Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.
Arched Windows: What Kind of Curtain Should I Use?
Arched windows add a distinctive touch to grand Victorians, modern lofts, and tract homes alike. Their timeless appeal and simple geometry make them a highly desirable architectural element. . . until it comes time to cover them.
It’s amazing how a simple curve can strike fear in even the most seasoned designers. Luckily, you’re not the first homeowner to face this challenge. Choose from proven designs that maximize the classic beauty of the arch while stylishly addressing potential light control and privacy concerns.
If you're looking for an arched window treatment you might ask yourself these questions:
- Should I cover the entire arch with curtains?
- Should I purchase window scarves as decoration?
- Should I hang straight curtain panels on each side and ignore the arch?
- Should I install medallions above the arch and hang curtains from them to emphasize the curve?
- Should I spend the money on a custom arched curtain rod?
Go With the Curve
If you don’t have the budget for custom curved rods and curtain panels, then create this semi-custom treatment by sewing loops or ties along the top hem of your curtain panels.
- Purchase inexpensive drawer knobs or drapery medallions and install them along and above the arch in increments corresponding to the curtain loops or ties.
- Calculate your curtain panel length by measuring from the floor to the highest medallion.
- Adjust the curtain hem to accommodate the curve if you plan on letting them hang loose or simply tie them back on either side.
Split the Difference
If light control and privacy are of no concern, make use of standard curtain hardware and ready-made window panels to pull off this clever and simple idea.
- Pick a spot along the upper one-third of your arched window and run a curtain rod across the opening to visually separate the arch from the lower section of window.
- Hang your window panels over the lower portion and you have managed to treat the arch as two separate window openings.
Use curtain scarves or lengths of sheer fabric as swag valances to highlight an arched window.
- Install a decorative curtain tieback or medallion above the center peak of the arch and one on each side of the window at the point the arch ends and starts its vertical descent.
- Fold the scarf fabric in half and wrap it around the center post.
- Take the right side of the scarf length and wrap it around the right tieback, allowing the fabric to drape gracefully from one point to the next.
- Secure it in place with double-sided tape or a twist tie.
- Repeat with the left side and make any necessary adjustments.
The scarf tails can hang evenly or asymmetrically, depending on your personal preference.
If you have privacy concerns, hang sheer curtain panels over the lower portion of the windows.
A Different Technique for Arched Window Swags
Top It Off
If you wish to block afternoon sun and prevent neighbors from peering in at night, install custom curved rods several inches above the apex of the arch. Hang the curtain panels and position them on each side of the window or pull them back with tiebacks. This treatment subtly defines the arch and allows you the flexibility to completely close off the window when necessary.
Quick Tips for Using Curtains on Arched Windows
• One way showcase the shape of the arch is to extend a straight curtain rod from one side to the other. That way you can pull back the panels on each side of the window using decorative tiebacks.
• Make it more formal by creating a custom-shaped valance that mimics the arched curve. On the lower part of the window use sheer curtains to lighten the effect with voile, crepe or gauze fabrics.
• For a contemporary look hang your curtain panels below the arch. That way you'll allow natural light to stream into the room.
• Always take exact measurements before you purchase curtains for arched windows. Arched windows come in various dimensions. Measure the highest point and width of each arched window. If you want custom curtains, it's best to create a paper template for accurate sizes.
A Ready-Made Arched Curtain Rod
Questions & Answers
Question: Do you know where I can buy the black arched curtain rod?
Answer: Look online to purchase wrought iron black arched curtain rods that are custom made. If you live in a large metro area, you can find a local curtain rod company that can come to your home and measure for an arched window.
© 2019 Linda Chechar
Start a Conversation!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on July 27, 2020:
Kristy, you can get a custom arched blackout curtain for the child's room. Instead you could use a regular straight curtain rod above over the arch. That way you can purchase a blackout curtain that is less expensive.
Kristy on July 27, 2020:
Hello! We have baby #2 coming in less than 2 months and need to transition our 20 month old son into a big boy bed (in another room) asap. His new room has a round top window and I'd like to install blackout curtains without using a straight rod - I'm looking to do something like your last photo with the arched rod above the window. Was this custom made or was this look achieved by installng a curved shower curtain rod to the wall (and if so, how?)?
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on July 22, 2020:
Victorianstuckontradition, find fabric for filtering UV for the large picture window curtain that will block the sunlight.
victorianstuckontradition on July 22, 2020:
We have a Victorian style home with a lovely view at every window. Our living room has arched windows with 10' ceiling. I'm stuck on window treatments for the big picture window. I don't want anything that will obstruct view. I need something for filtering sunlight during the day. Found a few ideas not just stuck on which to choose. Thank you.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 11, 2020:
Louise89, glad you liked the article!
Louise89 on March 11, 2020:
Great tips, thank you!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 10, 2019:
Liz, my husband and I had a curtain business back in California. It is certainly challenging and expensive to create custom window coverings. That's why I came up with these easy curtain ideas that can save homeowners a lot of money.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 09, 2019:
Not having arched windows I hadn't realised how complex fitting curtains migt be. You have some great solutions in your article.