Curtains, panels and draperies – what’s the difference and does it really matter?
Hanging fabric is one of the simplest and most effective ways to augment a room with pattern, texture, colour and sophistication.
While we all love natural light, some windows may be challenging with regard to their size and shape. If you work the nightshift, you may require blackout window coverings so that you can sleep during the day. A western exposure is perfect for watching the sun set, but the afternoon sun may heat up your environment. Your view is exquisite during the day, but you’d rather not be on view come the evening.
There are so many types of blinds that can be mounted on, or within, the frame of a window. Light filtering blinds allow for natural illumination and can soften a fishbowl effect. I could go on, but how you dress the rest of the window is the pièce de résistance.
So, what is the difference between curtains and drapes? If you look it up, you’ll find many different answers. As a general rule, curtains aren’t lined and they’re made out of lighter fabrics.
Drapes are typically lined and are constructed from heavier fabrics. Historically, formal residences hung weighty fabric that often went from the ceiling to the floor and were not only used for privacy, but they also helped to control light, cold and heat in older homes that lacked adequate central heating.
One source suggested that curtains are less than 63-inches long, whereas drapes drape to the floor. Drapes are often pleated and are hung by hooks, while curtains may have tabs or are scrunched on a pocket rod.
Differences aside, curtains and drapes not only frame a window, but by extending the fabric well beyond the opening, you can create a vast, opulent illusion. And don’t skimp on fabric. Two-to-one is the general ratio to determine the width of fabric that is required. If you have a 60-inch-wide window, you’ll want at least 120 inches of fabric. If you want a fuller look, triple the width of material. Consider hanging fabric from one wall corner to the other for a rich, textured backdrop – there’s nothing more luxurious.
Enza Tiberi-Checchia is the president of the multi award-winning Decorenza (decorenza.com) — a decor service provider to more than 20 new home builders across the GTA. She chairs the design/decor Committee at BILD, sits on the board of directors at BILD and is on the board of directors of Hats On for Awareness, a no-profit organization she co-founded in her father’s memory.