Best Curtains & Drapes

Updated On

Curtains drapes can have multiple functions. First, they can be used in the same manner as shades and blinds, but can be used in conjunction with them in a more decorative fashion. A common window treatment is to have a pull-down blind for firm control of light and visibility, but to also have a sheer drape that will admit light, with a heavier drape over that. The heavy drape often has insulative qualities to keep heat in or out. Other decorative elements might be fringing on the drapes, curtain pulls and valances to finish the top.

Foter is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Why trust us?

Our Picks

1
Merchant links are sponsored

Noise Reducing Curtain Panel With Grommet Header

Wayfair Basics®

What we like: Noise-reducing and room-darkening features

What we don’t like: Not 100% blackout

Not so good for: A complete blackout solution

Perfect for: Late sleepers

This simple but elegant polyester grommet curtain panel will instantly elevate any window in your living room or bedroom. Available in a wide variety of muted and bold colors, there’s something for every color scheme here. A simple sliding grommet header effortlessly slides over your desired curtain rod (not included), while the straight bottom hem provides a sophisticated tailored look.

This curtain's room-darkening design blocks almost all of the light and helps reduce the impact of outside noise. Perfect for anyone who loves to sleep in on the weekends! Best of all, when the time comes to wash these curtains, they can simply be put in your household washing machine for easy cleaning.

2

Floral Room Darkening Thermal Curtains

Bay Isle Home™

What we like: Colorful design

What we don’t like: No lining

Not so good for: Modern rooms

Perfect for: Adding a pop of color to farmhouse-inspired homes

This eye-catching curtain panel set features an intricate colorful design with lovely blooming flowers, leaves, and peacocks that will liven up any master bedroom or living room. They are available in a choice of four cheerful colors; orange, blue, navy, and yellow. These gorgeous curtains are perfect for adding a burst of color and energy to your space.

Simply insert a curtain pole through the sleeve to instantly add a tropical feel to your space. The room darkening, thermal insulation, and noise-reducing polyester material will ensure that your bedroom is peaceful and quiet—even when you want to sleep in on a Sunday morning.

$18.13 $51.18

3
Merchant links are sponsored

Blackout Rod Pocket Curtain Panel

What we like: Elegant design and good blackout features

What we don’t like: Can be tricky to open and close

Not so good for: Small windows

Perfect for: Adding a touch of elegance to your space

As well as offering noise reduction and blackout capabilities, this smart curtain panel also provides excellent thermal insulation which can help reduce energy wasted through your windows by up to 30%. The curtain is made out of woven polyester fabric with a solid hue and an elegant silk-inspired finish—perfect for adding a touch of glamor to your bedroom or living space.

It features a 3" ruffled header as well as a 3" tailored bottom hem which gives it an opulent look. A rod pocket above makes installation a snap, although it’s worth noting that rod-pocket curtains can be tricky to open and close quickly. This panel is also machine washable for simple maintenance and is perfect for everyday use.

4
Merchant links are sponsored

Sheer Rod Pocket Single Curtain Panel

Charlton Home®

What we like: Adds privacy to your room without blocking the light

What we don’t like: They can be tricky to open and close due to the rod pocket

Not so good for: Rooms that need to be completely dark

Perfect for: Coastal-inspired interiors

This beautiful curtain panel is perfect for giving your living room or bedroom an effortlessly relaxed, coastal look. Made from polyester, this curtain panel is lightweight and will blow gently in the breeze when you have your windows open in the summer.

This can be used as a curtain on its own, or layered with thicker curtains if you need the room to be dark at night, whilst allowing privacy during the daytime. The material feels wonderfully soft and is refreshingly easy to wash and care for. It can be washed in your household machine, and will usually air-dry in under an hour.

5
Merchant links are sponsored

Textured Linen Blackout Curtains

PrinceDeco

What we like: Fully lined

What we don’t like: It’s tricky to get the creases out

Not so good for: Allowing light in

Perfect for: 100% Blackout

These stylish energy-efficient window curtains are made of textured linen fabric with a thermal insulating white liner on the back for maximum light blocking. The natural linen design makes these curtains an ideal choice for french-country and farmhouse-inspired interiors. The curtains have natural insulating properties and have been prewashed to provide extra softness and give them a relaxed look.

These stunning curtains have a grommet header, which allows them to hang in almost perfect lines—perfect for giving your windows a smart and timeless look. The fact that these curtains offer 100% blackout makes them the perfect choice for bedrooms.

6
Merchant links are sponsored

Hallman Ruched Room Darkening Rod Pocket Single Curtain Panel

Luxuriant and inviting, this blackout curtain panel is ideal for a setting which incorporates both opulence and comfort, such as a shabby chick or traditional dining room or lounge. Its rich coffee brown hue accentuated by its faux silk glamor and ruched detail will also further enliven the overall effect of lighter colored furnishings. The fact that it consists of  a nylon-polyester blend also means that the panel will come with an extra element of softness while also being especially resistant to stretching and shrinking.

7
Merchant links are sponsored

Wayfair Basics Solid Room Darkening Grommet Curtain Panel

Its neutral hue means this grommet curtain panel will blend in effortlessly with your color scheme while its classic style and full length elegance will enhance the sophistication of your decor. The drape which features a woven solid design is also ideal for filtering out both sound and light  and will keep out the harsh glare of the midday sunshine. 

Hang  it over a french window or a sliding glass door in your bedroom to create a relaxing ambience of seclusion and calm.

8
Merchant links are sponsored

Solid Blackout Thermal Grommet 2 Curtains / Drapes (Set of 2)

Made from triple weave fabric, this curtain set comes with woven-in blackout fibers and tiebacks ensuring you will be able to conveniently regulate the ambient light and insulation in your surroundings. It also features Grommet tops which will lend a modern touch to your decor while also contributing to the energy efficiency of the drapes. Hang against lightly colored walls in a nursery or bedroom to create an intimate feel thanks to its navy blue hue.

9
Merchant links are sponsored

Brockham Solid Blackout Thermal Grommet Curtain Panels (Set of 2)

Featuring a brilliant white which will instantly enhance the spaciousness of their surroundings, these brockham solid curtains will also add an element of luxury to your home office or living room. Their even pleats and monochromatic tones will also ensure that they will fit right into any contemporary setting they are placed in. Place as the perfect backdrop to your desk, seat and table or standing lamp to fully showcase the timeless appeal they provide.

10
Merchant links are sponsored

Brushgrove Solid Sheer Rod Pocket Curtains (Set of 2)

Made from polyester and featuring a solid hue, these sheer curtains will illuminate your surroundings while ensuring you are able to enjoy privacy at the same time. Their ruffled headers will also subtly enhance the classical elegance they provide while their rod pockets will provide them with even pleats. Incorporate into a bohemian-style living room to add brightness to otherwise darker colored pieces of furniture and indoor plant ceramics.

11
Merchant links are sponsored

Wayfair Basics Solid Blackout Thermal Grommet Single Curtain Panel

Manufactured from polyester, this thermal grommet single curtain comes with a resistance to wear and wrinkles which is a desired quality in all household fabrics. The machine washable single panel also features excellent blackout qualities ensuring you will be able to maintain your prefered levels of light and sound in any room of your choosing. Complement its solid appeal with a lighter window treatment as well as an upholstered wingback seat and single cabinet to add an element of contemporary refinement to your living room.

12
Merchant links are sponsored

Leitch Solid Blackout Thermal Grommet Single Curtain Panel

Brought to you in a warm white reminiscent of summer lilies, the Leitch Velvet Single Curtain will instantly bestow its pristine appeal on any room it is placed in while also creating the illusion of a larger window. Its ability to blackout light along with its weighted hem will also enable you to enjoy a cool evening breeze without your privacy being compromised while its thermal properties will also minimise heat loss when the curtain is drawn. Place as the final finishing touch in a room with white colored walls and dark seats and tables to enhance contrasts for an especially dramatic effect.

13
Merchant links are sponsored

Sweetwater Solid Blackout Thermal Rod Pocket Double Curtains (Set of 2)

This curtain set comes with the ability to effortlessly blend aesthetics with functionality. Brought to you in an alluring navy, it will play off wonderfully against a wide range of lighter accent colors providing you with endless decorating options. Set in an area with heavy traffic such as your dining room or lounge where its dark blue tones will add a luxuriant depth to its surroundings.

14
Merchant links are sponsored

Wayfair Basics Solid Blackout Rod Pocket Single Curtain Panel

With a neutral gray which makes it ideal for both warm and cool decorative themes, this curtain panel is an excellent choice for styles which focus on emphasizing space. Its three-inch ruffled header will also contribute an additional stylish element to its overall effect balanced out by its three-inch bottom hem. Its energy efficient design which is capable of insulating your home is also another advantage it provides and will enable it to reduce heat loss by up to 30%. 

15
Merchant links are sponsored

Freemansburg Room Darkening Rod Pocket Single Curtain Panel

Reminiscent of a virgin winter landscape, this curtain panel in an immaculate white will instantly highlight the various hues and accents in its surroundings owing to its subtle neutral touch. Manufactured from 100% polyester with a rod pocket, it is easy to install and a varying choice of panels will provide you with even more options for color as well. Its flowing pleats which end in a pool at its base will provide a luxuriant waterfall effect making it an excellent option for spacious rooms where it will enhance the elegance of its surroundings.

16
Merchant links are sponsored

Wayfair Basics Solid Blackout Thermal Tab Top Single Curtain Panel

A finished hem and full-length pleats make this single blackout curtain a stylish option for controlling both light, warmth and sound within your immediate environment. Made from 100% polyester, it is also especially durable and easy to maintain due to being suitable for machine washing and ironing. As a result, it will remain satin smooth and wrinkle resistant making it an especially excellent choice of window treatment. Take advantage of its silver gray coloring to add a cooling touch to balance out warmer colors such as gold, orange or ochre.

17
Merchant links are sponsored

Clem Solid Blackout Rod Pocket Single Curtain Panel

With its brilliant, flawless white, this blackout single curtain panel is perfect for offsetting the color of background walls as well as furnishings which happen to be of a darker hue. Especially stain and fade resistant, it is also capable of creating an intimate ambience thanks to its max blackout feature which will keep out any unwanted lighting. Complement with a dark gray rug and matching picture frames against a lighter colored wall to create an eclectic blend of minimalist and traditional styles.

Jump to More Ideas

Buying Guide

Curtains and drapes are an important part of a room’s aesthetics. They also contribute to a home’s comfort by providing privacy, regulating the amount of light coming in, insulating against cold temperatures, and buffering outside noise.

When you shop for window dressings, however, the aesthetics will be uppermost in your mind: What size curtains? What fabric? What color? It can be quite overwhelming. Here, we hope to help you sort through these elements to make the decision more manageable and the result more successful.

The first thing that you need to know for our “Curtains and Drapes 101” is the difference between the two. It will save you time shopping, and you will avoid convoluted conversations when a consultant is assisting you. Best for the two of you to be on the same page.

  • Curtains are sold in pairs or by the panel and are made from lighter fabrics that are rarely lined. They hang from a curtain rod and portray a more casual ambiance.
  • Drapes are sold in pairs and are made from heavier lined fabric. The tops of drapes are pleated, and the pleats hold hooks that hang the drapes onto the curtain rod. Drapes usually open and close with a cord or a puller and are used in more formal rooms.

(We will use “curtain” here for both in most cases.)

How Long Should Curtains and Drapes Be?

  • The traditional length is just barely touching the floor or hovering a half an inch above it. It is easier to open and close the curtains at that length, and the folds fall back into place nicely.
  • Curtains that extend onto the floor one to three inches are another stylish option. It’s a more relaxed look, and a decor-saver if your floors are uneven.
  • In formal rooms, six or so inches of fabric puddling languidly on the floor looks both elegant and bohemian. Curtains of this length look best on tall windows and with lighter weight curtains.

How Wide Should Curtains and Drapes Be?

  • Curtain width should be about 2 to 2½ times the width of the window. Unless you will not be shutting them. If you simply want to frame the window, 1½ times the width of the window will be best.
  • Multiply window width by 2½ to 3 for a tightly gathered and full, luxurious look.
  • Sheer curtains need to be at least 3 times the width of the window.

How Do You Know Which Headers to Use?

A header is, simply, the top of the curtain, the part where curtain meets rod. The header can make a huge difference in the appearance of your curtains when hung. There are many kinds of headers; we are going to give you a quick overview of the most common.

Pleated Headers

There are many kinds of pleated headers, from pencil pleats to flat box pleats. Pleats give a more formal or classic look, for example:

  • Euro Pleats are pinched at the top with elegant stitching and result in sharp folds.
  • Pinch Pleats are tacked about 4” down from the top and give the curtain a tailored look.
  • Inverted Pleats are for the trendsetters. The folds of the pleats are hidden, creating a flat surface at the top of the curtains.
  • Box pleats are clean and simple, i.e., contemporary. The fabric is folded on the front and back, resulting in flat boxy folds.

Rod Pocket Headers

A channel across the top of the curtains holds the rod for a casual gathered effect. Choose for curtains that will not be opened and closed regularly. Or use tie-backs to keep the curtains open.

Grommet (Eyelet) Headers

The grommet header has a circular opening for the curtain rod to slide through. You can move the curtains easily along the rod. These curtains are modern and casual with the rod becoming part of the décor.

Tab Top Headers

Tab Top headers have flat loops (tabs) of material that the rod passes through. The look is casual with very little gathering. The curtains do not move easily over the rod and doing so frequently will result in worn out tabs.

What Fabrics Are Best for Curtains and Drapes?

The type of material is essential to achieving the look you want, not only for the windows but also for the décor of the entire room.

  • Voile

Voile (or sheer) curtains let in the most natural daylight while providing privacy. They have an appealing soft, airy look.

  • Lace

The openwork of lace makes these curtains suitable as sheers. More often, they add vintage charm to small windows.

  • Cotton

Cotton comes in a wide variety of finishes and thicknesses. It can be light enough for the sun room at the beach and weighty enough for a formal dining room. Most cotton fabric is easy to maintain, durable and colorfast.

  • Linen

Linen curtains, whether natural or synthetic blend, diffuse light beautifully through the textured weave. Natural linen adds an earthy note to your décor; dyed or embroidered linen is elegant.

  • Silk

Silk curtains are softly luminous with a richness of color. The silk may be be smooth, textured or embroidered. These curtains need to be protected from sunlight.

  • Velvet

Traditionally made from silk, velvet is opulent. Drapes are heavy and, as such, keep out the sun, cold and noise. A fabric this grand needs a large window.

  • Synthetics and Synthetic Blends

Do not make the mistake of downgrading synthetics. Many are high-quality fabrics, durable and permanent press. Some synthetic fabrics are able to block UV rays—especially important in areas where radiation reflects off of snow, sand or water. Very often, synthetics combine the best of the natural fabrics, for example, a cotton/linen/silk blend.

How Do I Choose the Color of Curtains and Drapes

Color is, without a doubt, a very personal decision, and there are various ways to get to the perfect color for you. We will provide some general “rules” as long as you promise to keep in mind that rules are made to be broken!

Light Colors

  • Rarely go out of style, particularly whites and neutrals.
  • Make a room appear to be larger than what it is.
  • Are less likely to fade from the sun.
  • Keep a room cooler in the summer (by bouncing away the sun’s rays).
  • Can be dyed a different color when you need a change.
  • Dirt, dust and stains are more visible.

Dark Colors

  • Make a large room or one with a high ceiling cozier.
  • Are both relaxing and romantic.
  • Add drama and elegance to a room.
  • Work best with light walls.
  • Blocks out light for sleeping.
  • Do not show soils.
  • Can be overwhelming in a small room.
  • Are visually dominating—the color needs to be just right.
  • Will fade from the sun’s rays.

Color also depends on how you visualize the curtains’ role in the décor.

  • If you want your curtains to blend in, select the same color as your walls.
  • If you want your curtains to be a focal point, select a complementary color.
  • If you want your curtains to stand out subtly, select an analogous color.
  • If you want to make a statement, go for the bold!

In selecting a color from the existing décor, you can employ the 60-30-10 rule.

Scientists long ago determined that 60-30-10 is the Golden Ratio—a proportion universally appealing to the human eye. Interior decorators use it faithfully. Often, even when we are not conscious of the rule, the colors we choose for our surroundings work out that way. So look around the room and use one of these colors for your curtains:

  • You can choose the color that is taking up ± 60% of the space, which you will find on the walls and, perhaps, in the rug and upholstery. It is the anchor color.
  • Or the color that is taking up ± 30% of the space, which you will find in, for example, chairs, painted furniture, wall art. It is the secondary color that supports the anchor color but stands apart from it.
  • Or the 10% color, which usually is bright and appears as “pops” of color in the room, found in vases and metallic accents.

Curtains inject personality into your décor, and you want that to be your personality. Sometimes you need to be willing to take that leap, as risky as it may seem. Just be sure your curtains are returnable in a reasonable amount of time!

The Game Plan

  • Know what size curtains you need.
  • If you are not sure what fabric you want, at least narrow down your choices. Even though you cannot feel the fabric while browsing online, you can get a feel for the look of it.
  • If you can, take swatches of some of the colors in your décor, such as walls, rug, upholstery, and accents.
  • Bring color swatches home with you to place around the room or tape to the wall. Live with the colors before committing.

One last piece of advice: Buy the best that you can afford. Curtain are a long-term investment so, as much as you are able, choose quality and what you really love over cost and something that is “good enough.”

Best Ideas