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What is the Use of Curtains and Drapes?

With modern window treatments running the gamut from sun-moderating solar shades to super-insulating cellular shades, you may be wondering what’s the purpose of curtains and drapes anymore. How can a humble piece of fabric compete with 21st-century technologies? Is there anything beyond their familiarity and aesthetics that recommend them anymore?

There’s no doubt that customers have so many more options for window coverings in a wider range of materials and designs than ever before. But that doesn’t mean curtains and drapes don’t still have a place in many homes. In fact, they can easily compete with the best window treatments out there. There is, after all, a reason they’ve been around for so long.

The uses of curtains and drapes include their ease of use, simplicity of design, effective light and privacy management, sound dampening, and so much more. In this post, we’ll look at the purpose of curtains and drapes and explore how they may be the perfect window covering for you and your home.

What Are Curtains and Drapes?

Before looking at the purpose of curtains and drapes, it’s helpful to understand what exactly they are. Each of them shares a few key points:

  • Both curtains and drapes are made of fabric and come in a wide range of colors, patterns, designs, and sizes (customized to fit your windows precisely).
  • Decorative options exist, but most people use custom curtains and drapes for practical reasons like managing light. Single-piece options are available in addition to the more traditional dual-piece curtains and drapes that can be drawn open and closed from the centerline.
  • Curtains and drapes are attached to a wall or window using standardized headers, such as hooks that hang on a rod or pockets sewn into the fabric for the rod to pass through.

Differences Between Curtains and Drapes

The terms curtains and drapes are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are actually separate products with some subtle and not-so-subtle differences. It’s important to know these differences when choosing the right one for you.

  • Length: The largest difference between the two is the length of the fabric. Curtains will extend to the bottom of the window, whereas drapes fall all the way to the floor.
  • Volume of fabric: Drapes typically have a lot more fabric both horizontally and vertically. This creates a more full look with deeper waves cresting horizontally and fabric touching the floor to sometimes pool at the bottom.
  • Thickness of fabric: Drapes tend to be more opaque than curtains (though sheer options are available, too).
  • Lining: Protective or blackout linings are often sewn in drapes, while curtains usually don’t come with an added lining.
  • Weight: Drapes are heavier and weighted to keep them from blowing around when there’s a breeze.
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Benefits of Curtains and Drapes

Now that you know what curtains and drapes are and how they differ from one another, let’s explore the purpose of curtains and drapes through the numerous benefits they bring to a home.


Windows are usually the weakest link in a home’s ability to keep heat in during the winter and heat out during the summer. One of the best uses of drapes and curtains is to improve your home’s energy efficiency by insulating your windows. The amount of insulation they provide will depend on the thickness of the fabric and the linings sewn in.

Acoustics and Sound Dampening

You may be surprised to hear that the purpose of curtains and drapes extends to sound management. Unless you’re a musician or audiophile, you may not give your room’s acoustics much thought. But for entertainment rooms or areas with lots of people, such as living and dining rooms, drapes and curtains will soften sounds to make watching movies, listening to music, and talking with others far more pleasant.

Light Management

One of the best things about curtains and drapes is the way they can more fully block light or let it in. Unlike most blinds and shades, which are typically sized to sit in the window, curtains and shades extend beyond the edges of the window. This allows you to more fully block light when you want it dark—in bedrooms, for example—while still being able to throw them open anytime you desire. And if you’d prefer to let light in even when drawn closed, there are less opaque options available, too.


Another purpose of drapes and curtains for many people is to improve your home’s privacy. As is the case with light management, curtains and drapes are great at keeping curious eyes at bay through the sheer size of the window treatment. Moreover, thanks to the fabric of curtains and drapes being great at dampening sounds, they also help prevent incoming and outgoing sound seepage.


The simple, clean, infinitely customizable design of curtains and drapes has undoubtedly led to their lasting appeal. Since they’re made of fabric, there really is no limit to the number of colors and patterns possible. This makes curtains and drapes easy to enhance any room’s aesthetic.


The purpose of curtains and drapes isn’t limited to what they can do by themselves but how they can be layered with other window treatments. Since they hang in front of the window opening, you can pair curtains and drapes with other types of coverings to cash in on the benefits of both. So, for example, you can put up some solar shades to let diffused light in during the day and use drapes at night to blackout your space.

Choosing Curtains or Drapes Over Other Treatments

Now that you’re familiar with some of the many uses of curtains and drapes, when should you choose them over other types of window treatments? Other window treatments indeed share some of the same benefits, but there are a few factors that may sway you in favor of drapes and curtains.

  • Ease of use: There’s no doubt that the simplicity of throwing open a piece of fabric makes curtains and drapes far easier to use than any other window treatment.
  • Blackout: Shades and blinds are great at darkening a room, but when you need it absolutely pitch black, there’s really nothing better than curtains or drapes.
  • Durability: Since curtains and drapes are free of cords, there’s also less of a chance of them breaking. Moreover, the fabric itself is durable and easily repaired.
  • Style: There’s no getting around the fact that curtains and drapes look great and bring a unique elegance to a home. For many people, this alone is reason enough to choose them over other window treatments.

Another question to ask yourself is whether you should choose custom drapes over curtains. Drapes tend to be the best at all the benefits we’ve discussed, but each window treatment has its place depending on your needs.

Shop Stoneside For the Best Curtains and Drapes

Hopefully, you have a better idea of the purpose of curtains and drapes. From managing light and privacy to bringing a unique style to your home, curtains, and drapes are some of the best window coverings available. Stoneside offers a wide range of custom drapery in hundreds of designs. Contact us today to set up a free design consultation, and let us help you discover if curtains and drapes may just be the best window treatment for you.