What Is The Difference Between Curtains And Draperies?

what is the difference between curtains and draperies | Image courtesy of Select Drapery Hardware.

In the window treatment industry, there is an age-old question that is debated frequently but has never been definitively answered. “What is the difference between curtains and draperies?” Is there, in fact, a difference? That kind of depends on who you ask.

According to some sources, there is absolutely no difference between curtains and draperies although some people claim that the term “drapery” is primarily used in the United States.

Another description states that draperies are stationary and can not be closed, while curtains are functional (like shower curtains, or stage curtains at a theater) and can be opened and closed.

If you use an online dictionary to look up the definitions of the two words like I tried to do, you will probably be just as confused as I was by what I read.  And if you “Google it” you will come back with half a dozen website links to stores trying to sell you drapes, uh, I mean curtains, uh, I mean, well you get the idea.

For what it’s worth, I use both terms with equal frequency to describe the same product. That’s because when I first entered the window treatment business I was taught that the words were in fact interchangeable. You could say draperies or curtains and you could be referring to functional or stationary panels and it meant the same thing.

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