Guide to the Different Types of Curtains

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Wondering what kind of curtains you should get? You’ve come to the right place.

Selecting the right curtain styles for your room or home can be a challenging process, as there are many factors to consider. Which type of curtains are best? What’s the difference between box pleat and pinch pleat curtains? What curtain styles go best with different rooms?

We know that choosing curtains isn’t always a stress-free experience. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the different types of curtains.

We break down everything you need to know about choosing the right curtain styles, curtain lengths and curtain fabrics so you can select, set up and hang your curtains with confidence.

Different Types of Curtains

What are the different types of curtains for your home? Here are the seven most popular curtain styles:

  1. Pinch pleat (or tailored pleat) curtains
  2. Box pleat curtains
  3. Goblet pleat curtains
  4. Pencil pleat curtains
  5. Eyelet (grommet) curtains
  6. Rod-pocket curtains
  7. Tab-top curtains

Curtains vary in length, fabric and color. It’s also important to compare curtain styles and curtain pleat styles when shopping for your window treatments.

The structure of the pleats affects how the curtains hang on a rod, or how they fall or drape across your windows. Different curtain styles also serve unique functions. Some curtains help with blocking out sunlight while others are just for decoration. You’ll want to assess your household and décor needs beforehand to make sure you’re buying the right curtains.

Different Types of Curtains
Top row, L to R: pinch pleat (source), box pleat (source), goblet pleat (source)
Bottom row, L to R: pencil pleat (source), eyelet (source), rod-pocket (source), tab-top (source)

Let’s take a deep dive into each of these curtain types.

Pleated Curtains

If you’re going for a style that’s traditional or formal, pleated curtains are your best bet. These curtains are typically made with thicker and heavier fabrics.

You should select the type of pleat based on the look you want to achieve for your room. Here’s a rundown of the most common pleated curtain styles:

Pinch Pleat (Tailored Pleat)

Pinch Pleat Curtains (Tailored Pleat)
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Pinch pleat curtains are the most popular kind of pleated curtains. The pleats are stitched and pinched at the top, allowing the folds of the fabric to flow below and create an elegant, formal look.

Pinch pleat curtains range from two-finger pleats to five-finger pleats. Having more pleats will give the curtains a fuller appearance. Three-finger pleats (pictured above) are the most common type of pinch pleat curtains.

Use these curtains in master bedrooms, sitting rooms or entertaining rooms.

Box Pleat

Box Pleat Curtains
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Box pleat curtains are suitable for dining rooms, lounges or bedrooms. The folds run deep and uninterrupted across the entire length of fabric, providing full coverage with a tailored appearance.

Goblet Pleat

Goblet Pleat Curtains
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Goblet pleat curtains are ideal for large, formal rooms with high ceilings. They get their name from the resemblance to goblet or a wine glass.

Due to the delicate structure of the pleats, this curtain style should remain stationary and can only be used to frame and decorate the window. They’re not a good option for curtains that get a lot of use.

Pencil Pleat

Pencil Pleat Curtains
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Pencil pleat curtains have thinner, single pleats that make it easier to work with various curtain hooks or rods.

Pencil pleat curtains are more casual than goblet or box pleat curtains. They’re perfect for bedrooms or living rooms that don’t require as much formality.

Eyelet (Grommet) Curtains

Eyelet (Grommet) Curtains
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Eyelet or grommet curtains are a contemporary, modern style. Open rings (or grommets) are used to support the panels. The rings allow you to open or close the curtains with ease, which is why these panels are an excellent choice for bedrooms.

It’s important to note that your curtain hardware will be visible through the grommets, so be sure to use curtain rods and finials that are aesthetically pleasing to your eye.

Rod-Pocket (Cased Heading) Curtains

Rod-Pocket (Cased Heading) Curtains
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Rod-pocket curtains are typically made of lightweight or sheer fabrics and are a lot more casual in style. These curtains are also easy to assemble: Just slip the curtain rod through the “pocket” in the fabric and you’re good to go!

Rod-pocket curtains pair well with a second layer, such as a blackout curtain. And, keep in mind that these panels are generally compatible with thinner, tighter-fit curtain rods. Therefore, they’re best for casual decoration, so it’s best not to open or close them frequently.

Tab-Top Curtains

Tab-Top Curtains
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Like eyelet curtains and rod-pocket curtains, tab-top curtains are also easy to set up. Tab-top curtains have prominent loops that hang from the top seam of the panels and are used to support the curtain rod.

Notice that the curtain panels hang lower (below the loops) making this style ideal for printed or patterned fabrics. That’s why you’ll find tab-top curtains are an attractive accent in farmhouse or cottage home décor.

Curtain Lengths

After you’ve decided on a curtain style, you’ll need to take accurate measurements to ensure you’re buying curtain panels that are the right length.

You can hang curtains in three different ways:

  1. Float: The curtains dangle, or “float” just above the floor. Be sure to leave no more than one inch of space between the bottom of the panels and the floor.
  2. Kiss: The curtains graze, or “kiss” the floor. This method requires precise measurements. Make sure to account for the curtain hardware and curtain rings when measuring.
  3. Puddle: The curtains flare out, or “puddle” onto the floor. Use this technique when hanging heavy curtains in formal rooms.
Curtain Lengths
Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3

Curtain panels come standard in 63, 84, 95, 108 and 120-inch lengths. The measurements of your room and your desired curtain length style will determine what size panels you need to purchase.

Learn more about measuring curtain lengths here.

Curtain Fabrics and Curtain Opacity

Curtains come in a variety of fabrics that tailor to different needs and styles.

Cotton, polyester or rayon are popular fabric choices for standard, medium-weight curtains. They’re versatile, durable, affordable and easy to clean. (FYI: Polyester is flammable and should not be used in a kitchen or near a fireplace.)

For heavyweight curtains, opt for more luxurious, opaque materials like silk, velvet or brocade that look extra elegant when draped or puddled on the floor. These thicker fabrics are great for blocking sunlight, sound or cold drafts. However, these delicate materials require special care and are usually dry-clean only. Silk will also fade over time when exposed to sunlight.

Sheer or lightweight curtains are commonly made with acrylic, lace or voile fabrics. Acrylic curtains provide excellent insulation, while lace or voile curtains allude an airy or dreamy feel.

Hang Your Curtains With Confidence

There’s plenty to think about when selecting the right curtain style, length and fabric, so don’t waste any more time once you’re finally ready to hang your curtains.

Make your life easier with Kwik-Hang Curtain Rod Brackets. It takes seconds to align the brackets to your window trim, tap in with a hammer and hang your curtains – without using any screws or drills or causing any wall damage. Not to mention you’ll achieve perfect curtains – every time! 

The brackets also support up to 20 pounds of fabric, so no matter what curtain style or curtain fabric you choose, Kwik-Hang has you covered.

And, don’t forget to shop Kwik-Hang’s stylish curtain rod collection to complete your curtain setup at the click of a button.

Try Kwik-Hang today!

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