Curtains are often called drapes and vice versa. This is so common that most people don't give it a second thought. But, are they really the same thing? Not quite. In fact, there's a distinctive difference between these two window treatment styles. Understanding how to tell one from the other is going to be a big help should you be faced with a decision between curtains and drapes.
What are Curtains?
Curtains are window coverings made of fabrics such as cotton or polyester. Most curtains range from lightweight to medium in construction, which is fine for most window treatment designs. Because every bare window in a home or apartment needs covering, curtains come in a vast array of patterns, sizes and color choices. Curtains can be offered as individual panels but are most conveniently found in sets of two panels.
Pretty much anything goes when you shop for curtains. Well-made curtains are solidly constructed at the tops and bottoms, and should last for years under normal conditions. Generally, curtains are an easy way to provide decorative covering for bare windows. The only downside to curtains is their lack of lining. Lightweight panels are too thin to prevent strong drafts, but they might be of some help in minimalizing air seepage.
As a rule, standard curtains are also not that great at filtering bright light. Ditto for sheer and lace styles. Sheers have a wispy beauty many people love, but they do allow plenty of light to shine through their gauzy fibers. Plain and patterned curtains are better at filtering light than sheers, but they won't create pitch darkness when drawn closed.
Choose Curtains for Decorative Versatility
Curtains are easy to work with and you can create countless interior design window treatment looks with them. Curtain designs can be traditional, old-fashioned, chic, fancy, fun or extravagant. Solid color curtains give you the most versatility when you're devising window treatments that complement room furnishings. It's common to stick with curtains that have the same color scheme throughout the entire room. Let's say you choose plain panels in a gold hue for one window. To avoid a mismatched appearance, you should also choose the same panel style and color for the other windows.
There's no need to stick to the same color/pattern theme for every room. Most kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms have different types of curtains. Once you know the room's purpose, you have a much better idea of how to create window treatments. For instance, you might have your eye on a pair of checkered curtains for the kitchen. Alternatively, curtains featuring a beautiful floral theme may prove to be a perfect match for those bathroom shades.
Valances and swags are another type of curtain that are often used to give windows a layered feel. These pieces may or may not come with a set of standard panels. When you hang a valance or swag above straight panels, the effect is captivating.
What are Drapes?
You may have heard the expression, "Close the drapes" used when someone wants curtains drawn. Even interior decorators have been known to call curtains drapes. However, drapes are slightly distinctive from curtains and it helps to understand this difference when shopping for both styles. A big distinction is that drapes are typically made from heavier materials such as damask, silk or velvet. Although, they can be made from other fabrics. Drape length is on the longer side and headers are just as varied as curtains.
Choose Drapes for Insulation and Light Blockage
Drapes often have lining, while curtains are unlined. When you combine heavier fabric with lining, you get window treatments that are perfect for keeping rooms warm and free of cold drafts. During warm months, closing the drapes helps keep rooms cooler. Our hardy Insulated Tab Top Patio Door Curtains are bonded with long wearing, acrylic insulation, which keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
If you're looking for window treatments that prevent bright light from entering the room, interrupting sleep, drapes are a great choice. Fabrics are weaved tighter, preventing light from seeping through. No shade is required once you close the drapes. Blackout drapes are a popular choice for anyone who wishes to enjoy restful sleep day or night.
Another key feature that most drapes have versus curtains is their formal appearance. Drapes add rich elegance to stately dining rooms and posh living rooms. Antique and traditional furnishings are a natural pairing for all styles of draperies. Solid color drapes are classic and remain popular for their versatility. Red, gold and deep blue color drapes all exude a sense of royal luxuriousness. You can also find drapes in a wide range of beautiful floral patterns, or in captivating contemporary patterns.
Just because drapes are heavier, doesn't mean you're creatively limited when it comes to window design. Drapery panels can be enhanced with matching valences, sweeping swags and distinctive curtain ties. Drapery sets may include one or more of these common accent items. You can also pair drapes with sheers for a beautiful heavy/lightweight contrast.