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Drapes vs. Curtains: What’s the Difference?

Written by:
Felicia Priedel

Despite what you might believe, drapes and curtains are not the same things. Understanding the differences will help you choose your home’s proper aesthetic and privacy. You want to create a cohesive and comfortable environment. Let’s explore the differences between drapes and curtains.


Drapes have a lining constructed of heavy fabric that blocks any light. Drapes also look stiffer and appear heavier than curtains. Most drapes have a solid color and utilize textures as opposed to patterns. They’re an excellent way to add privacy, block light, and bring a pop of color or texture to a room.

Drapes function well in bedrooms. The fabric and light-blocking abilities create the perfect space for sleeping. They’re also perfect for formal living and dining rooms. The pleats at the top contribute to a more traditional appearance.


Curtains are available in various lengths, fabrics, widths, patterns, and colors. They’re versatile fabric panels that most places sell in pairs, and they’ll look great in any room. Like drapes, curtains are also an easy way to add a pop of color or texture to your space, livening up the area in an instant.

Some curtains are sheer and provide little to no privacy, meaning they’re not as effective at blocking the sunshine. Fortunately, you can also find blackout curtains, which will stop any light from entering the room. Many homeowners install curtains over blinds to provide maximum seclusion and light-blocking without investing in drapes.

Which Option Is Better?

Choosing which option is better for your space requires you to ask yourself a few questions. How much light would you like to let in? Are you going for a more formal feel or style? What is your budget? Answering these questions will help provide clarity as to which choice suits your home.

Curtains are usually less expensive, and drapes fit well into formal spaces. Drapes or curtains can both block out sunlight, depending on the fabric. If you have kids or pets, curtains may be the best option because they’re easy to clean.

The most significant difference between curtains and drapes comes down to the lining. If it has a lining, it’s a drape—if not, you have curtains. To determine which option is best for you, look at the functionality, cost, and style.

By Liliana Alvarez

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