Curtains, or drapes, are used in virtually every home for a reason--not only do they act as practical window coverings to ensure your privacy within your house, they are also used to provide aesthetic quality and to accent your room's theme and design. So whether you're planning to hang them on windows of the kitchen, living room, dining area or your bedroom, it's best to know the different types of curtains available. To help get you started, here is some basic curtain lingo you should be familiar with:
- Voiles. Voiles are made of lightweight material (typically pure cotton), and as curtains they are ideal for use in tropical countries. The overall effect produced by voiles is one of delicate elegance and class. They are very easily hung on rods and poles, and how you hang them can lend artistic quality to your home. Another advantage of using voiles is that they are very low-maintenance and are easily cleaned.
- Blinds. Vertical or horizontal, roller, venetian, blackout--all these refer to different types of blinds you can choose from. Typical blinds are made up of long, separated slats that can be manipulated by a string. Blinds can be made up of a variety of materials such as plastic, wood (or faux wood, which is really made of plastic), fabric or even metal (typically used in businesses). The main advantage to using blinds is that they are easy to clean (wiping them with a cloth will usually suffice) and they enable you to control the amount of light entering your home. Blinds come in a variety of solid colors to match your home décor. They have the effect of simplicity and efficiency, and they typically have the effect of merging and blending into the background as compared to other window coverings' tendencies to stand out as decorating centerpieces in themselves.
- Shades. Shades work like blinds in that a string can manipulate them; however, they are not composed of slats but are made of solid material, so you can only raise a shade up or down. Shades are made of different materials, and they are usually decorative items in themselves. Modern shades, such as "solar shades" made of polyethylene fabric, are able to reduce indoor temperature and yet still allow light to filter in.
- Lace. Lace curtains lend classic, old-style class to any room in the house, though they are mostly used in the kitchen and dining room. They are able to soften the harsh daylight and to brighten dark windows during the nighttime. Since lace is very lightweight and see-through, lace curtains are used in conjunction with other, heavier fabrics to ensure privacy.
- Beads. Beaded curtains give an eclectic, free-spirited feel to a room. Depending on the color, type and design of beads used, such as acrylic, shells, bamboo, gemstones, glass, string, mirror or other natural materials, beaded curtains can definitely complement any type of motif or design theme in your home. Beads are also moisture-resistant, so they could be used in bathrooms to double as shower curtains.
- Shower curtains. Shower curtains are found in a bathroom's shower area to provide much-needed privacy, and to prevent water from spraying all over the bathroom. They are usually made of plastic, vinyl or cloth. Various designs are available in the market to complement the color scheme of your bathroom.
The best way to go about choosing the type of curtain you'd like to have installed in your home is to consider the following questions: What effect am I aiming for? What is the overall design and theme of my house? What would be most convenient for me based on my lifestyle, the type of weather in my area, the amount of sunlight my house typically gets? You could consider also the predominant design in the room, such as the color of the cushions, walls and the type of furniture, while you are choosing your curtains and drapes.