What's Best for Your Window Decor
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Drapes VS. Curtains: What's best for your Window Decor?

Drapes and curtains are not the same thing. Learn the difference between the two and what is the best window decor for your space and your style.

Most people make the understandable mistake of thinking that drapes and curtains are the same thing. Even interior decorators mix up the two!  But when it comes to window decor, drapes and curtains have somenotable differences.  What are they? What's best for you, your room, and your style?  Read on to find our top tips on choosing between these two types of window decor.

What Are Curtains?

Drapery and Valances

It seems like a silly question, but the answer may surprise you.  Curtains are fabric panels, usually sold in pairs. They vary in length and range from short to long. Curtains that hang at your kitchen window, to long panels that fall to the floor.  Curtains hang from a rod or a track and are attached by various means, though the most popular are rings and hooks.


Curtains come in a variety of patterns and fabric weights. They range from sheer, fine fabric like the type used for net curtains, to heavier, opaque fabrics.  Net curtains vary in color and style, though most tend to be white. While nets can be plain, many have lace detailing along the bottom edge, and the patterns vary greatly.  Opaque curtains come in a vast array of colors and patterns, as you'll probably know. Curtains run in so many different fabrics, from polyester to velvet, it can be hard to choose one.

Sheer Fabric

An important point to note about curtains is that they are not lined. Curtains are just one layer of fabric, and so the amount of light they let in depends on the weight, or thickness, of the fabric. Finer, sheer curtains let in lots of light. They're great for any room and maintain some privacy during the day. Sheer curtains often hang closer to the window and, as they're easily seen through in the dark, heavier-weight curtains are often drawn across them in the evening.

However, because they're so light in weight, it can sometimes be difficult to get sheer curtains to hang nicely.

Heavier Fabric

Curtains with a higher thread count are thicker than their sheer fabric counterparts, and while they block out more light, they still allow plenty of sunlight into the room when drawn. While still fairly lightweight, thicker curtains come in lots of beautiful patterns, so your window decor can really make the room. The thicker the fabric, the more difficult it gets to make curtains hang nicely, so make sure you choose one that pleats and folds well. In fact, this may be the time to call in professionals, as they can give you all the information you need to find just the right fabric for you. Thicker curtains are great for living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms - any room where you don't mind some light flowing in.

So What Are Drapes?

drapes vs valances

Like curtains, drapes are fabric panels, usually sold in pairs. Drapes are usually long in length, though, with enough fabric to cover the entire window and fall to the floor. Sometimes, the drapes pool at the base, depending on preference. Drapes also hang from poles or tracks and are usually attached using hooks.


Drapes are made of heavier fabric, and though they are available in many colors, fabrics, and styles, most of them are in a block color, rather than patterned. Drapes are usually pleated at the top and there are many different styles of pleat available.


The main thing to remember about drapes is that, unlike their curtain counterparts, drapes are lined. The lining is usually so heavy that it blocks out any light that regular curtains would allow through. This light-canceling quality makes drapes an excellent choice for bedrooms, where the early morning sunlight can disrupt your sleep, or wake you up from a deliciously lazy lie-in.

Natural Insulation

Another great benefit of drapes is that the heavy nature of the fabric and lining acts as a barrier between the cold of a glass window and the room beyond. This keeps your room nice and cozy on those cold winter nights and frosty mornings. But because drapes block out warm sunlight, they also keep a room cool in warmer months. While drapes can be more expensive than curtains due to the amount of fabric used, they are often better quality than unlined curtains, and so wear less quickly and last much longer. It's also good to remember that, though the initial outlay for drapes can be higher, they can save you money on your heating and cooling bills, for long-term savings.

Which Window Decor Is for You?

Whether you choose curtains or drapes really is down to personal preference, style, and the nature of your room. Your home may be full of coveted bright sunlight through the day, which is a desirable quality in houses today. But in the mornings, that light may disrupt your sleep.

Perhaps your home has been designed with glass panels above your doorframes, or glass doors as a feature. If so, then having drapes in your bedroom alone won't be enough to keep your room dark and cozy for the best sleep. Drapes in the rooms adjoining your bedroom could also help in this instance, to keep the house dark until you're ready to wake up. If you're a heavy sleeper or enjoy waking with the sun in the morning, curtains may be perfect for you, even in the bedroom. What if you have something particular in mind, but want patterned drapes, rather than solid ones, for example? In that case, why not speak to a company specializing in window decor? They'll be able to make up just the design you want from a range of fabrics and patterns, tailor-made to suit you.

The Takeaway

Window decor is a truly personal expression of your style and home. The fabric, the color, the pattern and type that you choose all contribute to creating a room that is uniquely yours. Drapes and curtains are different in a few ways, but both are perfect for giving your windows the makeover they need, so your home will have that stunning yet cozy touch. Liked what you read? Why not check out our article on why plantation shutters may be just the window decor you're looking for.

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