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Sheer Curtains for Compact Spaces
Sheer Curtains for Compact Spaces
Design Features
July 2, 2024

Sheer Curtains for Compact Spaces

It’s the heavyweight of the lightweight category. This barely-there décor is a versatile design tool that is just-there-enough – whether its diffusing light or sightlines.

It’s the heavyweight of the lightweight category. This barely-there décor is a versatile design tool that is loved by designers for being just-there-enough – whether its diffusing light, creating privacy, or adding elegance.

Kate Kolberg
Writing:
Writing:
Kate Kolberg
Photography:
Photography:
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Barely There: Sheer Curtains for Small Spaces

For a décor that could be described as “barely there”, sheer curtains can actually do quite a lot. In fact, their primary beauty is that they are just there enough – diffusing rather than obstructing. There is no one set type of fabric that sheer curtains need to be made from. And while the most common textiles include voile, chiffon, organza, and linen, the only essential quality is that it is lightweight enough to allow for light – and an ample amount of it at that – to pass through. Sheers actually find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum from blackouts on curtain opacity scale, making them the most translucent but also the least private. Why bother putting up a curtain that you can see right through, you ask? Turns out, there are a lot of reasons – some of which are even more apropos to small space design.

Gentle Window Treatments

The most common use of sheer curtains remains as window treatments. Their translucent fabric acts like a diffuser, filtering the natural light to soften both the feel and appearance of harsh sunlight. As a result, sheer curtains are popular in hot climates or in any residence that receives a lot of direct sunlight as a way of managing glares and the heat without sacrificing the natural illumination. This can be especially key for small homes that rely on only one to two windows, as closing them off in any way may affect the entire footprint. As window treatments, sheer curtains are also embraced for how they don’t obstruct the view and, somewhat ironically, for how they do ever-so-slightly obstruct the view. Meaning: In the cases where the view is good, you can still see it; but when it's not-so-good, you don’t have to see it quite as clearly. 

Privacy and Aesthetics

Small space designers also love sheers as a tool for zoning in situations where privacy or intimacy is needed on more of an on-demand type basis. In tight living quarters, sheer curtains can cleverly divide rooms without compromising the flow of light or any feelings of spaciousness. Hung from ceiling tracks or wall-mounted tension rods, they create subtle partitions, delineating zones for different activities without the need for bulky dividers. One of the most common uses of sheer curtains that we see in NTS-featured homes is shielding a bed or sleeping area from the living room. This comes in handy when homeowners have guests visiting or if they are simply making a valiant effort to dissuade themselves from climbing back into bed while working. 

Outside of strictly functional uses, sheer curtains are often selected for their aesthetic quality. They are delicate and ethereal (two qualities that made them hugely popular in the Victorian era) and are often added to designs to take the edge off, so to speak. By adding some visual texture and blurring boundaries between space, sheer curtains can help make small spaces feel more luxurious, tranquil, and even more expansive. But it is the summertime that they are at the most magical, dancing in the breeze of an open window or door. 

Visit our episode page to see more Never Too Small homes using the lightweight textile with a heavyweight attitude.

Writing:
Writing:
Kate Kolberg
Photography:
Photography:
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