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.
Find out more about how to know what’s on your windows:
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
Whatever style of home you have, windows are one of the first things a guest will notice. The way you treat your windows largely contributes to the ambiance in your home. Many people fail to consider the other important thing that window treatments affect: the heat and light that streams in from the sun.
They say a dose of sunshine is good for the soul. But too much sun shining in through your windows can create an uncomfortably warm environment. You can end up with unwanted glare on TV and computer screens and painful, strained eyes. Your belongings can even be bleached by the harsh light day after day.
When you have windows that receive direct sunlight, it becomes important to gain all the control over light entry that you can. Two options is not enough: wide open window coverings, with unobscured light or pitch darkness with black-out curtains or shutters.
The key is to build your window coverings in layers.
You can combine a sheer window covering for light filtering with heavier curtains that when used together block a large percentage of light. This gives you 4 light levels: full sun, filtered light with sheers, more light blocked with heavier curtains only, and maximum light blocked when both are used. This “layering” model is the way to create the most versatility possible for you.
Lined “blackout” curtains, or blinds in opaque materials like wood and metals are ideal for reducing light entry sharply. Alternatively, shutters can often block out light entirely. If true darkness during daylight hours is something you want, you’ll need to incorporate a layer of window covering from these categories.
When layering, you do need to consider space and how the window treatments will work together. It’s easy to have two styles of fabric covering, like sheer drapes and heavy curtains, on two different rods. But there are more choices than that! You can have inset-blinds or roll-shades within the window shape, and a shutter or curtain that sits outside the frame. There are many ways to incorporate different light filtering levels, you just have to be a little creative.
Understanding Your Home Light Level Layering Choices
Curtains: Curtains are among the most simple to make, operate, fit and maintain. You can choose fabrics with from almost completely sheer to more light blocking, although they’re unlined. It’s important to keep in mind, that although a curtain’s fabric may block heat and light well, because curtains don’t fit window frames closely, there will be entry of heat and light from the edges of the window treatment unless to take action to prevent that with a shutter, shade, or blind.
Blinds: When closed and lowered on a sunny window, reflective blinds (white or near white) are capable of reducing heat gain by 45 percent. And because they fit right into window frames, this is very efficient and effective.
Shutters: It’s worth pointing out that shutters can be both inside and outside. Shutters offer a classic, elegant look that privileges both function and style equally. Even sturdier than blinds, shutters can be expected to last up to 20 years! Shutters help to control incoming light, offer privacy when closed and help to insulate against heat, cold, and even sound. Shutters are impressively solid.
Shades: Shades, are “soft” treatments, made of fabric, that can be raised or lowered over the window. Although they do not allow for light-filtering adjustments like blinds, they come in varying levels of opacity. There are three main types of shades: roller, which pulls down from a valance tube like wrapping paper; Roman, which cascade in elegant folds like drapery panels; and cellular or “honeycomb” shades, which are made of pleated chambers that trap air and provide insulation. The more layers, the more energy efficiency.
Drapes: Drapes are heavier than curtains, and generally have a lining. With or without lining, they are highly light blocking and insulatory. They filter out the gaze of your nosey neighbor extremely well, and tent to extend far outside the natural window frame, truly keeping light and heat (or cold) out.
If you need help creating your plan to mix-and-match the right window treatments for your needs, contact Armand’s Drapery today. We would be happy to lend our expertise.
New drapery hardware finishes, styles and shapes can provide just the right accent for your window treatment. Drapery hardware is what gives the finishing touch to a window treatment and should always be a considered factor in your overall design scheme. Be sure to check our showroom for our vast hardware selection.
Are you planning to update your window treatments? Don’t forget the hardware! Here are six high-impact drapery hardware trends you will not want to ignore.
To The Ceiling
One of the biggest drapery assumptions made by homeowners is that curtain rods must be just above the window. Not true! The higher they’re mounted, the larger the room will appear. This is a simple design trick every home can use.
Mounting drapery just shy of the ceiling is the best way to make a room look bigger, only second to painting everything white!
Track mounting has particularly experienced a resurgence, becoming increasingly popular as homeowners’ design tastes please more contemporary styles. There is a very subtle look to track mounted curtains and the tracks usually go unnoticed, until you move the curtain! Then you notice an almost weighless ease of movement unlike other mounting methods.
The finial is the object at the end of your curtain rod that keeps drapery from falling off the end. It can be sleek, simple, and small, or a little more unique and fun! The larger, more notable finials are “in” right now. You can find pineapples, arrowheads, glass crystals and various other shapes. These tend to be a fun thing to notice that doesn’t create a big stir.
Tiebacks can be a bit more “loud” in style than finials. Tiebacks are anchor points next to your window coverings that you can use to “tie” the drape “back”. Hence, the name “tiebacks”. Today’s tiebacks come in wild shapes like starfishes, musical notes, moose heads with antlers, almost anything you can think of.
Make It Acrylic
The look and feel of acrylic curtain rods can easily fit into just about any room. Because they have no color of their own, they are extremely versatile and can smoothly complement the interior regardless of its design. They almost disappear until they catch the light, for a very classy clean look.
Best with light fabrics, or sheer curtains, clip rings are literally clips attached to rings. Combined with a slim rod, they make for a very informal look. If you want to use clip rings, your drapes won’t need a sleeve or holes for hanging hardware. You just clip and hang.
Instead of sticking to conventional round steel rods, consider a square or twisted design. Up close, they add some interest to your windows. However, you should be particular with your choice of clip. Make sure the rod and ring combination has smooth operation, especially if you move your window coverings often.
Drapery hardware is what gives the finishing touch to a window treatment and should always be considered carefully. Choose something that appeals to you and compliments your sense of style. Your windows are important features in the home. So give proper attention to their details to create a home that feels like home.
Clean draperies and curtains can add beauty and style to any room, and thеу ѕеrvе uѕеful funсtіоnѕ including blосkіng ѕunlіght and providing privacy. However, wіth tіmе they аlѕо tend to accumulate dust. You’ll nееd tо clean them regularly to keep them lооkіng their bеѕt.
How Frequently Do Curtains Require Cleaning?
Cleaning your сurtаіnѕ at home еvеrу 3 to 6 mоnthѕ ѕhоuld be аррrорrіаtе for mоѕt hоuѕеhоldѕ, with professional cleaning by a service like Armand’s Drapery every 3-5 years. We recommend more frequent cleaning іf anyone іn уоur hоmе:
- Has allergies
- Smоkes either indoors or near entry doors or windows that open
- Has recently been sick with a cough
- Or if you have pets that shed, or have dander or powder (like some birds, including cockatiels)
Typically curtаіnѕ аnd drареrіеѕ gеt dusty, and that is what you’re trying tо сlеаn from them, to reduce allergens in the home. Keep уоur curtаіnѕ and drареѕ in good ѕhаре bеtwееn ѕеаѕоnаl, dеер сlеаnіngѕ with the following ѕtерѕ.
Onсе every few mоnths use a leaf blower tо remove dust from curtаіnѕ and drареrіеѕ frоm tор tо bоttоm, рауіng ехtrа attention to the top 5 іnсhеѕ where the majority of duѕt ассumulаtеѕ. It’s best to do this outdoors if you can.
Or, if a leaf blower іѕn’t an option, just be sure you have them professionally cleaned once a year and you’ll be fine. Things you should not do include vacuuming your curtains and putting them in the dryer. Do NOT use the uрhоlѕtеrу аttасhmеnt of your vacuum ѕіnсе іtѕ teeth may ѕnаg the fabric and dеѕtrоу уоur curtаіnѕ and drареrіеѕ. These are two easy ways to destroy your window coverings.
Eаѕу Curtain and Drape Cleaning Tесhnіquеѕ
Leaf Blower: Rеmоvе the bulk оf loose dіrt аnd duѕt with a leaf blower. Blow from the top of the fabric downwards until all оf thе fabric hаѕ been сlеаnеd.
Blоt: Check уоur curtаіnѕ for ѕtаіnѕ. Stubborn stains mау require a ѕроt treatment. For fаbrісѕ other than ѕіlk, wool, or acetate, blot with a сlеаn, moist sponge followed bу a dаb оf rubbing alcohol.
Prеѕѕ: Sоmе fabrics are more рrоnе to wrinkles thаn оthеrѕ. If уоur drapes appear wrinkled or сrеаѕеd, іrоn them to ѕmооth the fabric. Be ѕurе to check thе tаg for temperature ѕеttіngѕ to рrеvеnt damage. If you’re not sure, uѕе a cool iron аnd іrоn on thе rеvеrѕе side of thе curtаіnѕ аnd clean draperies, or put a towel between the curtain and iron.
Sрrау: Frоm сіgаrеttе smoke to cooking оdоrѕ, unрlеаѕаnt ѕmеllѕ may cling to your window coverings. If уоu can’t have your сurtаіnѕ cleaned or want instant relief from odors, try a fabric freshener spray. Test it in a location that no one can see 24 hours before spraying the whole curtain. Check for color damage.
By far the safest, easiest, and most effective method of getting clean draperies is entrusting a professional with them. With our extensive experience, we know how to clean each window covering safely, and the effectiveness is top-notch. Your drapes will we left without the dust mites, pollen, flu virus, pet dander, shed skin cells, and other detritus that used to clog it’s fabric.
Not every dry cleaner or other fabric cleaning specialist is a good choice for your drapes and curtains. Armand’s knows how to protect your window treatments properly. Including measuring their length before washing to ensure they’re returned to you the same size. We also dress the window again for you, to ensure your drapes hang as intended when they come home.
In conclusion, curtаіnѕ аnd draperies act аѕ a gіаnt аіr filter in уоur hоmе, trарріng duѕt, роllutаntѕ, and grime. Thаt’ѕ why it’s critical tо сlеаn сurtаіnѕ regularly nоt оnlу tо рrеѕеrvе the lіfе оf уоur dесоr but also to maintain thе аіr quаlіtу іn уоur home. For help getting your curtain cleaning routine set, call Armand’s Drapery today.
Step one is to decide if you want your window to seem taller, wider, or both. Don’t just default to making them look bigger all around. Sometimes the illusion of taller or wider windows is more attractive with your space, either making the ceilings seem higher, or creating the illusion of a longer wall, and therefore larger room. Step back and look at your space before taking action. Set your goals based on the room.
These sheer curtains span from ceiling to floor and wall to wall, even though the windows certainly don’t. Our mind casually reads this as an entire wall of window, though.
Choosing Your Rod Length
Instinct might lead you to think that rod length should match the width of your window, or extend a bit beyond so that the curtains can move completely out of the view. And that is certainly one way to do it. It’s also not the only way!
If you want to create the illusion of huge windows, you can make them look much bigger by extending your rod and having more curtain width. Many people choose to add as much as two or three feet of rod length to each side. The mind automatically imagines that behind curtains is window, even if we know for a fact there’s a wall there.
If you have two windows near each other, you can even extend one enormous curtain rod over both of them, gathering curtains at both ends and between the windows. Or you can hang curtains over an entire wall that has one or more windows. This creates the illusion of a continuous window area.
Where Should You Hang Your Curtain Rod?
A natural choice for mounting your curtain rod would be right above the window. This absolutely works to cover the window, but does nothing to help it appear larger.
You can raise the rod a few inches, a few feet, or up to the ceiling to help your window appear taller. Whether you use a cornice board or lambrequin, you can move your curtain rods to the height you’d like your windows to appear to be. Of course, you won’t fool anyone paying close attention, but most people won’t be doing that, especially in this over-head area.
Deciding on Curtain Length
It’s not uncommon to extend curtains beyond the bottom edge of a window. This helps keep light out when the curtains are closed. Many homes have curtains that reach to the floor boards, despite windows ending at waist height. This common trick makes windows seem bigger, and you can use it too. Bring the curtain length all the way down to the floor, but don’t let them drag. That looks pretty on Pinterest, but is a safety hazard in your home.
Choosing Colors or Patterns
Do colors or patterns matter when trying to make your windows look more impressive? Yes, they do. The vertical pattern created by hanging folds of fabric make your windows look taller, and this can be aided or counteracted by fabric patterns.
To keep a simple vertical visual trend, you can use solid colors. Light colors make windows and walls look bigger, and matching the curtains to the walls can create an illusion of a very large room, as long as the color is not dark.
If you want to push the envelope and make things appear very tall, use vertical stripes or patterns that line up vertically. For larger than life windows, use a diagonal stripe. Large horizontal stripes can be used if your focus is to make the windows seem wider but not necessarily taller. Tiny horizontal stripes, on the other hand, work with the vertical folds to create an overall larger look.
The staff at Armand’s Drapery, Shutters, and Upholstery is always happy to help you find the look that makes your home the most homey. We’re happy to help you choose the window coverings for you.
You just moved into your East Bay home or want to get a fresh look for your interior. New draperies can do wonders but where do you begin? Which one do you choose? Here are some factors to consider in making your choice.
The fabric is going to be the critical element in creating new draperies for your home. Because they are such a large element in the room, drapery can direct and change the whole styling of your space.
Style meets function
The style of drapery panels will go hand-in-hand with a fabric selection. For instance, if your area gets a large amount of sunlight, a thicker fabric will help receives large quantities of sunlight, then you will want to select a thicker fabric for energy efficience and to provide better temperature control. However, if the view is imporatant, then a more translucent fabric may provide what you need.
One of the easiest choices for fabric is solid colors. A general rule of thumb is to choose a shade that is slightly darker or lighter than your wall color. The choice is generally a personal preference. By going in this direction, everything stays uniform and creates a beautiful room.
While solids are easy, patterned fabrics can give the “WOW” look. This results in having one of the largest impacts through patterns. Large patterns grant a clear direction for the style of your room. You use this pattern as your room’s inspiration point. Should you like patterns but you don’t feel good about a “screaming” pattern, select a medium- to small-patterned. If you much prefer a more conservative look, a smaller-scale pattern will work flawlessly into a much larger plan.
If you are looking to have a “taller” looking room, vertical stripes will help to raise the ceiling of a room and provide an overall height boost. In contrast, horizontal stripes can help to widen the look of a room. Another beautiful aspect of stripes is that a room can truly become whole by having a good color combo within the stripes.
Beyond the colors and patters, the actual fabric can really add styling to the room. Hand-painted fabrics, crewel linens, metallic-glazed fabrics and three-dimensional fabrics are just naming a few. The beauty and uniqueness of these fabrics do come at a cost. However, they make them originals. If you fall in love when seeing one of these fabrics, don’t hesitate as the cost could be well worth it.
Weight and texture
A final aspect of the selection is the weight and texture of the fabric. This is a more logical point as the wight of a fabric can affect the way the draperies hang or function. If you use velvet for your draperies and you foresee opening and closing it regularly, then keep in mind that it wall not be easy to open and close it easily. Another aspect would be how the draperies hang on the floor. Lighter fabrics will generally drape along the floor perfectly as the weight won’t have an impact. Related to this, softer, looser-woven fabrics have a tendency to stretch with time and lose their shape. Lastly, heavier fabrices will require better hardward support to avoid them collapsing. Also, a heavier-weight drapery fabric requires substantial hardware support.
Keep the above factors in mind when choosing your draperies. If you want expert advice, Armand’s has over 60 years of experience decorating the area with hundreds of fabric options. We provide complimentary in-home consultations, contact us today at 925-283-8717 . We have an East Bay showroom but service homes from Livermore to Pleasanton to Alamo to Berkeley and everything in between.