Updated: November 2017

Soft Window Treatment Reviews:

Any window fashion or window covering that is sewn is considered a soft window treatment. There are many types of soft window treatments including curtains, draperies, and valances. Overall, soft window treatments are meant to be more decorative than their hard window treatment counterparts like blinds, shutters, and shades. Soft window coverings will add more style and elegance to your rooms with vibrant colors and a nice array of fabrics to choose from. Curtains tend to be more functional than draperies and are made with lighter materials. Draperies are definitely a decorative addition to any room and they tend to be longer than curtains and produced with velvet or cotton (heavy fabrics). A valance is a fabric covering that goes around the curtain rod and they come in many different styles including Roman, waterfall valances, Blouson, pinch pleat, or box. Valances go perfectly with draperies and custom curtains adding a sophisticated look.

Buying Guide - Soft window treatments have the basic function of light control and privacy (just like hard window treatments). You will find that soft window coverings give you the ability to combine multiple styles to give you the ideal light and privacy. Sheer window treatments let in the most light (even with the curtains closed) and don't provide much in terms of privacy. Sheers are very popular nonetheless and are available in lace, silk, cotton, and in many color patterns. For those that like the accented look of sheers but want more privacy, interior decorators say you should considering combining sheers with roller blinds (hard window treatments). A semi-sheer soft window covering will provide a bit more privacy than regular sheers although during the evening hours your privacy will disappear as people will be able to see into your room. Semi-opaque window treatments do a pretty good job of blocking light and those looking in from the outside will only be able to make out shadows. Drapery fabrics are what most semi-opaque coverings are made with and often you will see them combined with a gathered valance on top. For the ultimate in light blocking and privacy, go with the opaque window treatments that have lined curtains. When it comes to the different styles of drapes and curtains your options are almost endless with all the fabrics you can choose from. Tap tob curtains are popular in bathrooms and kids bedrooms although homeowners can put them in any room. They come in cafe style, drapes, and valances and they help compliment the hanging hardware. Bathroom and kitchens are where you find many tiered curtains (cafe curtains). Tiers are shorter in length than traditional curtains and tiers placed on the lower portion of windows are often hung using a tension rod. Above the lower tier you can put a top tier, a swag, or valance for style and accents. Other styles of curtains are pole-top panels and full-length rod-pockets. You will often see these styles tied back with fabrics, but many still prefer to leave them hanging straight. Valances, as we noted above are used to hide or go around the curtain rod or drapery hardware. They can be pleated, gathered, or draped depending on which look fits your room best. Many decorators choose to use valances without having a curtain underneath to have them stand out even more. Lastly, scarves and swags make beautiful additions to layered sheers and solid curtains. There are so many options to choose from when putting up soft window treatments that you should probably get down to your local interior design store to see them in person. Often, stores will send out a dedicated salesperson to help you choose different styles of curtains, draperies, and valances that fit your household decor. They can bring samples and swatches of fabrics so you can see them in your house. Stores like Ethan Allen will send out a representative to help with the process as will Sears. In reviews we read online, people love the service side of Ethan Allen and their professionalism, but you will pay a much higher cost than with more generic companies that don't necessarily cater to the wealthy. Do your research locally and ask friends, neighbors, or family members if they have recently redone drapes or curtains and see who they used.

Cleaning Care of Soft Window Treatments:

When it comes to cleaning soft window coverings, keep in mind that they are more difficult than hard window treatments. Don't be totally discouraged by this fact as you can still maintain and care for your soft window treatments in a way so that they last a long time. Sunlight is probably your biggest concern in any room as over time the suns rays will fade almost any item they shine on. Sun will definitely fade fabric curtains and drapes so try going with polyester and acrylic fabrics in rooms that get lots of sun. Dark fabrics will do a better job of keeping light out, but at the same time they will show more sun damage over time. Consider going with a lighter color drape or curtain. If possible, try to vacuum the dust off your draperies once a month or so. Most fabric draperies are actually washable, but I say leave that to a dry cleaner since they are experts in this field. No sense in washing your draperies and then finding out you ruined them. Even curtains can be machines washed (read the label), but once again the risk of ruining them may not be worth it. Have your curtains and draperies dry cleaned every few years (more often if needed).

How much are Draperies and Curtains:

To get an idea on pricing, go to sites like Ethanallen.com or Sears.com. Ethan Allens website has a whole section dedicated to accents and textiles with drapery costs. Searsshowplace.com has a complete listing of curtains and sheers in their decorative accents category. They carry swags, valances, panels, tiers, and more. Pricing is not that expensive for most draperies, curtains, and valances, but it's the installation that will cost you plenty. We read a few consumer comments online in articles about the pricing of having curtains or draperies measured, purchased and installed was $1000's. Of course it all depends on the store you buy them from, the materials, and how many window treatments you will need in your house.