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A modern dining table sits in a bright space and has one of the types of drapes, Tailored Pleat Drapery made of Lily, Silver
September 20, 2023

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.

One of the types of drapes includes Ripple fold Drapery which features soft S-curves for a modern look

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.

One of the types of drapes includes Tailored Pleat Drapery with features three-finger pleats pinched at the top

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.

One of the types of drapes is Pinch Pleat Drapery which features three-finger pleats pinched 4 inches from the top

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.

One of the types of drapes is Cubicle Drapery which features small grommets a few inches from the top

Cubicle Drapery

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.

One of the types of drapes is Inverted Pleat Drapery which features flat crisp pleats for a formal look

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.

One of the types of drapes is Goblet Drapery which features delicate pinched goblet-shaped pleats for a luxe look

Goblet Drapery

Delicately pinched goblet-shaped pleats deliver a luxurious, elegant aesthetic.

Choose this for: An elegant feminine element in formal rooms.

One of the types of drapes is Grommet Drapery which features metal rings pressed into the drape panels an inch from the top

Grommet Drapery

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.

One of the types of drapes is Rod Pocket Drapery which features a sewn pocket of fabric through which the rod is threaded

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.

A small round end table sits near a window with one of the types of drapes material, sheer drapes in an off-white color

Sheer Drapes

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.

Pictured: Tailored Pleat Drapery, Luxe Sheer Linen in Off-White

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.

Pictured: Pinch Pleat Drapery, Raw Silk in Glacier

A glass door with a white frame is framed by one of the types of drapes, natural drapes made from Raw Silk in Glacier
A tall window features Tailored Pleat Drapery made from Sunbrella Alma in Beige for a warm inviting look

performance fabrics

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.

Pictured: Inner Layer: Relaxed Roman Shade, Sunbrella Vitela in Silver and Outer Layer: Tailored Pleat Drapery, Sunbrella Alma in Beige and Lafayette Hardware in Gun Metal

Privacy Drapes

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.

Pictured: Tailored Pleat Drapery, Victoria Hagan, Casa Stripe in Sky

A reception hall with tall wide windows features Tailored Pleat Drapery made from Casa Stripe in Sky
A bedroom features Tailored Pleat Drapery made of Chinoiserie in Blush with Blackout lining for a room darkening effect

Blackout Drapes

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.

Pictured: Inner Layer: Roller Shades, Ava in Birchwood and Outer Layer: Tailored Pleat Drapery, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Chinoiserie in Blush with Madison Track System in Bronze


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

A bright coastal bedroom features Tailored Pleat Drapery made from Sankaty Stripe in Moon for a light airy look
Pictured: Tailored Pleat Drapery, Victoria Hagan, Sankaty Stripe in Moon and Wrought Iron Rod & Rings Hardware in Black

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

A living room window has Tailored Pleat Drapery made of Luxe Linen in Oyster and a woven shade made of Harper in Ivory
Pictured: Inner Layer: Cascade Woven Wood Shades, Harper in Ivory and Outer Layer: Tailored Pleat Drapery, Luxe Linen in Oyster and Madison Track System in Black

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

A large bright living room features arched windows framed by Ripple Fold Drapery made of Wool Flannel in Glacier
Pictured: Ripple Fold Drapery, Holland & Sherry, Wool Flannel in Glacier, Standard Motorized Track in White

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 tablet, 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.

A round white table with cream chairs sits in a custom window treatment showroom with drapery, shades and blinds displayed.


Visit your local showroom for interactive displays of all our products, 1,200+ premium material swatches and helpful Design Consultants ready to assist you.