Unlike blinds and shades, which are used primarily to control the amount of light in a room and to provide privacy, curtains and drapes often serve a more decorative purpose. They are sold in a wide variety of styles, materials and colors. If there's a particular material you like, you can easily have it sewn into curtains. Heavy material is best for blocking light and keeping a room cool, whereas lighter material lets light in and can make the room seem larger.
Curtains and drapes can add casual or formal elegance to any window. Try to choose materials that complement the colors in your room, or if you're more of a risk-taker, go for contrasting shades that will help achieve an eye-catching look.
Sheer material lets in a lot of light but still provides a bit of privacy. Sheers are great in light-colored rooms or in kitchens and dining rooms.
These short half-curtains are usually attached halfway up the windowsill to let in lots of light but still provide adequate privacy. Café curtains are usually found on dining room or kitchen windows.
These are another smart option if you're looking to give a room a simple window treatment. Lace curtains are a particularly popular choice for second-storey bedrooms. They can also be paired with a heavier material behind them - the lace out front then acts as an accent.
Tabbed curtains are some of the easiest curtains you can make by yourself. They use fabric loops attached to the top of the curtain panel, and then the curtain rod is fed through the tabs. This is a popular, minimalist style.
These curtains refer to a fabric pattern inspired by 16th and 17th century harlequins - loud diamond patterns of three or more contrasting colors. Harlequin curtains and window coverings are still featured in ornately decorated rooms, and are often fixed with bejeweled or silk cord tiebacks for added garnish.
The material used to make sharkskin curtains is identifiable by its smooth, finished texture and two-toned twill-weave fabric. The yarn strands in the material alternate between white and color, which results in the colored lines running diagonally opposite to the white lines.