can go for lighter-colored curtains compared to darker-colored walls. Thus, depending on the mood you want to create and what the room will be used for, it can make picking the color of your curtains easier.

3. Personal Preferences

As much as all these bits of design advice are being thrown about, the ultimate decision lies on you. Your taste and style will largely influence your curtain colors. You may prefer your curtains to match your wall color or floor. You may also prefer either darker or lighter-colored curtains, independent of whatever design rules are available. It is your space, and you can do as you please.

Achieving Balance and Harmony With Curtains

Whatever influences your curtain-wall color decision, creating a functional, cohesive space is the goal. Thus, it is essential that choosing curtain and wall colors does not leave your room looking tacky.

1. Coordination With Other Elements

Apart from paying attention to the wall color when choosing a curtain color, other elements in the room cannot be ignored. Coordinating the curtain color with all the other details in the room is necessary as this creates balance and harmonious space.

Some elements that need to be looked at are furniture, ornaments, wall hangings, and room rugs. These individual elements’ colors must also complement or contrast one another to achieve that balance.

2. Layering And Texture

In achieving balance and harmony, you must also ensure varied textures of elements in the room.

So, for instance, if you are bent on using a particularly thick and patterned room rug based on sentimental reasons, you may want to consider installing light-textured or plain curtains to balance out the look in the space.

Doing this makes it easy on the eye when anyone enters the room, adding depth and creating visual interest.

 3. Consider Proportions

Because room sizes vary, it is essential to consider yours before choosing any design elements, including drapery, hangings, rugs, and ornaments. If your room is small, make sure not to use bulky pieces that will overwhelm the space.


Though curtains, in general, offer similar benefits, some of these advantages are highlighted depending on whether they are lighter or darker colored. As such, depending on what benefits are rated higher than others, preferences will differ from person to person.

Also, when it comes to picking curtain color against your wall color, it is imperative to consider the room being decorated, the mood you desire to achieve, and the shade of the walls. But above all, your personal preference also plays a huge role.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a cohesive look in the room by considering the other design elements, their various textures, and how the sizes of these elements all tie in with the theme of the room.

David A. Morris

Home On Point is owned by David Morris. I am a real estate professional and a huge fan of beautiful homes. I like researching ways to keep homes shining at all times and I am excited to share them as I learn along.

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