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When choosing new custom drapes, the seemingly endless options can feel overwhelming.  There are so many design considerations including style, color, and material.  Today we are going to discuss some basic drape styles.

There are a few questions to contemplate when trying to determine the best drape style. Questions like, what is the overall look of your space and what role do you want the drapes to play, is your room formal or informal, are the windows and therefore the drapes going to be a primary focal point in the room, will the drapes need to serve a functional role or are they strictly aesthetic?  Answering these questions will help direct your style choice.


First, we will consider hardware and perhaps the biggest question when determining style; how are the drapes going to function?  Will they need to be opened a few times a day to block light or for privacy? Are your drapes serving a more decorative purpose? Determining function will affect the type of hardware you will want to use.

The two standard types of hardware are non-mechanical and mechanical.  A Pole Rod (no mechanics) vs. a Pinch Pleat or Ripple Fold on a functioning rod (mechanics).  If you need to open and close your drapes several times, a day a functioning rod with mechanics will probably work best.  Not surprisingly, in terms of cost, drapes with mechanics typically have a higher cost than the non-mechanical options.

Heading Styles

Pole Rod

A Pole Rod has no mechanics and is used for a simple rod pocket, a hidden loop style, rings or grommets, or if purely decorative can even include a drape over style.  This look is more about aesthetics than function.  This is a style to choose when you want the specific look of the drape but does not need the drapes to function for privacy or light blocking.  The Rod Pocket is a very traditional choice and is not as convenient to open and close as other options. The fabric is gathered at the top of the drape creating a pocket that the curtain rod will slide through.

Grommet Drapes hang from large rings at the top of the drape (known as grommets) that the curtain rod will slide through.  It creates very even pleats and can be very decorative but again, may not be as functional as other choices.

If you need the function of mechanics, you will want a pinch pleat or ripple fold.Pinch Pleat

Often called a French Pleat, Pinch Pleat is a very popular style used in spaces that are looking for a more traditional design.  Several different heading styles fall under the Pinch Pleat category and some of the more common ones include, tailored pleat, box pleat, inverted pleat, and goblet pleat. These drapes will have pleats created by gathering folds of the material together every few inches and attaching them together about four inches from the top.  Drapery pins are used to attach the drape to the hardware and often use an attached baton to pull open and close.Ripple Fold

The ripple fold has a more updated look and works well in contemporary interior design.  The drapes hang on an easy to use track and typically open and close with a cord control, making these a great choice if you need the functionality of opening and closing several times a day.  The ripple fold style does not use drapery pins and is a big advantage in the care and cleaning of custom draperies as they are much easier to take down and hang up than Pinch Pleat style drapes.  This style drape usually uses less fabric and therefore may be less expensive than other options.

For more Interior Design Tips or to Design Custom Drapes Online, please visit our website:

Design Team

The Contemporary Curtain



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