Guest Bedroom Curtains

Curtain Headings Explained

Curtain Headings aren’t such a mystery but when it comes to curtains, it’s not as simple as just choosing the fabric and measuring the window. Your curtain maker will also discuss with you what curtain headings you prefer, and should advise you on what will best complement the style of your house and interior decoration.

‘Heading’ refers to the top of the curtain and how it is attached to the pole or track. Curtains hang and stack back differently depending on the heading, so it is important to understand the differences between each option. To help with your decision making, all the curtain heading types are explained below, with photos to help you imagine how it would look in your room.



Style: Contemporary
Hardware: Specialist Pole or Track required
How it hangs: This is a stylish heading which gives a soft rippling effect.  It looks simply stunning in rooms with a large window, like a french window or bifold doors.
Stack back: Designed to maximise light, wave curtains stack back very efficiently.
Description: Fabrics hang in wide, even folds, creating a contemporary, soft, rippling finish that is perfect for modern homes. Voiles or Sheers are often made with a wave heading.

Wave Curtain Heading
Wave – photo courtesy of Helen White Interiors

Double or Triple Pleat

Style: Modern or Traditional
Hardware: Pole or Track, although pinch pleats look best when hung beneath a pole.
How it hangs: Pinch pleat curtains are full, smart and elegant.
Stack back: Pleats neatly stack back but ensure there is enough space either side of the window for the curtains to stack back without squashing the pleats or covering the windows.
Description: Stylish, permanent pleats give a tailored finish.

Double Pleat Curtain Heading
Double Pleat – photo courtesy of Duck & Rabbit Interiors Wareham
Triple Pleat Curtain Heading
Triple Pleat – photo courtesy of Duck & Rabbit Interiors Wareham

Single Pleat and Inverted or Box Pleat

Style: Contemporary
Hardware: Pole or Track, although look best on a pole.
How it hangs: Fabric drapes in a simplistic and uniform style.
Stack back: Pleats neatly stack back on themselves with not too much bulk
Description: Ideal for small windows, single pleats are smart, elegant, and simple; not too ‘busy’. An inverted pleat is exactly the same as a single pinch pleat, but the pleats are hidden at the back of the curtain, creating a gorgeous wall of fabric at the front.

Single Pleat Curtain Heading
Single Pleat – photo courtesy of Duck & Rabbit Interiors Wareham


Style: Formal, Traditional, Opulent
Hardware: Pole and track, although better on a pole
How it hangs: Full and luxurious look
Stack back: Bulky stack back so ensure there is enough space either side of the window
Description: Goblet headings are used to create a formal, luxurious look that makes a statement with an opulent fabric. This heading is slightly out of fashion at the moment because they look so formal and generally suit a lofty period property.

Goblet Pleat Curtain Heading
Goblet – Photo courtesy of Duck & Rabbit Interiors, Wareham


Style: Contemporary, Modern home
Hardware: Pole only, not suitable for bay windows or for use with valences or pelmets
How it hangs: Curtains fall in soft, loose, even pleats
Stack back: Neat stack back
Description: Eyelet curtains have metal edged holes (choice of colours is available) running along the heading. The curtain pole runs through the holes.

Eyelet Curtain Heading
Eyelet – photo courtesy of Elephant Lane

Pencil Pleat

Style: Contemporary or Traditional
Hardware: Track or Pole
How it hangs: As the pleats are achieved by pulling the cords, you can alter the look of your curtains by creating tighter or looser folds.
Stack back: Neat stack back, not too bulky
Description: Pencil pleats are a neat and elegant type of curtain heading. The name comes from the tightly packed folds at the top of the curtain that resemble a row of pencils.

Pencil Pleat Curtain Heading
Pencil Pleat – Photo courtesy of Elephant Lane

Cottage Pleat

Style: Traditional, Informal
Hardware: Track or Pole
How it hangs: Pretty, soft gather
Stack back: Loosely stacks back in keeping with the informal style of the curtain
Description: Ideal for curtains with a shorter drop and suits a traditional country setting or a children’s bedroom, and fabrics such as gingham or florals.

Cottage Pleat Curtain Heading
Cottage Pleat – photo courtesy of Elephant Lane

I hope these explanations about the various curtain headings help you a little with your design planning. A big thank you for my curtain making friends at Elephant Lane in Surrey, Duck and Rabbit Interiors in Wareham and Helen White Interiors in Taunton, for lending me photos of their beautiful work until I can replace them with my own! To view examples of my work please check out my gallery

If you’d like more help de-mystifying curtains or you are looking for a professional curtain maker, please give me a call or email me on 07586 765165 / [email protected].