Style & Shopping News & Trends

This Simple Curtain Trick Is an Instant Mood Booster

It’s all about finding the right shade.
Rainbow-colored linen curtains

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

If Frances Merrill had a bumper sticker, it would read “Will work for dappled light.” The founder of Los Angeles–based Reath Design has become an expert in bold patterns and vivid walls, but her signature move is undoubtedly her window treatments. “Sunlight through colored curtains is a true mood booster,” she says. Now that’s something we could all use a little more of while stuck at home.

She isn’t the only one to have adopted this idea. Merve Kahraman installed ombré sheers in a New York City apartment, and Roksanda Ilincic played with a similar effect in a London pad.

Merrill makes it look so effortless, but there’s certainly an art to achieving the desired result. “We often buy a yard of a few fabrics so we can hold them up at different times of day to see the quality of light,” she explains. Merrill says the direction the window is facing doesn’t really matter; instead, she relies on her intuition to decide which hue will work best. Here are four clever ways to get the look.

Let Your Plants Guide You

Green linen curtains
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Reath Design

In this living room, Merrill used moss green sheers on a corner window to accentuate a nearby fiddle-leaf fig. “I love simple linens that let the light through and are also well priced, because curtains take an enormous amount of yardage,” she explains. Paired with a plum velvet chair, this treatment gives the room soothing vibes.

Frame the Sunset

Rose linen curtains
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Reath Design

In this pink seating nook, Merrill used a variety of sunset hues via furniture and finished it off with rose-colored drapes, something she also has at home. “I have pink curtains in my bedroom, and the afternoon glow is magic,” she says. If your space gets particularly great rays at dusk, show it off. 

Draw the Shades Down for Movie Night

Blue linen curtains
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Reath Design

Though Merrill typically creates the look with drapery, it can work just as well with simple shades. In this room, the designer paired muted green walls with cobalt window treatments that provide a moody feel that’s perfect for movie night. 

Go for a Rainbow Effect

Rainbow linen curtains
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Reath Design

Perhaps the best and most daring rendition of this style is in one of Merrill’s latest projects, where a full wall of windows is lined with linen in a variety of colors—marigold, plum, forest—creating a veritable rainbow for the room. Maybe that’s just the weekend project you need to boost morale at home these days.

See more stories like this: A “Chromatically Confident” Home That Channels ’70s SoCal Energy Surprisingly, Brown Floral Velvet Is What Made This 1920s Home Fresh Again A Glider–Turned–3-D Quilt Steals the Show in This Rainbow-Fueled Nursery

Gabrielle Savoie


Gabrielle is most often found digging through 1stdibs in search of Tobia Scarpa sofas, hunting down the newest cool hotels, or singing the praises of Art Nouveau. She spends an inordinate amount of time looking at real estate floor plans and listening to podcasts. In her free time, you’ll likely find her bouncing on a trampoline at Fithouse, snacking on a crudo at the latest cocktail bar, antiquing for French silverware, or dogsitting for anyone who will ask—yes, even you.