Types of Curtains

Kimberly Bartosch
luxury curtains

Types of Curtain Styles

There are many types of curtains to choose from when designing window treatments, from valances to window scarves to heavy draperies in different lengths, colors, and fabrics. By understanding what different curtain designs are available and how they can be put together to create unique and lovely window coverings, you can easily choose the perfect curtains for every room.

simple curtains

Simple Curtains

The simplest curtains are plain linen, typically cotton, and may be edged with a basic ruffle. These are a great option for any room, particularly if you want to frame a dramatic view without detracting from it with overwhelming window treatments.

valance

Window Valance

A valance is designed to cover the top of a window. Valances add a bit of decoration to a window without blocking too much light or getting in the way like longer curtains can. Valances are popular in kitchens and bathrooms.

valance and drapes

Valance and Drapes

A valance can easily be paired with matching or coordinating draperies for a full window treatment. This is more suitable for a bedroom or sitting room, and frames the window beautifully with color and texture.

lace curtains

Lace Curtains

Lace curtains are a delicate, vintage touch perfect for a cottage or rustic home design. The lace can come in a range of patterns, from floral or plant designs to abstract patterns that will match any décor.

blackout curtains

Blackout Curtains

Heavy blackout curtains or draperies are most popular in bedrooms where less light is desired. These curtains are typically made from a heavier fabric and may be backed for extra light blocking. The backing is often white to reflect heat for better energy efficiency in the home. Darker colors are also popular for bedrooms.

window scarf

Window Scarf

A window scarf is a long type of curtain that is draped along a curtain rod but is not opened or closed like classic curtains. Swags, twists, and knots are popular ways to drape a scarf, and it can be an elegant accent to a bathroom, bedroom, or other window where additional blinds or curtains are used. Window scarves are often used instead of a simpler valance.

asymmetrical scarf

Asymmetrical Scarf

A window scarf does not need to be draped symmetrically. Leaving one end of the scarf longer can make room for a chair, table, or other piece of furniture next to a window, or it can just be a more unique way to frame the window.

pencil pleating

Pencil Pleating

Many curtain styles are defined not by their length or fabric, but by how they are sewn. Pencil pleated curtains have a thin pleating across the top, similar to the width of a pencil, that gives each panel a more ruffled appearance than straight draperies.

swag valances

Swag Valances

Swag valances are an elegant option for formal window treatments. The swags are usually purchased individually and can be arranged above a window as desired. Beading or crystal edging is a popular way to add finishing details to the valance.

goblet pleating

Goblet Pleating

Goblet pleats are one of the most formal curtain styles and have cylindrical tops with narrow pinched waists above the curtain ruffles. This is a popular design for valances in kitchens and dining areas where longer drapes are not practical.

layered curtains

Layered Curtains

Various curtain styles can easily be layered together to create a full window treatment. A simple shade swag, for example, can be paired with pencil pleated panels and interior sheer curtains for a coordinated yet elegant look.

grommet top curtains

Grommet Top or Eyelet Curtains

How a curtain hangs is another way to classify window treatments. Grommet top curtains are strung along a curtain rod but have an openness that gives them a modern feel. Tab top curtains are similar but instead of eyelets use loops of fabric to secure the curtain to the rod.

sheer curtains

Sheer Curtains

Sheer curtains are made from very lightweight fabric and serve to add privacy to any window while blocking only minimal light. Sheers are popular for bedroom windows and bathrooms as well as any formal window treatment where more privacy is desired.

roman shades

Roman Shades

More modern curtain designs include Roman shades which are horizontally pleated curtains that are drawn up and down vertically. When raised, the topmost part of the curtain remains straight as each lower tier is elevated. Partially raised Roman shades can create chic minimalist valances.

balloon valance

Balloon Valance

A balloon valance is a puffy curtain design where the bottom is turned under so the seams are not visible. This gives the curtain volume that straight designs lack, and these curtains are popular for kitchen window treatments.

custom curtains

Design Your Windows

Once you understand the numerous curtain style options, including lengths, fabrics, and shapes, you can begin to design window treatments that suit your home décor. Don't be afraid to experiment with different curtains for different needs, creating window treatments with your own personal touch.

Find inspiration for ideas for interesting window treatments and take your curtains to the next level!

Kimberly Bartosch
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Types of Curtains