When it comes to decorating your home, one of the most important design elements to consider is your windows. The right window treatments can transform the look and feel of a room, while also providing privacy, light control, and insulation benefits.
But with so many options on the market, it can be confusing to know where to start. One of the most common questions homeowners have is whether basic curtains qualify as true “window treatments” or if they refer to something more substantial.
What Qualifies as a Window Treatment?
In general, a window treatment refers to any covering placed over a window to serve a decorative or functional purpose. They can be installed inside the window frame or outside, and attach in different ways depending on the style. Window treatments typically fall into three main categories:
Hard Treatments: Hard treatments include blinds, shades, and shutters. These are made from materials like wood, plastic, or metal and consist of slats, louvers, or panels that open and close to control light and privacy.
Soft Treatments: Soft treatments include curtains, drapes, and other fabric coverings. They are made from cloth material and hang loosely over the window.
Layered Treatments: Layered treatments combine both hard and soft elements, like a Roman shade layered under drapes. This allows you to get the benefits of both in one window covering.
In addition to these functional treatment types, decorative touches like valances, swags, jabots, and other window trims are also considered treatments even though they don’t necessarily cover the window itself.
So are basic curtains considered a window treatment? The short answer is yes. Curtains qualify as soft window covering and therefore fall under the window treatment definition. But there are a few specifics to understand.
Curtains as Window Treatments
Curtains are a classic and popular choice for window décor. In their most basic form, they consist of fabric panels hung from a horizontal rod or track spanning the window. They can be opened and closed by pulling on cords or lifting up a weighted bottom hem.
There are a few key benefits that make curtains an ideal window treatment option:
- Cost: Curtains are very budget-friendly. Simple cotton or polyester curtains can be quite inexpensive compared to shutters or layered treatments.
- Variety: Curtains come in a huge range of styles, colors, patterns, and materials. This makes it easy to match any décor.
- Softness: The draped fabric of curtains provides a softness that is warmer and more inviting than hard treatments.
- Adjustability: Curtains are manually operated, allowing you to easily adjust them for desired light control and privacy.
- Easy Installation: Curtains mount to a rod or track system that is easy to install. No need to meticulously measure and mount individual slats.
Different Types of Curtains
While basic curtain panels are suitable for many areas, there are a number of more specialized curtain types that qualify as window treatments:
- Blackout curtains: Made from tightly-woven, opaque fabrics or backed with a dark liner to block outside light.
- Thermal curtains: Lined or made from insulating fabrics to add an extra layer against heat/cold transfer.
- Noise-reducing curtains: Similar to blackouts, but help muffle outside sounds. Ideal for bedrooms and home theaters.
- Café curtains: Short curtains that cover the lower half of a window. Popular for kitchens and cafes.
- Tab top curtains: Feature buttons, ties, or velcro at the top for easy opening and closing.
- Grommet top curtains: Brass, silver, or other material grommets reinforce the top hem for enhanced durability.
- Sheer curtains: Made from very lightweight, semi-transparent fabrics like silk or voile. Provide privacy while allowing light through.
The Benefits of Curtains as Treatments
As you can see, curtains are a highly versatile option when it comes to dressing your windows. Here are some of the benefits they provide:
Light Control: Layering sheer and blackout curtains allows you to control natural lighting from dim to fully darkened. Ideal for bedrooms and home theaters.
Insulation: Thermal curtains provide an extra barrier against cold drafts in winter and hot sun in summer. Help reduce energy costs.
Noise Reduction: Curtains muffle sounds from outside, especially useful for bedrooms and workspaces. Noise-reducing curtains maximize this effect.
Privacy: Most curtains offer at least some level of coverage, ranging from partial to full blackout.
Aesthetics: Available in all colors, patterns, and textures. Easily match your room’s decorative scheme. Can be changed out to refresh a room’s look.
Easy to Use: Manually operated and adjustable, open and close curtains as needed throughout the day.
Affordability: Curtains are typically the most budget-friendly option for window treatments.
Easy to Install: Installation is straightforward compared to shutters or layered treatments.
Curtains have been a popular window dressing for centuries, and for good reason. Their simple elegance and versatility suit a range of decor styles. From basic panels to specialized blackout and thermal fabrics, curtains qualify as true window treatments. Their affordability, light filtering abilities, and sound dampening make them a practical yet beautiful way to dress up your home’s windows.