Curtain Buying Guide

Curtains absolutely complete a room. They are essential in my opinion. They draw your eye UP, which makes the ceilings look taller, they bring warmth to a space and add sophistication. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned about buying curtains over the years, and where I recommend getting them from! *These are all curtains from my past and current homes. From top to bottom: my West Village living room, my LA dining room, my LA bedroom, my LA living room (all RH curtains), and our Connecticut home (Amazon curtains.)

Curtain Buying Guide

Custom Curtains

I remember how expensive custom curtains were from my interior design internship days. We are talking about $1500-$2500 per window! Pretty crazy for just curtains, buttttt when you think about how much fabric it takes to make a single panel, the labor, and the cost of something like real Belgian linen, then it makes sense. In the past, I was never willing to invest in custom curtains because I was only renting my homes. But, now that we own our home, I have definitely started to reconsider. I wanted to share an alternative to custom curtains that I’ve used and that has been really beautiful and luxe!

Restoration Hardware Curtains

I’ve been so impressed with Restoration Hardware curtains. They look custom because they’re such incredible quality. The style I have always gotten is called the: Belgian Heavyweight Textured Linen – French Pleat – in shade white. These curtains are lined and very, very thick. The thickness creates a really rich, more formal look, which I love, BUT if you’re going for a more casual/light look I’d recommend the non heavyweight style over the ones I have. The RH shade of white is more of a creamy white, which looks perfect with any decor style. The width of these curtains is 46″ and then they offer 4 different ceiling heights.

For a 46″ x 96″ panel, as an RH member (highly recommend signing up for their membership because you save so much $), you’re looking at $494 per panel, or about $988/window. I 100% feel this is worth it after purchasing and seeing several other curtains from various brands in person. For a super wide window that takes up almost the entire wall, 1 panel on each side would be plenty (as you can see here in old my LA living room.) For a more narrow window, honestly you could probably get away with having a tailor cut just 1 panel in half, and hang a 1/2 panel on each side of the window because they’re so thick! So then you’re looking at $494 + tailoring (which I don’t think would be a whole lot, since it’s just sewing a straight line!) Something to think about…

Amazon Curtain Review

After seeing several photos online of the Amazon “custom” curtains in other people’s homes, I was very intrigued. We have SO many windows in our home (5 in our living room/front entry alone) so I really didn’t want to spend almost $5000 on new curtains just for that part of our home. (Sadly the RH curtains from my past rental places were too short since the ceilings were lower, so I couldn’t reuse them like I had in the past.)

I decided to take a risk, and ordered 10 panels of these curtains. Spending $150/panel vs almost $500/panel was enticing ($1500 total vs $5000 total for all of my windows.) The reason I ordered all 10 panels at once, is because I’d heard from other people who had ordered them, that the colors can vary – even if you’re ordering them in the same color – due to the different batches of fabric they receive at the factory in China.

Color Discrepancies

When I ordered them I opted for the snow white color which appeared to be a true white online, but it happens to be a pretty stark white color in person (it’s so white, that it almost has a tint of blue to it…) To be completely honest, it looks kind of cheap on a gloomy day because the starkness is more apparent (versus on a sunny day), and I find that it clashes with our warm, creamy white walls.

For reference, our walls are Benjamin Moore Simply White in Aura Matte (not a true cream color by any means, but also not super white.) I did notice they had a beige white color option, but it looked too muddy online for my taste (although not sure what it looks like in real life!) If you have a more relaxed, beachy vibe or if a beige curtain would work in your home, then you could absolutely do the beige with no lining for an airy, light, ethereal look.

Customize Option

On the right side of the Amazon page, you’ll see the customize option. I did the pinch pleat with a 46″ width (same as my RH curtains.) The odd thing is that the Amazon 46″ width is a lot more narrow than the RH 46″ curtains, SO if you have a super wide window in your home, you’ll definitely need to at least double this width for each panel (going up to 100″ in width would probably even be better.) I also got my curtains lined with white since I wanted that thicker, slightly more formal look.

Pros

Such a bargain for custom curtains – I mean, you cannot beat this price!

Great option if you’re on a tight budget, in a rental space, or staging a house to sell it and need curtains in the photos. They actually look great in photos after you brighten the exposure, and you can’t really tell they’re a stark white.

If you want a lightweight curtain that’s ethereal and casual (less structured than my RH ones.)

If you have a big piece of furniture going in front of the curtains and just need a curtain peaking out, these are ideal since the tops are really decent.

Cons

The material is a faux linen, which may not bother some, but it does bother me since I have real linen chairs in our room, and the RH curtains to compare to. Up close they look and feel a bit cheap, but it really depends on what you’re used to in terms of materials. They’re not the worst faux linen I’ve ever seen though.

The stark white against the warmer white wall bothers me, but again, this is something that may not bother you! And if your wall is a cooler white, then these would be perfectly fine. On a sunny day, you can’t really tell the harsh contrast, it’s just when it’s gloomy and there’s not a lot of light pouring in that my discerning eye picks up on it and cringes haha. The beige white, or beige color of these curtains obviously wouldn’t clash the same way the white would, so if beige works in your home, go for it.

Beware if you have other white/off white linen furniture in the same room.

I have 2 warm white linen chairs situated close to the Amazon stark white curtains and the contrast between the two objects irks me. It’s not that I don’t like mixing different shades of white – I do, it’s just the blue-ish white in the Amazon curtains looks more obvious when you’re looking at our chairs. To preface, this is something that I notice because I’m picky, but Thomas doesn’t notice at all….

Since they’re not heavy, they don’t hang quite the way I’d want them to – they slightly bow out/flare at the bottom and the sides. This is partially due to the fact that I have very tall ceilings and did a more narrow width to fit my windows. If you have a lower ceiling and do a 100″ width for a wide window that spans the whole wall, you probably won’t notice it as much since it will be a thicker cluster of fabric. Also, if you place furniture in front the curtains (like a sofa or bed) this won’t be noticeable at all!

Overall

I wouldn’t rebuy these at this point in my life, because I’d rather splurge on curtains I’ll have forever, vs curtains that I’ll probably want to change in 6 months to a year…BUT if I was still renting, then I’d definitely consider these. What I will say is this – I think whether you like these curtains or not, will really depend on your wall color, decor style, room layout, furniture, amount of windows, and window size. For a super wide window that spans the entire wall – the unlined beige in 100″+ width is a great option for a room with a ton of white furniture. If you just need a pair of curtains for a guest room you barely look at, these could work well. Again it all depends on your preferences!

Other Options

I have heard from several readers that they like their Pottery Barn and Ikea curtains. I can’t speak to these at all because I’ve never seen them, but wanted to share in case you wanted to test out a few other options! The Pottery Barn real Belgian linen curtains are only $129 for a standard 50″ x 96″ panel which isn’t bad – and it’s actually cheaper than the custom Amazon option!!! The only thing is you’re not getting that same pinch pleat detail on the top.

Curtain Rods

While I’m sure you can find cheaper curtain rods elsewhere, I’ve always used these ones from Restoration Hardware. I love the thickness, and am so impressed with the quality. The exact style is called the: Dakota in soft iron. I have the thickest bar with the biggest finial and large loop rings. The gold brass rods they have are beautiful as well!

Summary

I’d love to know about your curtain experience, and if you’ve gone the custom route as I am considering it now! Hopefully you found this very long winded, in depth review helpful ;) I always like to be thorough and super honest when it comes to home decor!

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Photos from top to bottom: Charissa Fay Photography, Jessica Alexander Photography, Me

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6 Comments

  • Lisa Autumn says:

    Oh I adore yours!

    Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    January 19, 2021 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thanks lady!

      January 19, 2021 | Reply
  • Becca says:

    Kat, I have been debating buying these RH curtains for a couple of years now! (Basically ever since I saw your original NYC apartment posts!) I’ve searched for cheaper alternatives that seemed like good quality but have never committed to anything. I think this post has convinced me these are the way to go and a good value, so thank you so much for all the detail! :) One question–I see the linen is thick and also lined. How well would you say the curtains block out light when closed? (I want them for a bedroom in a condo.)

    January 21, 2021 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Hi! So happy to hear the post was helpful! The lining is a semi sheer white fabric, so it doesn’t give you that blackout curtain effect, but I just sleep with an eye mask so I haven’t minded waking up to a little sunlight peeking through!

      January 22, 2021 | Reply
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    January 22, 2021 | Reply
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