Home Decorating Ideas and Tips

Decorating / Redecorating a Home: Window Treatments: Draperies, Curtains, Blinds and Shades

Window treatments are one of the many things that help people make their houses more like homes. Whether you want to control light, privacy, or just add to the decor of a room, there are several options in the types of window treatments available. The key is to know the difference and purpose, because they are different and do have different intended purposes.


Often confused or used interchangeably with curtains, drapes are not the same as curtains. Draperies are window treatments that are very similar to curtains, but they are often made from thicker of multiple layers of fabrics. They are typically floor length and provide extra insulation, holding in heat during cold months and preventing cold air escape during hot months. Their thickness also provides you with the ability to control the amount of light that enters the home. Many types of draperies require a drapery rod and hooks to hang them.


In contrast to drapes, curtains are much thinner and often less expensive. Most curtain designs have some amount of sheer qualities, meaning they allow light to enter the room and can be seen through, even when they are closed. Curtains are typically designed to be used only for decorating purposes, or paired with drapes, blinds, and shades. Generally, curtains are hung directly from a rod without the use of hooks. They have a special section at the top that is made for the rod to slide through. Some curtains may have tabs or large grommets for this purpose as well.


If you are considering blinds, there are a lot of choices. Blinds have slats or vanes of various widths. Vanes are found on vertical blinds that open and close from the side, while slats are found on horizontal blinds that open or close by raising and lowering them. Generally, blinds can be made from wood, a vinyl blend or aluminum. They are often called hard window treatments because of the materials used. Blinds provide a lot more control over privacy, light, and even air circulation through open windows because of their wide adjustment range.


There are a few different types of shades to choose from. Unlike their counterparts, shades do not have vanes or slats. They are typically made from fabric, a wood blend, or a soft vinyl. Shades only raise or lower, either by a drawstring or a spring roller mechanism. Although there is not as much control, shades have a few advantages over blinds. In particular, shades have more insulation than blinds and they are better at darkening rooms where less light is necessary.

Ultimately, the types of window treatments you choose will depend largely on your personal preference and the type of look you desire. Any of these window treatments can be mixed, with the exception of shades and blinds. For example, draperies can be used with curtains behind them, or you could hang blinds or shades with drapes or curtains.

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