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What are normal curtains called?

Curtains are a common household item used to cover windows. The most common types of curtains that people refer to as “normal” go by several names:

What are normal curtains called?

Standard Curtains

The most generic curtains without any special features are usually just referred to as standard or regular curtains. These tend to be made of simple fabrics like cotton or polyester and often have basic geometric patterns or solid colors. They don’t have any insulation or room darkening features – their main purpose is decorative and privacy.

Panel Curtains

Panel curtains are also a very common type of basic window covering. They consist of large panels of fabric that stack neatly to the sides of the window. Panel curtains are often hung on a simple curtain rod and have very little embellishment or extra features.

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Key Takeaways:

  • The most common types of everyday curtains are referred to as standard or regular curtains.
  • Panel curtains made up of large stacked fabric panels are also considered a basic normal curtain style.
  • Other names used interchangeably for ordinary curtains include tier curtains, tab curtains, and rod pocket curtains described in more detail below.
  • Basic curtains mainly serve a decorative, privacy function made from simple fabrics like cotton or polyester, often with geometric or solid patterns.

Other common names used for basic types of curtains include:

Tier Curtains

Tier curtains are gathered into layers that create a tiered effect. The panels stack neatly on top of each other when opened to the side. Also called cascade curtains.

Tab Curtains

Tab curtains feature small tabs sewn into the back top edge allowing them to be hung from slim curtain rods or tabs without the need for curtain rings or clip hooks.

Rod Pocket Curtains

Rod pocket curtains have a pocket sewn along the top back edge to insert the curtain rod through for hanging flush to the window.

While these names can occasionally be used interchangeably, details like curtain tabs, layered tiers, or built-in top pockets differentiate them in construction and appearance from each other and standard curtain panels.

Curtain Features and Materials

When categorizing curtains there are a few key factors that set styles apart:

Features: Features that offer special functionality separate a basic curtain from specialty curtains. Some examples include blackout curtains lined to block light, noise reducing curtains with insulation, and thermal curtains designed to increase energy efficiency.

Patterns & Embellishments: From plain and simple to bold patterns and embellished details curtains come in an endless array of decorative styles. Common choices include floral prints,checks, embroidered accents, color blocking, and more.

Fabrics: Cotton, polyester, linen, faux silk, velvet – curtains come in light airy to thick lush fabrics. The fabric determines the drapability, flow, and opacity. Lighter fabrics like cottons often require curtain lining for opacity and insulation.

Lengths: Curtain lengths range from short tiered cafe styles to extra long floor-puddling lengths. The right length depends on the position and size of the window. Standard lengths vary by style but typically range around 84 inches.

Why Choose Basic Curtains?

Sometimes simple is best when it comes to home decor. Here are some benefits of standard curtain styles:

  • Cost – Plain curtains tend to be more budget friendly than specialized options allowing you to dress up a room at little cost.
  • Easy Maintenance – Most basic fabrics like cotton and polyester clean up easily by machine washing and hang drying.
  • Flexible Decor – Choose neutral solids or moderate prints to coordinate with a variety of existing and future decor more easily than loud styles.
  • Filter Natural Light – Sheer fabrics moderate outdoor light levels without blocking views or making rooms dark.

Basic curtains essentially offer an easy way customize windows, add privacy, and pull together room decor without much investment in specialty features and treatments. The result is an approachable style suitable for most homes.

Typical Curtain Hardware & Hanging

Many standard curtains come with built-in header tape along the top edge making them ready to hang on basic curtain rods brackets. Often they include pockets, buttonholes, or tab tops to accommodate common hanging methods.

Common Ways to Hang Normal Curtains:

  • Curtain Rods – Install straight or curved rods with curtain rings or clip hooks to hang panels.
  • Tension Rods – Quick no-install tension rods temporarily fit inside window frames.
  • Tab Tops – Tabbed curtains loop onto decorative curtain rods.
  • Back Tabs – Loop tabs onto stationary brackets placed evenly along the top of the window.

You can find these basic curtain hanging hardware pieces at any home improvement store typically packaged together as complete curtain sets.

When figuring out appropriate curtain lengths and hanging height here are some standard measurements to follow:

  • Rod height & length should extend 2-3 inches past the window frame on either side
  • Panels should graze the floor or just barely clear the floor without puddling.
  • If puddle length is preferred add 2-3 inches to standard floor length.
  • For width double up panels or use wide single panels to cover window plus 3-6 inches extra width.

Getting the measurements right the first time makes for professional looking finished results. Being able to operate curtains smoothly without scraping wall surfaces also factors into accurately planning the right size curtains.

Mix & Match Decor Styles

An easy way to transition basic curtains across multiple interior decor styles over time is to start with neutral solids. Cream, grey, tan, white, and black colored curtain panels blend into both warm and cool color palettes.

Then switch out design accents like swapping in fresh window valances, different curtain tiebacks, and complementary pillows on existing furniture. Small updates like these go a long way when done affordably with standard curtains as the base.

For pattern lovers start with small-scale prints like ditsy florals or narrow stripes. These busier patterns still work well with a variety of furniture and wall colors. Just keep the palette more neutral.

The simplicity of ordinary curtain styles makes dressing them up or down easy. Use them as subtle backdrops for rooms or make them the focal point with eye-catching colors and designs. Either way, maintaining style longevity simply comes down to choosing versatile basics.

Typical Room Placement

While curtains can go in just about any room, standard styles particularly suit these common areas:

Living Rooms – Neutral solids or subtle patterns blend into surrounding furniture with softness.

Bedrooms – Layer similar colors and fabrics to unify decor. Light-filtering sheers ensure restful sleep when darkened.

Dining Rooms – Formal or casual patterns set an inviting mood while moderating UV light damage.

Home Offices – Solid panels maintain focus without distractions from outdoor views.

Kid’s Rooms – Durable cottons stand up to wear and tear while adding color.

Standard curtains typically serve a subtle supporting role in room decor. More specialty styles like blackouts and noise reduction feature curtains specifically suit the unique needs of media rooms and nurseries.

Matching your basic window treatments appropriately to room use ensures they serve both aesthetic and functional purposes best. An average home filled with ordinary curtains helps every space feel intentionally decorated.

Shopping Tips for Basic Curtain Styles

When looking at all the curtain options both online and in stores the possibilities seem endless. To make the search less tedious start by narrowing details:

  • Set fixed budget – Compare prices across retailers at set spending limits. Include hardware too.
  • Take measurements – Shop with window sizes handy for accurate lengths and panel amounts.
  • Determine features needed – Light filtering? Blackout? Thermal insulating? Sound dampening? List must-haves.
  • Pick suitable fabrics – Consider maintenance, durability and opacity preferences.
  • Select colors – Download inspirational room photos and sample curtain colors using editing apps.
  • Read policies & reviews – Check return policies, warranties and feedback from previous buyers.

Shopping prepared with measurements and an itemized list of the ideal specifications makes filtering through basic curtains quick. Having a price range also eliminates overspending stretch options.

With many retailers offering free shipping and free returns for home goods there is little risk in ordering multiple options to view in your own space. This allows you to see exactly which ordinary curtains fit the vision best.

DIY Standard Curtain Ideas

Looking for budget ways to customize windows beyond what’s available readymade? Crafting basic curtain panels is an achievable beginner sewing project.

Repurpose bed sheets and tablecloths for quick no-sew curtain ideas too. Here are some easy DIY ideas for basic window treatments:

  • No-Sew Tab Curtains – Use hem tape and iron-on adhesive to create tabs and hems on fabric then hang with clip rings.
  • Fringe Door Curtains – Use craft cord and tape to add a top dowel and fringe cut fabric along bottom.
  • Burlap Bands – Layer and wrap burlap strips to mini blinds. Secure with hot glue or liquid stitch hem glue.
  • Scarves & Tablecloths – Gather and hang lightweight fabrics as is with tabs or ribbon.

Even with limited supplies and skills creative solutions for basic window covers are at reach through simple DIY projects. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

More Curtain Inspiration

For more ideas browse through photos in online galleries and decorating blogs focused on real home spaces. Take note of:

  • Window measurement ratios – Scale panels proportionately.
  • Hardware used – Match styles and finishes.
  • Layering and coordination – Pull colors and patterns from nearby furnishings.
  • Lighting and opacity – Sheerness and room darkening needs vary.

Collect screenshots of favorite easy window treatment ideas in a design folder app to reference later. This helps transfer inspiration into eventual purchases.

Now that you know what common names are used for ordinary curtain styles and tips for choosing the perfect basic panels use this information as a helpful guide for dressing up the windows in your home affordably.


Normal curtains actually go by several interchangeable names like standard, regular, panel, tier, tab, and rod pocket curtains. While subtly different in construction, these everyday curtain styles serve as decorative light filtering window covers often made from casual fabrics like cotton and polyester. They convey a basic, familiar essence. Visually they display common colors and patterns that easily fit into a wide range of decor aesthetics from formal spaces to kid’s rooms. With easy maintenance, approachable pricing, and versatile placement, it’s the perfect hassle-free way to softly dress any window.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. What length should normal curtains be?
    The standard length for regular curtain panels ranges from 84 inches for medium height windows up to 120 inches for floor to ceiling heights. They should cover the entire window and just barely graze or lightly pool on the floor.

  2. Should normal curtains touch the floor?
    Whether curtains puddle onto the floor slightly or just barely clear the floor comes down to personal preference. Typically standard curtains work well just lightly kissing the floor which helps them maintain a clean appearance through daily use. If you prefer puddling add an extra 2-3 inch length when ordering panels.

  3. How wide should normal curtains be?
    To best cover average windows add an extra 3-6 inches of width in total to your window frame measurement to account for stacking space when opened. For larger windows use two panels per side hung from separate adjacent rods or brackets. Panels wider than about 100 inches tend to get very heavy and overwhelm rooms.

  4. Where should you hang curtains?
    Install the curtain rod or hanging brackets so there is a 2-4 inch overhang on either side of the window trim. Place just about 6-12 inches above the window frame height. Avoid mounting too close to the ceiling which can make rooms feel boxed in.

  5. What is the standard size for curtains panels?
    The average panel width ranges between 40-50 inches. However purchasing or making panels to custom fit your exact window width helps them hang and draw more smoothly without sagging in the middle. Common readymade lengths are sold in various measurements from 60 up to 120 inches long.

  6. What are the different parts of curtains?
    Basic curtain anatomy includes the top header which has the hanging mechanism, the body which is the main fabric area, and sometimes a bottom hem. Specialty panels may also feature pleated or decorative headers at the top. Some include multiple hanging rings or tabs.

  7. How do you measure curtains?
    Always measure the actual window frame from outer edge to outer edge for the width. For length measure from the top of the rod’s installed mounting brackets down to where you want the curtains to just barely clear or lightly pool onto floor. Order them 2-3 inches longer and wider than your window measurements.

  8. What type of curtains are easiest to make?
    Some of the easiest beginner DIY curtain styles to sew are tab top curtains. They have a very basic shape without requiring pleats or gathers. You can also easily no-sew tabbed curtain panels using iron-on hemming tape and clips rings. Rod pocket style hemming tape also creates easy DIY curtains.

  9. What fabrics are best for basic curtains?
    Good fabrics for standard curtains are typically lightweight like cotton, linen, silk, polyester, velvet, or blends of natural and synthetic fibers. Medium weight fabrics provide effective light filtering. Sheers create softness for gathered styles. Sturdier dense fabrics suit pleated curtains and work well lined or interlined for greater opacity.

  10. What are the different types of curtain headers?
    Common top headers include rod pockets, tab tops, back tabs with buttonholes, cassette tops with hooks, grommets, and continuous loop headings. These allow mounting curtains on various types of rods and hangers to best coordinate with your chosen hardware and hanging method.

  11. How much fabric do you need for curtains?
    To calculate yardage start with the finished length plus top and bottom hems x the width plus side hems for each panel, then multiply by the number of panels you need. Add at least 20% more for pattern matching and handling wrinkles or errors. Round up to nearest whole yard.

  12. Can you iron polyester curtains?
    Polyester fabric curtains can be gently touched up with an iron. Use the synthetic fabric setting and iron on low heat only on the backside. Do not press creases on the front design side as polyester will hold direct iron impressions. For deeper cleaning dry clean or machine wash and line dry panels.

  13. What is the most cost effective curtain solution?
    Two of the most budget friendly curtain options are tension rod sets and readymade rod pocket panels sold together. Tension rod sets start under $20 dollars and easily install without brackets for a quick fix. Readymade curtains average $20-$60 per panel but watch for sales to save.

  14. How do you darken a room on a budget?
    Some budget friendly ways to darken rooms include using wood blinds, cellular shades, or blackout curtains over regular curtains. For blackouts choose thicker fabrics backed with blackout lining. Close them tightly in overlapping layers and place along edges of windows or mounting hardware to prevent light gaps.

  15. Should living room curtains touch the floor?
    In formal living rooms curtains customarily puddle elegantly onto floor. However for casual everyday spaces curtains that just lightly graze the floor repel less dirt and are more practical while still maintaining a finished cohesive look. Ultimately personal preference in style and function should guide what length to choose.

  16. How do I choose a curtain rod?
    Match the curtain rod style and size to complement the weight and length of your curtain panels. Common poles for normal curtains are 1-1 1/4″ diameter straight steel or wood rods for medium weight panels. For tab tops use thin 1/2″ rods. Extend rod ends 2 to 3 inches past window frames.

  17. What are tab top curtains?
    Tab top curtains feature small fabric tabs with buttonholes or loops sewn along the top back edge. The tabs connect to decorative curtain rods or to individual brackets mounted evenly along a window to hold up panels. This style eliminates the need for traditional rings or grommeted holes.

  18. Where should curtain rods be placed in a room?
    For regular aesthetic placement, install rods high enough to clear any furniture under the window yet low enough to leave an approximate 12 inch gap between the top of the rod and ceiling. Space should feel proportional. An alternative historic standard is to divide window height into thirds and place rod at 2/3 point.

  19. Can you steam polyester curtains?
    While fragile silk curtains require gentle professional steaming, durable polyester panels are fine for home steamers on medium to high heat settings. Direct steam only onto backsides by pinning up top layers clear of lower sections. This avoids flattening out front facing patterned designs.

  20. What is the most durable fabric?
    For floor length panels in high traffic rooms choose thick, dense tightly woven fabrics like canvas, duck cloth, or structured velvets. Durability also comes from linings and interlining. Check directional fabric grainlines indicated on selvages during layouts to prevent stretched out seams over time.

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