Difference between Sheers, Curtains and Drapery

Updated 4 years ago by Nancy Vamvakas

We get asked this question a lot... 

Generally a drapery sheers, or sheer curtains made of the see-through fabrics. In other words, if you hold them up in front of your face you can see through them.

Sheer Drapery

Drapery sheers are most often used in combination with drapery.  - The combination providing great light control. During the day you can have the heavier drapes open but leave the sheers closed to filter harsh direct light and to provide privacy.  At night you close the drapes and benefit from both privacy and the insulation that the much heavier lined drapes provide. 

Drapes, on the other hand, are typically much heavier fabrics that tend to be lined. They are often designed to provide a degree of 'blockout' or 'blackout' (because of their lining). 

So that leaves the term 'curtain' 

Curtains are somewhere in between a sheer and drapery.  Whereas drapery is usually lined or self-lined, a curtain is usually unlined.  Curtain fabric is not designed to allow a lot of light to pass through and while you might be able to 'kinda' see through it, its purpose is to provide a good looking treatment for your windows, without necessarily blocking all the light. 

Is it possible for a fabric to be suitable for both curtains and drapery?  Most certainly!... In fact, most non-self-lined drapery fabrics are designed to be used as either.  It all comes down to whether you elect to line them or not. 

We always recommend lining your window treatment products particularly if you are in Australia where harsh UV rays can often burn and/or fade fabric over time.  In other words, we recommend drapery over unlined curtains.

Don't forget to check out our Curtain Fabric Calculator which will work out not only how much Drapery Fabric you will need for your project, but also calculates the corresponding amount of Drapery Lining you will need.

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