Your Quick Guide to Living Room Curtain Types - All Things Snug

Last time I shared 7 easy tips for choosing the right living room curtains.

However, I didn’t add anything to make that process easier for you.

So, today, I’ll be sharing a quick guide to a bunch of beautiful living room curtain types to help you simplify the choosing process 😉

I spent days thinking of the best way to present this to you. I know we all love quick reads so here’s how your guide will be today.

I’ll cover 5 categories of living room curtains. Each category will have a table split into three columns: curtain types, a short definition, and recommended living room fits. I’ll generalize all living room styles as living rooms.

A little heads up! Each curtain type will be linked, these links are affiliate links, and we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase. However, this does not affect the recommendations in any way. The curtains linked to are carefully selected based on curtains my team and I have used, or curtains we would pick anytime, any day. Here’s our full disclosure.

1. Traditional Curtains

Curtain Type

Description/Use

Living Room

Valances

Think of these as short curtains that don't actually cover your windows. 


Their purpose, you might wonder. They're purely decorative. You can use them as finishing touches to the “window” part of your interior decor, and they usually hang from the top of your window.





An easy way to remember them would be to think of them as window scarves. 


1. Traditional living rooms.
2. Cottage or countryside living rooms.
3. Victorian living rooms.
4. Formal living rooms.

Tie-Top Curtains

As the name suggests, these are curtains that you can “tie at the top”. These curtains have fabric ties at their tops which you can tie around curtain rods.

1. Small Living rooms.
2. Bright living rooms.
3. Coasfal living rooms.
4. Bohemian living rooms.

Balloon Shades

You might be thinking these look like balloons. Well, you're not right, but you're not exactly wrong either. 


The balloon shades are controlled (raised or lowered) using a cord or string. They look almost normal like the average curtain when lowered, but when you pull them, they gather into balloon sections with a puffy look.

1. Vintage living rooms.
2. French country living room styles.
3. Romantic living rooms. 

Tab-Top Curtains

These are almost the same types of curtains as the tie-top curtains. Only, instead of “ties” at the top, you get “tabs”. 


If tabs is a strange word for you to associate with curtains, you can think of “tabs” as fabric loops. 


To hang these types of curtains, you just slide the curtain rod over the loops and you're good to go.

1. Modern living rooms.
2. Eclectic living rooms.
3. Minimalist living rooms.

Austrian Curtains

When talking about traditional elegance, Austrian curtains come to mind. 


At a glance, they look very much like the balloon shades (if you clicked the names, you'd see what I mean).


However, unlike balloon shades that puff up only when you raise them, the Austrian curtains have soft folds from top to bottom regardless of whether you raise them or leave them lowered.

1. Classic living rooms.
2. Baroque living rooms.
3. Edwardian living rooms.
4. French Provincial living rooms.

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2. Modern Curtains

Curtain Type

Description/Use

Living Room

Grommet Curtains

These curtains are more common. You can easily identify them due to the large rings at the top of the curtains.


These rings are commonly metal, but you can also find grommet curtains with plastic rings. 


The rings are evenly spaced and are easy to use. You just slide the curtain rod through the rings (grommets).

1. Minimalist living rooms.
2. Contemporary living rooms.
3. Industrial living rooms.
4. Scandinavian living rooms. 

Solar shades

If you ask anyone, they'd call these the sunglasses for windows. 


There's a simple reason, it's because they're designed to block out harsh sunlight.


I categorized solar shades as modern curtains, but they're also functional curtains. 


They're made from a special mesh material that's tightly woven together, and they can be rolled up or pulled down using a roller mechanism. 

1.Sunny living rooms.
2. Minimalist living rooms.
3. Urban chic living rooms.
4. Living rooms with large windows.

Ripplefold Curtains

Imagine straight ripples on the surgery of a pond. That's how the ripplefold curtains look. 


These types of curtains have vertical ripples (more live waves though) evenly spread across them. 


They have a clean look and easily glide open and close.

1. Mid-century modern living rooms.
2. Living rooms with high ceilings.
3. Minimalist living rooms. 
4. Scandinavian living rooms. 

Panel Curtains

This is one of the most common types of curtains you'll find.


Think of panel curtains as large sheets of fabrics designed as curtains. That's as straightforward as it gets.


You can slide them on rods, or hang them on hooks.

1. Small living rooms.
2. Minimalist living rooms. 
3. Rustic living rooms.
4. Narrow living rooms.
5. Living room with large windows.
6. Living rooms with Asian style.

Roman Shades

You're familiar with fabric curtains and blinds, right?


Think of Roman shades as a mix, the in-between.


When you raise them, they form beautiful horizontal folds, and when you lower them, they fall flat and cover your window beautifully.

1. Contemporary living rooms. 
2. Classic living rooms. 
3. Eclectic living rooms. 
4. Small living rooms.

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3. Functional Curtains

Curtain Type

Description/Use

Living Room

Blackout Curtains

These are curtains with thick, heavy fabrics and special lining. 


You might not be able to tell at a glance, but if you see a curtain that completely blocks out sunlight, even on the brightest day, then you, my friend are most likely looking at a blackout curtain.

1. Home Theater living rooms. 
2. Living rooms facing busy streets.
3. Modern living rooms.
4. Glamorous living rooms.
5. Multi-use living rooms. 

Acoustic Curtains

While these look almost similar to blackout curtains, they are actually denser and more layered than blackout curtains.


They're specially designed to absorb sounds and dampen noise.


Also, blackout curtains come in dark colors primarily, while acoustic curtains can come in all kinds of colors.

1. Living rooms facing busy/noisy streets.
2. Bohemian living rooms. 
3. Industrial living rooms. 
4. Urban loft living rooms. 

Thermal Curtains

Thermal curtains are thick, heavy curtains with special lining or multiple layers.


Visually, they look like light blankets on your windows.


They're designed to regulate your room temperature.

1. Living rooms with large windows.
2. Rustic living rooms.
3. Living rooms in older homes.
4. Traditional living rooms. 
5. Multi-use living rooms.

Fire-resistant Curtains

Do not confuse these curtains with Thermal curtains. 


Thermal curtains help you regulate temperature, fire-resistant curtains reduce potential fire damage or fire spread.


I hate to break it to you, but it's difficult to tell them apart from normal curtains based on looks alone.


The good news is, that they feel different (material-wise) and they often have labels on them.

1. Living rooms in a multi-building complex.
2. Living rooms with fireplaces.
3. High-tech living rooms. 
4. Living rooms in homes with elderly or physically weak residents. 
5. Living rooms in commercial buildings. 

Allergen-reducing Curtains

These curtains have smoother surfaces and are made from tightly woven fabric.


They're designed to reduce allergens like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, etc, by trapping them on the curtains. This makes them easier to clean.

1. Living rooms of pet owners. 
2. Eco-friendly living rooms.
3. Scandinavian living rooms. 
4. Minimalist living rooms. 
5. Living rooms belonging to people with allergies or respiratory problems. 
6. Family living rooms.

UV-blocking Curtains

These curtains look like normal curtains but have either special coating, special lining, or denser weaves which allow them to block the harmful UV rays.


There's no need to try recognizing them based on expertise though, as they come with the appropriate label.

1.  Living rooms with exposed art or furniture. 
2. Eclectic Bohemian living rooms. 
3. Living rooms with ample sunlight. 
4. Mediterranean living rooms. 
5. Urban living rooms.
6. Multi-use living rooms. 

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4. Pleat Curtains

Curtain Type

Description/Use

Living Room

Pinch Pleat Curtains

These curtains look like your average curtains, except they're not your average pleat curtains… lol, just kidding. 


Though, you can easily recognize these curtains by looking towards the top of the curtains, where you'd see clusters of two or three pleats stitched together. 


They look like they were “pinched” together. Hence the name “pinch pleats”.

1. Traditional living rooms. 
2. Victorian living rooms. 
3. Formal living rooms. 
4. Living rooms with the Hollywood Glam style.
5. Snug living rooms.
6. Living rooms with high ceilings. 

Goblet Pleat Curtains

I mentioned previously that pinch pleat curtains are called so because of how the pleat clusters look like they were pinched.


If, because of that, you're associating goblet pleat curtains with curtains with goblet-like folds (at the top) then congrats! You got that right! 

1. Living rooms with the Hollywood Regency style.
2. Large or grand living rooms. 
3. Victorian living rooms. 
4. Baroque living rooms. 
5. Living rooms with high ceilings. 
6. Open-plan living rooms with formal styles.

Pencil Pleat Curtains

By now I'm sure you get the trend. These curtains aren't as dramatic as the former two pleat curtains. However, they're more versatile. 


You guessed right. The pleats at the top of the curtain look like a beautiful row of pencils stacked side by side.

1. Casual living rooms. 
2. Transitional living rooms. 
3. Scandinavian living rooms. 
4. Narrow living rooms.
5. Small living rooms.

Inverted Pleat Curtains

Imagine how a pleated curtain would look if it was carefully and thoroughly pressed with a steam iron.


If what you imagine is a pleated curtain with pleats that look like flat panels from the front, then that is an inverted pleat curtain. 


It's more commonly known as box pleat curtains and rather than ripple-like folds, you have flat panels. 

1. Small living rooms with Bohemian or Eclectic styles.
2. Mid-century contemporary living rooms. 
3. Bright living rooms. 
4. Minimalist living rooms. 
5. Scandinavian living rooms. 
6. Classic living rooms. 

Cartridge Pleat Curtains

I don't need a soothsayer to know you thought of cylindrical- or cartridge-like folds at the top.


You're half right, the folds do look like the cartridges or cylinders, but… they're not just gathered at the top only.


These cylindrical folds go from top to bottom and are evenly spaced, not pinched together.

1. Small cozy living rooms.
2. Bright contemporary and scandinavian living rooms.
3. Large living rooms.
4. Formal living rooms.

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5. Curtain Length

Curtain Type

Description/Use

Living Room (Length)

Valances

I already described Valance curtains in the first category, if you haven't already seen it, you can check it out.


Valance curtains aren't long, since they're purely decorative, they're often about one-third the length of your window and cover the top third of your window only.

1. Smaller living rooms.
2. Narrow living rooms. 
3. Bright living rooms.

Cafe Curtains

If you're used to the normal top-bottom curtains, then these will look very weird to you.


That's because, unlike normal curtains, these only cover the bottom half of your window… yea, I was as surprised as you when I first came across these a year ago.


If you're finding it hard to imagine what these look like, then imagine your normal curtain hanging, only with the top half missing.


These are used when you want to let light bathe your living room while maintaining privacy. 

1. Small living rooms.
2. Narrow living rooms.
3. Rustic living rooms.
4. Bright living rooms.
5. Living rooms with French country style.

Tier Curtains

 These are the same as cafe curtains, except instead of one curtain, tier curtains come in pairs to cover both (left and right) sides of your windows.

1. Living rooms with a large window sill.
2. Farmhouse living rooms.
3. Cottage living rooms.
4. Small living rooms.
5. Eclectic living rooms.

Living room curtain guide

Many More Living Room Types, But…

There are many more (I'm hoping not so many) living room types. However, this was meant to be a quick guide. I mean would you really sit for hours reading an encyclopedia of curtain types?

Plus, as I said earlier, I covered only curtains that we have vetted in one way or another.

I hope you found this guide quite useful. Remember that each linked curtain type will not only let you see the curtain for yourself, but they’re also curtains we recommend you check out if you want to try them out.

If you need some help choosing the right windows for your living room, then check out this other article where I share some easy tips my friends and I use.

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