When it comes to dressing your windows, there are so many options to choose from, including blinds, curtains, sheer drapes, and netting.
Often, the type of room you are styling will dictate the best choice of window dressing for you. For example, a Venetian blind is going to look professional in a home office, while it might not offer the soft look you want in a nursery.
There is also the issue of functionality to consider because while curtain dressings are very much about style and interior decor, they also serve a practical purpose.
Here we will look at the way you can use curtains and sheer drapes together to achieve looks that are functional and stylish, as well as look into the benefits of these types of window treatments.
What are the Differences between Curtains and Sheers?
Curtains are sheets of fabric that have been cut to size and hemmed to create a neat edge. They can be hung on a curtain pole or a rail, and the type of curtain will determine how it is fixed in place. Some curtains have metal hoops stitched into them; these are one of the easiest types of curtains to fit because you simply slide a curtain pole right through the holes.
For curtains without fitted hoops, they will have a fabric runner stitched across the very top width of the curtain sheet, which you can use with plastic hooks to hang onto curtain rail rings. Alternatively, you can buy curtain rings with small clips on them, which you secure along the top of the curtain-like pegs.
Curtains are great for privacy because they can be closed in the evening when you don’t want people being able to look inside your home. However, they aren’t well suited to creating privacy during the day because if you close them, they will block out natural light and leave you with a dark room.
Another practical benefit of curtains is that they can block out light at a time when it is convenient for you, for example, on an early summer morning when you don’t want to be woken from your sleep by daylight flooding in. From an aesthetic perspective, curtains help to frame a window, and they can accentuate a view of the architecture of the window itself.
Curtains are a type of soft furnishing that adds a comforting feel to a space, and they can also be used to enhance a color scheme or interior decor style.
Sheers are a type of transparent fabric that can be used as curtains to delicately frame a window or as an entire window covering to filter light. Sheer panels for windows are usually made from voile, which is a French word that translates to ‘veil.’
These panels are ideal for creating privacy while still allowing light into a room. You can have them hanging permanently across a window, and you will still be able to see outside and enjoy natural light in your space, but an outsider’s view of your home interior will be blurred or completely obscured depending on how light it is.
Sheers also add an aesthetic softness to a room and can help to create an airy or breezy style because they drape so effortlessly. Sheers are available in any color, and some have patterns or embroidery for added interest.
Layering Curtains and Sheers Together
Sheers Beneath Curtains
By far, the most popular way to arrange curtains and sheers together is to have the sheers layered beneath the curtains. To do this, you will need two curtain poles, one of which should be fitted slightly closer to the wall or window frame than the other.
The sheers can be hung on the closer pole and the curtains on the outer curtain pole. This setup provides you with lots of versatility in terms of how you have the fabrics positioned.
When you want the visibility through your windows to be normal, you can have the curtains in open position at either side of the window, and the sheers also pulled aside in an open position. You could hide the sheers behind the curtains so they can’t be seen, or you can position them slightly inside the curtains to soften the silhouette of the curtains.
If you want to create more privacy, you can pull the sheers across the window to a drawn position while leaving the curtains open. This will filter the light so that it isn’t so intense and also prevent passers-by from being able to see in your home. When you want ultimate privacy and to block out light, you can close the curtains.
Sheers Hanging Over Curtains
Installing sheers over the top of curtains offers a beautiful and elegant aesthetic, but it offers little in the way of functionality compared with having the sheers beneath the curtains.
To fit your window dressings in this way, you will only need one curtain pole as the sheers can be fitted directly alongside the curtains. Use a set of curtains and sheers which have metal ring grommets in them, or opt for a curtain pole that has clips to attach onto the fabric.
Once installed, you can let the sheers drape over the entire curtains to create a soft and airy look, or you can pull the sheers slightly to each side to expose some of the curtain fabric.
Although this setup won’t allow you to have the sheers closed by themselves to aid privacy and light filtering during the day, it does mean that you can benefit from a floaty and elegant look while also enjoying the light-blocking and privacy features of curtains during the evening.
Sheers Over Sheers
If you like the easy elegance that sheers provide, and don’t need heavy curtains to entirely block out light, then you could layer sheers over another set of sheers. This allows you to benefit from the privacy and light filtering properties of closed sheers across the whole window while also enjoying the airy look of sheers draped at either side of the window.
To achieve this, you will need to fit the sheers onto two separate curtain poles, which will allow you to operate each set independently.
Sheers Draped Over Curtains
This option is easy to create, and you will only need one curtain pole to achieve this look. Firstly, install your pair of curtains on the curtain pole as you usually would.
You will then need a long piece of voile fabric to use as your sheers, rather than a set of sheer drapes. This can be bought from a fabric store or haberdashery, or you can buy sheers in the form of ‘scarfs’ that are designed intentionally for this purpose.
Once you have your sheer length of fabric, you will need to drape it over the top of the curtains from one end of the pole to the other, securing it at both ends.
The sheers should not be taut, and instead, you should let some of the fabric drape gently to create a curved shape over the top of the curtains. The remainder of the sheer fabric will hang down at either side of the window frame, over the top of the curtains. This creates an elegant look that works well in traditional, formal rooms.
Types of Curtain Poles and Rods For Layering
The types of curtain poles and rods you will need to layer curtains and sheers will depend on the style you want to create.
These are a great option for hanging sheers behind curtains because they are super easy to install and don’t require any screws or holes being drilled into your walls and window frames, and they are also very inexpensive.
As sheers don’t have very much weight to them, they are ideal for use with tension rods; however, curtains would be too heavy to use with most tension rods.
There are some slimline rods you can buy which are designed specifically for use with sheers or window nets. These are inexpensive and can sometimes be found in dollar stores.
They aren’t particularly attractive, but they cannot be seen once the sheers are installed in place. These rods will come with a few tiny screws, which will need to be driven into the window frame for brackets to hold the rod.
Double Curtain Pole
If you want to be able to operate your sheers and curtains independently from each other, a double curtain pole is a great idea that also looks classy and intentional.
Double curtain poles feature a main front pole and a secondary pole. This means two sets of curtains or sheers can be installed together, allowing one set to be drawn while the other set is open.
This option is usually more expensive than buying a single curtain pole and a sheer rod, but it will mean that both of your sets of drapes will be set at exactly the same height and width, ensuring a very uniform and professional final result.