Best Curtain Solutions for Arched Windows

Arched windows add a distinctive touch to grand Victorians, modern lofts and tract homes alike. Their timeless appeal and simple geometry make arched windows 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 designer. 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.

Go With the Curve
If you don’t have the budget for custom curved rods and curtain panels, 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. 

Swag It

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 tieback.

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 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.

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.

Top It Off
Alternatively, if you wish to block afternoon sun and prevent neighbors from peering in at night, install a curtain rod several inches above the apex of the arch. Hang curtain panels and pull them back with tiebacks that just skim the lower part of the arch. This treatment subtly defines the arch and allows you the flexibility to completely close off the window when necessary.
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