Different types of curtains

Updated July 20, 2017

Curtains soften window edges and can add colour and texture to any decor. Some curtain styles lend themselves better to a particular decor style. For example, a tailored French or pinch-pleat curtain works well for a formal, traditional room. Curtains come in both custom-made and ready-made varieties. Ready-made curtains often cost considerably less than a custom design. Aside from adding a decorative component to a room, some curtain types provide privacy and block light.

Tab-top Curtains

Used in very casual environments, tab-top curtains consists of loops of fabric (matching or contrasting) sewn to the top edge of a fabric panel. A wood or metal pole is threaded through the loops to hang. Curtains can be lined or unlined, depending on privacy and insulation needs. Simple installation and a variety of ready-made fabric and colour choices make this a versatile curtain. Custom-made tab-tops are easy to construct and require less fabric than most other curtain types. All weights of fabric work appropriately for tab-top construction, and curtains can pool at the bottom or be tailored to hang right above the floor.

Grommet-top Curtains

Similar in construction and design to the tab-top type, grommet-top curtains use grommets or eyelets at the head of the curtain. A thin wood pole or metal rod threads over and under the fabric into the regularly placed grommets. These curtains fit nicely in a contemporary space.


Pleated treatments offer the most formal look. Pleat types, including French or pinch, pencil, box and goblet, all create a tailored appearance. Traditionally, pleated curtains are lined and constructed from classic patterned or solid fabric. Pleated curtains require a special rod and hardware used to keep the pleats together.

Casement Curtains

Known by a variety of names (rod-pocket, pole-top and panel) and more decorative than functional, casement curtains work well with windows that are not frequently opened and closed. The top of the curtain is sewn to form a pocket, through which a rod or pole is threaded. Casements left in place can hang as panels on each side of a window or be drawn back with tie backs. Constructed easily, the casement curtain can be quickly sewn for a custom look or purchased in one of many ready-made colours and fabrics.


Contemporary and romantic interiors lend themselves well to sheer curtains. Sheers consist of lightweight fabrics and give a see-through appearance. Used alone, sheers provide little privacy. They soften the overall look when placed beneath other types of curtains, such as a set of side panels affixed to a decorative rod.

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About the Author

Joanna Crain Salinas is a full-time freelance writer with more than 10 years of writing experience. She has numerous articles published online and in print. Her favorite topics are travel and health and fitness. She has written for many sites, including eHow, and