Should Curtains Be Lighter or Darker than Walls

BY |

For home improvement and interior designing, your curtains play a huge role in making your home’s interior design complete because they add plenty of style and flair to the overall motif you are going after.

That said, it’s tricky to choose the right curtains especially if you don’t know what goes well with the room’s design especially with permanent parts such as the walls. In that case, should your curtains be lighter or darker than the walls?

Your curtains can be lighter or darker than the walls as long as they are of the same tone as your walls. That means that warm-colored walls should go well with warm-colored curtains regardless of whether they may be lighter or darker. The same story goes for cool-colored walls and curtains.

As you can see, choosing the right curtains shouldn’t be all that difficult as long as you don’t complicate things. This includes not complicating whether the curtains should be lighter or darker than the walls.

You can actually simplify things as long as you know some of the usual basics that need to be followed whenever you are choosing curtain colors based on the color of your walls.

Should curtains be lighter or darker than your walls?


Some of the most important things that you need to choose properly when you are decorating your home are the curtains.

That’s because your choice of curtains can make or break the entire style of your room as a terrible choice in the curtains can actually ruin the coordination between the drapes and the different fixtures such as the walls.

People overthink about the choice of curtain colors regarding the walls in a certain room because of how they know for a fact that choosing the wrong color can actually mess things up.

That said, one thing that people often wonder when choosing curtain colors is whether the curtains should be lighter or darker than the walls.

After all, choosing curtains that have a different shade can make a world of difference in terms of how well the drapes coordinate with the color of the walls of a room in your home.

So, what you need to know here is that this isn’t supposed to be an issue of whether your curtains should be lighter or darker than your walls.

Expert interior designers will be the first to tell you you shouldn’t overcomplicate the issue by overthinking the shade of your curtains regarding your walls. That’s because your curtains can either be lighter or darker than the color of your walls.

Instead, the thing you need to consider here is the tone of your walls so that you can choose the proper curtains to match them.

Once you have that covered, you can choose a curtain that is lighter or darker than the shade of the wall as long as you are choosing a curtain color that is of the same tone as the walls.

So, when we talk about tones, we are talking about warm and cool colors. Warm colors comprise red, orange, and yellow. Meanwhile, cool colors include blue, green, purple, and gray. These are the colors we are referring to when talking about tone or hue.

That said, the goal here is to choose a curtain that comes with the same tone or hue as the one that your wall has. From there, you are free to choose whether you want a curtain that has either a lighter or a darker shade.

But the key here is to make sure that you choose a shade that is one level lighter or darker than the walls because you want to keep them coordinated as much as possible. Choosing shades that are too light or too dark may end up messing with the overall coordination between your curtains and your walls.

How to coordinate your curtain with your walls

Now that you know that your goal here is to make sure that you coordinate your curtains with your walls in terms of their overall tone and hue instead of their shade, let’s now talk more about how you can actually coordinate walls of certain colors with your curtains.

1.    Gray walls

Lush Décor Night Sky Panel for Living, Bedroom, Dining Room (Single Curtain), 84" x 42", Grey and Black

Nice ideas here on Amazon!

Gray walls can be tricky for the choice of curtains that you can go for because of how there aren’t plenty of colors that complement gray walls. The thing you need to look at here are the undertones that the gray walls come with so that you can assess which tone or hue it belongs with.

Gray walls that come with green or blue undertones should go well with cool colors but gray walls with a touch of red or pink should come with warm colors.

So, considering that gray is one of the few neutral colors out there, it’s easy to pair it with different curtain colors so long as you have kept the undertones in mind.

Go with cool colors such as blue or green if you do notice that your gray walls are closer to cool than warm. Meanwhile, go with warm colors like red, orange, and pink if you want to emphasize the warmth of a gray wall with warm undertones.

However, it is also equally important to take into consideration the furniture you have in your room. That means that, if your furniture comes with cool colors even though your gray wall may have warm undertones, it is best to go with cool curtains instead of warm ones so that you can match your furniture.

But, then again, you are perfectly free to go with curtain colors with hues that differ from that of your furniture or your gray wall.

This will provide the perfect contrast for your curtains as you can allow them to pop out. Still, this can be tricky to pull off and might even become risky.

You are better off complimenting colors by choosing the same tone or hue instead of contrasting them if you don’t want to end up spending more money in the long run.

2.    White walls

Yakamok Blue and Greyish White Ombre Curtains, Room Darkening Gradient Color Curtains for Bedroom, Light Blocking Thermal Insulated Window Drapes for Living Room(2 Panels, 52x84 Inch)

Different color curtains are here on Amazon!

Most homes actually come with white walls because this is the most neutral color you can choose for your wall. This is also the safest option you can go for if you are choosing the right paint for your wall.

It becomes easier for you to actually choose the type of curtains you want for white walls because of how white can basically do well with any color out there.

So, the key when you are choosing the curtain color for your white walls is to make sure that you match the color of the curtains with the color of your furniture because white walls aren’t exactly picky for curtain colors.

Meanwhile, your furniture might be discriminative for the curtain colors you choose. That’s why it is best to choose curtains with the same tone as your furniture without even considering what goes well with white walls.

But, to be on the safe side once again, you are free to use white curtains so that you will give your room an overall bright disposition. And white curtains do well with most other furniture colors as well.

Just make sure you keep anything dirty away from your white drapes if you don’t want to end up allowing dirt to stand out amidst white walls and white curtains.

Should curtain colors be exactly the same as the color of the wall?

Throughout this discussion, we were talking about choosing curtains that are of the same tone or hue as the color of your walls. So, for example, warm-colored walls do well with warm-colored curtains.

But we never really talked about whether you should actually choose curtain colors that are of the same color and not simply the same tone as your wall. So, should you choose curtain colors that perfectly match the color of your walls?

In that regard, it is actually perfectly fine to choose curtains that come from the same color family as your walls such as choosing blue curtains if the walls are also blue.

However, it is best to make sure that their shades are different, such as when you choose a lighter or darker shade of blue for your curtains. This will allow your curtains to stand out and not simply blend in with the walls.

In the past, it was a practice for interior designers to choose colors that are opposite or complementary to that of the color of their walls.

However, the more contemporary and safer approach is to use a tone-on-tone approach that requires you to choose similar colors but different shades for your curtains and your walls.

Can darker curtains make the room look smaller?

So, while we said that you can choose either a lighter or a darker color when you are going for curtain colors that are of the same tone as your walls, there are some people who prefer to go for lighter curtains.

And that’s because they believe that dark curtains actually make a room look smaller. Is there any truth to that?

The belief that darker curtains can make a room look smaller is but a mere misconception because of how it really isn’t a matter of shade but is more of a matter of the patterns on the curtains.

That means that different patterns and multi-colored curtains can make a bigger difference in making your room look smaller or bigger.

As such, when you are choosing curtains, you can go for a darker shade because that doesn’t really change the perception of how small or big your room is.

Instead, make sure that you choose tone-on-tone shades for your curtains while minimizing the patterns and designs on them so that people won’t end up perceiving your room as too small or too big due to the effects that the curtain colors have on the room.

Leave a Comment