FREE Consultation
Division of Westport


What is the Difference Between Curtains and Drapes?

January 24, 2023

What is the Difference Between Curtains and Drapes?

What is the Difference Between Curtains and Drapes?

If you are shopping for new window coverings, you have probably come across different resources telling you that you need to invest in either curtains or drapes. And, you may be quietly asking yourself, “aren’t curtains and drapes the same thing?” This is a common question, because, at a first glance, they seem to be basically the same thing! After all, both refer to some nice pieces of fabric that cover your windows and, hopefully, complement your decor. However, there are some differences between curtains and drapes, and knowing these differences can make shopping easier.


In a nutshell, curtains are fabric panels, often sold by the pair, that cover your windows and provide privacy. These window coverings are generally made of lightweight, washable fabrics like sheer cottons and linens, and they are easy to install. Curtains often still let in some light because they are unlined and made of light fabrics. Curtains are meant to provide privacy and complement your home decor, without creating a sense of heaviness. Modern home designs often use curtains because they make a space feel softer and don’t dominate a room.


Confusingly, drapes are ALSO fabric panels, often sold by the pair, that cover your windows and provide privacy. So how is a drape different than a curtain? There are a number of differences. First, drapes are usually made of heavier, stiffer fabrics like velvet and damask, and they are usually lined. This means they are better at blocking out light and sound and at providing insulation, so they might be a better choice in a bedroom. However, this also means that drapes usually need to be dry-cleaned if they get dusty or dirty, since they can’t just be thrown in the wash. Furthermore, they are meant to make a statement in a room, and are usually long enough to stretch from floor to ceiling. Finally, many drapes have complicated mountings that require professional installation – they can even be motorized. For this reason, the cost of buying and installing drapes is generally much higher than even luxury curtains. A lot of modern homes shy away from drapes because of the up-front costs, despite the fact that good quality drapes can be both beautiful and functional.

Which to choose?

If drapes are in your budget, they can be a statement piece in your home that also provide insulation from light, sound and temperature changes. Therefore we suggest that you keep an open mind to them. However, curtains might meet your needs, especially if they are combined with blinds to better block light. Drapes and curtains are traditionally hung together for a very luxurious effect, with the sheer curtains framed by the dramatic drapes. Whatever you decide is right for your home, you will have the best results buying your window coverings from experienced professionals, so do your research.