Curtains vs. Draperies 101

Did you know curtains and draperies are different? Curtains are usually sheer, and thin unlined fabric. Drapes, on the other hand, are everything beautiful and more luxurious. They are long enough to reach the floor and sometimes even puddling graciously for that little extra wow factor. They are made from heavier fabrics sometimes sufficient enough to block out all light. For example, hotels use blackout curtains to darken the room for guests and at times, use interlining.

Interlining is a piece of fabric that is slipped between the lining and the face of the material. It is used to help prolong the life of the drapery.

* Please note in this post I may use the words curtains and drapes interchangeably, I know, I know…I’m working on it!!

Does Color Matter

If you plan on changing out your decor often, then the color of the fabric will not matter much.  However, there are two benefits to choosing a neutral fabric.  First, they’re more likely to blend into your decor and second dark colors tend to fade more rapidly than light colors.

How fast can fabric fade? In my experience, within months if the window is exposed to direct sunlight. Two of my current drapes need replacing due to the intense Florida sun. My beautiful silver-gray curtains are now appearing slightly violet.

Evy gifted her sewing skills to make drapes for my living room.  Yep, this was the ultimate labor of love as my drapes (fully lined) are 18ft in length. Had I chosen a lighter fabric color, the fabric would not have faded so quickly. Lesson learned! For those of you who can bust out a sewing machine, here is where we source our fabrics –


Measurements and Style

Window treatment measurements are written with the width first and then the length. Therefore, a panel is 46″ wide x 54″ long.

To adequately cover your windows, the width of the fabric should be 1.5 times the width of the window.

The intended use of your curtains will help determine the width and style. If you are only interested in framing the window and have no plans of “closing” the window treatments you may not need or want the extra fabric.

For the length of your window coverings, you need to consider where you plan to mount the curtain rod and where you would like the material to fall.

Most homeowners place their curtain rod directly above the window molding. Please, please do not do this! Your décor will be significantly improved if you simply place the rod below the base of the crown molding.

By placing your curtain rod higher, the window and room will appear taller. If you can, install the rod 4-6 inches above the window frame or molding.

Most retail stores will not have curtain lengths over 84” long in stock and will force you to special order longer lengths paying a premium price. Retail store such as Target and Hayneedle will carry longer window treatments lengths on line.


Home Curtain Fabrics

Using fabrics such as linen, velvet, and silks are best choices since they tend to hang the best.

If you would like to add color into your decor but prefer an airy look find an open weave fabric such as shown on the example.

Adding details to curtains such as ruffles can add personality into the décor.


In Conclusion

Your window treatments can dress up your room when chosen correctly. Make sure you’re spending your money wisely by not only purchasing beautiful curtains but ones that are right for your intended purposes. Please feel free to leave us a comment below if you have a specific question such as which style would work best for your décor.

For more home styling tips and tricks drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company.


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By Style Bestie

Super busy mom