Curtains and drapes are fabrics designed to add decor to windows or doors, and to block out drafts and keep sound and sun outside. Window dressings are usually used to keep sunlight out, and keep the temperature at a comfortable level indoors, by keeping cold air out in the winter, and warm air out in the summer. They also obviously contribute to the privacy you feel at home. Curtains come in many different patterns, colors, sizes and materials, to fit your every decorating need.
You will want to select drapes that are easy to clean, and that won’t fade after extended contact with sunlight. Some drapes are moved to the sides by hand, and some with pulls or press-buttons. Measure the sizes of your windows before you head out to select draperies.
In some homes, blinds take the place of drapes and curtains. This is often the case in apartments, where the management supplies them, in lieu of draperies. Curtains can be manufactured from fabric of varying thicknesses, each of which will have different properties of insulation and light absorption. Curtains should hang close to your windows, so that they let the least amount of air in and out, if the windows are drafty.
Sheer curtains are made from fabrics that are lightweight and translucent. They allow more light to come through the fabric, and are sometimes used along with other draperies, to let more light in when the other drapes are pulled to the sides. You can pull curtains off to the side when you want light in, with tie-backs, and you can open and close them with draw-pulls or cord pulls with a pulley system.
Fabrics that are not coated are used most in the making of curtains and drapes, and they utilize fabrics that are tightly woven, generally from a blend of polyester and cotton. Uncoated fabrics give you a certain level of insulation, since they are tightly woven, but the fabric alone will not be thick enough that it can absorb strong light. When uncoated fabric curtains are hung, you will still be able to see some light through them, so they are not effective sunlight blockers.
Coated fabric drapes are made by adding a rubber backing onto uncoated fabric drapes. These drapes absorb much more sunlight and keep it out of your home. The fabrics used in these types of curtains can have up to three times the normal backing applied, for even more dim-out properties.
The maximum in heat insulation and light absorption in curtains is provided by lined drapes. These are usually made with uncoated fabric in the front and a separate fabric, coated, behind. The liner is a simple coated fabric that doesn’t have any pattern or color, as a rule.
There are various designs and types of curtains that you can use when you decorate your home. Don’t stress out about hanging drapes – as long as you have the same type of curtains as the type of rod you have (or buy), hanging drapes is fairly easy.