Your Guide to Different Types of Curtains

Your Guide to Different Types of Curtains

One of the highlights of any room is the window treatment. From shades to blinds to curtains, you have design choices to make. What type of curtains is best for your style? Come to think of it, how many types of curtains are there? Choosing curtains isn’t a simple task. While curtains are functional pieces, they must also complement your chosen décor. 

One way to make the selection process simpler is to understand the types of curtains that are available. This article is a quick guide to the most popular types of curtains, style, fabrics, and lengths


Curtain Styles

Curtains come in just about every color you can imagine, and they vary in fabric, length, and style. Just about all styles involve fabric pleats. The type and structure of the pleats affect how the curtain hangs on the rod and how it drapes across your window.

Curtains are also functional. They block sunlight and complement your interior design. Select types of curtains also insulate your window. If you need blackout or thermal-lined curtains, that narrows your selection down somewhat. Though, many of the following options remain available to you.

Pleated Curtains

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Pleated curtains are both traditional as well as formal. Most of the time, fabric pleated curtains are made with thicker varieties of materials for a full look. The various pleat styles accent the room in different ways.

Pinch Pleat

Pinch Pleat

For example, a pinch pleat is pinched off at the top, which allows the fabric folds to flow down, creating an elegant look. Pinched pleat, also called tailored pleats, come in two-finger to five-finger pleated styles. The more pleats, the fuller the appearance. You’ll find this type of curtain formal entertaining rooms and master bedrooms.

Box Pleat

Box pleat curtains have folds that run deep and across the length of the curtain, giving you full coverage and a clean, tailored look. They do well in bedrooms as well as dining rooms.

Goblet Pleat

Goblet pleat curtains go well in a formal room with high ceilings. The shape resembles that of a goblet, hence the name. The pleats aren’t sturdy, so goblet curtains frame the window only. They stay in one place, meaning you don’t draw them open or closed.

Pencil Pleat

Pencil Pleat

Pencil pleats are thinner, single pleats that work well with different types of curtain rods and hooks. They have a casual style and complement less formal décor. 

Eyelet or Grommet Curtains


Eyelet or grommet curtains are contemporary in style. The grommets are open rings that support the panels. With the rings, you can slide open the curtains easily, making them a welcome choice for bedrooms. The grommets also mean you can see your curtain hardware. So, aesthetically pleasing curtain rods and finials are a must.

Rod-Pocket Curtains


Rod-pocket curtains are also called cased heading curtains. They are another casual style, made from lightweight or sheer fabrics. You’ll find these easy to assemble. Just slip your rod through the pocket in the material. Note that this type of curtain panel requires a thinner, tight-fitting curtain rod. Rod-pocket curtains are decorative and pair well with a functional second layer like blackout curtains.

Tab-Top Curtains


Tab-top curtains are easy to set up. They have loops that hang from the top of the panels, and they support the curtain rod. Due to the loops, this type of curtain hangs lower, which makes this style perfect for patterns and prints. You may notice this type of curtain in a home with a cottage or farmhouse décor.

Deciding on a curtain style is the first decision. You still have a few more selections to make. 

Curtain Fabrics Opacity

In addition to style, curtains come in dozens of different fabrics that tailor to different looks as well as function. For example, cotton, rayon, and polyester are popular fabric choices for all types of curtains. These fabrics are easy to maintain, affordable, and last a long time.

For more elegant, heavy curtains, people often choose luxury fabrics such as velvet, opaque silks, or brocade. These look especially lush and full when puddled on the floor. From a functional perspective, thicker fabrics also block sunlight and guard against drafts. Keep in mind, however, that these fabrics are also delicate and require special care when it comes to cleaning. Most are dry-clean only. Silk is especially fragile and fades from the sun over time.

For sheer curtains, your fabric options are acrylic, voile, or lace. Acrylic curtains provide a surprising amount of insulation.Voile and lace give the room a light, airy feel.

Curtain Lengths

Next, you’ll need to take exact measurements to determine the length of your curtain panels. Standard sizes for curtain panels are 63”, 84”, 95”, 108” and 120” lengths. Most of the time, you’ll be able to select the correct length. If you have custom windows, however, you may need to order a custom length.

How Will You Hang Your New Curtains?

There are three ways to hang your curtains. The first is called floating because the curtains dangle, or float, just above the floor. You should have about one inch of space between the bottom of your curtains and the floor.

If you choose to have your curtains “kiss” the floor, then they will graze the floor. You need precise measurements to hang them this way. Be sure you account for the hardware and any curtain rings in your measurements.

The third hanging method is to allow your curtains to “puddle” on the floor, meaning your curtains flare or spill onto the floor. This technique looks quite elegant with heavy curtains in formal rooms.

Design Your Perfect Window

Now that you know what your choices are, you’ll be able to select the style, material, and length of your next set of curtains. Whatever your motif or décor, there’s a curtain style to complement it perfectly. Don’t forget that curtains layer well with other window coverings like blinds, swags, and even window film.