Curtain, Drapes, Blinds and Shades: Which is the Best Fit for Your Home?

Curtains, blinds, shades and drapes or window treatments add more beauty and style to our spaces, and can make a major statement in a bedroom. Not only do they filter the sunlight, they also add warmth and make a space look finished. Whether you’re looking for a bit of privacy, dreaming of adding drama, or just want to decorate, these window treatments are the best ways to pull the design elements of a room together.

However, when it comes to choosing one for your windows (whether living room or bedroom), there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to choose what’s right for your home. To make it even more confusing, many people—including interior decorators—use the terms “drapes” and “curtains” interchangeably, mixing in “shades” and “blinds” as if they were synonyms, too. However, while all four types of window treatments can be used with many decorating styles and in any room of the home, each has distinct characteristics of its own.

This guide looks at the types of window treatments available in the market, the categories and differences, and the colours that best suit your space and extras.

Drapes are lined, sometimes with fabric heavy enough to block out all outside light, making them perfect for bedroom use

Categories and Differences

Window treatments are divided in 3 categories:

  • Hard window treatments made of hard materials like wood or vinyl. Such as: shades, blinds and shutters.
  • Soft window treatments: made of soft materials such as: sheers, curtains, drapes, swags, valances, roman shades – from flat to hobbled styles.
  • A combination of both is called a layered window treatment.

Types of Window Treatment  

1. Windows Shutters

Shutters

Louvered or fixed slats. Attached with hinges so they can be opened and shut. Made of wood or plastic. Shutters may be employed for a variety of reasons, including controlling the amount of sunlight that enters a room, to provide privacy, security, to protect against weather or unwanted intrusion or damage and to enhance the aesthetics of a building. The term window shutter includes both interior shutters, used on the inside of a house or building, and exterior shutters, used on the outside of a structure.

2. Shades

Shades come in different categories. 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 shade’s style—and there are lots of styles of window shades.

Simple roller shades are inexpensive, and as the name suggests, the material rolls around the top roller.

While window shades can be dressy enough to use on their own, many people like to use them underneath sheer curtains or topped with a valance. As with curtains, you can use shades to add a pop of color, a dash of pattern, or a dose of texture to the space.

Below are the various categories of shades:

Woven Wood Shades
  • Woven Wood Shades, often called bamboo shades or matchstick shades, offer an exotic, natural look and are a great way to add textured, casual good look to almost any decor. Woven wood shades offer complex textures, exotic reeds, grasses, woods, and sophisticated natural colours.
Cellular Shades
  • Cellular Shades which features a unique honeycomb design that maximises energy efficiency and insulates home. Cellular shades come in single cell, double cell, and triple cell. They also offer different levels of light control from light filtering to blackout. Cell shapes in the blinds hold trapped air and create a barrier between the window surface and a room which helps to keep the warmth inside during the winter. Unlike window blinds which are made of hard materials, they are made of a soft paper- or cloth-like materials. Typically spun lace and bonded polyester are used, but other fabrics can be used during the manufacturing process.
Roman Shades
  • Roman Shades: Fabric that hangs flat when closed; folds horizontally into pleats when raised. Provides privacy, light control, and offers insulating qualities; can be made in any fabric. Roman shades are usually opened with a cord mechanism, allowing the user to adjust the height of the covered area. Many different kinds of materials, from wood to fabric, can be used to create Roman shades, as well as natural materials such as bamboo.
Roller Shade and Zebra Roller Shade
  • Roller Shades: Roller shades, also called roll up shades or roller blinds, are an easy and economical way to add colour, style and texture to any decor. Constructed with modern fabrics and offer simple functionality for ease of use.

3. Blinds

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. Rather, they are made of wood, bamboo, aluminum, or vinyl slats, also called louvers, that tilt open to let in light, or close for privacy. Because of this, it’s rarely necessary to lift the entire blind unless you are opening the window underneath.

Standard depths for blind slats are 1/2-inch or 1-inch, which are called mini blinds, or 2-inch, which are often called Venetian blinds. The length and width of the blinds are sized to fit within the window frame.

Blinds come in many colors and many wood tones but are not normally patterned. As they block out light very effectively, blinds are a good choice for the bedroom. Topping them with sheer curtains or a valance softens their rigid appearance, which can be somewhat bland on its own.

While blinds with horizontal louvers are most common, there are also blinds with hanging vertical slats. These are generally used on sliding patio doors or over large sliding windows. Here are the different types of blinds:

Pleated Blind
  • Pleated Blinds: Made from a pleated material that pull up to sit flat at the top of a window to hide from sight when open. Both Pleated and cellular blinds can have a Top Down- Bottom Up Blind (An ingenious addition to the world of windows. Offers easy control of light).
Venetian Blind
  • Venetian Blinds: Made of wood, metal or plastic. They are suspended by strips of cloth called tapes, or by cords, by which all slats in unison can be rotated through nearly 180 degrees. The slats can be rotated such way that they overlap with one side facing inward and then in the opposite direction such way that they overlap with the other side facing inward. Between those extremes, various degrees of separation may be effected between the slats by varying the rotation. Slat width can be between 16 and 120 mm, with 25 mm being a common width.
Vertical Blind
  • Vertical Blinds: Unlike horizontal blinds, vertical blinds are less likely to collect dust because they stand vertically. Since they draw to the side rather than lifting and lowering, they operate better on doors and windows that also slide from side to side. Generally, they require less muscle strength, and are faster to operate. They are an excellent solution for covering windows that are extremely wide and for patio doors as well. Fabric blinds are noise reducing and will insulate from the heat of the sun and the chill of the wind. Vertical blinds are available in flat plastic (PVC), fabric, embossed PVC, faux wood materials, metal, wood and also S-curved slats. Vertical blinds are also used for doorways in public spaces in order to keep the warmth inside the room and/or in warmer climates in order to discourage flies and some other insects from entering the building
  • Panel Tracks Blinds: Sometimes called sliding window panels. Offer a simple, versatile and stylish solution for sliding doors or picture windows.

4. Curtains

Curtains are fabric panels that are most often sold in pairs. You’ll find curtains in a wide range of widths, lengths, fabrics, colours, and patterns, making them a versatile and popular choice for every room of the home, even bathrooms and kitchens. They also come in a variety of shapes, materials, sizes, colours and patterns.

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, sometimes sheer fabrics that unlined. This means that while curtains do filter out some light, they won’t filter out all of it—thus, they won’t keep your bedroom dark when you want to sleep late.

Curtains hang from a rod, which can be hidden and plain or decorative and on display, depending on how the curtains are hung. There are quite a few hanging options, including metal grommets, metal or fabric rings, or a fabric sleeve on the top or the back of the curtain panels are the most common.

Use colorful curtains to add a punch of contrast to your bedroom, or go with an interesting pattern to liven up the space. On the other hand, sheer curtains add softness and femininity to a room.

The different types of curtains include:

Sheer Curtain
  • Sheer Curtains or Net Curtains: A sheer or net curtain is one that is made from translucent or sheer fabric. The sheerness of a fabric is expressed in 3 main characteristics (extremely rare, very thin, barely visible). The materials which can be made translucent include gossamer, silk, rayon or nylon. Sheer fabric comes in a wide variety of colours. They are sometimes referred to as privacy curtains; during the day they allow you to see from the inside out whilst preventing people outside from seeing directly into the space.
Cafe Curtain
  • Café Curtains: straight curtains hung from rings that slide along a rod. May cover the lower portion of the window or the entire window. It is great when you need to allow lots of sight into the room while keeping lower part of the room (above dining table, or in the bedroom) private.
Austrian Shades
  • Austrian Shades: Fabric shade that is gathered in scallops when down and pulls into tighter scallops when raised. It has a touch of luxury. Can be made out of different materials including sheer fabric.

5. Drapes

Drapes

Like curtains, drapes are fabric panels, and typically sold in pairs. The differences between curtains and drapes, however, is that 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 range of styles and colors, they are most often solid rather than heavily patterned. The top of a drapery panel is often pleated, and these pleats, along with the heavy fabric, contribute to the formal appearance of this popular window treatment. Like curtains, drapes hang from a rod on rings, hooks, grommets or a fabric sleeve at the top or on the back of the panel.

In the bedroom, the most popular draperies are the blackout style, which keep the room dark enough for deep sleep. These are an especially good choice for anyone who needs to sleep during the day, such as night shift workers.

Colours of Window Treatments

Before choosing colours of your window treatment be it curtains or drapes, there are a few crucial elements to consider. One of the most important things you should begin with is the style of a room, and especially colours of walls, floors, carpets, and furniture. Only one element can be the star of the room while other has to be only a great addition to the whole décor. For instance, if a room has vivid colours of the walls, carpet or other objects, it is best to choose window treatments which will have a neutral tone. Or the opposite – if the whole room and furniture are in more neutral shades, vivid coloured curtains or drapes are the ones which will bring live to a room.

Now, let’s head to the list what type of curtain colors suit which type of the room and what can it increase.

Red

The red colour is stimulating the appetite, sexual needs, energy, and makes people more active. So, red coloured curtains or drapes can be perfect for both your kitchen or dining room and bedroom. However, it is important to know, that red colour might work very appetizing, and you might overeat, or express too many emotions.

Orange

This colour makes it easier to accept changes, creates a sense of comfort, and provides energy. Orange colour can be hung in rooms, which are a place where every family member gathers. It is especially suitable for the kitchen, because the colour improves digestion, and gives comfort. However, orange curtains are not recommended in the bedroom, because it is too stimulating.

Yellow

Much like the orange, gives a sense of friendship. If you want to make, guests feel more relaxed and feel free to communicate, decorate your living room with yellow curtains or drapes for sure.

Green

Green curtains or drapes are perfect for the bedroom because this colour relaxes, predisposes good night’s sleep, and in addition to all that, makes the room seem more spacious. However, this colour is not suitable for everyone, since it might irritate some people if there are too much green in a room.

Turquoise

This colour helps to achieve inner harmony, and it contributes to calm people down. So turquoise curtains or drapes fits the room where you want to relax and recover after a hard day of work.

Blue

Blue is a peaceful colour that helps to fight insomnia and anxiety, as well as concentrate. Therefore, blue coloured curtains are perfect to hang both in the workspace of your house and in the bedroom.

Purple

This colour curtains will create pale pink light, which has a calming effect. This colour suits with brightly coloured elements of the room also will make a room more alive. Therefore, it will keep you more awake and energised.

Pink and Purple

Pink and purple promote tenderness and love feelings. These colours also have a good effect on intimate relationships, so pink colour curtains or drapes are just perfect for your bedroom.

Light brown

This colour of curtains of drapes will help create a cozy home. Brown colour helps to concentrate as well, but it requires bright interior accents so that the room won’t look boring and dull.

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