12th Nov 2021

What Are The Different Types of Curtains?

 What Are The Different Types of Curtains?

Choosing curtains for a particular room in your home can be lots of fun but it can also be confusing due to names and styles.

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You may decide to take a modern approach with block colours, brave it with a bold pattern, or aim for subtle classiness with neutrals and texture. Ideas are the fun part of any home makeover.

Because there are so many different types of curtains, choosing some for your home can be a challenge. So, where do you start?

What are the different types of curtains? The Mill Shop is here to help by explaining each type, the type of room they most suit, and the fabrics they’re made of.

Read on to find out more about the different types of curtains with our simple guide...

Which curtains?

There is a wide range of options when it comes to window treatments, but there are a few things you need to know before getting to the specific types.

The first thing you need to know is what type of fitting you have above the window you want to dress. You may have a curtain pole, or there might be a curtain track attached above the window frame. Another consideration you need to make is whether the window is flush to the wall, recessed or whether it is a bay window, which can be restrictive for fittings.

If you look closely at the top of curtains (which is a part often called the header), you will notice that some are pinched while others are strung through the curtain pole itself. To make things even more complicated, you may also notice a great range in the style of this ‘pinching’. This creates different types of pleats, with various defining fullness, shape, and volume.

Window fittings will determine to an extent the type of curtain top you can use, but another consideration is the weight and type of material the curtains are made from. Not all curtain top styles can be applied to the thicker upholstery material. Likewise, some ‘floatier’ curtain materials, such as net and voile, aren’t suited to certain styles, either.

Drapes are a more pleated and formal type of curtain. When we speak about the types of curtains, there are two factors - the first is the type of curtain top. This refers to the type of pleating and how the curtain attaches to a curtain pole.

What are box pleat curtains?

If you’re looking for a more intricate look with deep folds down the length of your curtains, then a box pleat is for you.

The pleats are wide and flat, with a box-like appearance, and are ideal for a formal look. A classical style, the box pleat forms a more angular, clean, and wide pleat. The specific sewing involved requires precise measurements, so you need to ensure you’ve done your research beforehand.

  • Style: formal.
  • Ideal Room: lounge, dining room or study.
  • Fitting: rings or tracks.
  • Fabric: heavy to medium.
  • Custom-made.

What are rod pocket curtains (cased pleat/top slot)?

This is a very literal name - there is a pocket sewn into the upper edge of the curtain that is just wide enough to slide the curtain rod through.

Also known as cased pleat or top slot curtains, the effect of this method is a less uniform pleat. It is intended as a quick solution when using a curtain pole with no rings or if there’s no curtain track or tape. The fit of the pocket is usually tight to the rod, so is best used in rooms where the curtains are rarely drawn. It allows the curtain rod to be totally obscured.

  • Style: informal.
  • Ideal Room: guest rooms, play rooms.
  • Fitting: curtain rod.
  • Fabric Weight: medium to very light.

What are pencil pleat curtains?

A pencil pleat curtain is the most common style of curtain header that is great for both traditional and more modern interiors.

The pleats are small, about the width of a pencil, but can vary as needed, and regular throughout the width of the curtain. The consistent pleat means curtains hang in a tidy and pleasing manner. Heading tape is used to back the pleat and can either be hung on tracks using hooks, or the clips can also be attached to rings, allowing the use of a pole.

  • Style: universal.
  • Ideal room: all rooms.
  • Fitting: curtain track & hooks or curtain pole & rings.
  • Fabric weight: most fabrics.

What are pinch pleat curtains?

Pinch pleat curtains are exactly how they sound, they are a neat bunch of two to five ‘finger’ pleats equally spaced.

The pinch point does not sit at the top, but rather a few inches down, creating a diamond effect in-between pleats. The pinch design at the top creates a fuller pleat and you can use rings or pockets to hang these curtains. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that more pleats will mean more fabric is needed, increasing the cost.

  • Style: formal.
  • Ideal Room: living room, dining room, master bedroom.
  • Fitting: curtain pole & rings.
  • Fabric Weight: suited to heavier fabrics, lighter fabrics must be lined.
  • Custom made.

What are Tailored Pleat Curtains?

A tailored pleat is much the same as a pinch pleat, the only difference being the position of the ‘pinch’. The pinch of a tailored pleat sits at the top of the curtain, the point of each pleat would be where each curtain ring or track hook would attach.

  • Style: formal.
  • Ideal Room: living room, dining room, master bedroom.
  • Fitting: curtain pole & rings.
  • Fabric Weight: suited to heavier fabrics, lighter fabrics must be lined.
  • Custom Made

What are Goblet Pleat Curtains?

The goblet pleat is a rare sight these days. Usually reserved for stately homes or grand hotels, the way the curtain top is pleated resembles a wine glass or ‘goblet’.

This type of pleat can be called a ‘cartridge’ and will usually require extra lining or wadding to help keep its shape, and is time-intensive to create. Goblet pleat curtains are more suited to drapes that are ornamental and are not drawn regularly, in order to keep the shape. A very eye-catching heading, they can be hung from a track or a pole.

  • Style: very formal.
  • Ideal Room: event rooms, formal sitting rooms, hallways.
  • Fitting: curtain poles & rings.
  • Fabric Weight: suited to heavier fabrics, lighter fabrics must be lined.
  • Custom Made.

What are Eyelet Curtains?

Eyelet curtains, or ring top curtains, are metal ring lined holes in the curtain itself, which allows the curtain to slide over a curtain pole with ease.

Easy to install and operate, eyelet curtains involve little or no dressing and they form columns of fabric that fall into soft pronounced folds. These qualities make them great for kids rooms as they are easy for children to open and close. The large hole accommodates almost any size pole. This non-fussy style is great for patterned curtains.

  • Style: informal/modern.
  • Ideal Room: living room, bedroom, children's room.
  • Fitting: curtain pole.
  • Fabric Weight: medium to light.

What are Tab Top Curtains?

Much like the rod pocket curtains, tab top curtains are a great way to work around the absence of curtain rings or curtain tracks and hooks.

Like the above, these curtains come with loops that are sewn into the top of the curtain at equal points so they can be pulled right over the rod. So, much of the rod remains exposed with tab tops, but the rounded pleats are typically narrower. These loops allow the curtain to hang freely and still have a loose, pleated look.

  • Style: Informal
  • Ideal Room: Bedroom, Bathroom, Playroom
  • Fitting: Curtain Pole
  • Fabric Weight: Most Fabrics

How long should curtains be?

As well as the different styles of curtain top, the curtain length is an important consideration. Floor-length curtains can either be ‘touching the floor’ - just grazing the floor or ending one or two inches above it- or ‘breaking at the floor’. This is when the curtains overhang and pool on the floor in a romantic style.

What type of curtain should you choose?

Hopefully, our summary of the different curtain types, along with tips on location, hanging, and fabric weight, will help make choosing the right curtains a breeze. Now all you need to do is measure up! Use our measuring guide to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best purchase.

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If you need more helpful advice or some inspiration, check out our blog for more!

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