The One Thing You Must Change In Your Home

It's January. It's cold, it's dreary, and it starts getting dark very early in the day. NOT my favorite time of year. So today, I decided to give you the one piece of decorating advice that you will really want to pin (if you do Pinterest, of course).  Because this is really like the best advice, ever. 




This is a golden nugget of advice I give most of my clients, but they often can't visualize what I'm talking about.  So today, I'm going to SHOW YOU exactly what I mean.  Are you ready?  




Changing the way you hang your curtain panels will make your windows look larger and grander (no matter how small or simple), and will allow you to let in sooooo much more light. Which is always important, but even more so in these dreary months of winter.  


You're welcome.



Get my special report "Child and Pet Proof Decorating"
Free when you subscribe to my email updates!

Share this Post

41 thoughts on “The One Thing You Must Change In Your Home

  1. Lija says:

    I'd love to add floor to ceiling curtains, but we have radiators under the windows so the curtains can't go to the floor.  What would you do?  Hang curtains from the ceiling to the tops of the radiators (or bottoms of the windows)?  Skip curtains and skip to roman shades? Something else?  

  2. melissa says:

    I agree, raising the curtain rod enlarges the window and looks more elegant. The trouble I have with my window treatment is that by raising the rod, the curtains will no longer brush the floor. I would love to buy new curtains that are longer but most popular retail stores ( mine are from World Market) sell them at standard lengh.

    So the question is, do I raise the rod. pulling them higher off the ground. Ive tried this before but couldnt help think of "high water" pants.

    • Kristie Barnett says:


      When my clients have 8 foot ceilings and standard height windows that typically require 84 inch panels, I tell them to do 95 inch panels, hang them high and hem them if necessary.  Or, you could add a band of fabric at the bottom of your existing curtains so that they skim the floor.  You are right to be concerned about “high waters.”  Don’t let that happen!  It’s better to keep them right above the window like normal, but definitely hang them 10 – 14 inches to either side of the window (your rod would need to be expandable or a longer length).

  3. Colleen says:

    Hi Kristie, this is great advice! I have a related question for you. In my home, we have a hallway which leads to the bathroom from the kitchen, however, the hallway is like a room in itself as it's a makeup room which also features a laundry closet.

    My question is about the one window in that hallway/room. It came outfiited with a blind which fits inside the window, but I am wondering if a curtain would be strange there? Basically, do curtains look strange in a hallway, should it just be left as a blind?

    I like the cozy, warm, inviting look of curtains but don't want it to look out of place there!

    Thanks in advance for any advice you have!

  4. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Kristie—I have tried to tell friends this simple principle.

    They just can't get it. Your illustration is great & SHOWS the difference effectively!

    Now, if the ready made drapery industry would just co-operate by making longer drapes availble for everyone. It's a real search. My own LR  needs 116"– I do understand that that will never be a ready made size…looking at $1000's for 6 windows. But–I'll NOT get anything 'til then–rather have undressed windows than poorly dressed ones!


  5. Carol Daniell says:

    Kristie, Hanging curtains too low has been one of my pet peeves! Now if somone has spent some real cash on their short curtains, they might think about adding a coordinating band of fabric at the bottom, and they'd STILL be able to raise their curtains to the ceiling! Incidentally, regarding my huge TV problem in the middle of the living room, He had mentioned he'd like a 3d tv and I found a much smaller 46"er with ALL the bells and whistles, that was 3d as well, Brand name, big time sale. So he put it next to the big one, and now there they sit, side by side.  I have another suprise for him coming up.


  6. Susanne says:

    Hi Kristie. My rooms are so small that panels won't even fit. I have been using white 2" faux wood blinds (all white trim)  to make the rooms look as large and bright as possible. They are certainly not my first choice, but considering price and ease of cleaning, they work. Even using valances was somewhat overwhelming. Downton Abbey, we are not…lol.


    • Kristie Barnett says:

      White wood blinds are a good choice in your situation, Susanne.  I usually avoid valances – maybe a pretty roman shade if it’s mounted well above the window frame, so as not to block light from the upper portion of the window when open.

  7. Christina says:

    On a related note, what do you do about blinds?  I have an 8ft ceiling with crown molding and I would like to remove my curtains add some blinds to my windows.  Should the top of the blinds extend to the ceiling? 

  8. Cherie says:

    Such excellent advice, and I have seen it work with my own eyes!  It's like a little miracle, as your drawing clearly shows.  Hanging the curtains high as you have shown not only makes the windows look bigger, it also makes the ceilings look higher.  Quite an optical illusion!

  9. Jen says:

    This is so, SO true. I actually drew a picture like this to prove to my darling husband that hanging them higher & wider than is 'traditionally accepted' looks better. So as we go through this still-new-to-us house, repainting rooms…the curtains get moved up. It makes *such* a difference! 

  10. Jessica says:

    We have just purchased our first home and I am so excited about moving in and decorating our shape. My question is how much higher would you recommend hanging the curtains? Our living room has a cathedral ceiling so there is no molding anywhere near the top of the windows. The rest of the house has 10 foot ceilings. Thanks for all the inspiration you share!

    • Kristie Barnett says:


      It’s hard to say without seeing your home, but if the windows are at a height where you would use 84″ panels if you hung them the old way, then get 95″ panels and hang them just enough above the window so they brush the floor.  Make sure you hang them and the rod significantly outside either side of the window, too – this is about going OUT as well as going UP.  Hope that helps!

  11. Marilynne Rowland says:

    So excited I have found your blog! I have been itchy to redo our home of almost 9 years, saw the post about the drapes and went immediately and ripped mine down! LOL!! I was hating those balloons/swags and didn't know it! So far, everything I did 9 years ago is so dated I do not know where to start!! Even have the gold/red paint with the chair rail! AAARRGG!! Cannot wait for the book and video. Reading every entry I can today! LOVE, love how you switched the dining room to the useless front room. Sounded like you were in my house!!! Do you do workshops in Nashville? I am in Louisville and would be there in a heartbeat!

    • Kristie Barnett says:


      Yes, I have an upcoming workshop that will focus on furniture/art/accessory placement and arrangement here in Nashville.  Make sure you sign up for my emails so that you will know when that is scheduled!  So glad you took down those window treatments 😉

  12. Jackie says:

    Hello!  Thank you so much for this blog post.  I just found your blog and look forward to continue to follow your advice as I'm constantly looking for ways to update our home!  I do have a couple questions about hanging drapes high and wide.  Does this apply to windows with darker trim?  I literally CANNOT find a single picture of curtains hung high and wide on a window with trim other than the color white online.  I'm afraid the darker trim outlining the window beneath the treatments will make the treatments look funny if hung too high….? 

    Our newly purchased home was built in the 90's.  The trim is a reddish-orange wood.  My ceilings are 9-foot and then vault a few more feet above that the particular windows in our living room that I want to dress flank a fireplace (with the same wooden trim/mantle).  The living room opens to the kitchen just to the left of the fireplace & so my left drapery panel would essentially run into the outermost panel of curtains if I hung curtains in my kitchen nook (bay window).  Additionally, the kitchen ceiling height in this nook area is only 8 feet.  Should my living room curtains match my kitchen nook curtains?  Should I hang them all at a consistent height or hang the living room curtains higher as allowed?  Would you recommend something other than drapes in the bay window? 

    I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this issue.  I would love to paint my trim white, but I'm trying to figure out how best to do that as, typical of a 90s home, the trim matches the kitchen floors, cupboards, and all railings throughout the home!  Ugh!  


    Thanks in advance for your ideas/recommendations!

    • Jackie says:

      Sorry for my grammatical/punctuation errors!  I've got an active toddler that distracted me (& was climbing on me) as I was trying to type my questions!  🙂

  13. Sandy Allen says:

    I only have standard height windows and I do have crown molding, is there a rule about how high my curtain header can be… I want to hang my rod high and the drape is reg rod pocket with 3 in header. Total distance between top of window and where crown molding starts is 1 ft
    Please will you help me out?

  14. Pingback: Top 5 most common design mistakes | becauseiliketodecorate...

  15. Pingback: How to Hang Window Treatments : Interior Design Nashville – Interior Canvas

  16. Pingback: Have your window treatments expired? | Staged for Style

  17. Susan says:

    Hello! Just bought a house! I have high ceilings and 84″ long panels that I adore but are just too short. How about this: hanging them right at the top of the window so that they reach the floor nicely, but then installing a cornice above them in the same fabric that goes from the ceiling and down far enough to cover the telltale rod? That would be a lovely way to disguise the low-hanging drapes, give the illusion of height, right? I really don’t want to have to replace these panels if I don’t have to…

  18. Kalika says:


    What if my windows are very close to a wall on one side? There is only about 8 inches of space. Will the curtains look crammed into the corners if I try about and extend the rod to the wall?


  19. Yogita Singh says:


    This is what I did and it looks great BUT now I cant move them. I have really high ceilings and a picture window about by sliders so I chose to hang the curtains higher than the picture window rather than between the two. Love the drama it adds but now I cant MOVE THEM!!! they don’t slid. Please advise!

  20. Cathy says:

    I have 9 foot ceilings in my living room. I am transforming tablecloths into curtains. My question is…since the tablecloths are 106″ long, should I utilize the entire length and hang my rods almost at the ceiling or should I cut them down and mount the rods at 96″? I have read that you should not mount your brackets any higher than 8 inches above your window…..but I’m thinking that you are suggesting differently. There are 19 inches above my windows. Please give me your opinion. Thanks!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Yes, I am suggesting differently! I would raise those panels to where they would just brush the floor – near the trim at the ceiling. I don’t think 19 inches above is too much – it will look grand 🙂

  21. Rapsag says:

    I have 12ft ceilings in my home, in my bedroom I have an 8ft sliding door with another window that’s approx 18inches wide should I be hanging my curtains above the TOP WINDOW?

    I currently have vertical binds in the slider with a valance on top but looking at different options.

    Please help!!!!

    Ceiling ——————

    | window

    Wall approx 12inches

    8ft slider. |

  22. pat says:

    Hello kristie, me being a bloke have just done up my unit , the issue is i got a professional to do my curtains which cost me around 7000, when i talked to the lady i asked and made clear the the curtains had to be off the floor plus gathered at the top so the rail did not show, at this time i do not live in the unit but when i went to look at the said work the curtain rail was showing with the curtain hanging slightly below and the were hanging on the floor, i was so disapointed with the rail showing, the curtains are a beautiful soft fabric when i asked her about this she said that if they had been gathered to hide the rail the gather would have kinda hung down floopy plus she said it was fashionable to have curtains this way the rail showing!, it reminds me of a hotel room what are your thoughts on my problem, ps they have taken up the curtains but!
    Kind Regards

    • Brenda says:

      My user image indicates, the help I need! I have always had issues with what to do with this widow because of all of the vaulted ceiling, window above window, business!
      We built the house….had no idea at the time to think about the windows… 🙁 We are surrounded by oak trees and wanted to let all the light in as possible, so came up with the configuration you see 🙂

      What thoughts come to your mind? PLEASE!

      Brenda B.

  23. Pingback: Helpful Guide For Ordering Window Panels • Kelly Bernier Designs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.