How do I Choose the Best Insulating Curtains?

Susan Grindstaff

When purchasing insulating curtains, it is a good idea to inspect them before buying. Physically handling and feeling the weight of the fabric will typically give you a better idea of how much insulation they will provide. For this reason, if you plan to order online, make sure the merchant has a clearly defined return policy. In addition, you will need to decide if you want insulating curtains that are in one piece or the double-layered variety. Typically, double-layered insulating curtains provide more options in terms of color and print.

Thick curtains can help keep rooms warmer during the winter, and can be somewhat useful for keeping rooms cooler in the summer as well.
Thick curtains can help keep rooms warmer during the winter, and can be somewhat useful for keeping rooms cooler in the summer as well.

Double-layered or double-hung insulating curtains are generally more popular, because the insulated drapery hangs behind another drapery and is not visible. The insulated panels should ideally be constructed of thermal fabric that is meant to keep outside elements from penetrating through the windows and window seals. Generally, the heavier their weight, the better insulation they will provide.

A valance -- also called a pelmet -- can improve the insulation of windows with drapes or curtains.
A valance -- also called a pelmet -- can improve the insulation of windows with drapes or curtains.

In most cases, the tightness of the weave and the thread count of the fabric is a good indicator of how well a fabric will insulate. Fabrics with loose weaves usually will not provide as much protection as tightly woven fabrics. In some cases, heavier fabrics that are loosely woven would not provide as much insulation as a lighter weight fabric with a less penetrable weave.

Fabrics that tend to work well for double-hung insulating curtains include wool, heavy silk, and mohair. In addition, synthetic fabrics blended with a component called polypropylene are also considered good insulators. Generally, these fabrics are used as the under layer of the drapery, which leaves you free to choose any type of covering drapery you like.

Some insulating curtains can be purchased as a single layer, with the insulating component being bonded to the interior of the drapery. This type of insulating curtain will only require one set of hardware per window, so their expense could be slightly offset by the money you may save on curtain rods and attachments. You may find, however, that these curtains are somewhat limited in size, color, and fabric design, and no matter the fabric content, a single layer of insulation usually does not provide as much protection as double layers.

Room décor is usually an important consideration when purchasing any type of draperies, including insulating curtains. If your room décor is designed around an airy open theme, insulated curtains may spoil the effect. In this type of situation, you will need to evaluate whether the cost of your particular taste in interior decorating is worth the money that insulated curtains might eventually save.

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Discussion Comments


The thermal insulated curtains are great for blocking out light. When I worked third shift and had to sleep during the daylight hours, I had a hard time sleeping with the sun shining in the room. This made staying awake at work at night hard. Someone suggested the curtains. When I finally bought the thermal curtains and hung them, the entire room was as dark as if it was night outside. Had I not done this I would have had to find another job.


@Feryll - You need to make sure you get the insulating curtains and insulating drapes put up properly. The curtains that fit up tightly against and around the window area are better at keeping the outside heat or cold from entering the room. When you have gaps at the tops, sides and at the bottoms of drapes and curtains this can cause heat to leave the room.

With the gaps, the drapes are really forcing the warm air out of the room. You might notice some moisture on your windows when this happens too.


My girlfriend bought insulation curtains for our guest bedroom. The windows in the room are old. The house is old. We replaced some of the windows in the back of the house where a couple of rooms were added on to the original old house, but we want to restore the other windows like the ones in the guest bedroom because they are older and add to the look of the house.

I plan on making sure all of the windows are tight and sealed at some point, but the curtains are a temporary fix. They block the air, so that you don't feel major drafts, but the cold air is still entering the room. In terms of energy savings, we would have done better to put plastic up to the windows.

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