Bathroom Curtains: Top Ideas & Tips from The White Window

Bathroom Curtains & Window Drapes


Bathrooms are often the most used but least styled rooms in the home owing to the scantiness of space and constant exposure to water.  But while decor for decor’s sake may be impractical here, you can inject colour and personality by letting its functional accessories double up as decor accessories. That’s why, curtains are a great addition to any bathroom window - for introducing an element of softness and texture to its hard walls and a punch of colour and/or pattern to its often neutral-toned ambience.

But unlike most other rooms and spaces in the home, bathrooms pose unique challenges and several needs that bathroom curtains need to meet. From providing foolproof privacy to adding a fun touch of colour, bathroom window curtains have a host of expectations to fulfil. It is only a well-considered set of bathroom window curtains that can strike the difficult balance between elegance and functionality.  If this is your prime concern right now,  this blog is for you. It brings you the A to Z of getting your custom curtains for bathroom windows right.  On to the valuable tips from our in-house stylists:

SHOP NOW: Made-to-measure curtains for bathroom windows that spell bespoke while bringing in warmth and style to your favourite 'me-space'. Choose the right size, pick the right style, and add the embellishments just as you like with The White Window!

The Boxes That Bathroom Window Curtains Must Tick

Blue Bathroom Curtains


Since bathrooms are the most private rooms of the home, the top priority while curating this space is not to impress anyone as much as to make it most convenient and aesthetically pleasing for yourself. The challenge of round-the-clock exposure to water and humidity calls for bathroom curtains that are immune to their side effects. The curtains have to be adept at their function while flaunting their aesthetic potential. That’s a lot of boxes, but well-considered bathroom curtains can tick them all. Our drapery stylists - who are consulted by many clients and successfully perform this feat every day - tell us that with a few wise steps, it is easy to get there. These are their top recommendations:

Get the Fabric Composition Right

The fabric choice often becomes the ‘make or break’ factor when it comes to bathroom curtains because providing privacy while letting in some light and air is not a feat that every fabric can perform. Bathrooms need flawless privacy but not at the cost of being dingy and stuffy. So, the first step towards the perfect bathroom curtains is getting a fabric of the right composition. These are the qualities to look out for: 

LIGHT-WEIGHT, OPAQUE FABRIC: Bathrooms need good air circulation and sufficient exposure to natural light so that they can remain dry, odourless and free of mildew. So avoid bulky light-blocking fabrics and look for fabrics that offer privacy without being too insulative.  

If your bathroom window overlooks an unoccupied land or if a frosted glass pane or opaque window shade is already present to ensure privacy, semi-sheer and sheer curtains may serve as a good fit. Otherwise, only opaque fabrics are fitting for bathrooms. But be cautioned from falling for bulky, thick or blackout fabrics that rigidly block light.

Take cue from this bathroom’s cream non-sheer curtains that let in light while providing complete privacy when drawn-


Bathroom curtainsImage: Providence Design


OPT FOR LIGHT COLOURED NON-SHEER CURTAINS THAT WELCOME LIGHT WHILE MAINTAINING PRIVACY. In this gentle, neutral canvas bathroom, pristine white colour non-sheer drapes don a creamy glow against the sunlight while guarding the privacy. Their soft incandescence adds to the carefully balanced bronze-accented white palette of the space. It's the perfect ingredient that completes this bathroom's decor by adding warmth, and grace without negating light or privacy.


BREATHABLE, FAST-DRYING FABRIC: Being lightweight is not enough, the fabric should also be able to dry fast so that it can evade mildew formation. So, avoid thick fabrics like heavy cotton or velvet and look out for lightweight linen, cotton or their blends. To give you some examples from our collection of 100% natural fabrics, consider a loosely-woven linen like Verity or a cotton fabric like Sashiko. Or, consider a polyblend like Lyon or Lustre Sky wherein the presence of polyester helps the fabric to repel water and dry faster than otherwise.  However, do avoid cheap, low quality polyesters as they tend to trap odours. And we also recommend keeping away from pure silk as its polished charm will give in to never-fading water stains. 

Let the cafe-style pinch-pleated linen curtains in this traditional bathroom serve as inspiration-


Cafe curtains for bathroomsImage: Heidi Caillier


SHORT LINEN CURTAINS THAT FIT THE BILL IN BATHROOMS. Loose-woven linen easily drip-dries and evaporates off the wetness faster than most other fabrics, which is why it is an eternal staple in bathrooms like this one. What is further noteworthy is the featured curtain’s minimal length which aids the purpose of drying faster.

Discern the Apt Length and Width

Both, lavish flowy ballgowns and chic svelte minis are drool-worthy, but which look your bathroom curtains should sport is the question. If it’s all about looking formal and pretty, going maximal with the length and width makes the most sense. But if functional efficiency is prime, skimping a bit is a great idea in a bathroom.

Decide the correct length and width for your bathroom window after making these necessary considerations:

LENGTH: Curtains give the most fuss-free performance in bathrooms when they stop at the window sill. Short curtains get all our votes because they outsmart the challenges posed by bathrooms. They cover the entire window (if so desired), offer complete privacy, are easy to operate due to their low-volume body and will never cause tripping accidents. Hands down, they are the safest to use and easiest to maintain in any bathroom. Being lightweight, they dry faster and look right-proportioned for a small space and a small window.

The printed short curtains that neatly frame this bathroom’s windows prove the point beyond doubt -


Short CurtainsImage: Shannon Eddings


MAKE A STATEMENT WITH SHORT CURTAINS. Robbing nothing away from the limited free area around the tub and shower cubicle, these short curtains provide flawless privacy. Instead of blending them into the walls with matching colours, these curtains are made to be the accent pieces, underlining the fact that going short was a deliberate and thoughtful decision.


Another proposition is cafe curtains. They cover the lower half or three-fourths of the window and are usually left stationary as they let in light from the top even when curtains are drawn shut. These are popular in bathrooms and share all the practical advantages of short, full-coverage curtains. But whether they can ensure privacy must be evaluated in relation to the height and position of your window and whether it overlooks a busy street or peek-proof private property. 

This bathroom, for example, presents the perfect opportunity for cafe curtains -


Cafe CurtainsImage: Alexis Pearl Design


USE CAFE CURTAINS IN PRIVACY-PROOF BATHROOMS: Since the window stops almost a foot above the tub, covering the lower part of the window suffices to ensure privacy. To keep in line with the white and airy theme of the bathroom, white cafe curtains have been chosen that provide privacy and also allow light and air in through the open top portion.


That said, the relevance of long curtains in bathrooms is not altogether ruled out. One must let the bathroom layout and overall decor language dictate the route. 

If you have a capacious state-of-the-art ‘spathroom’ or a Churrigueresque-inspired grandiose bathroom, nothing should stop you from exhibiting your style-quotient in elaborately embellished floor-sweeping bathroom drapes.  That’s why the designers of this lavish bathroom have dressed the magnificent window wall with floor-to-ceiling white curtains-


White floor-to-ceiling curtains in bathroomImage: Elizabeth Kruger


GO FOR FLOOR-SWEEPING ORNAMENTAL DRAPERY IN SPACIOUS SPATHROOMS: Notice the tassel trims on the lead edges that tie in with the ornate crown moulding on the ceiling and the Chippendale clawfoot of the tub. The scope for satisfying your tastes is huge in bathrooms, especially because it’s a private space, but let the architecture and overarching design style inform your choice.


In addition, the layout of the bathroom also has a say. If there is sufficient distance between the window and the wet area, long curtains can stay fairly safe from getting damp at the bottom. But, if there is a shortage of space around the tub and the decor style warrants long curtains, there is no shortage of creative solutions. This bathroom curtain defies all challenges to its long trails by pairing with a dapper hold-back -


Ombre curtains in bathroomsImage: Tineke Triggs


IF OPULENCE IS A NECESSITY INSTEAD OF AN OPTION, TAKE CALCULATED RISKS & THE HELP OF STYLISH HOLDBACKS: The free-standing tub in this modern bathroom is proximate to the wall, leaving no room for long curtains. However, the statement chandelier and artfully painted ceiling would not have found a fitting chum in short curtains. So, helped by a jewelled holdback, long ombre curtains play to the scale and style of the bathroom while the frosted glass panes protect privacy.


To make the long story short, long curtains are emphatic aesthetic statements for a luxurious show-worthy bathroom whereas, short curtains are a practically efficient window dressing for a regularly used smaller bathroom.

WIDTH: For curtains to be lightweight and fast-drying, their width also must be kept to a minimum. While dense deep pleats can serve as an excellent aesthetic statement, small shallow pleats are ideal for bathroom curtains to keep them as airy and light as possible. Dense pleats tend to trap moisture, take longer to dry and attract mildew. Whereas, shallow pleats reduce these risks to the minimum. However, avoid going so far as to be left with an almost flat sheet of a curtain because undulated contours are the celebrated charisma of curtains and you don’t want your bathroom to miss that.

Make Thoughtful Considerations on Installation

Curtains work hand in hand with drapery hardware and their functional aptitude is highly dependent on these accessories. Hardware choices don’t only impact the aesthetic appeal, but also the way they operate. So, make the following considerations when choosing the heading style:

HEADING STYLE: The last thing you want to handle on a busy late-rise day is the cumbersome bathroom curtain that robs you of a precious minute just to manoeuvre it. If you expect to open and close the curtains often in your bathroom, select from among curtain heading styles that are mounted using accessories like rings and grommets as they glide easily on the pole. These include pinch pleats, flat panel tops and grommet tops.

Consider the curtains in this bathroom for example-


Blue cafe curtainsImage: Emily Followill


CHOOSE STYLES THAT GLIDE LIKE PINCH PLEATS FOR REGULAR USE CURTAINS: The Euro-pleat cafe curtains in this blue-white bathroom can effortlessly glide on the pole as it uses rings. Additionally, The sleek design of the triple Euro pinch pleats adds a touch of minimalist elegance to the overall aesthetic of the bathroom, creating a refined ambience that complements the décor beautifully.


If, however, you plan to leave your curtains closed always, as in the case of stationary cafe curtains, we recommend styles like rod pockets and back tab tops that stay put on the pole. This bathroom is a perfect example -


Rod pocket curtainsImage: Anna Spiro Design


GO FOR POLE HUGGING STYLES LIKE ROD POCKETS FOR STATIONARY BATHROOM CURTAINS: The rod pocket heading style is a perfect fit for this bathroom as it has cafe curtains that let in enough light from the top and don’t need to be drawn open for that purpose. Their pretty frills, joined by the floral prints, soften the sharp-edged pattern on the tiled walls.


In summary, the choice of heading style should depend on whether you plan to leave the curtains static or operational. And, they must also sync with your decor style, which we will get to in a moment.




HARDWARE PLACEMENT: When curtains are stacked open to the sides, they take away some space from the window. If you want to benefit from the entire window, expand the scope of the drapery pole. Position it about 15cms above the window frame or how much ever the wall space permits. Also, let the pole extend by 10-15cms beyond the window trim on either side so the curtains can stack past the trim and leave the entire window free for use.

This bathroom’s curtain rod has been installed with this clear intention-


Bathroom window treatmentsImage: Providence Design


EXTEND THE DRAPERY POLE BEYOND THE WINDOW TRIMS & INSTALL IT AS CLOSE TO THE CEILING AS POSSIBLE TO MAKE WINDOWS SEEM LARGER: Notice how the drapery pole has been placed close to the ceiling, far higher than the trim and also extends to the sides. When the curtains are drawn open, they will stack on the wall, leaving the entire window free for use. This carefully considered hardware positioning also tricks the eye into believing that the window is larger than it is.

Indulge Your Aesthetic Interests

While the functional role of bathroom window curtains enjoys prime importance, failing to tap into their aesthetic potential would be a terrible blunder. Curtains are one of the few accessories that provide a softening presence,  a refreshing dab of colour or a fun stroke of pattern in a bathroom. Besides, they also carry the prospect of being efficient mouthpieces of your personality and creative vision. The opportunity to sneak in a moment of joy should be all but lost.  

The trifecta for the perfect bathroom curtain comprises of palette, pattern and heading style. Since curtains take up prominent optical space, their colours and patterns stand out to the eye very effectively. Add to that a heading style that sets the right mood and you have a curtain that is the effortless je ne sais quoi element of your bathroom. 

When done right, curtains can do wonders for a bathroom to look inspiring and relaxing rather than boring and sterile.  


Blue floral cafe curtainsImage: Anna Spiro Design


BRING IN COLOURS & PATTERNS TO LIVEN UP YOUR BATHROOM: Blue floral curtains rescue this bathroom from looking slightly sterile with its sweeping package of solid neutral hues. Also, notice how beautifully the small-scaled floral prints echo the classical themes of the bathroom relayed in the penny-tiled floor and the clawfoot features of the tub and the chair. The right colour and pattern on the curtain make the picture of a well-put-together bathroom a wholesome treat.


But wait, there’s more -

The heading style also offers an aesthetic element to the curtain. A pinch-pleat heading style, for example, offers ornate pleats that almost work like a pattern or a deep texture on a plain drapery. Whereas, a style like a tab top or tie top offers a decorative element and woven elegance with its fabric loops. 

Together with pattern and palette, the heading style verbalises the aesthetic language of the bathroom. While pinch-pleats styles offer the tailored appeal fitting for maximalist bathrooms, grommet tops and flat panel tops come closest to portraying the clean lines of modern casual design styles and tab tops and tie tops offer the laidback charm fitting for feminine decor styles and rustic bathrooms. So, let the architecture and the overall decor of the bathroom decide the direction to be taken when squaring down on the heading style. In summary, palette, pattern and heading style are three key aspects that are to be considered to relay your aesthetic vision precisely. 

Top Tips for Small Bathrooms and/or Small Windows

Curtains in bathrooms have several challenges to meet and they are heightened in small bathrooms. Most small bathrooms feature small windows and making the most of these seems counterintuitive to covering them with curtains. But, it does not have to be so if you can make better design decisions. Here are a few suggestions from our bathroom styling specialists:

GO SHORT WITH CURTAIN LENGTH:  Both, a small bathroom and a small window, look disproportionately dressed in long curtains. Whereas, short curtains offer all the functional benefits of long curtains without taking away any floor space from a bathroom that may be already a bit cramped.

GO WIDE WITH DRAPERY POLE: When the curtain is not in use and stacked to the sides, the stackback should not block the window partially, compromising that much inflow of light. So, mount the drapery pole outside the window, not in its recessed frame. Furthermore, extend the pole a few inches beyond the window trim so that the curtains can be gathered away from the window when they are not in use. This way, you will have the entire window at your disposal.

BROADEN THE SPACE WITH THE RIGHT PALETTE: One cannot, of course, add space to the bathroom, but faking it is an option worth considering in a small space. Instead of bringing in curtains that sport extreme colour contrast to the walls, carry on with the theme and build continuity, as well-executed in this white bathroom - 


White Bathroom CurtainsImage: Emily Followill


BLEND CURTAINS WITH THE WALL TO CREATE CONTINUITY & VISUALLY ENLARGE THE SPACE: The white curtains blend with the white wall, calling no focused attention to themselves. This simple trick of making the curtains and walls the same colour, makes this bathroom feel larger whereas a coloured curtain could have broken the continuity and amplified the smallness of the space.


ELONGATE THE SPACE WITH THE RIGHT PATTERN: The patterns of your drapes can also work to make your bathroom feel larger or smaller visually. Patterns like slim vertical stripes, climbing vines and chevrons, that draw attention upward by their momentum, make the ceiling seem higher and the room more spacious. In contrast, wide awning stripes, overscaled florals and heavily bustling motifs make the room feel more crowded and smaller. So, choose apt patterns for your small curtains.

AVOID LAYERING: Decorating the windows with multiple layers of window treatments - like for example, curtains and roman shades - offers the opportunity to mix colours and patterns, but is not a wise approach for a small bathroom window. Here, we look to open up the window area and make it look less crowded. So, let your curtains go solo and your window will look light, bright and happy. 

CONSIDER VALANCES: If you have a frosted or reeded window pane and wouldn’t care to add curtains except for their softening presence, consider valances as a substitute for curtains instead. They carry a similar aesthetic potential and decorate only the crown of the window, leaving the entire window free for use. Position the valance above the window such that it overlaps the trim lightly and design it in a striking hue that calls attention. This trick works to elongate the visual horizon and makes the window feel taller and the ceiling looks higher.

CONSIDER SHEER FABRICS: If the privacy factor is not what drives you to add curtains, a transparent or semi-transparent fabric would be ideal. Forging a visual connection with the outdoors, sheer curtains broaden the visual horizon, masking the smallness of the bathroom. Besides, they enable the bathroom to look more bright and airy whereas opaque fabrics would do just the opposite. For inspiration, consider a fabric like the white cotton-linen blend Wintertime or the polycotton Cashmere from our collection.



Shop Bathroom Window Curtains at The White Window


Floral curtains for bathrooms


A well-designed set of bathroom curtains offers unfailing privacy, and if you let it, packs soft elegance and glamorama-factor into a space that would otherwise feel almost like a tiled box. Be it the small curtain that does a smart job or the long drape that pulls off a luxe feat, we hope that this blogpiece will serve as a roadmap to your desired destination. Browse The White Window’s collection of cotton, linen and poly-blend curtains online today to find that one special veil that will make all the difference to your bathroom’s aesthetic statement. 

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