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Our Guide to Curtains

Woman seated at a desk in front of a window with sheer curtains. Image credit: Cottonbro Studios.

January 2024


While blinds and shades have their merits, curtains offer a unique blend of functionality and visual appeal. After quite a few years of being less popular, curtains are making a comeback. If you’re considering curtains for your Elmwood Manor apartment or townhome, we want to help you understand the different types and how to choose what’s best for your windows.


Types of Curtains

Sheer Curtains. These are lightweight and translucent, providing minimal privacy but maximum daylight. Sheer curtains are ideal for living rooms and kitchens where you want natural light and a soft, airy feel.

Blackout Curtains. As the name suggests, these curtains are designed to block out light completely. They’re perfect for bedrooms, ensuring privacy and darkness when needed.

Panel Pair Curtains. These are two separate curtain panels that hang on either side of a window and open from the middle. They’re versatile and can be used in any room, offering a balanced look.

Single Panel Curtains. A single panel curtain covers the entire window. It’s a modern, sleek choice for smaller windows or where a minimalistic look is desired.

Valances. These are short curtains hanging at the top of the window. Valances are often used in combination with other curtains to add a decorative touch.

Thermal or Insulated Curtains. These are designed to provide insulation, keeping your room warmer in winter and cooler in summer. They’re ideal for climates, like Rochester, with more extreme temperatures.

Café Curtains. These cover only the bottom half of a window and are perfect for kitchen windows. They offer privacy on the bottom half, while letting in plenty of light on the top.


Choosing the Right Curtains

Consider the Room’s Function. The purpose of the room plays a big role in curtain selection. For instance, blackout curtains are best for bedrooms, while sheer curtains might be more suitable for a sunroom. Floor length curtains give a more formal look, while café curtains are more casual.

Think About Privacy and Light. Think about how much privacy and natural light you need. Sheer curtains offer less privacy but more light, whereas blackout curtains provide total privacy and darkness.

Match the Décor. Curtains should complement your apartment or townhome’s overall style. For a traditional look, consider heavy drapes or curtains with intricate patterns. For a modern space, opt for clean lines and minimalistic designs.

Fabric and Texture. The material of the curtain impacts its look and functionality. Heavier fabrics like velvet provide a luxurious feel and good insulation, while lighter materials like linen give a casual, airy vibe.

Color and Patterns. Choose colors that either complement or contrast your existing decor. Neutral colors offer flexibility and longevity, while bold patterns can make a statement.

Measure Correctly. Ensure you measure your windows accurately. And when you think you’ve measured accurately, go back and measure again just to be safe. No one wants to pay for curtains that don’t fit.

Maintenance. Consider the care required for the curtains. Some materials may need professional cleaning, while others can be machine washed.

We love when our Elmwood Manor residents put their hearts and creativity into personalizing their apartments and townhomes. If for you, that includes curtains, be sure you take the time to understand the function of the room, the desired level of privacy and light, and how the curtains will complement your existing decor.