Are These Curtains Better?

I’m not so sure. I’ve tried putting these curtains in the library before (they’re from my studio), but after someone mentioned trying them here in the comments I thought I’d give it another go.

The Library with Colorful Curtains

Remember, here’s the before (with the curtains that everyone except me seems to love)…

The Library

I love the colorful curtains, but I don’t think they’re right for the library. Too kooky? Of course that makes me wonder if I’d like Orla curtains as much as I thought.

The Library with Colorful Curtains

Now I’m thinking I might want something more masculine. Maybe a crisp geometric in brown and white.

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  • lana
    June 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I L.O.V.E. those curtains! And if you don’t want them, I willl certainly be happy to take them of your hands! :)

    I vote to keep them.

  • April E.
    June 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I LOVE the BEFORE curtains…the colors are so GREAT in that room. :)

  • Dina
    June 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I love the first colorful ones but for that space, I prefer the 2nd set.

  • heidikins
    June 26, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I actually really like the bright floraly curtains, especially on a temporary basis (like, say, for the summer).

    Of course, this is coming from someone who, in a fit of emotional angst, just re-did her dining room in bright orange, sunshine yellow, and hot pink.

    I admit, I may be a bit biased, those curtains would look FAB in my new dining room. ;o)


  • Nicky
    June 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I like the new curtains! They add a pop of color, and a little kookiness, but I’m always partial to a little quirk in a room. Makes it more interesting! Love the design, and congratulations on your new baby :)

  • lori
    June 26, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    i still like the “before” curtains. sorry! ;)

  • creative*type
    June 26, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    i agree with april. i love the curtains but i really loved the colors in the origninal better in that space. also like your idea of a geo. print. would work better than floral IMO.

  • kribss
    June 26, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    i will take either or off your hands if that helps any ;O)

  • Chelsey
    June 26, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I prefer the original curtains. I LOVE the colorful ones, but I don’t think they’re right for the space.

  • Jen
    June 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I like the addition of the pink/red/rust colors found in the the bright curtains. However, I don’t love the print. I’d maybe look for something with similar colors but a less feminine print.

  • stidmama
    June 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I think the space needs a bit more color — if not curtains, then something else. Otherwise, it is too sterile for my taste — tasteful, but not exciting. I do like the new light fixture!

  • Lindsey
    June 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I actually like the floral ones there…they give the room a pop of color that adds a little visual interests.

    Where’d you find the first version curtains?

    { Lindsey }

  • girlysmack
    June 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I love the idea of a masculine, graphic curtain in there! Have you checked out Contempo Curtains? They have some nice geometric patterns…

  • April
    June 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    When you showed a more realistic picture of the library with the curtains, I definitely agreed with you that they didn’t match quite as well as it looked on the other pictures. I do like the print of these curtains in there though! However, once you bring up the geometric patter that sounds awesome, too. I LOVE geometric patterned prints. I think until you say “Ah, I LOVE that” it’s going to be hard to commit to it, but the curtains now may grow on you after a week or so.

  • Kim
    June 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I liked the original curtains, but I understand when a girl needs a change. Actually, the “crisp geometric” idea you mentioned really sounds like a great idea.

  • Chelsea
    June 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I agree with the choice to go with a new geometric pattern curtain…get the pop from the pattern vs. the color…I think it would be a great change and will mix it up a bit!

  • Paula
    June 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I like the original curtains best :) in that room.

  • Making it Lovely
    June 26, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    April, yeah those damn Pier 1 curtains photograph exceptionally well. This is probably the “more realistic picture” you referred to, right? That’s what they look like in person (blech).

  • luuvely
    June 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    yeah i dont think i like these at all..i like them better with pops of red….(like in your office)

    the geometric shapes my be a good idea…

    ps…the original curtains…although you dont like them..they just FIT the space :)

  • Kim
    June 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I love the pink curtains! Where did you find them??

  • S Nash
    June 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I love the floral curtains, but I would not put them in my library. I keep my reading room calm. I like your idea of possibly going with a geometric for the library. The floral curtains would use in my guest room, daughters room or craft room.

  • Leanne
    June 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    my 2 cents…they are very fresh and pretty for summer. i am sure that baby girl will enjoy the bright cheerful flowers. you can always change them out come september…

  • laurel
    June 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I think a bold, geometric pattern would be fantastic there. It would really pop.

  • Jessica
    June 26, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Although I liked the original curtains, I like these so much more. I do understand the desire for something a little more masculine- and I think a geometric print could be a good solution. In the meantime, I would def. keep these.

  • Janis
    June 26, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I love the curtains, both sets. I prefer the bright floral ones, but maybe not for your reading space. I think maybe a pair with a bit more of the yellow-ey/gold colour thats already in the libary. But im sure you’ll get it right:o)

  • Keri
    June 26, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I love the new colorful curtains, but they just seem to stand out and hit you in the face in the library. I think the original set fits better and makes the space more serene. I think a masculine, geometric in more muted colors would work, too.

  • Patti
    June 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I love both looks. The first is a quieter, more elegant look. The second is fun and funky. I think you should just alternate whenever you feel like a change!

    BTW, I love your whole house and wish I could make mine look that way!

  • Carrie
    June 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I personally LOVE the original curtains. When I first read the post that is what jumped out at me. I think they look awesome! I tend to like more exciting/bright colors as well, but for some reason the original curtains just work for me :)

  • Jules
    June 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I like the close up shot, but when you pan to include the yellow stairway, I don’t like it as much. I think it’s the yellow of the wall that is the problem, not so much that the floral curtains are kooky.

    I think a masculine pattern in a concise colorway (no more than 3 colors) would be the best way to go.

    I do love that table there!

  • Laura
    June 26, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Definetly like the original curtains there better, but I think your idea of something geometric would look great, too! I’m thinking a hex pattern…

  • Laura
    June 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm


  • Veronica
    June 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I like the idea of something more graphical and bold – I think the new curtains have to many additional colors for that space.

  • Lauren
    June 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    A geometric design would really complement the angles of the chair (I love that chair, by the way, the shelving, and the sort-of window/peephole. Both floral patterns really seem to pop in that environment, so you would want curtains you really love. Though I think that both options look nice, I really understand why you are looking for something that really works with the room.

  • Camille
    June 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I LOVE both of them! Was just admiring the first set last night!

    You inspired me to get some new curtains/panels for my living room!

  • Tiki
    June 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I like the original ones the best.That being said, I think curtains in the Orla print would be fabulous!!

  • Amber
    June 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    The first ones!

  • Molly
    June 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I love the original curtains – especially with the new light fixture.

  • Emily
    June 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I adore both curtain sets, but I think there is still a better choice out there for the library space. Maybe the first set is too delicate? Needs a stronger pattern. The second set is too colorful and feminine. (I think it could work if you threw in a colorful pillow and artwork, though.) Maybe Magdalene Window Panel – Green or Floral Window Panel – Sand from Pier 1?

  • Sprout
    June 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I like them both for different reasons. Plus, a photo on line is not the same as living with them.

    But what about using them for different seasons? I know I thought it was ridiculous growing up when my mother changed the curtains for the summer, but it’s starting to make a lot of sense to me now! (just can’t afford two sets of curtains yet…!)

  • LeilaMac
    June 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I like the punchy flower curtains better than the originals, but agree with changing them out for some bold geometric panels later!

  • Laura
    June 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I love the floral curtains. They add a life to the space that it doesn’t have with the others. Even if only for summer, as someone else noted!

  • Christina
    June 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I like the idea of a more geometric shaped curtain, the whole room seems to be organized and crisp and I think that type of curtain would compliment the room more. I do like the curtains though just not for that space =)

  • Kate
    June 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    For this space the first curtains, but agree with something more geometric and masculine wld be even better. Congrats on the birth of Eleanor. She’s so cute. Feel a littl jealous my 8 week old son wakes up1-2 times during thenight and takes 1-2 hrs to feed and settle. Does mean I can read interesting blogs though!

  • Chelsea
    June 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I love the bright and colorful curtains! They make different bookbinds pop out to match.

    Stephen King, “Cell”… love it!

  • LeeAnn
    June 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Argyle curtains would rock this library out! (if you could find them!)

  • Alissa
    June 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I really thought that the floral curtains from your office would look better than they turned out looking… So I looked through your flickr sets…

    What I am thinking is that while the library is truly beautiful, it doesn’t really match the rest of your rooms. They are all brighter and lighter and not as somber. Even Brandon’s office has a bit of pop and character of the two of you.

    I agree that aside from the brown floral curtains not being to your liking, that the color on the walls in the stairs might be part of the trouble with finding curtains that really shout out *Nichole* (and of course *Brandon*)… You had said before that you wanted to pull in the living room drapes (I think?) Perhaps a lighter shade of the wheat color that you have would make the difference that you need? (Since colors look darker in small spaces…)

    The geometric print would be easy to see if you like it… Isn’t Brandon’s old office rug a brown and white geometric print? You could try it out in the library and then see how you feel about it. (Especially since he has that cool new rug coming…)

    Good Luck! You have a fantastic eye…

  • Stacey Ball
    June 26, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Man, I’d just like the room! I don’t even care what the curtains look like!!

    Although, I must say the bright curtains are cuter, but I’m interested in a masculine geometric!

  • Tiffany
    June 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    i love the before curtains – because i have the pillows that match them lol

  • Emily
    June 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Would you make your own? Here is a cool fabric from Wilmington called Dandelion Toss – Brown by Melissa Saylor.

  • Hilary
    June 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I too love the before curtains, but I see the need for a more calmed down version for the library. Geometric patterns would be nice, but why not a simple plain curtain. Or is that too boring?

  • RisaJ
    June 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I love the before curtains. They are perfect for the room.

  • NestCaitlin
    June 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I love that print, but I loved the old one too. It’s a toss up. I do agree a bold, larger pattern would be great

  • deanna
    June 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I really love the pop of color. But, I think they work better in your studio. You’re on the right track though.

    The pop color is the right idea, but this pattern might be a bit too much. Maybe a floral with more visual structure would do it.

    If you haven’t already, you could look into a local screen printer, design your own and have them made. It might cost more, but it would be exactly what you want.

  • Deborah
    June 26, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    You’re looking for something more *sophisticated*, plain and simple.

    No “kooky”/colorful florals, and no borderline bland.

    You’re right: you want something more angular, more masculine perhaps, with more muted but luscious tones. That’s what you want. (And Orly Kiely will be too bouncy for what you want.)

  • pamela
    June 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    i like this replacement… especially with the less white or cream showing. also dig the new light!

  • Brandi H.
    June 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I prefer the look of the original Pier 1 curtains. I like the bold curtains in your office, however. You obviously need a change, and I think your thought of a geometric find may work great. You can always save the originals to use again at some point. They really do look great. The bold florals would look good in Eleanor’s room at some point!! :) You have great taste, so whatever you come up with… we’ll all LOVE it I am sure.

  • Kim
    June 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Love your blog!

    I vote for the before curtains.

  • Tracy
    June 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I love both! I do however prefer the original ones best. They are subtle and seem to be more library appropriate. They match the room perfectly!!

  • Cindy
    June 26, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I like the colors in the old curtains better. I can see what you are saying about a more masculine pattern for the library. Look forward to seeing what you end up hanging!

  • Brittanie
    June 26, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I definitely think the yellow in the stairway is the issue. The ‘Before’ curtains definitely look better on a whole-room level, but if you’re wanting to have more fun with the space, and give it more flexibility, I’d say to rethink that yellow instead of looking for more curtains to try to fit in. Good luck!

  • Anna A.
    June 26, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I like the before curtains much better. The floral curtains really don’t seem to flow with the rest of the room.

  • Jenni
    June 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    the do make certain things in the room pop that didn’t pop with the other curtains, but i agree something geometric would look better.

  • Anna
    June 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I’m with you. I don’t like the lighter (yellow and gray?) curtains. I prefer the more colorful here because they are darker. I too would like to see something crisp, geometric, and much darker.

  • A Merry Mishap
    June 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I do like these better but I can also imagine a brown & white, geometric pattern!

  • megan
    June 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    you might consider painting that wall the same yellow/gold as the stairway. it feels like there’s a lot going on with the two colors in the wall, the curtains, the window, and the bookcases. i really like the graphic nature of the curtains but think it might look better if you eliminated one element (two colors in the wall). it will be cleaner and crisper.

    just a thought from an ID.

  • Emily
    June 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I comped up my suggestions. I’m not a stalker, ha ha. I was just intrigued by your dilemma because I love both your curtains! And I had some spare time.

  • Dariela
    June 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I still love the ones you have up right now much more. They match so well!!

  • Mackenzi
    June 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I LOVE your idea for a more graphic & bold fabric- that room can handle it!!! I think a pattern similar to these China Seas fabrics might work exceptionally well. A big bold geometric- hell yes.

  • mrslimestone
    June 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    A geometric pattern might be better but I think you need to tie in the yellow (at least a tiny bit) or it looks disconnected.

  • Erika
    June 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I love the new curtains!! They seem much brighter and cheerier, at least in my humble opinion :)

  • bebojo
    June 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I’m not sure my comment will help, but here is my two cents.
    I like how the original curtains make a subtle, clean statement – at least in photos. The second curtains are a fun pop of color and a nice seasonal change.
    In my opinion you should design your own. Now before you scoff – I was thinking something like the Brightbranch Appliqued curtain from Anthropologie – but you could either paint them on linen or a soft home decor cotton or applique your own. I see something delicate and creeping – similar to the floral design on your wonderful blog.

  • Laura in LA
    June 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I dont know, I loved the floral curtains in the office better. They just seem to go with that room.

  • jbhat
    June 26, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Eek, who are any of us to be telling you? But I sheepishly prefer the originals in there. Maybe a diffent colored blankie on the ottoman for that pop of color?

  • courtney
    June 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    oh man, curtains are so hard, aren’t they? somebody needs to take that on. i hear is available. anyone?

  • Jeanee
    June 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I like the previous curtains better.

  • Amy @ Renovation Innovation
    June 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I prefer the original curtains – they compliment the space better

  • Heather
    June 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    OOh, I like them both a lot but the bright flowery ones are my fave for some reason…

  • Jessica
    June 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I LOVE the first ones. It brightens up the room and adds a little something extra! :D

  • Alissa
    June 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Emily’s mock up rocks! I love the Pier1 curtains in Sand! Has the tones of your office curtains, but toned down. Bolder color to go with the rest of the house.

  • robin
    June 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    of the two, i like the black and white ones better (the present or before pic, i guess) but i could see something totally different really blowing that space away. something with a more substantial fabric and design. seems like you’re having fun spending your bonus!!! i love seeing what you’re using it on :O)

  • Beth
    June 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I like the first ones better. But I also like your idea of something geometrical. You’re probably right about the Orla fabric, now that you’ve hung these others. You have a great eye!

  • Emma
    June 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I like the bright flowery ones the best – in the summer, I want to surround myself with a similar color palette to the ones represented in that fabric, and I like how the light falls through the various color blocks. Besides, aesthetic variation is always good for the soul!

  • Simone
    June 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I definitely think you should go with the bright florals, at least for the summer. then, in the winter, you could try structured brown. go with your natural instinct, though – you always make the right choice!

  • Valerie
    June 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I actually like the idea of stripes better, I think!

  • Birdie
    June 26, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I think I like your idea of getting new curtains. Maybe something with a texture pattern instead of a color pattern? Something is just slightly off with the flowers on both curtains – it’s just not flowing with the books. That said, your house is 1 million times nicer looking than mine regardless :)

  • Lúcia
    June 26, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Loved the before curtains… Total harmony with the space…

  • casacaudill
    June 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I like the “before” curtains better than the bright colorful ones – for that particular space – but now that you’ve hung the new light I think a masculine-looking geometric print would be the best option.

  • Martha
    June 26, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I prefer the “before” as well. The palette just works. There’s a bit of visual cacophony w/ the new ones from the other room.

  • CapreeK
    June 26, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I prefer these curtains to the old ones. They really brighten up the space and make the mustard wall much more of an accent color. The ‘before’ curtains, while they matched everything, were almost TOO matchy-matchy, which can be boring. Those are my two cents. :D

  • Katie
    June 26, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I like these better than the before curtains. But really I’m not sure that I like either one in that space. Maybe you should search out a geometrically patterned curtain.

  • Elizabeth
    June 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I think the flowery bright curtains are pretty but a bit discordant with the dark brown at the right in the pictures. The mustard walls probably make it hard to find something that goes, but of the two, I prefer the pale look to the vibrant in the space. Your house has so many colors and patterns, I think it would be great to have a neutral and soothing and (as you mentioned) masculine area of the house.

    Do you have a floor plan or walk through? I’m not sure how the rooms go when passing from one to another.

  • Margie
    June 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I prefer the original curtains. I think they compliment that space perfectly! The new curtains are a fun change, but the originals get my vote :0).

  • kristen_verity
    June 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I like the original curtains. I agree with the remarks that describe the flowery ones as “discordant.”

  • jen t.
    June 26, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    the flowers get my vote. i like the pop.

  • Jenny
    June 26, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Love the original curtains, but a geometric would be really great too. I just love this room!!!

  • greengirl
    June 26, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I LOVE the floral curtains in your studio, but not so much in the library. I know how it is when you just want something else, so you start moving things around, but nothing is quite working! Have you looked at the Thomas Paul fabrics – they are so lovely – I am currently coveting several of them!

    Good luck – I’m sure it will turn out to be fabulous! And BTW – congrats on the BHG win! Well deserved!

  • Courtney
    June 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Love the original set as well. I’m not opposed to bright colors, but they just don’t seem to go well with the room.

  • Kelly
    June 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Oh my goodness. Who knew so many people had opinions on curtains?! I think either look great. I guess if I had to choose, I’d go with the brown and gold floral. Have you looked at any of the Amy Butler fabics? Some of those are pretty funky and might be close to an Orla Kiely feel.

  • April
    June 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I love them for the summer! I’d embrace the bold colour for the season and then change ’em back when fall hits!

  • Danielle
    June 26, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I see what you’re saying about both sets – the first set are lacking a bit of pizazz, the colourful ones just don’t feel right in such a calm space.

    Funnily enough after reading your post I hopped over to This Young House, noticed the curtains in this ‘after’ shot and thought they would be perfect in your library:
    They are ‘stronger’ than your gold set but not as ‘loud’ as the colourful ones. Plus they’re pink and brown! :)

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