Explore Types of Drapes for Your Home
As you’re searching for the perfect drapery to enhance your home, you’re likely coming across lots of types of drapes from different pleat styles to material types to control options and so much more. Taking a step back from exploring products to learn about the different types of drapes can help you in your buying journey by giving you the insight you need to choose the very best style, material and control for your wants and needs.
What Are the Different Types of Drapes?
There are a lot of different types of drapes available, so to help you parse through your options, we’ve broken them down by the following categories:
As you’re considering the different types of drapes, you’ll likely come across the terms, “drape” and “curtain.” So, what’s the difference?
What’s the Difference Between a Curtain & a Drape?
Between “curtain” and “drape,” both terms can be used interchangeably to refer to the panels of fabric that make up these window treatments. In some cases, however, curtains may be used to refer to more casual styles of drape, as in “café curtains” while drapery can sometimes be used to refer to taller, more formal drape panels. At The Shade Store, we use “drapery” and “drapes” to refer to our own products.
Drapery Pleat Styles
A drapery pleat style refers to how the drape panel is fashioned at the top where it connects to its hardware and how that style affects the folds of fabric as the panel falls toward the floor. Some styles create clean, crisp lines while others create soft, elegant highlights and lowlights. Yet, choosing the right pleat style is more than just an aesthetic choice: It’s also a functional choice.
Certain pleat styles are more functional than others, either due to which hardware they’re compatible with, how much dressing (adjustment of pleats) they need when opened or closed, or both. Learn more about all your drapery options, categorized by functionality, to help you decide which is right for your space.
Functional Pleat Styles
These pleat styles are all functional and very easy to use while still offering attractive aesthetics. All are compatible with track systems (both motorized and standard manual systems) for super easy use. Tailored Pleat and Pinch Pleat Drapery are also compatible with rod and ring systems, which are still straightforward to use, even without the effortless gliding motion of a track system.
Ripple Fold Drapery
With soft S-curves of material, Ripple Fold Drapery features waves of highlights and lowlights.
Choose this for: A streamlined, simple design ideal for modern and contemporary rooms.
Tailored Pleat Drapery
Three-finger pleats pinched at the very top of the drapery panel create a streamlined, linear look.
Choose this for: A versatile style suitable for different aesthetics that creates a sense of height in a room.
Pinch Pleat Drapery
A traditional style of drapery, Pinch Pleat features three-finger pleats pinched about four inches from the top.
Choose this for: A natural visual break at the top of your drapery panel for a classic look.
Small grommets a few inches from the top of the drape panel attach to hooks in a track system.
Choose this for: Wide, gentle waves ideal for a more casual aesthetic like boho, coastal or farmhouse styles.
Decorative Pleat Styles
Best for use as stationary decorative panels, these types of drapes offer beautiful aesthetics but may be somewhat difficult to open and close on a daily basis. Or, some may simply not look as attractive when stacked off the window.
Inverted Pleat Drapery
Flat, crisp pleats across the top create a linear, formal look when the drapery is expanded.
Choose this for: A stately, contemporary aesthetic.
Delicately pinched goblet-shaped pleats deliver a luxurious, elegant aesthetic.
Choose this for: An elegant feminine element in formal rooms.
Rings pressed into the drape panels an inch from the top create deep, dramatic folds.
Choose this for: A strong linear look ideal for modern spaces.
Rod Pocket Drapery
With a sewn pocket of fabric through which the rod is threaded, this style features sections of gathered fabric.
Choose this for: An invitingly cozy, casual aesthetic.
Types of Drapes Materials
In addition to pleat style, types of drapes can also be categorized by material. Drapery materials not only vary in aesthetics, but also in functionality in terms of how much light and privacy control they provide. Learn more about types of drapes by material to determine which will give you the look you want with the functionality you need.
Sheers are made with a variety of materials from linen and wool to synthetics like polyester and acrylic, but they all share a similar characteristic. They allow natural light to filter through for a soft, ambient glow while still providing moderate privacy. Different sheer materials will give a slightly different effect, such as a soft shimmer with Sheer Metallic, so you can capture just the right look for your space.
Choose this for: A light, airy look and feel that lets lots of natural light in.
Natural Drape Materials
Natural fabrics include materials like delicate silk and hardy linen and wool, all of which deliver their own unique character-rich looks. However, these materials are prone to stretching and wrinkling, but these imperfections are to be expected and are often desirable.
Choose this for: A high-end look with the added charm of imperfection.
Synthetic fabrics like Sunbrella are made from acrylic, polyester and other man-made fibers for greater durability and resistance to staining, stretching, wrinkling and more. Their strength makes them ideal for more active rooms like kitchens, living rooms, or kids’ rooms.
Choose this for: A beautifully pristine, unaffected look and peace of mind in its performance.
Privacy drapes are those with privacy lining sewn on the back of your chosen drapery material. While most materials can have privacy lining added in, the thickness and color of the material will affect how much light is allowed through and how much privacy you’ll achieve. The thicker and darker the material, the greater privacy and less light filtration you’ll get.
Choose this for: A touch of light filtration while maintaining complete privacy.
Blackout lining blocks up to 99% of the natural light, helping to create a room darkening effect and provide excellent privacy. Just like with privacy lining, the thickness and color of your drapery material affect how much room darkening and privacy you achieve. Thicker fabrics in rich, dark colors will provide the very best blackout effect and privacy.
Choose this for: A soothing room darkening effect and complete privacy.
Just like pleat style and material, drapery hardware also plays a role in both your drapery’s aesthetics and functionality. Hardware falls into three main categories: traditional rod and rings hardware, track system hardware and motorization track systems.
Keep in mind as you consider hardware options that some drapery pleat styles are only compatible with certain types of hardware. Find out more about types of drapes hardware systems.
Rod & Rings
Rod and ring drapes feature a curtain rod and matching rings to which the drapery panels are attached. This style of hardware is the most traditional type, and it comes in a wide range of aesthetic options from elegant, classic designs to sleek, modern options. Functionally, it is simple to use as the rings glide easily over the rod.
Rod and rings are compatible with all pleat styles except for Ripple Fold Drapery and Cubicle Drapery. For Grommet and Rod Pocket Drapery, keep in mind that you’ll only need the curtain rod, as the rod will be threaded either through the grommets or the fabric pocket, so the rings are not needed. This also means Grommet and Rod Pocket Drapery may be less functional as it will be more difficult to move them without the ease the rings provide.
Track system drapery consists of a track and carriers that allow the attached drapery panels to glide effortless back and forth. For aesthetics, there are several design options ranging from sleek and minimalist to more elegant, traditional designs.
Track systems are compatible with all pleat styles except for Rod Pocket and Grommet Drapery. However, remember that some pleat styles are not ideal for regular use, such as Goblet and Inverted Pleat Drapery, and look more attractive as stationary decorative panels.
Motorized drapery features a motorized track system, complete with a motor and remote, that allows you to adjust your drapery with the touch of a button. Some motorized systems, like our proprietary motors, can be paired with an app on your smartphone or table, or with a smart home device like Amazon Alexa or Google Nest. As for design, motorized track systems come in limited colors and styles, but all offer a simple, minimalist design that suits a wide range of home styles.
Tips for Choosing the Right Type of Drapery
Now that you know the different types of drapes in terms of pleat style, material and hardware, it’s time to think through how to choose the right combination for your home.
- Capture the Right Aesthetics – You’ll want to make sure the pleat style, color, pattern and texture of the material as well as the color and finish of the hardware all complement each other and your existing interior design.
- Assess Your Functionality Needs –Will you be frequently adjusting your drapes each day or are they more for decorative purposes? Your functionality needs will affect which pleat style and hardware system is best suited for your space.
- Get the Right Light & Privacy Control – What kind of light filtration and privacy levels will give you the most functionality out of your room? From gossamer, light filtering sheers to lush, room darkening blackout drapes, your choice in materials and linings can give you just the right level of light and privacy control for every room in your home.
Dive Deeper Into Different Types of Drapes
With all your drapery options in front of you, as well as tips on how to choose the right ones, you’re ready to explore your options in more depth. Our showrooms feature interactive displays of all our product options, including all the types of drapes in terms of pleat style and hardware, so you can get a sense of not only the style of each, but also the functionality. Plus, all material options are available as swatches that you can take home for free to compare in your own lighting. Find your local showroom and plan a visit soon to discover the perfect types of drapes for your home.