If you’ve been wondering what exactly differentiates a curtain from a drape, or a blind from a shade, Valeo Draperies & Interior provides a brief explanation of each to help you with your home decorating projects in Courtice, Ontario.
Curtains are fabric panels that are most often sold in pairs. You’ll find curtains in a wide range of widths, lengths, fabrics, colors and patterns; they are very versatile and a popular choice for every room of the home, even bathrooms and kitchens (the short, sheer curtains that cover only the bottom half of a window over a kitchen sink, frequently matched to a valance across the window’s top, are called café curtains.)
In the bedroom, you’ll likely use curtains over another window treatment, such as a blind or shade, because curtains are made of lightweight fabrics – some are very sheer -- and are not lined.
Like curtains, drapes are typically sold in pairs. But unlike curtains, drapes are lined, sometimes with fabric heavy enough to block out all outside light, making them perfect for bedroom use. Drapes (sometimes called draperies) are long enough to reach from the top of the window to the floor, sometimes even puddling a bit beneath the window. Heavy, somewhat stiff fabrics are the norm for drapes, including luxury materials like velvet, damask or silk. While drapes come in a huge range of styles and colors, they are most often solid, rather than heavily patterned. The top of a drapery panel is often pleated, and there are several different styles of pleat available.
A shade is a soft fabric panel that is attached to a rod or frame at the upper edge. Sold individually, shades come in a wide range of lengths, widths, colors, and materials, and are sized to fit within the window frame, unlike drapes or curtains that hang below the sill. To let in light or see outside, you need to raise the shade, using either a cord, roller, or lifting mechanism. As the shade lifts, it either bunches or rolls around a rod, depending on the style of the shade.
While blinds lift up and down with a cord or lifting mechanism like shades do, they differ in that blinds are not a solid length of fabric, but rather, are made of wood, bamboo, aluminum, or vinyl slats (also called louvers) that tilt open to let in light, or close for privacy.
A valance is a piece of fabric that hangs across the top of a window to hide other window treatment’s hardware, and add softness, color, and pattern. A simple valance is the most basic and casual treatment; it’s normally just a slip of fabric attached to the rod with clip rings or a rod pocket.
Swags are pieces of fabric loosely slung and draped over a decorative rod, or wound over a tieback at each corner of a window frame to add a little style and romance to your room. There are many different ways to hang swags, but one of the most common is a simple swag. In this look, the swag drapes in the middle like a valance; the ends, either cut into diagonals or simply hemmed, softly hang down on each side of the window.
Light and privacy
How much do you want and need? Decide whether you want your room bright and airy or more "buttoned up" and cozy. Is your goal to block out light for snug sleep in the bedroom or hang a sheer fabric in your kitchen that lets the sun shine in over your farmhouse sink? Are the windows you're covering near the front door or facing the sunny side of the house? All of these factors will influence the styles and fabrics you choose.
Are you outfitting just one window or the entire house? You may consider spending more on certain windows and scaling back on others. Window treatments are priced by size, so expect larger treatments to cost more. Custom sizes and specialty fabrics, patterns, and features also add to the cost.
How much time and effort you're willing to spend cleaning
Standard blinds can be cleaned at home, but are magnets for dust and need frequent attention. Shades in textured fabrics and weaves hide soil better and are best cared for with either vacuuming or professional cleaning.
Your decorating style: is it formal or casual, comfortable or chic?
Bold colors can be fun or dramatic. Subtle hues are perfect for a room decorated in neutral, earthy colors. Do you prefer corded styles or sleeker, streamlined cordless ones?
Do you have young children in your household and a need for streamlined cordless blinds and shades?