Window Treatments for Small Spaces: Increase Light and Maximise Space

a duck egg blind with pink blossom against a grey/white wall in the living room

When it comes to small spaces, your design choice matters. Window treatments play a crucial role in enhancing a room’s design style, color palette, adding pattern and texture, and of course, how much light enters a room.

Window treatments for small spaces, however, can be challenging.

Some of the common issues include a lack of natural light, making the space appear dim and cramped, limited space making it hard to incorporate various design elements without creating clutter, and difficulty in achieving a balance between privacy and openness.

a small living room with large windows and floor to ceiling curtains

The right window treatment can dramatically increase the amount of natural light that enters a small space, making it appear brighter and more spacious.

It can also impact the perception of a room’s size, enhance privacy, and provide insulating properties that help regulate the temperature in a small space. 

Window Treatments for Small Spaces

Let’s explore the various window treatments for small windows and spaces and how they can help maximize light, create a sense of space, and bring a unique style to your home. By focusing on maximizing light and space, you can create an illusion of openness and breathe new life into your compact area.

How Light Affects Space

sheer curtains cover a window in a small living room painted teal

Let’s start by talking about the importance of light. Natural light can make a space feel bigger and more inviting, whereas low lighting levels can make a room appear dark and cramped.

The type of window treatments you choose for your small space will largely determine how much natural light enters the room. Light creates a sense of depth and openness. When light floods into a room, it visually extends the space beyond the physical confines of the walls, making it seem as if the room extends outdoors.

Natural light can reflect off surfaces like mirrors, glass, and light-colored walls, effectively ‘doubling’ the space by creating an optical illusion of extended space.

a large window with sheer curtains and a grey sofa
Sheer curtains are a great way to maximize light potential in a small living room

Choosing lightweight window coverings such as sheer curtains or cellular shades can help let in maximum light and make a space seem airy and open, helping to create the illusion of more space.

On the other hand, if privacy is more of your concern, heavier window treatments such as curtains or blinds can offer more coverage while still allowing some light to enter. To maximize light without sacrificing privacy, try opting for an opaque material that allows sunlight to filter through.

According to experts at Bumble Bee Blinds, “Blinds are one of the best solutions for homeowners who want a more affordable option for increasing the functionality from their window covering.”

Optimal Window Treatments for Small Spaces

cellular blind in the kitchen
Using cellular blinds for small spaces, like in the kitchen, helps let the most natural light filter through without cluttering the space

To make the most of your small space, prioritize natural light. Incorporate window treatments that allow sunlight to flood in, creating an airy and spacious atmosphere.

Sheer curtains and lightweight fabric blinds are excellent choices that filter light while maintaining privacy. 

Types of Window Treatments Ideal for Small Spaces

a cellular blind in an office space
A cellular blind in a home office

While most window treatments can be adapted to small spaces, certain types can be particularly effective in maximizing light and enhancing perceived space.

Here are a few examples:

Curtains

Small living room curtains should be in lighter shades or sheer fabrics that can help maximize the amount of light that filters into the room. When hung high and wide, they can also make windows appear larger and ceilings seem higher.

Blinds

Blinds, particularly those in light shades, can help control the amount of light that enters a room. They also have a streamlined, minimalist appearance that can help a small room feel less cluttered.

Vertical blinds can add height to a room, while horizontal blinds can make a room seem wider.

Roller Shades

Roller shades offer a sleek, compact solution for window treatments in small spaces. They roll up neatly at the top of the window when not in use, taking up minimal space and keeping the window unobstructed for maximum light.

Light-colored or semi-transparent roller shades can also allow light to filter in while maintaining privacy.

a colourful roman shade in a small living room with comfy sofa and colourful cushions

Roman Shades

Roman shades are fabric window coverings that fold up into a neat stack when raised. When lowered, they provide a smooth, flat surface that doesn’t protrude into the room, making them ideal for small spaces. Choosing light-colored fabric can help maximize light reflection.

Shutters

Interior shutters can add character to a small space without overwhelming it. Cafe-style shutters, which only cover the lower half of the window, are an excellent choice for small rooms as they allow plenty of light to enter from the top half of the window while maintaining privacy.

Cellular Shades

Also known as honeycomb shades, cellular shades are energy-efficient and can filter or block light depending on the fabric chosen. They have a low profile when fully raised, which makes them an excellent choice for small spaces.

Go Vertical: Space-Saving Solutions for Small Windows

vertical shutters in a small living room
Vertical shutters can keep your window treatments tidy and free up space around the window

In small spaces, every inch counts. Vertical window treatments are a game-changer when it comes to optimizing space.

Install tall and slim blinds or shades that draw the eyes upward, creating an illusion of height. This technique not only maximizes the available space but also adds a touch of sophistication to your small room.

Installing curtain rods closer to the ceiling, rather than directly above the window frame, can create the illusion of taller windows and a higher ceiling, making the room feel more spacious. Ensure the curtains fall to the floor, as this elongates the line of the window.

Extending the rod beyond the window frame allows the curtains to hang partially outside the frame when they’re open, revealing more of the window and letting in more light. It also creates the illusion of a wider window.

Similarly, choose full-length curtains as they can create the illusion of a larger window. This trick is especially effective when the curtains are hung high and wide.

Clean and Minimalistic: Streamlined Window Treatments for Small Spaces

a neutral small living room with floor to ceiling cream curtains and a cosy corner sofa

In a compact area, simplicity is key. Opt for clean and minimalistic window treatments that complement the overall aesthetic of your small space. Avoid heavy drapes or elaborate patterns that can overwhelm the room.

Instead, choose sleek roller shades, neutral curtains, Roman shades, or slim blinds in neutral colors to maintain a cohesive and uncluttered look. Remember, less is more when it comes to decorating small spaces.

Dual-Purpose Solutions: Functional and Stylish Window Treatments

When space is limited, it’s crucial to make every item count, so window treatments that serve multiple purposes can help make the most of your space.

Consider utilizing window treatments that offer light control options, such as adjustable blinds or shades, allowing you to adapt the room’s ambiance to suit different needs throughout the day.

Other purposes include: 

  • Blackout curtains or shades
  • Thermal or energy-efficient curtains 
  • Layering the window treatment with blinds and sheer curtains
  • Adding a small window bench or shelf to the window to maximize space
  • Using blinds with reflective backing

Using Window Treatments to Distract from Size

a window with bookcases on either side with a roman blind and curtains hanging around the window of a small living room
Layering up your window treatments can provide a focal point to a small living room. They can also be multi-functional like these curtains which can be pulled across the bookcase to hide them from view, making the room feel less busy.

In addition to making a room appear larger, window treatments can also serve as a focal point to create visual interest and distract from the room’s size.

Window treatments with texture, such as those made from velvet, silk, or woven materials, can add depth and make them a feature of the room. This can make the space feel more appealing and layered, which takes the focus away from its size.

Layering different types of window treatments, such as custom blinds and curtains, can create a rich, complex look and make the room feel more luxurious and spacious. Adding decorative curtain rods or stylish tiebacks can add a touch of sophistication, again creating a focal point in the room. 

Additional Tips to Maximize Light and Space

a stripy roman shade with grey corner sofa and colourful cushions in a small living room

When choosing window treatments for small spaces, it’s important to keep the room’s size and scale in mind to avoid overwhelming the space. One of the most common mistakes people make is oversizing – choosing window treatments that are too large or too bulky for the space.

Try to avoid heavy, thick curtains or large wooden blinds, and opt for sleek, slimline options like roller shades, Roman shades, or lightweight curtains instead.

Also, while floor-to-ceiling curtains can make a room appear taller, curtains that are too long and puddles on the floor can make a room feel cluttered. Make sure your curtains are tailored to the right length for your room.

a round mirror above a fireplace in a small living room
Mirrors can help reflect light and space in a small living room, helping it to feel more spacious

Finally, in addition to choosing the right window treatments, there are other ways to make a room appear bigger.

Hang mirrors on adjacent walls to reflect light and create the illusion of extra space. A fresh coat of paint can also help open the room by making the walls look brighter and more expansive. And don’t forget about furniture, too; choose pieces that are light-colored, low in profile, and not too big for the room.

In small spaces, window treatments can significantly impact a room’s overall look and feel. By selecting the right window treatments for small spaces, you can maximize natural light, create an illusion of space, and achieve a visually appealing and functional environment.

With the right window treatments, you can transform your compact area into a bright, inviting space that feels larger and more expansive.

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