What Is a Curtain Panel? (Plus DIY Ideas for Old Curtain Panels)

While purchasing curtains seems easy, it can be a tricky task.

Sometimes, the labels can be misleading, and you can end up buying a curtain panel instead of a set.

This brings us to the question: what is a curtain panel?

Curtain Panel

A curtain panel is a single piece of fabric that’s typically cut to fit a window. So if you want two curtains, you’ll need to get a pair of panels to create a complete set. Compared to drapes, curtains are made of lighter fabric that filters out some light but doesn’t block it completely.

Continue reading this guide to discover different uses of curtain panels and learn how to measure and hang them.

Curtain panel

What Are Curtain Panels Used For?

Curtain panels are among the most common types of window treatments.

They’re available in many types and styles and can be used for both decoration and privacy.

The best thing about curtains is that they’re versatile, and you can use them for different areas in your house, not just the windows.

Let’s take a closer look at what curtain panels are used for.

1. Get Privacy

The main function of a curtain is to protect your privacy.

This window treatment will not only filter out light but also prevent strangers from peeping into your private space.

Usually, curtains are sheer, so to completely block out light, you’ll likely use them over another window treatment.

You can also get blackout curtains to enjoy a dark bedroom when you sleep late.

Unlike shades or blinds that require you to lift them to let in light, you can adjust the curtain panels to control the light intensity.

If you enjoy a bright room, you can move both curtain panels to the sides to allow as much sunlight to enter.

You can also just slide one panel a few inches to benefit from a faint light and still keep your privacy.

2. Reduce Electric Bills

Aside from controlling the light intensity and safeguarding your privacy, curtains are a great way to conserve energy, thanks to their insulation.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 30% of the heat generated by the house’s electric appliances leaks out through your windows, but it’s not just heating energy.

Since 76% of direct sunlight can escape through your windows and become heat, your house will become warmer in summer, even when using an air conditioner.

That’s just a rough estimate, though.

As time goes by, your windows may have failed seals, which allow more air exchange between your room and the air outside.

Air exchange gives your heating and cooling appliances a hard time keeping up with the leakage, causing you to pay a hefty electric bill.

Luckily, your regular closed curtains—that hang from the ceiling all the way down to the floor—can reduce heat loss by 10%.

For maximum prevention of heat exchange, you can hang thermal curtains.

Usually, thermal curtains are made of heavy fabric and have a backing layer made of insulating materials to reduce heat exchange by up to 33%!

Plus, the color of the panels can play a role in energy conservation—light colors reflect light, maintaining a cooler room.

Meanwhile, dark-colored panels absorb heat, keeping your house warmer.

Ultimately, picking the correct energy-efficient curtains depends on whether you live in warm or cool temperatures.

3. Add a Touch of Elegance

Elegant curtains

Just like a comfortable sofa or different accent pieces, curtains can also enhance your room’s overall aesthetics.

Curtain panels come in different colors, patterns, and fabric textures to complement your furniture.

For instance, if you want to add a color pop, you can use curtains with bright shades.

If you opt for something contemporary, you can match the panels with your furniture to get a monochromatic look.

Aside from different shades and patterns, you can choose from a wide pool of hanging options, like curtain panels with rings, rod pockets, or tab-top panels.

Panels with rings are a perfect match if you bought an attractive rod and want to display it.

In contrast, if you want the curtain to be the main focus, opt for curtain panels with pockets.

They’ll hide the rod and also give a nice pleated look when you pull the fabric to the sides.

Tab-top panels showcase the rod, and they’re great if you want to focus on the patterns.

Since they’re usually hard to move, it’s better to hang them on windows you don’t frequently open.

In addition to enhancing your interior design, you can hang the curtain rod close to the ceiling to give an illusion of a spacious room.

4. Conceal Under Sink Storage

One of the great life hacks you can do with curtains is using them to conceal the cleaning supplies under your kitchen sink.

You can also install curtain skirts under the counters for an interesting visual.

On top of that, you can use curtains to conceal different storage, not only in the kitchen.

You can hang them to cover shelves, cabinets, laundry closets, and even mirrors.

5. Divide a Room

Who needs walls when you can hang a curtain to divide a room?

Instead of a conventional dressing room, you can use curtains to create your own walk-in wardrobe, even for smaller spaces.

Using curtains as walls is a great alternative because they’re faster and easier to put up. Not to mention, they’re more budget-friendly.

So, they’re a good option if you don’t have enough money at the moment for a complete renovation.

Likewise, you can hang the panels on top of doorways whenever you need a calmer-looking door alternative.

6. DIY Projects

As you can see, curtains are versatile, and you can practically hang them all over your house.

However, it’s not just new curtain panels that are multifunctional.

You can revamp old, weary curtains through various DIY projects.

Here are a few DIY ideas to make use of old curtain panels:

  • Cushion covers,
  • Make your own canopy bed,
  • Use them as wallpaper,
  • Napkins, and
  • Backdrop for pictures.

How to Measure for Curtain Panels?

You don’t need a professional to take curtain panel measurements before ordering them, and the process is fairly simple too.

All you need is a measuring tape, pen, and paper, and you’re ready to go.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take your window’s width by measuring to the outer edge of both sides using a measuring tape.
  • Add 4 to 8 inches on both sides to completely uncover the window when your drapes open.
  • Measure from the top of the rod down to where you want the panels to hang.
  • For sill-length curtains, measure from the top edge of the rod to the top of the sill.
  • Add about an inch or two if you want the curtains to hang slightly below the sill.
  • For floor-length curtain panels, measure from the rod and leave about half an inch off the floor.
  • Add 1 to 10 inches if you want your curtains to droop on the floor for a stylish look.
  • Deduct the height of your rod plus the height of the rings if you’re hanging a pleated curtain.

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