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Arras vs. Curtain: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on January 9, 2024
An arras is a rich tapestry, often used as a wall hanging for insulation or decoration, whereas a curtain is a piece of fabric used to cover windows or divide rooms.

Key Differences

Arras is a tapestry of intricate design, historically used for insulation and displaying wealth. They often depict complex scenes and are woven with various materials, including silk and gold thread. Curtain is a fabric piece, simpler in design, primarily used for privacy, blocking light, or decorative purposes. Materials range from light linens to heavy velvets.
Originating in the Middle Ages, arrases hold significant historical and artistic value, often found in castles, churches, and museums. They are a symbol of opulence and craftsmanship. While also historic, curtains have a more practical evolution, serving various functional purposes in homes and public buildings. Their aesthetic role is more modern.
Arras not commonly used in contemporary interior design, arrases are more likely to be seen in historic settings or as valued antiques. They are less about utility and more about art. Curtain is a ubiquitous part of modern home decor, curtains offer versatility in style, function, and affordability, making them accessible for various uses and settings.
Maintaining an arras requires specialized care due to its delicate materials and artistry. They are not easily moved or altered. Curtains can be washed, changed, and customized according to the needs of the space and preferences of the user.

Comparison Chart


Wall hanging for insulation and decoration
Covering windows, dividing spaces


Rich fabrics like silk, often with gold thread
Varies from light linens to heavy velvets


Intricate, detailed, often historical scenes
Simpler, functional, versatile in style

Historical Significance

Symbol of wealth, found in castles and churches
More functional, evolved with interior design


Requires specialized care, not easily altered
Easily washable and changeable

Arras and Curtain Definitions


A woven wall hanging, often used for insulation in historic buildings.
The arras in the castle kept the rooms warm during winter.


A piece of fabric hung at a window for privacy or to block light.
She drew the curtains to block the afternoon sun.


A rich tapestry, traditionally used as a wall covering.
The grand hall was adorned with an arras depicting medieval battles.


A movable screen used to divide a room or space.
The curtain separated the dining and living areas.


A backdrop or partition in theatrical or ceremonial settings.
An arras concealed the actors before their dramatic entrance.


A decorative element in interior design, complementing room aesthetics.
The velvet curtains added a touch of elegance to the room.


A decorative piece, displaying intricate artwork and craftsmanship.
The museum's arras collection showcased Renaissance artistry.


A term used metaphorically to describe an end or a reveal.
The scandal pulled back the curtain on the company's practices.


A symbol of wealth and status in medieval and Renaissance Europe.
Nobles displayed arrases to signify their wealth and taste.


A fabric drape used in theaters to conceal the stage from the audience.
The curtain rose, signaling the beginning of the play.


A tapestry, wall hanging, or curtain, especially one of Flemish origin.


A piece of fabric or other material that hangs in a window or open space as a decoration, shade, screen, or divider.


A tapestry or wall hanging.


Something that functions as or resembles a screen, cover, divider, or barrier
The curtain of mist before the mountain.
A heavy curtain of artillery fire.


Tapestry; a rich figured fabric; especially, a screen or hangings of heavy cloth with interwoven figures.
Stateliest couches, with rich arras spread.
Behind the arras I'll convey myself.


To furnish with an arras.


A wall hanging of heavy handwoven fabric with pictorial designs


What is the main purpose of a curtain?

Curtains are used for privacy, light control, or as a decorative element.

How do arras and curtains differ in historical significance?

Arrases have a rich historical significance as symbols of wealth, while curtains have evolved more as functional home decor.

What materials are typically used to make arras?

Rich fabrics like silk, wool, and often gold or silver threads.

What is the primary function of an arras?

To serve as a decorative wall hanging, often for insulation or displaying artistry.

Can arras and curtains be used interchangeably?

No, due to their distinct functions and designs, they are not interchangeable.

Are curtains common in modern interior design?

Yes, they are a staple in modern homes for both functionality and aesthetics.

What types of materials are used for curtains?

A wide range, from sheer fabrics like cotton or linen to heavier materials like velvet or brocade.

Do curtains have a role in energy efficiency in homes?

Yes, certain curtains can provide insulation and help in energy saving.

Are there any famous arrases known globally?

The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most famous arrases, depicting the Norman Conquest.

Where would you typically find an arras displayed?

In historic settings, castles, museums, or as part of a luxury decor.

Is the maintenance of arras and curtains similar?

No, arrases require more specialized care due to their delicate and historic nature, while curtains are usually easier to maintain.

Is the arras still produced today?

Yes, but mostly as artistic or luxury items, not for general consumption.

How do curtains contribute to a room's ambiance?

They can significantly alter a room's look and feel through color, texture, and pattern.

Is it common to use arras in contemporary homes?

It's uncommon due to their historical and luxurious nature.

What factors influence the choice of curtains in a home?

Factors include privacy needs, light control, room decor, and personal style.

Can curtains be used in any room?

Yes, curtains are versatile and can be adapted to any room.

How has the use of arras evolved over time?

From a functional insulation material to a luxury art piece.

Can the design of a curtain be as intricate as an arras?

While curtains can be decorative, they rarely match the intricacy and artistry of an arras.

Do arrases play a role in sound insulation?

Yes, their thick fabric can help in reducing sound transmission.

Are there different types of curtains for specific purposes?

Yes, like blackout curtains for light control or sheer curtains for aesthetic appeal.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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