If you thought your curtains couldn’t be used for much more than hiding from nosy neighbors, think again.
Curtains are one of the most underused resources when preparing a home for sale, experts say. The right set of curtains or drapes can make or break some home sales—especially when it comes to transforming a room into the staged version you want your buyers to see.
Keep reading to find out the unexpected ways curtains can help you sell your home, and how to choose exactly the right ones for the job.
1. Curtains can block outside noise
Whether it’s the busy city street outside your apartment or the neighbor’s never-ending string of construction projects, a good set of drapes can do more than add a pop of color to your drab living room—it can also help mute the unwanted noise.
“The key is to refocus buyer attention to the positive aspects of the room,” says Caroline Carter, founder and CEO of Done in a Day. As opposed to, say, the sounds of traffic or babies wailing in the next home.
To properly block any noise from the outside, Carter recommends using a combination of neutral linen curtains and 1-inch plantation blinds or shutters.
Hang the drapes 3 inches to the sides of the window frame to avoid blocking natural light—starting just under the crown molding, all the way to the floor, she says.
But when using curtains to hide your home’s less-than-desirable features, it’s important not to lose sight of staging basics—like preserving as much natural light as possible.
“The combination of drapes and blinds will deaden outdoor noise and dress the window so the buyer is focusing on the natural light and the value of the blinds rather than the outdoor noise,” Carter says.
2. Curtains can hide ugly wallpaper or paneling
Maybe you inherited it, or maybe you chose it. Either way, we’re not judging—but buyers will.
It’s hard to fall in love with a home if certain features are detracting from its charm. So if you don’t have the means to get rid of the ugly wallpaper or paneling, at least do yourself a favor and cover it up.
“To remedy the look of paneling or wallpaper, install a fabric or curtain wall,” suggests interior photo stylist Bonnie Aunchman.
To get started, Aunchman recommends investing in quality fabric and having it measured precisely—by a professional, preferably. You’ll want the fabric grazing the floor when all is said and done, and not an inch higher, lest your buyers catch a peek of what you’re trying to hide.
“Have curtain tracks installed,” she says, “or if your budget doesn’t allow, you can achieve this look by using rods—just ensure they are as close to the ceiling as possible.”
To get an even more finished look to your handiwork, consider adding wooden or fabric-covered valances to conceal the curtain rod.
Aunchman also recommends staging furniture and a rug around the draped wall to make it look more natural in the room, and not as though something is being hidden.
“Draped walls are often done intentionally and can be beautiful,” she says. “Style your wall like it’s an element you intended to do!”
3. Curtains can make a small space feel larger
By now you’ve probably caught on to what’s considered proper curtain-hanging etiquette: That is, they should reach all the way to the floor. But did you know that you can make your house look larger by investing in curtains that are even slightly longer than what you would traditionally need?
If you have a few small rooms that need an extra bit of staging help, drapes can really come to the rescue on this.
Rather than buying curtains that start at the top of your window, opt for something longer and install the rod several inches above the window. This will give your buyer the illusion of a room with higher ceilings—and make it look much larger.
While you’re at it, extend your rods out past the window so that your windows appear larger, Aunchman says.
Just be sure your curtains look top-notch before the install.
“While it may seem that everyone would do this, make sure you steam out all the wrinkles after you unwrap your curtains—they have the obvious packing creases that need to be steamed out to drape beautifully,” Aunchman says.
How to find your perfect curtains
When selecting curtains to stage your home, there are a few important rules to follow.
“Select drapes that are up to date with the style of room as well as the style of the home,” Aunchman suggests.
And stick to neutral-hued drapes without loud patterns or geometric designs, she says.
“You want potential home buyers to focus on the home, not the drapes,” she explains.
To get started finding for your perfect curtains, check out stores like Wayfair (where you can shop for Aunchman’s go-to drapes) and J.C. Penney—which has a window treatment department that can help you kick off your custom window projects.