Vertical blinds are a popular window covering that provides privacy and light control. However, some people find the look of vertical blinds to be too modern or industrial for their home decor. If you have vertical blinds but want to soften their appearance, adding curtains over the blinds can provide a cozy, elegant look while still allowing you to use the blinds for their practical benefits. Here is what you need to know about pairing curtains with existing vertical blinds.
Tips for hanging curtains over vertical blinds
- Consider removing vertical blinds completely if they clash with your decor. Keep them if you value their functionality.
- Choose plain, lightweight curtains in a color that complements the blinds. Avoid competing prints.
- Mount curtain rods wider than the blinds hardware for an inside mount, or outside the window molding for an outside mount.
- Account for needed clearance beyond the blinds when measuring for brackets.
- Use sturdy brackets, proper hardware, and get help for large rods. Measure precisely.
- Arrange the blinds and curtains together attractively – open slats on top and tie back curtains loosely during the day.
Should I Keep or Remove My Vertical Blinds?
Before deciding on adding curtains, first, consider if you want to keep the vertical blinds or remove them entirely. Vertical blinds tend to have a more contemporary, sleek look, so they may clash with certain decors like traditional, rustic, or cottage-style rooms. If the vertical blinds don’t fit your decor or overall vision for the room, removing them completely may be best.
However, if the vertical blinds are still functional and suit the room, keeping them makes practical sense. The ability to tilt the slats open and closed gives greater flexibility in controlling light and privacy compared to curtains alone. Vertical blinds are also easier to clean than fabric curtains. If your priority is function over form, you can make vertical blinds work in most decors by softening their harder look with curtains.
Curtain Design Considerations
Once you decide to layer curtains over vertical blinds, consider the following design factors:
- Color and pattern – Choose plain curtains rather than competing prints or colors to avoid a mismatched look. Neutrals like white and off-white pair well with most blinds.
- Texture – Lightweight, sheer or semi-sheer fabrics help downplay the verticals rather than competing with them. Avoid thick, heavyweight fabrics.
- Length – Floor length curtains make the windows appear taller. Pooled curtains can also help hide the base of the blinds.
- Fullness – Extra fullness softens the linear look of vertical blinds. At least 2-3 times fullness is recommended.
- Style – Simple, clean-lined styles like rod pocket panels pair better with sleek verticals compared to pleated or gathered styles.
To hang curtains over vertical blinds, you have two main options:
1. Inside Mount
Mount the curtain rod brackets wider than the vertical blind hardware to recess the curtains within the window framing, behind the blinds. This gives a layered look with the blinds positioned in front of the curtains. Sturdy extension rod brackets at least 5-6 inches long allow mounting a rod far enough back to clear protruding vertical blinds.
2. Outside Mount
Mount the curtain rod completely outside the window molding and blinds. This brings the curtains forward to cover all or part of the window framing and blinds. An outside mount can make windows appear larger. Extending the mounting hardware beyond the blinds may require a ceiling mount curtain rod or wire mounted system.
DIY Installation Tips
Follow these tips for a smooth installation:
- Measure carefully and account for any clearance needed beyond the blinds. It’s easier to start wider and trim down if needed.
- Check that brackets can support the width. Heavier fabrics require more support.
- For outside mounts, make sure the ceiling or wall can support the hardware and allow proper ceiling clearance.
- Use a laser level when marking bracket positions for accurate mounting.
- If drilling into walls, use anchors suitable for the wall material. In rentals, look for non-damaging hanging options.
- Enlist help for large or heavy rods. Pro installation may be worth the investment.
- Start by hanging rods only to confirm placements before hanging curtains.
Alternatives to Consider
If after considering your options you decide curtains over vertical blinds won’t give the look you want, here are a few alternative window treatment ideas:
- Replace vertical blinds with drapes only, roman shades, or other soft window treatments fully suited to your style.
- Swap in fabric vertical blinds that better coordinate with your color scheme.
- Paint or recover the vertical blind headrail to match the wall color.
- Build a wrapper or cornice box over the blinds to reduce their visibility.
- Remove blind slats and just use the front carrier tapes for hanging lightweight curtains.
The Last Look
The final step is arranging the curtains and blinds together. Here are a few tips:
- Close lower slats for privacy while leaving upper slats open to let in light from above.
- Tie back drapes loosely during the day for a breezy layered look.
- In the evening, close the blinds first before drawing the curtains over them.
With the right approach, it is possible to hang curtains in harmony with vertical blinds. Carefully weigh your options and use these tips to successfully blend the two window treatments. The end result can give you the softness of curtains alongside the practical perks of blinds.