Curtains vs. Drapes: How to Tell Them Apart

The terms curtain and drapes are often used interchangeably. And it could be argued that most people can’t see the difference.

But they do differ.

Indeed, understanding how they differ is the key to choosing the right window coverings for your home. Here we explore the differences between drapes and curtains.

Here we explain how curtains and drapes differ from each other.


Curtains are window coverings made of fabric panels and sold in pairs. They are an extremely popular choice of window treatments, mostly because they are available in a wide array of lengths, widths, fabrics, patterns, and colours.

They are made of lighter fabrics like polyester and cotton. Also, you can open and close them quickly. They are easy to clean and are not as expensive as other window treatments.

Most curtains can be machine washed, but make sure you get delicate ones dry cleaned, or hand-wash them. They have a casual and modern look, and adding sheers, shades, or blinds to them can give you privacy as well, even when the curtains are open. Curtains are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of settings, including homes, offices, restaurants, dorms, and apartments.


Drapes are intended to block out light, so are made of thicker fabrics like velvet, damask, and silk. More luxurious and dramatic than curtains, they make a statement with their formal and elegant look. Drapes can be customized to fit the exact specification of your window and are more high-end and expensive. They are operated via drawstrings which keep their folds uniform and gives them a stately appearance. You can choose to have them hanging just above the floor or allow them to puddle slightly.

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Apart from blocking out light, they also improve insulation and reduce noise. In terms of maintenance, you can spot clean them or have them dry-cleaned. Since their look is traditional and formal, they are best suited to high-end restaurants, hotels, dining rooms, and living rooms.

Choose curtains if you want something light, casual, and fun. If you want sheers to augment natural lighting or want something versatile and easy to maintain, curtains are your best choice. They are easy to open and close, and inexpensive. Also, they are lightweight, hence are easy to hang up and take down.

But if you want something more dramatic and formal, drapes are your best pick. They are also good if you are hoping to block noise and light. They will also insulate the room and block drafts. And drapes are long-lasting.

Choosing the right window covering is essential not only for their look but their functionality. And knowing how one window covering differs from another is the key factor in making the right choice. If you are not sure which window treatment will be best suited for your need, book a consultation with a drapery store now.

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