Let’s be honest! All of us, at one point or another, will have to shop for window treatments. Be it for the newly purchased home or as part of the refurbishment, we will have to face the tedious task of choosing and buying drapes, shades, or blinds and curtains. The fact that you are reading this article suggests that you are most likely right at this stage of your life, and you are already feeling overwhelmed. Indeed, choosing decorative treatments for your windows can be quite a strenuous task, due to the endless range and a huge number of options.

And to make things even more difficult, many sellers, designers, and interior home decorators use the terms interchangeably, as if they were one and the same thing. One shop advertises a product as curtains, whereas another seller presents the same product as drapes. We know that you might be feeling already a bit confused and you are not the only one. This is why we have created this helpful guide to the most common types of window treatments, and the main differences between them.


What Are Curtains?

Curtains are perhaps the most popular and most versatile type of window treatment. They are made of fabric and usually sold in pairs. Curtains come in many different colors, patterns, textiles, lengths, and widths. They can either fall all the way from the ceiling to the floor or cover just half of the window. Commonly hanging from a visible or hidden rod, with the help of rings, grommets, or sleeves, curtains offer an ideal decorative solution for every room in the house.

Another significant aspect of curtains to consider is the fact that they do not block out all the light coming in. Because these window treatments are made usually of lighter and sheer fabrics, they will filter out some light but definitely not all of it. This is why curtains are often used in combination with drapes, blinds or shades, in order to offer complete privacy and full blackout of the room. This combo is ideal for bedrooms, living rooms, and any other room in which you wish to achieve such an effect.


What Are Drapes?

The main difference between drapes vs curtains is that curtains are made of lighter materials, whereas drapes are lined with heavier fabrics that are thick enough to block out all of the light coming in. Similarly to curtains, drapes are made of fabric, sold in pairs and can hang either from the ceiling to the floor or from the top of the window to the bottom of it. Sometimes referred to as draperies, drapes include materials, such as velvet, silk, or damask, and are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms.

When it comes to patterns, drapes usually offer a more modest style with less color and ornaments than curtains. The style is more formal which is further achieved by the pleats that go along the top of the drapery panels. Again, similarly to curtains, drapes can hang from a pole, aided by rings, grommets, hooks, or sleeves. They are ideal for every homeowner who wishes to add an extra splash of luxury to their living room or to achieve a full blackout of their bedroom.


What Are Blinds?

So far, so good! You already know the main difference between drapes and curtains, and it is now time to move on and throw some light on the next category – blinds and shades. These two types of window treatments are often used interchangeably, but they do have their unique dissimilarities. Usually, blinds go up and down on a cord aided by some sort of lifting mechanism, just like shades do. However, unlike shades which are made of full-length fabric, blinds consist of separate elements, called slats or louvers.

The most popular materials used in blind slats are aluminum, wood, vinyl, or even bamboo. You can tilt the slates up and let the daily light in, or completely close them down for a romantic atmosphere. Coming in many forms and colors, blinds are ideal for adding extra privacy and style to your lovely home. You can choose between Sheer blinds, Zebra blinds, or Venetian blinds, vertical or horizontal. The choice is indeed great and offers a bit of something for every room in the house, the patio, or the office.


What Are Shades?

We have finally come to number four in our guide of the main differences between curtains vs drapes vs blinds vs shades. So far, you are able to distinguish between curtains, drapes, and blinds. This is great! Let’s now become acquainted with shades. Typically, shades are made of soft fabric, in the form of a full panel that is hanging from a pole. The pole could be plastic or metal and is attached to the upper trim of the window. Similar to blinds, shades are sold individually and offer a vast range of colors, patterns, lengths, and widths.

The major difference between shades vs blinds is that shades need to be pulled up in order to let the light in, which is not the case with blinds that are made of separate slats that could be simply tilted up or down. Depending on the design of the shade, it can either roll up around the pole or just bunch up. Among the most popular types of shades currently on the market are Roller shades and Roman shades. Be aware that you can often see these models advertised as blinds, such as Roman blinds, but now you know that since it is made of a full panel, it is a shade.

The Takeaway

Each different type of window treatment has its functionality, style, and uniqueness. Curtains are easy to open or close and offer a huge range of colors, patterns, and fabrics. Drapes are more formal and modest in terms of patterns, but they are great for achieving an extra dash of luxury, dimness, and privacy. They can be used in tandem to add up for the fancy and yet legal appearance of your windows.

As to the blinds and shades, these offer ease, functionality, and color. They are ideal for achieving a full blackout in the room or to make the space look modern. Blinds come in a more solid color, whereas shades provide a bigger choice of patterns. Since you already know the difference between shades vs curtains or blinds vs drapes, you can easily combine these types of window treatments for achieving maximum comfort. After all, you are an expert now!