Should You Choose Curtains or Drapes?
Contrary to popular belief, curtains and drapes are not actually the same thing, though the terms are often used interchangeably. Drapes are generally considered to be made from much heavier fabrics, often lined with a backing that helps to control the flow of light. Drapes tend to be more formal in many cases, but they will also provide increased privacy and noise control as well. The heavier fabrics are also often more resistant to the effects of constant sunlight, and will tend to be better able to resist fading or breaking down as a result. Drapes can be difficult to clean, and typically require professional cleaning periodically to prevent becoming worn looking or dulled.
Curtains, on the other hand, are often made from lighter fabrics. They may also have backing materials attached that help to protect the fabric, as well as mediate the amount of light that enters through the fabric. Curtains are less likely to help with noise reduction, but can often be used very flexibly in a variety of rooms, because they may range in style from classic and formal, to light and airy, and everything in between.
Curtains, as opposed to drapes, can come in sheer forms as well, which allow a large amount of light to filter in and will have a soft and delicate, yet dramatic look for the room. Sheers are usually just for aesthetic value, as they offer little privacy, insulation, light control or noise control. They are generally not as practical for drafty areas or areas which may require some added privacy at certain times of the day. However, if sheers are the window treatment of choice for aesthetics, then adding in a shade or mini blind set may alleviate any of the other practical issues that may present themselves.
Drapes can add sense of drama and coziness to a room, and are often selected for use in more formal rooms, such as a dining room or formal living room area. The heavier, firmer fabrics allow for insulation and protection from any drafts, and can be found in many styles, including formal pleated styles, brocade fabrics, and rod pocket versions, each having their own unique style.
Many people prefer to add some type of curtain or drape to a window for the aesthetic value, as they may not like the more stark or plain look of mini blinds or a plain shade. The combination of window treatments is a personal choice, and professional decorators can often make many adaptations for personal preference, combining fashion with function very successfully and creating not only a space that is aesthetically pleasing, but functional and practical as well.