Shopping for curtains can be confusing because sometimes they are sold in pairs, and sometimes they are sold as panels. You’ll need to be able to differentiate between the way curtains are sold in order to make sure you don’t make any costly mistakes and order more curtains than you need or fewer curtains than you need.
Here we take a more in-depth look at why curtains may be sold individually and what you should look for when shopping for curtains.
Pairs and Panels
Curtains can be sold in pairs, but this is not always the case. Often you will find that curtains are sold as panels. When a curtain packaging is described as containing a panel, this means you will only receive one individual piece of fabric. If you want a set of matching curtains with one panel at either end of the window, then you will need to purchase two panels.
Why are Curtains Sold Individually?
Selling curtains in individual panels gives buyers more freedom of choice. People do not always want a set of matching curtains because there are scenarios that only require one curtain.
For example, if you have a very narrow window, then having curtains on both sides of it would look too much, so in this case, many people will choose to just use one panel draped to one side for a more casual-chic look.
You might also want an individual curtain panel to put on the inside of a front door or to use as a cover for a closet instead of traditional closet doors.
Selling curtain panels individually means they are suitable for any situation. If a person only needs a single curtain, they can just buy one, rather than having to pay for a set of two and then have one go to waste.
If a person needs two curtains, then, of course, they can choose to buy two of the individual panels.
Being able to buy curtains individually also means you can mix and match if you wish. For example, in a room with a black-and-white color scheme, you could have one white panel and one black panel to make a mismatched coordinated pair.
How to Buy Curtains
When you buy curtains, you should always read the description carefully so you know exactly what you are getting. When you buy curtains from higher-end brands, they are more likely to come in sets of two, whereas big box stores more commonly sell their curtains in individual panels.
It can be easy to get confused and buy the wrong thing, which will be very frustrating if you arrive home for a shopping trip with the intention of hanging a new pair of curtains only to find that you actually only purchased one panel.
If the curtains seem very inexpensive, then this is usually a key giveaway. The packaging only contains one panel, so if you need a pair, then you will obviously have to double the price.
Curtains will always have a description on the packaging or on the web page if you are shopping online, so pay attention to this to avoid making any annoying mistakes.
Understanding curtain sizing is just as important as understanding the difference between panels and pairs. The height of a room or the height of a window within a room can vary from house to house, so the size of curtains that is perfect for your neighbor might not be perfect for you.
There are three standard length sizes of curtains and these are 84 inches, 96 inches, and 108 inches. You should measure the distance from your curtain pole to the floor and then choose the length of curtains that is closest to this measurement.
Always round up rather than down because curtains will always look better when they are too long rather than awkwardly short.
Most interior designers agree that for the most stylish look, your curtains need to brush along the floor, but if you buy a pair that is so long it is dragging along the floor, you can always have them tailored so they are the right length, or you can take them up a few inches yourself if you know your way around a sewing machine.
Even if the bottom of your curtains is going to be hidden behind a sofa, you should still opt for curtains that are too long over curtains that are too short.
Even when you cannot see the hem of the curtain, it will hang in a more elegant way when it reaches the floor, and it will have a more weighted look to it that gives off a more luxurious and more finished style.
If you don’t yet have a curtain pole installed, then you should mark it on the wall where it will be installed and measure downwards from there.
Ideally, a curtain pole should always be fitted at least 5 inches above the uppermost trim of the window or right underneath the ceiling level. This visually extends the look of the window to make the whole space feel open and larger.
The width of the curtains is also an important measurement because getting this wrong can mean your curtains won’t meet in the middle when you close them.
The standard curtain panel width is around 54 inches, but widths can be as large as 108 inches to suit bigger windows.
When open, the curtains should not cover the window because this restricts light into the room and makes the space feel smaller. Instead, open up the window by extending the curtain pole between 5 and 10 inches past the window on either side and hanging the curtains in this portion of space.
Since the curtains will be installed over the wall at either side of the window, you need to include this area when measuring the width of the curtain panels you need.
If you like this article, you may also wonder if all curtains in a room match.