Curtains are a great way to make a room pop and give it is own unique style. However, with great potential comes great responsibility, because curtains can also be very distracting and ruin a room. But, before you can consider all your options, you need to know about how to buy curtains. More specifically, how many curtain panels to buy.
While it may seem logical that curtains should come in sets of two, curtains do not always come in pairs. They most often come in panels. Panels are a single piece of fabric or one curtain. If you want a typical curtain pair, you will need to buy two panels.
Let's take a look at more details about panels, how they can be used in your room design, and how many you need.
Is a Panel One or Two Curtains?
When most people think of curtains, they think of two pieces of fabric, one on each side of a window. But most curtains are sold in panels. A panel is a single curtain, so it is one piece of fabric. So if you want that traditional curtain look, you will need to buy two curtain panels.
Read carefully when buying curtains. The packaging may say something along the lines of "set of two." This means there are two curtain panels, which is likely all you need.
For example, this product is listed as a panel. This means they are sold individually, so there is only one piece of fabric.
What to Look For
In addition to design and color, it is also important to realize that curtains come in many different sizes. The main characteristics to look for are length and width.
Curtain measurements are written with the width listed first, then the length. So a curtain panel marked 45" x 54" is a single curtain 45 inches wide and 54 inches long.
Before you decide how long you want your curtains to be, you need to determine how high you want to mount your curtain rod. One to three inches above the window is the most common.
Once you decide how high you are going to mount your curtain rod, you can measure from there to the floor, and that's how long your curtains should be. However, some choose to let the curtains drag to the floor or to hang a few inches above the floor.
Another essential thing to consider, especially when choosing how many curtain panels to use, is the width. Check out this article or more detailed information on how wide your curtains should be.
Can You Use Just One Curtain Panel?
Yes, you can use just one curtain panel. This is sometimes called single panel curtains. Individual panel curtains work exceptionally well for sliding doors or smaller windows. Most people consider two curtain panels to have a "fuller" or a more finished look, but using a single panel gives a room a unique feel.
The main thing to consider when choosing one or two panels is design. Generally speaking, choosing one or two curtains will not affect the functionality of your curtains as long as you choose the right length and width.
How Do You Pair (Mix and Match) Curtains?
Pairing curtains is an excellent opportunity to bring style, vibrance, and class into an otherwise drab room. Most of the time, both panels of curtains are the same color. However, you can also use a sheer to add some additional contrast or mix and match.
There are a lot of options, let's take a look at a few examples and ideas to get your imagination going.
Picking neutral colors such as whites or browns is a timeless and easy option when choosing curtains for a room.
This is an excellent example of a single panel curtain as only a single panel is used, but it is still incredibly functional and classy. While it isn't the same color as the lamp and other accessories in the room, it does a fantastic job of tying together colors from the rest of the room to give it an extra functional pop. This curtain is also a very neutral color, so something like this would do well in a wide array of situations.
This example again ties the room together but by using color with a bit more contrast. This time we also see a typical panel pair. By adding purple curtains, the designer ties in the other purple accessories and also adds a wonderfully bright pop of color and variety.
You can also tie your curtains directly into the design of the room. In this example, the designer matched the curtains almost exactly to the bed curtain and accessories. This design trick draws the eye in and gives the room a finished and put-together look.
Curtains can also be used to add to or tie into the room's theme. In this example, the room has a very botanical or organic feel. While the curtains don't exactly match the colors in the rest of the room, they further tie into the theme, making them pop while also feeling like they still belong to the room.
This example is also using sheers, also called liners, that are not an exact match of the curtains. This is an excellent example of adding some additional contrast to the windows. Notice that the sheers also add to the room's botanical theme and give the windows some extra layered depth while also being practical.
Can't decide on a color? Just pick them all!
There are many patchwork curtains for sale in a variety of colors. Not only does this cover all the basics, but it also gives the room a very homey and bohemian look. Patchwork curtains can also be handmade or hand-tailored to your wants and needs. While this style might not be for everyone, it is trendy and can give a room a very artistic feel.
Need more inspiration? Check out these 30 Different Ways to Hang Curtains.
Looking for more information about curtains? Check out some of our other articles.