Sigh. You look around the room — that room that you can never quite settle on a style for — and think, “It’s just not there.” You’ve tried a new carpet. Switched out the accessories. Maybe, you even re-covered the couch. Or, you might have rearranged the furniture to get a different perspective. Still, the room needs something more, something fresh, something…huh, when was the last time you re-considered the curtains? Your windows are actually the single most important design element in any room because of how dramatically they affect the light, visual weight, and overall ambiance of a space. In fact, switching up your curtains is the perfect way to give your room a totally new look and feel without doing a major overhaul or costing you a fortune. Feeling stuck? Check out these five unique ideas for dressing up — or down — your windows on the fly and give your space that ahh you’ve been looking for.

1. Paper mate

One way to really change up your space is to forget about classic fabric drapes and instead consider paper shades. Besides being fuss-free (no more washings or wrestling with curtain rods), paper shades are sheer enough to give your room a soft, sunny glow, but opaque enough to still give you plenty of privacy. We also love the idea of using Japanese shoji screens as well. The geometric wooden elements are like instant modern art and can add that sophisticated edge you’ve been looking for if you want to take a casual space to the next level.

2. The New Sheers

When thinking of using sheers, look beyond those white whispy numbers you’re used to seeing in stores. Instead, visit your local fabric shop and seek out an airy but interesting textile that’ll make all your friends say “where’d you get that?” We love these woven-looking shades stylist Anouk B. used in this lofty room. Although the fabric is dark, the large open weave allows plenty of light through, and the unique, almost sketched look of the textile adds a softness and lived-in quality to an otherwise modern-looking space.

3. Vertical Drama

Small windows can be a frustrating design problem to deal with, but don’t think busting through the drywall is the only solution. You may have already heard about hanging curtains just outside the window frame to give the illusion of added width, but this can make a small room feel crowded. Instead, think of maximizing the space above the window by hanging a valance that covers just the topmost edge of the frame and extends up about two feet, or as far up as your ceiling will allow.

4. On The Line

Maybe, instead of light and airy, your room needs that little extra drama that traditional curtains can add. We love the look of solid-colored drapes with a bold, contrasting stripe for the way they can add visual weight to a large space and even break up a wide room without adding furniture. Go for a high color contrast or graphic chevrons for a stand-out look, or keep it simple with softer colors (or even an ombre fade) for subtlety that still packs a punch.

5. Unique little touches

It’s true that it’s the little things that tie a room together, that truly give a room a refreshed feeling, but it’s the unexpected little things that really make a space your own. A great way to add an extra something to your window treatment is with a unique curtain tie-back. From antique doorknobs, to nautical ropes, to old necklace chains, this is a great way to upcycle your odds and ends — and maybe even start a new trend.