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Curtains vs. Drapes

What’s the difference between curtains and drapes?

Window dressing can be the trickiest part of decorating a room, but it is an essential part. One of the more confusing aspects to this process is telling the difference between curtains and drapes and knowing which to use when.


Curtains are swathes of fabric that are usually unlined. They can flow to the floor or stop at the bottom of the window. Curtain panels can be hung in a variety of different ways, including on fabric tabs or decorative rings. They are usually paired with a simple decorative rod and are opened and closed by hand. Panels can also be paired with light-blocking shades or sheers and tied back to soften the look of a window, or hung on their own. Curtains suggest a more casual décor, but come in a variety of fabrics, including some that lend themselves to a more dressed-up look.


More traditional than curtains, drapes are typically made from heavier materials, lined, and are usually floor length. One of the biggest differences between drapes and curtains is that drapes are hung on a traverse rod via a series of hooks and are opened and closed through a cord mechanism that can operate each panel individually or both together. Drapes are generally used in more formal rooms, like living rooms, and give a room a full, lush, rich look.
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