Curtain headings explained

Do you know your double pleat from your pencil pleat? Or your tab top from your eyelet? In this guide, we’ll talk you through the different types of curtain headings and how they can be used to create curtains that match the style of your home. So whether you’re looking to craft your own set of curtains or just looking to buy them online, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about curtain headings.

Pencil pleat

Perhaps one of the most popular styles of curtain heading available and certainly one that you’ll see in a lot of homes is the simple pencil pleat. This curtain style is a great choice for contemporary or period homes and thanks to its versatility it can be used with both curtain rails and curtain poles and offers some hanging flexibility with three hook positions on the heading.

As the name suggests the pencil pleat heading style looks like a neat row of pencils and the heading size can vary in length from around 2” to 6” or more. For full-length curtains choose a longer heading such as 6”.

Pencil pleat

Pinch pleat

A super stylish curtain heading that gives a permanent pleat to your curtains. The pinch pleat is normally found in double pinch or triple pinch pleats which give a tailored finish that looks stunning in traditional or modern homes. Pinch pleat curtains can be hung on curtain rails or poles but tend to look best on curtain poles. Pinch pleat curtains are normally made to measure so it’s important to carefully measure your curtain pole to choose the right length.

Cottage pleat

For curtains with a short drop and an informal look, a cottage pleat is a popular choice, particularly in cottages. Bedroom and kitchen windows are perfect applications for cottage pleat curtains and they provide a great informal look for use with lightweight curtain materials. Cottage pleat curtains are normally available to buy in shops as they can be gathered to suit the width of the window and therefore don’t need to be made to measure.

Wave curtains

Wave curtains use a special, slim profile curtain track that can be fitted to the ceiling or top of the window frame where there is not enough room for a traditional pole or curtain track. They are the perfect choice for homes that have large glazed walls and create a laid-back look that is tailor-made for modern living. The curtain fabric is gathered in soft folds and thanks to the unstructured style curtains are able to neatly fold back when fully open.

Wave Pleat

Tab top

A very contemporary heading, tab top curtains are used with curtain poles where the curtain is hung by tabs which form soft folds in the curtain fabric. They are a great choice for living and dining rooms but generally not suitable for bedrooms as they do let light in through the tab tops. These curtain headings are a popular choice in contemporary homes.


For flats and modern homes, eyelet curtains are the perfect choice. The curtain pole is threaded through the metal eyelets which are normally available in a range of decorative finishes to suit the style of your home including chrome, silver or brass. Eyelet curtains are only suitable for use with curtain poles and can’t be used in bay windows or with valences or pelmets.

The curtains fall in soft even pleats and give a very contemporary look and feel to your home. It’s important to measure the length of your curtain pole and you should choose curtains with a width that is double that of your curtain pole.

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