What's in an R-value?

You may have noticed a number referred to as the R-value when shopping for your last windows or reading up on insulated curtains. This number indicates your window's ability to prevent heat loss or exchange. The higher the number, the better your window will stand up to the elements, keeping your home comfortable and efficient [source: Solar Components]. Higher R-values will often mean you'll have to pay more for the windows, so curtains may be a less expensive way of raising your R-value.­

Types of Insulated Curtains

You've probably seen insulated curtains when staying at a hotel, but it's not often you meet someone who says the inspiration for his or her home decor came from that generic motel down the street. But these days, insulated curtains are far more mainstream, which means you have many options to fit your personal style.

While you can purchase special insulated curtains from certain manufacturers, in the end, you can make almost any window dressing into an insulated system. That means your options are pretty much limitless, especially when you consider that many choose to make their own insulated curtains at home. Directions are available at most fabric stores and on the Internet.

Insulated curtains come in Roman shades, hobbled shades, balloon shades, classic curtains and side-draw shades, and they can be instituted into systems that use draperies, valances, shutters and more [source: Solar Components]. The outermost layer can be made from almost any fabrics, so you can choose one specifically for your room.

If you chose to buy manufactured insulated curtains, the variety is likely to be a bit smaller. At the same time, quality is likely to be higher. Your choices will depend on which brand or manufacturer you choose to use. And remember, you could most likely re-cover these curtains with the fabric of your choice at a later point. After all, what's one more layer?

So you know the basics, and you know what options you have in purchasing, but just why might you want these thick, lined curtains? Head over to the next page to read up on the benefits insulated curtains bring to the window.