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Curtains and drapes are essential additions to add both style and privacy to the windows in your home. But, if you aren’t familiar with the terminology or measurements, it can seem a bit complicated to select the right window treatments for your space.
To make it simple for you to find the ideal window coverings, we’ve assembled some of the most commonly asked questions about these additions:
While these terms are often used interchangeably, technically there is a difference. Drapes are made of heavier material and can help insulate your room from light, sound and cold. Curtains, on the other hand, are intended more for privacy and decorative purposes.
The material your window treatments are made from can greatly affect their look and function. It can alter factors such as the amount of light the curtains block, the way the fabric drapes, the amount of insulation they provide and, of course, the price. If you are looking for a lighter, more translucent fabric, consider cotton, silk or linen; if you want thicker material, perhaps go with wool or velvet.
There are two widespread length standards for window treatments: window sill length and floor length. Sill length is generally 63 inches long, while floor length comes in 96 inch and 108 inch curtains. There is also a range of nonstandard in-between sizes available to accommodate unusually sized windows and personal preferences for length.
There are a few variations from standard curtains and drapes that can serve specific purposes:
- Blackout curtains are heavy drapes designed to block out as much light as possible to allow for comfortable sleep regardless of light levels outside.
- Sheer curtains are made of light, transparent fabric and are intended to add a bit of privacy without blocking light.
- Valances are short curtains that hang across the top of a window. These are generally decorative or are used to hide a curtain rod or drapery hardware.
These window treatments are often used together with other types of curtains; for example, blackout curtains and sheer panels are can be combined with a double curtain rod to create a variety of possible light levels, while valances are frequently used with standard curtains and drapes to add a more polished look to the installation.
If you are mounting a new curtain rod, hang your curtains high and wide to best maximize the appearance of your windows; however, also consider the length of the curtains before deciding exact placement. Full-length curtains should stop about an inch above the floor, while window-sill length curtains should just cover the sill when closed.
If you already have a mounted curtain rod you don’t want to adjust, be sure to measure the distance it’s mounted from the floor so you can purchase the right length of window treatments.
The color of curtains you select should depend on the look you’re trying to achieve. If you want the curtains to be a subtle feature, perhaps go for a neutral color such as white, cream or gray. But, if you want your curtains to be a standout part of your room design, a bold pattern that plays off of accent colors in the space could be a great choice. Either way, make sure your curtains aren’t too close in color to your walls, as this can make the windows look small.