What You Need To Know When Buying Curtains Online

Are you currently looking to update your interior window furnishings and buy curtains online? Maybe you’re thinking of a sleek, floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains? Or maybe an S-wave blockout curtain? Okay – we’ll stop. We understand that sometimes the terminology used in the window furnishing industry can be a little difficult to understand, to the say the least.

What’s the difference between a curtain and a drape? What do you mean when you say ‘blockout’ – is it the same as ‘blackout’? And what on Earth is an eyelet? Never fear. We’ve consulted an extensive list of suppliers, manufacturers, and interior designers in order to translate some difficult curtain-related words to help take the guesswork out of buying curtains online. We hope it helps!


What's The Difference Between Curtains & Drapes?

Here’s a simple one to start with. When buying curtains online, people tend to think of drapes as the heavy, outdated masses of fabric you might see at your nan’s place. Not necessarily. The reality is that there isn’t too much difference between drapes and curtains. Both products are made from panels of fabric and are hung above a window, usually with an opening in the middle. 

That being said, ‘drapes’ are usually made of a denser fabric such as velvet or something luxurious like silk. The idea is that they provide a more formal look, hanging all the way to the floor. A ‘curtain’, meanwhile, is more of a general term for any sort of window furnishing made of fabric. 

Heading Styles - Explained

While trying to buy curtains online, you’ve probably noticed that curtains and drapes come in a variety of styles. The way that a curtain looks visually is determined by how it’s been sewn together or pleated at the top. This is known as its ‘heading style’. The heading style that you decide upon will dictate the way the fabric flows and the style of the curtain themselves. There are a couple of different popular heading styles. Let’s run through them:

          Pinch/Tailored Pleat – this is one of the most common pleated curtain styles. The ‘pinch’ can be anywhere from a double fold onwards that is stitched into the top of the panel. These pleats given the curtain panel its volume. The more pleats, more fabric. Pinch Pleats are popular because they’re versatile, and will fit on just about any type of curtain rod or track system.

          Box Pleat – it looks exactly how it sounds! A box pleat is a rectangular box sewn into the head of the curtain panel. It is more tailored and linear than a Pinch Pleat, for a more formal, uniform look.

          Pencil Pleat – these have multiple thin pleats sewn into the top of the panel. As they’re single pleats, they make for a much more delicate look with less volume. 

          Eyelet/Grommet Curtain – these terms are interchangeable. This is a more modern style of curtain heading, and you might have seen it used for your shower curtain! An eyelet or grommet is an open ring, usually metallic, that fits into the top of the curtain panel, allowing it to be easily drawn open or closed. They make for a simplistic look, and are well-suited to more contemporary interior design schemes. 

          S-Wave Curtain – Also known as S-Fold, Ripple, or Wave Folds, these are a relatively new form of curtain dressing. Their simple, visually pleasing sculpted style makes them perfect for contemporary homes.

          Tab Top Curtains – similar to eyelet/grommet curtains, these curtains are super easy to install and are popular in rental properties. Their name comes from the loops or ‘tabs’ that are sewn into the top of the panel to slot them onto a curtain rod, almost like a fabric eyelet.

Curtain Linings - Explained

The ‘lining’ of a curtain is the fabric that is sewn to the backside of the curtain panel. It can be plain, patterned, or colourful, but will only be seen from outside the window. It’s important to remember that the type of lining you choose will make your curtain look and function quite differently. Curtains are either unlined, like a sheer, or lined/coated for extra insulation and light-blocking.

          Sheer Curtains – sheers are unlined, meaning they allow light to enter a space. Sheers are made from a delicate, semi-transparent fabric that does not allow for much privacy. Instead, they’re aimed at creating an ambience – gently filtering the light that comes through the window as a more decorative window treatment. As a result, people often choose to layer their sheer curtains with another heavier curtain, to provide greater control over the amount of light that enters a room. 

          Blackout or Blockout Curtains – Guess what? Blackouts and blockouts are the same. It simply depends on the manufacturer that you’re dealing with. These are lined curtains with tight stitching to prevent light from passing through the fabric and into your space. They also have strong insulation properties and can muffle noise from the street. This effect is created in one of two ways. In some instances, the reverse side of the fabric is coated with an acrylic lining. Other times, the fabric is interwoven with a specialised black layer in between the front and back sides. Either way, Blockout or Blackout Curtains are a great way to insulate your home and ensure a good night’s sleep.

Hopefully this brief guide has helped you to decipher the confusing language behind buying curtains online! For more information on selecting the right window furnishing for your home, visit our blog.

What You Need To Know When Buying Curtains Online
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