Curtains and Draperies – How are They Different?

Jan 29

Curtains and draperies are probably the most commonly used window coverings, especially for homes. Both the terms are often used interchangeably by most without actually knowing the difference between the two. Though they have distinctive features, few know what sets them apart from the other. Though both add immense aesthetic value to windows, they are basically fabric based window coverings that hang on rods and are drawn across for allowing light and protecting privacy.

The basic difference between curtains and drapes is that curtains are light, sheer and allow some amount of light to come into the room because they are not lined unlike drapes. They are informal and come in a variety of colors and simple prints. They are apt for usage in informal areas like the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, kids’ room, etc. Also curtains are not lined and differ in length depending on the size of the window. They are usually gathered at the top from where they hang from the rods. Curtains are extremely economical and suit every pocket. Curtains can be made easily, even at home by procuring the fabric. Another advantage of drapes is that since they are heavier in nature, they allow privacy and also lend warmth to a room.


Drapes are different from window curtains in all the aspects mentioned above. They are made of heavy fabric, lined and are elaborately designed. They block out light and lend more privacy to a space. They are used for formal settings like the dining room, living room, where guests are usually entertained. Drapes are more expensive than curtains and are pleated at the top from where they hang up to the floor. Drapes are drawn in or pulled apart with the help of a cord while curtains can be handled simply with the hand. Drapes need to be tailored by professionals. However, drapes are used more for their decorative value rather than their utility.


Most people use a combination of curtains and drapes in their houses depending on the area of the window covering using curtains for informal spaces and drapes for the more formal ones. Some home owners also opt for a combination covering for the same window with sheer or translucent curtains and drapes in front of them. This allows them to enjoy the advantages of both with curtains underneath letting in moderate light and drapes lending privacy and blocking out light completely. Valences are also a great addition to a window that has curtains and drapes both adding to the beauty.

Drapes and curtains are equally important. It is wise to have an optimal combination of both to create the best effect in terms of utility as well as beauty.

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