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20 Window Curtain Alternatives For Your Home

Curtains have been used in homes for thousands of years, making them a longstanding tradition and popular choice to cover up windows. Many people like to decorate their windows with curtains, but what do you do if you are looking for something different? Based on where your windows are located or the style of the room, you may want to add something else to that space.

If you are looking to upgrade your windows or change up the look and are bored with curtains, there are plenty of options available to you. Here are 20 alternatives to window curtains that can add a unique and personal touch to your living space.

Stained Glass

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Stained glass is a great way to add something decorative and artsy to your window space. Just pop out the window and add your beautiful new stained glass as your window. There are plenty of shapes and designs available to fit the color and decor as well as your personal taste.

You can easily dress up a skylight by replacing the glass with stained glass for an artistic look and to tone down the bright light streaming in from the sun. Adding a stained glass window is a unique alternative to curtains, but they can be pricey, so make sure you have enough set aside in your budget to purchase one.



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Adding an awning to your kitchen window is a great choice, especially if you want something besides a valance in that space. You can get these in many colors and patterns to match the look you already have in the room it will go in.

Add a colorful awning to your kitchen window to make it feel like you are in a coffee shop or restaurant. The only downfall to awnings is that yours may need cleaning from time to time, especially if installed in the kitchen.

Roman Shade

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A Roman shade is a great way to provide shade to a window or windows throughout the house. Roman shades come in plenty of neutral colors, making them a great addition to farmhouse decor and other styles that are simple with a little color.

Roman shades are easy to use by simply pulling up or down, based on how much privacy and sunlight you want. The only drawback to Roman shades is that they may not appeal to everyone.



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Make your window space out among the others by placing artwork in front of your window. You can be as modest or unique as you want with the array of choices available.

It might be hard to install art with a frame, so choose just the canvas to put in front of the window or a work of art that is mounted for some stability. You won’t get complete privacy using this method, but it is a unique way to show off artwork using natural light from the window coming through.

Roller Shades

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Roller shades are a simple way to replace curtains on windows. Shades are installed above the window and simply roll down when you want some privacy and less light flooding a room.

You can get roller shades in a variety of colors and styles, such as neutral tones if you don’t want the focus of the room to be on the window. The only downside to using roller shades is that there is not much to be done for the lack of height since they are made to just cover a window.



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Adding shelves to the front of your window is another way to get some privacy without installing curtains. Add some life to the window area by decorating the shelves with plants and other decor to go with the rest of the room.

There are several types of materials you can use for your shelves, such as wood, glass, and metal. Make sure to match with the rest of the room to complete the look. Don’t put too much on your shelves to avoid the area looking too busy.

Patterned Shades

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A patterned shade is a great way to add a pop of colors and patterns to a plain window. You can mix and match with the decor in the room, or use a completely different look to keep the area interesting compared to the rest of the room.

Since shades are smaller than curtains, they generally cost less due to less fabric being used. One downside is that you may have to purchase and install a rod to place your new patterned shade on.

Hanging Plants

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A unique alternative to window curtains is placing hanging plants where the curtains would normally go. Since so many are working from home nowadays, having live plants indoors can liven up the space you work in. Plus, indoor plants can improve the air quality in your home.

Hanging plants are a great way to bring nature indoors, especially if you work from home. You want to keep up with watering your plants so that they don’t die. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can always purchase artificial hanging plants. 



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If you lack creativity or are looking for a more traditional way to have privacy with windows, blinds are widely available. Wood, vinyl, and other materials are used to create blinds.

You can also choose blinds in many colors, based on the initial material you want. It is easy to get privacy with blinds since you just need to close them up. They do require some upkeep since dust easily settles on them and you want to also watch for warping, based on what type of material was used to make the blinds.

Curtain Beads

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Hanging beads is another way to replace traditional curtains on a window. There are plenty of colors and styles to choose from. This retro look can be updated by purchasing a bead curtain with a print that can be seen when all the beads are hanging down.

Get a beaded curtain in a solid color or opt for a rainbow-colored one to match the rest of the decor in the room. It is easy to bring in more light by simply tying back the beads on one or both sides of the window. No matter which you choose, keep in mind that beaded curtains won’t give you complete privacy.

Metal Screen

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Metal screens can add interesting design and lines to your window space. A metal screen adds privacy and keeps out some light while adding artistic value to the room with the many designs some are made with.

Another great thing about metals screens is that these will go with most home decor types, no matter how simple or complex a room is. You can also order a custom made screen from some suppliers if you can’t find one you like. Metal screens are usually pricier than curtains due to the material used, so be ready with a budget.

Window Clings

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If you want something with plenty of options without a high price tag, consider adding window clings to your windows. You can find window clings that are plain or dramatic, based on your personal preference and the decor already displayed in the room. Window clings are very easy to install but do require being replaced due to wearing down over time.

Washi Tape

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For those who want to save money or are looking for a cheap way to cover a window can look into getting washi tape. Apply as little or as much of the tape as you want to get some or a bunch of privacy. Use a mix of washi tape in solid colors and patterns for a unique look.

Washi tape is a great alternative to curtains for kid rooms and college dorms since they are not a permanent window treatment. Another great part about using washi tape is that you can remove it if you want to change the look around or experiment with a different design. If you want a more permanent window treatment, there are other alternatives you can read about.

Barn Door Shutters

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For those who love the farmhouse look, get some barn door shutters to use against some of the windows in your home. Many of these are made from reclaimed barn doors to give it a more authentic look.

These work great for those who want complete privacy and little light during the day. Barn door shutters come in a variety of prices to meet your budget needs. Barn doors tend to be heavy, so make sure someone strong can handle them to avoid any injury.

Lace Curtain

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For those who prefer a light and feminine look will enjoy decorating a window with lace curtains or pieces of lace. Plenty of natural light will come through with the privacy you are looking for.

The lace will brighten up your room without glare from the sun. Lace is great combined with farmhouse and other country decor looks. Just watch out for damage from the sun, tears, and be prepared to routinely clean your lace to keep it looking fresh and brand new.

Laser Cut Out Panels

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Laser cut out panels are a creative way to replace regular window curtains. When not in use, these can be displayed on the wall near the window as works of art. Homes with a decor theme that is industrial, modern, or classical will look beautiful with laser cut out panels in front of windows throughout various rooms.

You can find many one-of-a-kind panels made in different materials, such as wood and metal. These are great conversation starters and are a unique way to let in some light while retaining privacy. These tend to be heavy so be careful when handling your laser panel.

Macrame Curtain

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Macrame is making a comeback, this time as a curtain alternative. A macrame curtain would look great with farmhouse decor or another minimal type decor with white and cream as the main colors.

You can spend as much or as little on your macrame curtain as you want, with ones made by an artist being more expensive. Macrame is not for everyone and there is minimal privacy, so be mindful where you place it in your home.

Wood Shutters

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Another farmhouse-inspired look can be done with wood shutters. Even if you don’t have the farmhouse look in your decor, wood shutters go with just about any room and decor choice.

Another great thing about wood shutters is that you are in control of how much sunlight and privacy you can get. For those who enjoy more sunlight, this may not be the best choice since they keep most light out when completely shut.

Frosting Spray

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Use frosting spray on windows where you want complete privacy at all times. Frosting spray works great for those who don’t want to bother with putting anything together on the window. This spray is also very affordable!

Frosting spray is easy to use since you don’t have to worry about installing anything on your window. It allows light in the room while also maintaining the privacy you want. You may have to apply several coats until you get the right amount on your windows.

String Lights

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String lights are a fun way to decorate a window. You won’t get much privacy during the day, but at night the lights can be the focal point of the room. This playful piece of home decor will give off a different mood in the evening and is great for a romantic dinner at home.

You can always cover your lights up during the day too, since they may look awkward in the daylight. Window string lights are very cost-effective for those looking for a cheaper way to replace curtains.

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