The roles of curtains have changed. At one time they were used to retain heat, block cold air, control sunlight and provide privacy. They still perform these roles, but with many advancements in window glass and window design technology, they are often much more decorative than functional. Decorators can be much more creative in their window treatments with this shift to decorative usage.
For many people, there is a distinction between terms curtains and drapes. Drapes are usually floor length, lined and suspended from a traverse rod with hooks that will allow them to be opened and closed by pulling a cord. Draperies are usually very formal looking. Curtains are less formal. They are usually those fabric window treatments that are suspended by hooks or rings from a rod and opened and closed by grasping edge and pulling fabric panel into position. Often they are tied back to window casing and are not opened or closed at all. In these situations, they are frequently used in conjunction with shades, or blinds which can be closed to block sunlight or provide privacy.
Types of curtains
There are three basic types of curtains. These are panel, cafe and tiered. Panel are simply plain panels of fabric that are hemmed at top and at bottom. They are suspended from top of window by rings or hooks and hang in natural folds, giving window a less formal appearance. These are often used in bedrooms and dining rooms and maybe used in combination with shades, blinds or sheers. Cafe curtains are generally hung from center of window, leaving upper part of window bare or exposed. Sometimes cafe styles will be hung one fourth or one third of way down from top of window, giving window a much different look. Either way, they are tied back. Cafe curtains are often used in kitchens and in informal dining areas. The third kind is tiered. These are multiple panels with one or two panels hanging over top of two base panels. The base panels usually cover bottom half of window and outer panels cover top half of window and hang down to overlap base panels.
There are three basic lengths as well. The sill length is either suspended from either halfway point or top of window. The bottom hem is not quite touching windowsill. The below sill style is cut so bottom hem hangs just below apron or trim board running across bottom of window. The floor length style is cut so bottom hem is just above floor.
There are also be lined or unlined styles, depending upon amount of natural light that is to be admitted to room. Similarly, there are interlined styles, with a third layer sandwiched between panel and lining. They are designed to provide protection from cold air that is conducted from outside to inside through glass, or air seeping through cracks in windowsill or between sash and window frame.
Tie back styles
The appearance of a window can be dramatically altered by colour and fabric used. It can also be altered in manner curtains are hung. One popular and attractive arrangement is tie back. Tie back options offer decorators tremendous choices in creating unique and very attractive windows.