difference between curtains and drapes

What Are The Differences between Curtains and Drapes?

As both curtains and drapes have the same primary purpose of covering windows, people often confuse them.

Therefore, there is a very common misconception that these two are the same thing, and so many people use curtains and drapes as interchangeable terms mistakenly.

Although they are similar in many ways, they certainly have differences which you must know and will come to know in our comparison of drapes vs. curtains.

The differences between curtains and drapes will be key in deciding which one would be better for your home and will fit your preferences better.


What Are Curtains?


Curtains are an essential piece in a casual setting and are hung in front of windows and act as fabric panels.

They are generally sold and hung in pairs, and when they are opened, they stay folded on the opposite side. People find curtains to be a great way to style their homes while also providing privacy.

Different fabrics are used to make curtains, but typically these fabrics are very light and casual such as polyester and cotton. Since curtains are usually relatively light, they can be easily shut and opened.

These fabrics are generally machine-washable. Although sometimes curtains are made of very delicate fabrics so they should be hand-washed to prevent any tears. So, all in all, curtains are very easy to clean.

Just because curtains are light does not mean that they cannot be stylish. They can have different patterns and designs to add more beauty to your room, and you can customize it to the style of your room.

Additionally, they can be layered with sheers which is another fantastic look.

Curtains are best suitable for modern and casual settings so that they can be undoubtedly used in homes as well as offices.


What Are Drapes?


Similar to curtains, one of the primary purposes of drapes is to give people more privacy. However, unlike curtains, drapes block light to a greater extent, so much so that often very little to no daylight can permeate through the closed drapes.

In terms of design, drapes serve quite the traditional look and are more suitable for formal settings. People often use drapes in their formal dining room or living room to elevate the look of the rooms.

The fabric used to make drapes is very thick, so it is so good at blocking light. It is so thick that it also insulates rooms to some extent from both the heat and cold.

In addition to the insulation, it also reduces noise pollution from outside entering your space, thus making drapes an excellent option for people living in areas with a lot of traffic.

Quite often, drawstrings are used to open and close drapes, and they keep the folds looking very even.

This enhances the formal look that these drapes magnificently pull off. The patterns and designs on drapes are very elegant and can be intricate, making them look very dramatic.

One downside of drapes is they are not machine-friendly, so they can only be spot cleaned or dry cleaned. Hence, the cleaning process can be a bit of a hassle.

Fabrics such as damask, velvet, and even silk are commonly used to make drapes, and as you all know, these fabrics are very luxurious.

However, this luxury also comes with a high price tag that you should keep in mind while making your purchase. In addition to being commonly used in formal settings in houses, drapes are often used in sophisticated restaurants, inns and hotels.

So, overall, drapes are an excellent option if you are planning to pull off a very formal and traditional look.


Curtains vs. Drapes: An Overview

curtains vs drapes

Despite their similarities, it is imperative to get a clear idea of all the differences between curtains and drapes, so you understand which one is more suitable for you. One of the biggest differences between these two is the fabric.

Drapes are made of much thicker and heavier fabric, whereas curtains are very light. The difference in the material is also what makes curtains and drapes have distinct aesthetics.

These two types of fabric window panels are each used in different settings. Drapes are generally utilized for fancier rooms and more formal settings.

On the contrary, curtains are something that would easily blend into your casual bedroom or living space.

Both curtains and drapes are great for decoration, and you can customize them according to your taste and the style of your space.

There are more differences between curtains and blinds, which we think will be clear to you after you go through the comparison table below.


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Comparison Table between Curtains and Drapes

Parameter of Comparison Drapes Curtains
Fabric Usually made of silk, damask, and velvet Usually made of cotton, polyester, and other light fabrics
Weight Quite heavy Light
Cleaning Only dry cleaning and spot cleaning are suitable. So, cleaning is a bit difficult Most curtains are machine-washable. Therefore, cleaning is relatively easy
Function Decoration, providing privacy, blocking light, reducing noise pollution, and some insulation Decoration, providing privacy, and blocking some light
Suitable for It has a formal and traditional look, so it should be hung in formal living and dining rooms, as well as fancy hotels and rooms It has a casual and modern look so that it can be hung anywhere inside a house
Cost Expensive Cheaper


Key Takeaways

  • Curtains are made out of lightweight fabrics such as cotton and polyester. On the other hand, drapes are made of relatively heavy materials such as silk, velvet, and damask.
  • Since drapes are made of luxurious fabric and have traditional designs, they are more suitable for formal rooms and fancy commercial spaces. Meanwhile, curtains have a modern and casual look which makes them perfect for any regular house.
  • Cleaning tends to be more difficult for drapes since they are heavier and can only be dry cleaned or spot cleaned. Things are better for curtains; washing machines can wash them.
  • Both curtains and drapes have the same primary purpose of covering windows and giving people privacy. However, both can be a great addition to your space for styling things up a bit.
    Also, drapes can completely block out light, provide insulation, and reduce the amount of noise entering the room.
  • If you are on a tight budget, it may be difficult for you to find some decent drapes since they are usually a bit expensive. However, thankfully you can find some curtains that do not look too shabby.



Hopefully, you could understand the difference between curtains and drapes after going through this article. Whichever one you decide to purchase, finally, make sure you are considering all factors.

One helpful tip would be to try to visualize how the curtains or drapes would look in the space you’re buying them for. Try to get the best value for your money, and think practically!


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