Are Curtains and Drapes the Same Thing?
It can be hard to tell curtains and drapes apart. Both are used in pairs of panels, hung on windows for the control of light, among other things. The main differences in drapes and curtains are the different intentions or uses for them, and those result in structural differences.
Dimensionally, curtains will often cover approximately the area of the window. Sometimes they cover less than a whole window, like in the case of café curtains. Drapes are never so small, tending to reach the floor and sometimes the ceiling, having enough fabric that they may still lay in pleats or folds even when fully closed.
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Curtains and sheers, which are a type of curtain, are built from lightweight fabrics, and won’t filter out enough light to darken a room. They’re generally cheaper to buy than drapes, because they’re less expensive to produce. Unlike drapes, they’re not usually lined and tend to provide less privacy when used alone. They’re light enough to be paired with drapes, blinds, or shutters without making windows appear bulky, thereby adding privacy.
Blackout curtains are a lower-cost alternative to quality drapes. They’re made of either tightly woven, dense or layered fabric such as felt, velvet or suede. A blackout liner, which often is a component of blackout curtains, can be added to a regular curtain to create the same effect. The purpose is to keep light from streaming into the home where it isn’t wanted, but they also help insulate by blocking direct sunlight.
Drapes are much heavier than curtains, and can have thermal and/or room-darkening features.
Only heavy materials that are not made from sheer or see-through fabrics are considered drapes. They’re generally floor-length and designed to block out light and to seal out cold during winter months. Drapes cost more than traditional curtains, because they contain more fabric than their window counterparts; and are generally of a higher quality too. Good drapes help homeowners save on their heating bills throughout the year.
Really, all drapes are thermal insulators. Some are designated specifically as “thermal drapes” and their insulatory abilities have been further enhanced. Thermal drapes can significantly boost a home’s energy conservation.
Windows are one of the largest avenues of heat loss in a home. Glass is a poor insulator, and the seal of the window degrades over time. Even though thermal drapes also filter out unwanted natural light, their first job is to insulate the home. Thermal drapes are either double- or triple-layered heavy fabric with a thick backing of insulate material and often a polyester-film vapor barrier. Thermal drapes are often made of 100-percent cotton, wool or polyester, and coated on the window side with a layer of protection from ultraviolet damage. Because of the thick insulatory batting, they can act as a sound barrier too.
Curtains and Drapes: Which Do You Need?
If you want some affordable privacy, curtains are probably for you. If you want to make an investment in excellent light, sound, and temperature management, drapes are a safe way to go. To have your needs