What Are Panel Curtains?

Written by cassandra pope
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What Are Panel Curtains?
Sheel panel curtains allow lots of natural light into your room. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

In times past curtains would have been used to guarantee privacy and retain heat in rooms. Today, due to advancements in window design, they are often used more for decoration than for a functional purpose. Curtains come in a variety of styles; each with their own individual characteristics and each suiting different surroundings.

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Curtains and Drapes

To clarify, there is a difference between curtains and drapes, or draperies. In simple terms, drapes are often more formal than curtains. They are usually pleated and can also have a cornice or valance across the top. Curtains are more informal and are generally gathered with the curtain pole usually visible and often itself decorative.

Panel Curtains

Panel curtains are a very common form of window dressing. They consist very simply of panels of fabric that are hung by rings or hooks from the top of the window and reach either to just below the bottom of the window or even to the floor. The curtain hangs in natural folds giving it an informal look. The material can be lined or unlined, depending on the amount of light you want to allow through them, and they can also be combined with a shade or blind.

Other Types

Generally there are two other types of curtains commonly found in homes. The first is the cafe style, where the curtains are hung from the centre of the window leaving the upper part of the window open. They are generally tied back and are often found in kitchens or informal dining areas. The tiered curtain involves multiple panels used to dress the window. For example, two panels in contrasting colours or even a combination of the cafe style and panel style.


Tiebacks add decoration to your window dressing and allow maximum light into your room when your curtains are open. Tiebacks can be used in the middle of your curtain or higher or lower to create different effects. The tieback you use can be the same material as your curtains or a more decorative tassel or cord.

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