How to Pick Neutral Curtains If You Already Have White or Cream Walls

First, consider your paint's undertones.

Neutral colors are a must if you're interested in curating a timeless interior design aesthetic, but if you already have white or cream walls, you may be wondering how to introduce the best neutral décor into your space. This becomes particularly challenging when selecting curtains, which rest directly against an already-neutral base. Here, several experts share their best tips for selecting simple curtains that enhance or work with their neutral surroundings.

close up of curtain and couch
Getty / Anna Cor-Zumbansen / EyeEm

Cultivate a mood.

Really understand the room's aesthetic before you shop for window treatments, says Danielle Chiprut of Danielle Rose Design Co. "When choosing neutral curtains, I first consider the overall design or 'mood' of the room," she says. "Is the room crisp and modern, cozy and comfortable, or somewhere in between? This will tell me what type of fabric I will need to tell that story."

Think about texture.

Keith Miller of Miller Interior Design says to think about the texture of the neutral curtains you choose. "Opting for a semi-translucent sheer panel near the same color as your walls would most definitely articulate a whisper of transition, and softens the light as it transfers from clear glass to your interior," he explains. "But if boldness is your forté, then sourcing a distinct, even over-scaled pattern in tone-on-tone neutrals can bring confidence to your space." He advises using unique textures for your curtains, like velvet, linen, chenille, silk, or even wool, to execute this. Jennifer Jones, the principal designer at J Logan Interiors, agrees, adding that it's important to consider a pattern's scale, no matter how neutral. "If your room has mostly solid fabrics, opt for drapery panels in a small to medium-size pattern to add movement and visual interest," she notes.

Consider undertones.

Both Miller and Jones recommend looking at the undertones of your neutral walls to guide your curtain search. If your walls have warmer undertones—think pale yellow—go for an ivory tone, notes Jones. And if you see cooler tones? She suggests opting for a soft gray or bright white. To ensure you get it just right, Millers suggests testing your selection out at home. "For the perfect fit, get physical samples so that you can confirm that the tint, tone, or shade of your curtain material coordinates with that of your wall color."

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