Thermal curtain buying guide

Thermal curtain buying guide

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Thermal curtains provide an effective and attractive way to improve heat or acoustic insulation around doors or windows. But it's important to choose the right fabric, number of layers and dimensions to ensure you get the protection you need. Read on to find the perfect thermal or soundproof curtains to keep out the cold.
Shop our curtains

Four key factors for choosing thermal curtains

Got windows or doors that are lacking in insulation? Is your door letting in air or are your windows single-glazed? Fitting thermal curtains can be an effective way to stop heat loss.

An effective solution against heat loss

Thermal curtains can be a good option for keeping in the heat while you save up to carry out costlier renovations. And bonus – you can keep them in place once the work is done since thermal curtains can be as attractive as they are effective!

4 questions to ask yourself before buying thermal curtains

An effective solution against heat loss

In order to ensure you choose the perfect thermal curtains for your needs, you should start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What kind of insulation are you after: thermal, acoustic or both?

  2. What kind of heat loss are you dealing with: minor, average or major?

  3. Where will the curtains be hung and what dimenions do you need?

  4. What kind of colour, style or pattern are you looking for?

4 essential factors for choosing thermal curtains

You can then think about the answers to these questions with the following factors in mind:

  1. Insulation type: thermal, acoustic or both.

  2. Curtain fabric and thickness.

  3. Curtain location and dimensions.

  4. Design: style, colours and patterns.

To finish off, you'll have to think about the care needs of your curtains. While somewhat less important than the factors outlined above, maintenance is still worth considering in terms of practicality. For example, some thermal curtains are machine washable while others are not.

All together, these factors should help you pick out the perfect thermal curtains for your needs.

Explore the ManoMano catalog

Thermal curtains: acoustic vs. heat insulation

There are three different types of thermal curtains:

  1. Thermal curtains used for heat insulation.

  2. Soundproof or sound absorbing curtains.

  3. Soundproof thermal curtains.

Thermal curtains

Thermal curtains

Thermal curtains are designed to:

  • create a barrier against the cold to limit heat loss in winter;

  • block heat from the outside in summer.

Soundproof curtains

Soundproof or sound-absorbing curtains are made of sound-dampening materials to shield you from outdoor noise.

Soundproof thermal curtains

A soundproof thermal curtain is a two-in-one solution. These curtains double up with heat insulating fabrics on one side and sound-absorbing fabrics on the other.

Both soundproof and thermal curtains also block out the light to protect you from prying eyes and some curtains also function as blackout curtains.

Explore the ManoMano catalog
Blackout curtains

How thick do thermal curtains need to be?

The most important factor to consider when choosing thermal curtains is, of course, the curtain fabric. When it comes to heat insulation, thick fabrics like wool or fleece are popular options.

However, it's worth noting that polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a plastic material, also has excellent insulating properties. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is equally efficient. Curtains made from this material will also provide sound absorption provided the material is thick enough. Soundproof curtains are generally made up of three to seven layers depending on the level of acoustic insulation you require.

These curtains can be made from a range of different fabrics depending on whether you're after soundproofing or heat insulation, with some fabrics performing both functions. This fabric can be used alone or as a lining which may even be removable on some models.

Explore the ManoMano catalog

Choosing the perfect thermal curtain material

While the selection of thermal curtains on offer is vast, these curtains are usually made of one of the following commonly used fabrics.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): a classic insulating material

This plastic-based fabric is made using raw materials derived from crude oil or natural gas, but is 100% recyclable. A highly resistant fabric, these curtains are very effective against the cold. They may also be referred to as insulated curtains or polyester curtains since PET is typically called polyester when used as a fibre.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): an effective insulating fabric

PVC is also a plastic-based fabric which offers excellent thermal insulation against both cold and warmth, as well as good sound-proofing properties.

Fleece: a thicker fabric

Fleece is a cotton-based fabric that offers good acoustic and heat insulation. Another plus? It looks great!

Wool: an eco-friendly option

An environmentally friendly, natural fabric, wool can be used alone or alongside other materials. It is a popular option both for its style, insulating properties and its eco-friendly tag.

Sound-proofing curtains: how many layers do I need?

Sound-proofing curtains: how many layers do I need?

In terms of sound-proof curtains, it's not so much the fabric but rather the number of layers that counts when it comes to blocking out sound. These curtains can range from three layers to block out noise up to 7 decibels (dB), and up to seven layers to block out up to 18 dB. Be sure to consider the weight of these curtains since they can be heavy.

Another option: soundproof curtains with two fabric sides and a layer of wadding in between as interlining.

Explore the ManoMano catalog

Thermal curtains for doors and windows: choosing the correct size

Next up, you need to think about size. The dimensions of your curtains need to be suited to the size of your windows or doors. Once this is done, you can move on to picking out a style.

The dimensions of your curtains depend on where they will be hung.

Where can I hang thermal curtains?

Where can I hang thermal curtains?

Thermal curtains can be fitted in various spots around the home. For example, they can be hung in front of:

  • windows;

  • patio doors;

  • front doors;

  • garage doors;

  • stairwells.

Pick the right size for maximum insulation

Thermal curtains for doors and windows: choosing the correct size

Start by measuring the height and width of your door or window frame. Add on at least 15cm in height since the curtain pole is usually fitted slightly above the frame.

In terms of aesthetics, it's important to ensure your curtains are neither too short nor too long. Longer curtains are trickier to clean around but the excess material will only improve insulation. When it comes to width, go for 1.5 to 2 times the width of your window or door frame for a pleated effect.

Thermal curtain style, colours and patterns

While it is essential to prioritise the insulating properties of the curtains, it's also important to think about how they will look once in place. Curtains, thermal or otherwise, must be chosen to match and enhance the existing décor.

Different styles of thermal curtains

Modern curtains

Style, colour and pattern: picking an attractive thermal curtain

For thermal curtains that will blend in perfectly in a contemporary style home, go for slick colours like slate grey, red or even black.

Classic curtains

Style, colour and pattern: picking an attractive thermal curtain

For a more traditional look, go for tones like aubergine or chocolate.

Rustic curtains

Style, colour and pattern: picking an attractive thermal curtain

For a farmhouse style look, go for natural shades like green or brown.

Play around with volume

A pale toned thermal curtain will tend to make a space look bigger while a darker tone contributes to a cosier vibe. If you have low ceilings, vertical stripes can work really well for giving a sense of height.

Play around with colours

Style, colour and pattern: picking an attractive thermal curtain

Got a dark room? A warm- or bright-coloured thermal curtain in shades of yellow, orange or red will help to bring in more light. If you have a south-facing room, on the other hand, you can go for cool shades of blue, green or purple.

How to clean thermal curtains

Thermal curtains should be as easy as possible to clean. Its important to consider maintenance in terms of how dirty you think the curtains will get.

  • To remove small, fresh stains, simply rubbing lightly with a damp sponge should do the job.

  • For regular care, remember to give them a wipe with a damp microfibre cloth to remove dust.

  • For a deep clean, use a steam cleaner. Be careful to keep the steam head a few centimetres away from the curtain to protect the fabric.

  • For an even deeper clean, the curtain should ideally go in the washing machine. If your curtains are not machine washable, they will generally have to be dry cleaned.

Remember to check the manufacturer's indications since the care needs of curtains all differ.

More information on insulation

Shop our curtains

Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

  • Millions of products

  • Delivery to your home or click & collect

  • Hundreds of dedicated experts online