Curtains vs. Drapes

Curtains vs. Drapes

July 4, 2023 By Christine Bucks



You’ve probably heard the terms drapes and curtains used interchangeably, and while both are fabric panels, they’re not exactly the same type of window treatment. 

Whether you should opt for curtains or drapes all depends on the look you’re going for, as well as the amount of privacy and natural light you want.

To help you make the best decision for your needs, check out this overview of the main differences between the two.


Inverted Pleat Drapery in Regal Touch Cream

What are the Main Differences?


Fabric type. Material is probably the biggest differentiator between drapes and curtains. Drapes are constructed from thicker fabrics, such as silk or velvet, and are often lined, which helps block glare as well as adds insulation at the window. In addition, the thicker fabrics lend a more formal feel to a room.

Curtains are often made from sheer fabrics, like cotton or polyester. Because they’re sheer, they allow more light into a space, as well as give a room a more casual look, making them ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.  

Fabric length. Drapes are usually floor-length or longer, so that they puddle slightly on the floor. Curtains, on the other hand, generally fall to the windowsill or just a few inches below it.


Benefits. If you desire the flexibility of privacy and light control, drapes are your better option. Their heavier fabric combined with their length helps block light—as well as helps absorb sound. If your room’s aesthetics call for an airy window treatment that lets in lots of natural light, and privacy isn’t a concern, then curtains would be good option. 


Installation requirements. While you can hang both drapes and curtains on a rod, you’ll need a sturdier rod to support drapes than you would with curtains, simply because they’re heavier. You can also hang curtains from tension rods, which you can’t do with drapery.

Cleaning. Drapes are generally more high maintenance than curtains because they often require professional cleaning. Curtains are usually machine-washable (on a gentle cycle in cool water).

Request a Consultation Today

We can connect you with a window-treatment expert in your area. No obligation.
Enter your full name
Enter a valid email address Enter your email
Enter a valid phone number Enter your phone number
Enter a zip code Enter a valid zip code
checkbox selected checkbox default
characters remaining

To help the authorized Hunter Douglas expert in your area contact you in the manner most convenient for you, we will be sharing the information you submit above. For more details, please see our privacy policy.