Curtain Couture: Exploring 12+ Trendy Curtain Tops for the Perfect Window Dressing.


12 Popular Types of Curtain Tops

Here are some of the most popular types of curtain tops that you can choose from. This is not an exhaustive list, but we will cover curtain tops of every style. This is a great starting point as you build your knowledge and understanding to choose a style that is right for you.

Pinch Pleats


Pinch pleats are a classic curtain header style that works well for classic as well as formal contemporary style.

With pinch pleats, you can choose a double or a triple pleat. This curtain-style header requires more fabric than other headers and will create fuller curtains.

Choose a curtain header with a buckram if you want your pleats to maintain their crisp shape. You can hang pinch pleat curtains with back tabs but they look best when hung below the curtain rod with hooks and rings. This curtain header style works best with medium-weight fabrics.

Pencil Pleats


Pencil pleats are a pleat style that resembles pencils placed side by side at the top of the curtain. Pencil pleats are a more casual pleat style header than pinch pleats. This style also requires less fabric.

Like pinch pleat headers, you can hang pencil pleat curtains with back tabs on the rod. But, these curtains open and close easier and look more stylish when you hang them with curtain hooks and rings.

Rod Pocket


Rod or pole pocket curtains are a popular curtain top style for ready-made curtains. For this curtain header style, there is an opening at the curtain top that you slide your rod through.

These curtains have a casual and unaffected style that is perfect for farmhouse and cottage decor. The downside of these curtains is that they can be more difficult to open and close. They are most problematic to open and close on a large pole rather than a small one.

Tab Tops


Tab top curtain headers are another common style header for pre-made curtains. These have flat pieces of fabric that loop over the rod.

Like rod pocket curtains, these have a more casual style. Also, like rod pocket curtain tops, tab top curtains are more difficult to open and close on a regular basis. Therefore, these curtain tops work the best with light and medium-weight fabrics.



Grommets, also called eyelets, are metal rings inserted into the top of the curtain. These allow you to thread the curtain rod through the top of the curtain. These have a casual style that produces a wave-like look when the curtains are open and have a flat appearance when the curtains are closed.

Unlike other casual-style curtain headers, the rings provide an easy way to open and close your curtains.

Tie Top


Tie top curtains are one of the most casual curtain header styles. These are similar to tab top curtains, but rather than a flat piece of continuous fabric over the rod, these curtains feature two pieces that tie above the rod.

This style works well for casual home decor styles like cottage and country style. Tie tops are more difficult to close. Therefore, these are best reserved for windows where you don’t need to open and close on a regular basis.

Inverted Box Pleats


Inverted box pleats are a curtain header style that reverses the pleat so that there is a front with just regular vertical panels side by side. This kind of pleat has a formal but a simple style that is perfect for contemporary decor.

Inverted box pleat curtains function best when they are attached to drapery hooks and rings. These are a good choice for heavy fabrics like velvet and lined silk.

Goblet Pleat


Goblet pleats have a look that resembles a goblet on the top of the pleat. These are more stylized than other pleat headers. Thus, goblet pleat curtains are more formal in style. This curtain style top will hold its shape best with a buckram attached to the back of the curtain header.

Goblet pleats are a more delicate curtain top shape. Therefore, this pleat style should be reserved for curtains that you don’t have to open and close on a regular basis.

Flat Panel


Flat panel curtain tops have no distinguishing elements that differentiate them from the bottom of the curtain. The way that you attach flat panel curtains to the rod depends on the design of the back of the header. For most flat panel curtains, you would attach them to a rod with rings with clips or drapery hooks attached to rings. When the curtains are open, they resemble more formal pleated curtains.

These are great DIY curtain headers as they require less expertise to make than pleats. They also require less fabric to cover the window.

Euro Pleat


Euro pleats, also called Parisian pleats, are a type of pleated curtain header that are gathered at the top of the pleat rather than the middle. These are a more contemporary style pleat that works well for modern home decor, or for Parisian curtains that blend old and new world styles together.

This curtain top style functions in a smoother way than more casual styles like tab tops. They also allow you to block more sunlight than curtains that hang below the rod.



A pelmet is a wooden frame that is covered with fabric that covers the top of the window and the curtain. Pelmets are a traditional style that is making a comeback in cozy styles like English country house decor.

When used right, pelmets lend a cozy charm to your room and help insulate drafty windows. They also allow you to cover the top of the curtain. Therefore, you can mount your curtain on a track for easier maneuvering.



A valance, also called a soft pelmet, is a short curtain panel hung at the top of the window. You can use valances alone or use them to create a curtain header.


Valances and pelmets have gotten a dated reputation, but many designers are using them in the current design. They add a touch of whimsy to your room and help to frame the window.

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