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8 Types of Curtains and Things To Consider When Buying Them

Curtains are a significant part of any room decor. They complete the look of the room and tie all the different elements together. There are many different types of curtains and other window treatments in the market.

With so many different options, styles, fabrics, designs and functionalities, curtain shopping can overwhelm a buyer pretty quickly. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you make sense of your options without wasting any time and money. 

So, let’s start with the different types of curtains available on the market today.

Types of Curtains

Selecting the curtain that matches your room decor and requirements can be a challenging task. The varying styles and price points may make it all the more difficult. 

If you’re confused between a box pleat and tab-top or unsure which style will work best for your room, you’ve come to the right place.

This in-depth guide on eight different curtain types will clear all the confusion. 

Rod Pocket Curtains

rod pod curtains

Rod Pocket or Casement curtains have the top panel sewn to form a pocket. Made of lightweight or sheer fabrics, these curtains are most suitable for casual settings. They are easy to set up as all you need to do is slip the pocket over the rod.

Since rod pocket curtains are usually made from lightweight fabric, you can pair them up with a second layer, such as curtain liners or blackout curtains to get more protection from sunlight. Since the pocket fits across the rod, drawing these curtains is difficult and they work best in guest bedrooms and guest lounges.

ProsCons
Can be used with blinds
Has a casual appeal
Ready-to-hang curtains
Lightweight 
Unsuitable for regular use
Unusable with traverse rods

Eyelet/Grommet Curtains

eyelet gromet curtains

Grommet or eyelet curtains are the most common curtain type. They have a modern look and give a very casual, almost laid-back aura to the room with their minimalistic design. With open rings or grommets in the header/support panels, these curtains are easy to draw, making them perfect for use in the patio or bedroom.

Like Rod Pocket curtains, Grommets are also ideally made of cool, lightweight fabrics such as cotton, polyester, or linen. Since the rod is visible through the eyelet holes, you will need to choose aesthetically pleasing support hardware.  

ProsCons
Lightweight
Easy to draw
Give off a modern look
Perfect for regular use
Rod shows through Grommets
Unusable with traverse rod

Tab-Top Curtains

tab top curtains

These curtains have loops at the top edge of the support panel. Its flat eyelets/hoops are typically made of the same material as the curtain. The fabric is extended up from the top seam and threaded across the rod.

Depending on the fabric used, these curtains can be stylized as sleek or fancy with embellished loops, tie tops, and bows. However, these curtains are difficult to open and close as the panels start below the loops and resist sliding. They are ideal for accentuating farmhouses and cottage-themed home decor.

ProsCons
Easy to set up
Suitable for both modern and retro looks
Thicker material can block sunlight
Difficult to draw
Unsuitable for regular use

Pleated Curtains

pleated curtains

They are the retro-classic curtains suitable for a formal setting. The header tape is sewn to the back of the top panel to form pleats. For hanging, hooks are inserted in the header tape across each pleat for support.

These curtains are made of thicker fabrics and lined to add stability. Typically, cord-and-pulley systems are used to open and close these curtains due to the intricate pleats. 

You can find a variety of pleated curtains to suit your taste and room decor.

  • Pinch Pleats: They are the most popular pleated curtains in which pleats are pinched and stitched at the base to let the fabric flow elegantly below. The pleats range from two to five fingers; the more the fingers, the fuller the appearance of the curtain. They are suitable for master bedrooms, sitting rooms, and entertainment rooms. 
  • Box Pleats: These are very stylish curtains as the fabric is folded inwards to get a box shape. These pleats run deep and uninterrupted across the fabric to give full coverage effect. They are suitable for bedrooms, dining halls and living rooms with sleek decor. 
all different types of pleated curtains
  • Pencil Pleats: Pencil pleats are thinner and single, which means you can use various types of hooks or curtain rods to hang them. They have a casual appeal, making them perfect for an informal look in the bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Goblet Pleats: As the name suggests, the pleats in these curtains resemble wine glass or goblet. Since this pleat pattern is delicate, the curtains shouldn’t be drawn often. These curtains are ideal for rooms with high ceilings and formal setups. They are mostly used for decoration and may feel out of place in family rooms.
  • Cartridge Pleats: These curtains have single pleats with a wide space in between them. The design is similar to goblet pleats, but cartridges aren’t folded and stitched for a round top. They are great for kitchen windows and dining rooms.
  • Tuxedo Pleats: These are large pleats that give the curtain a contemporary and formal flair. The pleats are sewn at the backside of the drapery and hung on decorative curtain rods. They are best suited for guest rooms and dining halls. 
ProsCons
Available both in light and heavy materials
Versatile designs
Elegant and formal
Give off a traditional look
Effectively block light
More pleats make the curtains heavy

Window Scarf

window scarf curtains

These curtains use a single long cloth that hangs in front or side of the window. It is also known as scarf swag because it has no elaborate designs. Scarves only ornate the window frame as the curtain simply hangs over the curtain rod. 

Window Scarves are not effective in blocking sunlight and wind. Nevertheless, you can pair scarf swags with roller shades and drapes for privacy and insulation. They are an excellent way to style a room on a tiny budget.

ProsCons
Can be paired with shades and drapes
Single, continuous fabric
Suitable for TV room windows
Ineffective in blocking light or wind
Can be used only for adornment

Cafe Curtains

cafe curtains

Cafe curtains cover the window halfway, either at the top or the bottom. Typically, they are custom designed to match the length of the divider line already present in the window. These curtains often have cartridge pleats giving them an informal yet cozy allure.

These curtains are made of opaque fabrics to control light and offer privacy. You can use cafe curtains in bathrooms, kitchens, and garden-facing windows. 

ProsCons
Controls sunlight entering the room
Offers privacy without completely blocking the window
Work well for long windows
Usually custom-made to match the height of the window

Sheer Curtains

sheer curtains

Sheer curtains are the next big thing in the home decor industry. They are light and airy yet provide you the much-needed privacy due to its translucent properties. These curtains can be paired with roller blinds or heavier, fancy curtains.

They are available in white, off-white, and neutral colors to match the walls. Most of them have embroidery or foil prints over them to add glamor. Sheers are quite affordable yet effectively provide UV protection. You can install them indoors as well as outdoors to amp up the decor.

ProsCons
Light and airy
Translucent enough to provide privacy
Prevent against UV light
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Can be paired with blinds and heavier curtains
Delicate
Difficult to clean

Blackout Curtains

blackout curtains

Blackout curtains can be the cheapest and easiest alternative for home cooling. They are also known as thermal curtains as they not only block light but also provide insulation and dampen sound. 

These curtains feature opaque fabrics with a foam backing and thus are suitable for bedrooms, media rooms, and lounges. They can cut up heat transfer by as much as 24%, thus reducing energy bills. You can get them in various shades to suit your room decor. 

ProsCons
Blocks light
Offers thermal insulation
Dampens sound
Reduces energy bills
Comes in different colors
Heavy and difficult to move

Things to Consider When Buying Curtains

Curtains can dramatically impact the way your room looks and feels. You can further accentuate the look by carefully selecting aesthetic hardware while improving the functionality at the same time. 

Here are a few aspects regarding curtains and associated hardware that you must consider before making a final selection. 

Hanging Hardware

curtain hardware

Curtain tracks, also known as traverse rods, are sleek in design and blend with the wall. They are typically used with decorative curtains, pelmets, and valances to enhance its appeal. 

They come in plastic or metal and can work with various curtain types. You can also get custom-designed curtain tracks to fit varying window shapes. Traverse rods can be corded, uncorded, or motorized for a smooth closing and opening of curtains.

Install double or triple curtain tracks for a layered look especially with sheer and blackout curtains. 

Curtain poles or rods, on the other hand, are quite versatile in their function and aesthetic appeal. Not only do they support the curtain but they possess a decorative element as well because they’re visible through the curtain loops. 

They usually have finished ends or supporting brackets for increased aesthetic appeal. These caps also prevent the curtain from slipping off. Larger rod brackets are a popular choice for higher ceilings. They are available in different sizes and materials to match the window and curtain style. 

Heading Styles

heading styles

Valances and pelmets are used over the curtain heads for a finished look. Placed at the top of the windows, they create an illusion of height and camouflage curtain tracks or rods. 

These heading styles also alter the proportion of the window to match the dimensions of the room. Valances are soft and drapery while pelmets use solid materials such as timber for a modern look. Pelmets can be sleek and simple or designed and upholstered for a softer feel. 

Curtain Material

swatches of curtain material

The color and fabric type is one of the most defining factors when choosing a curtain. Cotton, polyester, rayon, or linen are the most popular fabric materials in light and medium weight curtains. They are best for regular use such as in living rooms.

Meanwhile, silk, velvet or brocade are suitable for a luxurious look, and voile, acrylic, and lace are commonly used for sheer curtains. 

Decorators suggest using neutral hues as they can match most of the decor palettes. They will also keep the room bright and won’t overshadow the entire color scheme of the room. However, neutrals are difficult to maintain as softer hues tend to get dirty quickly.

Curtain Size

different curtain sizes

Curtain size not only depends on the window size but also on the final result you wish to get. You can install curtains six inches above and four to eight inches wider on both sides of the window frame for a more dramatic look.

For the curtain length, you can choose from the following three common variations.

  • Float: The curtains dangle above the ground; the space between the lower panel and floor is no more than an inch. These settings work well with modern furniture and carpeted floors. 
  • Kiss: With this technique, the curtain will graze the floor for a more polished look. It is suitable in a contemporary setting but requires precise measurements.
  • Puddle: The curtain panels flare out at the bottom to add luxury. This technique is commonly used in heavy or silk curtains in a formal setting.

Uses of Curtains

Curtains are multifunctional and complete the overall appearance of the room. However, the type of curtain your use remarkably affects the way it functions. So before you buy one, identify the purposes you want it to serve. 

Once you know your requirements, you’ll be able to pick the right one for your needs and decor.

sheer curtains next to white couches

1. Decorate the Window Frame

Curtains are a form of window treatment that not only frames the window but also complete the overall appearance of the room. They can make your windows look taller or broader and frame the outdoor view.

2. Accentuate the Room Decor

Bright colored curtains create a lively milieu suitable for dining rooms, halls, and living rooms while mellow tones work well for bedrooms as they are conducive to sleep and relaxation. 

3. Block Out Sunlight

Thicker curtains typically offer significant amounts of insulation. Their texture and thermal lining blocks sunlight and prevents heat transfer to bring down energy bills. 

blackout curtains

4. Use Them as a Room Separator

You can also create a new space by using curtains as room separators. A fabric divider can offer the required privacy while providing ample proximity. You can use voile curtains as they offer opaqueness while maintaining room aesthetics.

A well-planned decor can improve the aesthetic and comfort level of the room. Curtains are believed to be the defining factor of the room decor as they not only complement the indoor setting but can also accentuate the outdoor view.

Their wide variety makes them more of a fashion statement while serving their fundamental purpose ie. offering privacy. Heat insulation and soundproofing are few of the added bonuses that modern curtains can offer. We hope our detailed review of different types of curtains will help you choose the ones that match your taste and meet your needs.