Reader Q: Window Treatments for a Large Window in a Living Room

I recently sent a note to my email list looking for reader design questions. I often get notes from readers asking about paint colors or rug size, but I thought it would be fun to share some of those questions, and my answers, here.

The first on came from Kelly from Iowa. Kelly had recently moved into a new home, and was looking for window treatment ideas for a large window in her main living area. Here’s her note:

Hi Kaitlin!

My family (myself, husband and 3 young boys) just moved to a 70s ranch and are slowly making cosmetic updates.I would describe my style as transitional. I attached a photo of our bare-bones living room, which features a large 5 pane window that is causing a major design dilemma. We took down the old curtain track that had super heavy, gross curtains and added these temporary curtains to give us a sense of privacy until we figure things out. They are just curtains from our old bedroom and were *not* purchased specifically for this room.

I would really love some help with placement of drapes and guidance on blinds. I’d also love your input on making the entryway more inviting and functional (note: we have a mudroom off the garage that we use for daily use – this is just a separate entry).

Here are my questions:

  • Should we do 5 small blinds in a window like this? Should we move the curtain rod up to the ceiling and widen it? 
  • I’d love to add some dimension to the room with textured, colorful or patterned drapes but am afraid to commit. Our house is pretty neutral with whites, beiges and lots of wood, but we also have pops of black, gold, light green

(Kelly also had a question about her entryway, but I will share that one in another post!)

Here’s my initial response to Kelly, which I will follow by explaining the window treatment concepts in more detail, along with some mockups.

Hi Kelly! 

Thanks for sharing this with me! I have a few thoughts right away.

I would absolutely get curtains and hang them high and wide. I’d say about 4″ under your crown molding, and then extend them about 6-10″ past the edge of each window. These will mostly be for decorative purposes, so if you are looking for privacy, I’d also do shades over blinds. They look a bit more polished.

Because each window pane is fairly narrow, I would do one large shade instead of 5 small ones. Alternately, you could do one large shade that covers the three middle windows, and then one smaller shade on each of the outside windows, if you want more flexibility in terms of light filtering.

I love a natural-fiber woven shade paired with a neutral window treatment, since it adds some interest to the area, but is still timeless. See below!

windoe treatment ideas for large window -1.webp
Design by Kevin Dumais, Photo by Eric Piasecki, via The New York Times

For window treatment, I like Half Price Drapes, since you can get pretty custom with the measurements and they don’t cost a fortune. However, if you’re on a budget, IKEA honestly has great curtains! I like the Ritva curtains, and you can pair them with drapery hooks for a higher-end look (I’ve used these:

Let me know if you have any follow up Qs!


A solution for a large window that offer style, texture, and privacy. Image generated by me via Midjourney.

Here’s a look at product moodboard I sent Kelly for her window treatments:

I chose these products because:

  • A woven shade solves Kelly’s wish for texture and interest, but still feels timeless and will evolve with her home. Unless you have a massive budget for window treatments and can update them whenever your redecorate, I always suggest going simple and classic with window treatments, especially shades, because they are expensive. Buy something nice and classic the first time. Woven shades fit the bill.
  • IKEA Ritva curtains are awesome, and affordable, and look more high end than they are, which is nice if she’s spending a bunch of money on shades.
  • Curtain rings helps to elevate the look of any drapery, and are an inexpensive Amazon upgrade. They have them in a number of finishes, including black, bronze, nickel, etc, so Kelly can choose the finish that works best with the rest of her space.

What do you think of this solution? Have your own decorating question? Email me at [email protected]

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for your help, Kaitlin! You have such a great design eye and I love that you kept your recommendations budget-friendly, too. Appreciate your time and talents with this response!

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