What Are Grommet Curtains?

Curtain window interior decoration in living room
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If you’re trying to decide what type of window treatments to hang to add privacy and style to your space, you may be interested in learning more about what grommet curtains are. Grommet curtains are sometimes called ringed panels, and this type of curtain has rings attached to the top of the fabric panel (picture a shower curtain) or punched into the fabric along the top edge.

two metal eyelets on gray-blue velvet curtains
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We spoke with two design experts, who explained why and when you may want to pick grommet curtains over another curtain style.

Meet the Expert

Why Are Grommet Curtains Used?

One of the main advantages of grommet curtains is ease—the rings allow the curtains to easily slide along the curtain rod, allowing you to quickly open or close the curtains without a lot of fuss. “They are a great option often used in contemporary style designs, and are a great option for extra large windows because of how easy they are to draw,” says Kristin Patrician of Dwelling Envy Interiors. She adds that this style comes in both ready-made and custom order options, making it easy to find in most fabrics and lengths.

What Are the Benefits of Grommet Curtains?

Aside from the ease of grommet curtains and the fact that they’re readily available in many different styles, colors, and fabrics, this style can also be used to fit unusual window shapes. “[Grommet curtains] can be used in all kinds of windows, especially when you're dealing with a unique shape such as an arched window,” says Yoselin Castro of Mackenzie Collier Interiors. “Simply install the rod all the way above the top of the window and let the curtain panels drape on either end during the day to let the light in and close during the night or when privacy is needed.”

Some people appreciate that grommet curtains create a uniform pleated look when drawn closed, as the curtains hang in a pleated fold from the top to the bottom of the drapes; the size of the pleat depends on how close together the grommets are.  Achieving this neatly pleated look will require  “a certain amount of adjusting, or they can appear a bit messy, but they are much easier to dress than other window treatment types,” Patrician says.

Another thing to love about grommet curtains? Because you can pick from styles with either metal or plastic rings, they can be as budget-friendly or splurge-worthy as you choose.

Window beige curtains and white tulle on the curtain rod
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Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Grommet Curtains?

Some people may not love that the curtain rod is very exposed with these types of curtains. If this is a concern for you, it makes sense to get a nice looking wooden or metal rod with decorative finials on the ends. An exposed rod can look very cool in a room, however, and it gives the space a slightly industrial vibe.

“There isn’t much to dislike about grommet curtains other than the fact the curtains never hang flat due to the waves the grommets create, so if that's not the aesthetic you are going for, I recommend going with something without grommets,” Castro says. However, if you like the wavy, pleated look, these curtains can add interest and a focal design point to your space.

You may also want to consider investing in more yardage than you think you need, which Patrician says she recommends for two reasons. The first is that if the curtains aren’t wide enough, you won’t have pleats, “and it will look more like a shower curtain than a stylish window treatment.” The second reason is to keep sunlight out. “You most likely will have a gap where the two panels meet, thus allowing for sunlight to shine through,” she adds. It’s always recommended that curtains of any style be ​​least double the width of the window, even if you plan to keep them open the majority of the time. 

Two other things to consider are that grommet curtains may not be easy to wash because of their hardware, which could rust over time if they are not made with a metal that resists corrosion. Most grommet curtains also feature silver rings, and it’s harder (though not impossible) to find different colors or other types of metal for the grommets.

There are many different styles of curtains, drapes, shades, and blinds and it can be a bit daunting to choose a window treatment that best suits your space and needs. Grommet curtains are always a good option, and they are easy to install without much handy work required. Just be sure to buy wide enough curtains and to invest in a nice looking rod, as one that is flimsy or too thin will draw the eye to it.

Article Sources
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  1. Preservation: Holdings Maintenance. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.