Curtains, Drapes & Blinds: What Makes Each Unique?

When it comes to window coverings, there are many options, including roman blinds, zebra blinds, plantation shades, curtains, and drapes. It can be overwhelming and often confusing.

To complicate matters, people often interchangeably use the terms ‘curtain’, ‘drapes’, and ‘blinds’, which they are not.

But how do they differ? Let’s find out.

Window Curtains, Drapes and Blinds

How Are Curtains, Drapes, and Blinds Different From Each Other?


1. Curtains

Curtains are the fabric panels sold in pairs. They come in a wide variety of colours, fabrics, patterns, widths, lengths, and textures. That is why these are an extremely versatile and popular window coverings.

There are a wide variety of curtains for different rooms, needs, and looks. Café curtains, for instance, cover the bottom half of the window and deliver privacy while the open top half offers light. In bedrooms, you can use blackout curtains for more comfortable sleep as they ‘black out’ light.

Curtains need hardware, like curtain rods, hooks, and nails that can be hidden, simple, or even decorative. You will find curtains for every kind of interior decor, including minimal, traditional, modern, and decorative.

Curtains are hard to maintain. You can vacuum them for dust but will occasionally have to take them down for washing. And that means unhooking and sometimes unscrewing the rods. You can machine wash some curtains, but most will need to be hand washed or dry-cleaned. Always check the label for cleaning instructions first. When they are dried and ironed, you will need to put them back again, which is tedious.


Advantages of Curtains

Curtains come with a few advantages:

  • ● Improved energy efficiency by keeping out harsh sunlight and maintaining the temperature inside
  • ● Better control over light
  • ● Ideal for managing and maintaining privacy
  • ● Can be customized.
  • ● Affordability and durability


2. Drapes

It is easy to confuse drapes with curtains because, like curtains, drapes are also fabric panels that come in pairs. But drapes are lined. In fact, sometimes they are lined with fabrics that are heavy enough to block light entirely.

Drapes (or draperies) are long enough to puddle on the floor. It is normal to use heavy, luxurious fabrics like damask, silk, and velvet. Although they are commonly found in solid colours, you can still find them in a range of styles and colours. Their top is often pleated, giving them a formal look.

Like curtains, drapes need hardware to be hung. For a formal look, its hardware is usually simple. Drapes are best suited for bedrooms and living rooms, usually in combination with sheer curtains or blinds.

Like curtains, drapes are hard to maintain. They are also usually heavier, so taking them down, cleaning them, and putting them back up is more tedious than cleaning curtains.


Advantages of Drapes

Drapes offer advantages similar to curtains.

  • ● Superior control over light and privacy
  • ● Better insulation, so lower energy bills
  • ● Formal look
  • ● Complete blackout for better sleep
  • ● Can be used in combination with blinds or shades for more benefit


3. Blinds

Roman and zebra blinds are two of the most popular window treatments. Unlike curtains and drapes, blinds are not made of fabric. Instead, they have slats, or louvers, that are made of materials like wood, vinyl, aluminium, and bamboo. They use cords or lifting mechanisms to move the louvers up and down; they can also be tilted to open or close.

Slats come in varied widths. Mini blinds are ½-inch or 1-inch wide; slats with 2-inch width are often known as venetian blinds. These are not usually patterned but come in a variety of colours and tones. And they can be customized to fit within the window frames.

Blinds are bland on their own, but can be used with sheer curtains and valances to add a little drama. They usually come with horizontal louvers but you can also find them with vertical slats. Blinds are the perfect fit for doors and windows with sliding doors.

They are also easier to maintain. You can use a microfibre cloth to dust the slats every day and a wet cloth to deep clean them. You don’t have to take them down and hang them back up.


Advantages of Blinds

Blinds offer many advantages you can count on.

  • ● Their slats offer greater control over light. You can open them partially for some light and privacy.
  • ● You get a wide variety of colours and styles.
  • ● They give your window a sleek and modern look.
  • ● They come in a variety of materials.
  • ● They offer complete privacy.
  • ● They are easy to maintain.

Curtains, drapes, and blinds are very different from each other but still have the same purpose. They give you control over light and privacy while offering insulation. Find the style that best suits your budget and interiors to enhance the look of your home.