Curtains and draperies are a vital part of any home. They’re the first thing people see when they walk in, so it pays to make them look great. They also come in all shapes and sizes, from simple sheers to elaborate swags that reach almost floor-to-ceiling.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about curtains and draperies, including the different types of curtains and how to choose the right fabric – let's get right into it.
What are curtains and draperies?
First, let’s get the terms straight. Curtains are generally less expensive than draperies and can be made of any material you choose – usually a lightweight fabric like cotton or polyester.
Draperies, on the other hand, are more expensive since they’re custom-made to your specifications. Drapey fabrics come in many different colors and textures, from silks to wools to twills. Draperies can also feature special treatments such as anti-theft linings or ultraviolet ray protection, which keep your furnishings and floors safe from damaging sunlight. Because of this extra attention to detail, draperies add elegance to almost every room in your house – for example living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, dining rooms, and even kitchens.
Differences between curtains and draperies
The difference between both types of window treatments appears mainly in the fabric. Curtains, for example, tend to be less expensive than draperies, because they are typically made out of polyester or cotton fabric that may also include some special finishes such as an anti-tarnish finish. While you can find many different styles and patterns, curtains are usually more informal than drapes.
When it comes to decorative fabrics, most often what separates curtains from draperies is the texture. Generally speaking, light textiles like a voile or lace would be called “curtains” while sturdier ones like velvet or damask will fall under the category of “drapery”.
In general, curtains have a lighter touch and are more suitable for high-traffic areas such as living rooms. They can also be layered to create an interesting effect or they could be the primary focus of your window, depending on the style you choose.
Draperies generally have bolder designs and are made from heavier fabrics with extra details like pleating, ruffles, tassels, or trim. Instead of using them to cover the whole window, draperies are often hung over a curtain rod at each side of a window where they can add color and personality – especially when matched with rich colors that coordinate well with other textiles in your home. Drapery panels can also be used to hide unsightly things in your room or to create a focal point.
Curtains and draperies can also be classified based on their material or application. There are different types of curtains, such as thermal curtains, sheers, blackout curtains, lace curtains, kitchen curtains, and so on. Draperies tend to be made from heavier fabrics than typical curtain materials such as cotton velvet, silk damask, wool velveteen, etc.
Types of curtains
Cotton curtains are the most common type of drapes people buy for their windows. They’re often used in combination with heavier materials so they can provide a nice contrast in your room. Cotton is very easy to work with and is perfect when you need lightweight curtains for high-traffic areas like living rooms, bedrooms, or home offices.
Silk curtains have an impressive, luscious look that makes them ideal for high-end window treatments. If you want a sense of luxury around your house, silk would be one of the best materials to choose from. Silk curtains are usually a bit more expensive than other fabrics, but they add elegance and sophistication to almost any room.
Silk curtains can also be created from bamboo, which has the same elegant texture but with the added benefit of being eco-friendly.
Fabric types for curtains
Lighter fabrics like cotton are great when you want sheer curtains that keep light out but still allow air to pass through the material.
By itself, cotton is not a particularly good insulator because it doesn’t trap heat as heavier fabrics do. To solve this problem, many people combine cotton with other fabrics so that they can take advantage of both properties. This combination also helps to prevent sun damage and fading, while still keeping your house cool in warm weather conditions.
It's possible to sew curtains from slips or petticoats, which add fabric volume without adding weight. These are commonly used in kitchen decorating as an alternative to valances and cornices for lightening up all the dark colors you’ll find in modern kitchens. Placing light curtains over top of darker ones will help diffuse light into the room by keeping the sun from reflecting off surfaces and bouncing around inside.
What is the purpose of draperies?
Draperies are a vital part of any home. They’re the first thing people see when they walk in, so it pays to make them look great. They also come in all shapes and sizes, from simple sheers to elaborate swags that reach almost floor-to-ceiling.
They can add color, texture, and personality – especially when matched with rich colors that coordinate well with other textiles in your home. Drapery panels can also be used to hide unsightly things in your room or to create a focal point.
Draperies come in different types depending on their material or application: thermal curtains (a combination of polyester and cotton), sheers, blackout curtains, lace curtains, kitchen curtains, and more.
Final thoughts on what draperies are
In conclusion, a variety of materials are available for making curtains and draperies. Anyone can design and sew a lovely pair of custom fabric curtains with the right preparation.
The key to successful draperies depends on choosing the right fabric, in the proper color and material, for your room. Keep this in mind when you're designing your dream home and thinking about how draperies can compliment your interior design theme.