The best curtain
Curtains can make or break a room. They can also help or hinder your sleep. With the number of styles and designs available, deciding on what curtain to buy can be overwhelming.
Different materials can greatly impact the atmosphere of a room and how much sunlight gets through. It all comes down to the fabric, color, and curtain heading.
Ready to learn more? Our buying guide will help you understand the basics of curtains, and we'll point you in the direction of our favorites, including the attractive and noise-blocking Flamingo P Full Blackout Curtains.
Considerations when choosing curtains
Curtains can be made from synthetic or natural fibers. Traditionally, heavy silks and velvets are used for formal spaces. They insulate a room well, too. Linen, crinkly crushed velvet, voile, cotton, or cotton blends can be either billowy or crisp and neat. They all work well in casual rooms. However, the type of fabric you choose will go hand in hand with washability.
Synthetic fabrics are more practical for many homes because they're typically machine washable. Natural fibers, including thick velvets and thinner linens, need to be dry cleaned. Most blackout curtains and thermal lined curtains can be machine washed and put in the dryer, but always check to make sure. Some need to be spot-cleaned only, and others can be machine washed but can't be put in the dryer.
Harsh sunlight will fade curtains of any type of brightly-colored fabric. Stick to neutral tones that fade less if you're hanging curtains in direct sunlight.
A curtain's heading is not only an aesthetic feature, but it also helps the curtain function better. There are three basic types of headers:
Grommet tops slip easily onto a curtain rod, they're smoother to operate, and they offer a contemporary and updated look to a room.
Tab tops are best for casual spaces, and they're also easy to slide back and forth.
Traditional headings, such as pinch pleats, back tabs, or pocket styles cover the entire rod, allowing you to layer independently-operating curtains on double rods to create a finished look.
Thermal curtains differ from blackout curtains. However, blackout curtains can have some insulation properties and thermal insulated curtains can have some blackout qualities. A true thermal curtain has a layer of foam sandwiched between fabric to provide insulation. Insulated (or thermal) curtains are ideal for drafty windows. They also work well to keep air conditioning from leaking out of your house. If you're hoping to reduce your energy costs, consider insulated curtains.
Before you buy, make sure you know if you're paying for one panel or a pair. Basic curtains of low quality cost about $15 a pair. For $15 to $25, you can buy one or two panels of blackout or room-darkening curtains. For better-quality curtains, expect to pay between $25 to $80, though high-end and designer curtains can cost hundreds per pair depending on the size and fabric choices.
Q. What's the difference between room-darkening and blackout curtains?
A. There's a fine line between the two types of curtains. Room-darkening curtains diffuse light by letting a bit to pass through the fabric. Blackout curtains are designed with opaque fabric to make a room remain pitch-black without any light passing through the fabric.
Q. How should I measure my window for curtain panels?
A. For fullness, choose curtains that measure at least one and a half to two times the width (side to side) of your window. For length, measure from the top of the window to just below the sill for shorter curtains or to the floor for full-length curtains.
Curtains we recommend
Best of the best: Flamingo P's Full Blackout Curtains
Our take: These curtains are sold in pairs and come in many lengths. They keep out sunlight, and the insulating qualities also keep out some of the heat of the sun.
What we like: The fabric has an elegant, silky look. The curtains are thick and truly block light from coming into the room -- even the white ones do the job well. The grommet tops bring an updated look to blackout curtains.
What we dislike: Some quality-control issues when it comes to packaging.
Best bang for your buck: Deconovo's Room-Darkening Insulated Blackout Curtains
Our take: These curtains are more room-darkening than blackout. The thick curtains do a good job diffusing light in case you prefer a tiny bit coming in.
What we like: Like Flamingo P, these grommet-topped curtains also are made with thick fabric that keeps a lot of light from coming into the room.
What we dislike: The quality of the construction of the panels could be better. There's only one panel per package, and they are not as wide as other choices, so make sure you buy enough to adequately cover your windows.
Choice 3: Utopia Bedding's Blackout Curtains
Our take: If you prefer a rod pocket-style or back tab darkening curtain rather than grommet tops, these fit the bill with all the qualities of other top-rated products.
What we like: Machine-washable panels come with tie-backs. Non-grommet tops are easy to slide open and shut. They're also thermal, which means they can eliminate some noise, heat, and cold drafts from coming in.
What we dislike: Only two lengths available.
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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