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Window Treatments Revisited

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In the recent past, the concept of window treatment has gained popularity and is becoming a critical part of interior décor. Windows play an important role in improving the appearance of a room as they are among the most noticeable features of a house. But what exactly are window treatments?

Basically, window treatments can be defined as an interior decoration specifically applied to windows. The main reason for applying window treatments is to enhance the esthetics of the window and generally the appearance of a room. Window treatments can be broadly classified into two groups: Hard window treatments and soft window treatments. Hard window treatments are made up of shutters, blinds and shades while soft window treatments are made up of draperies or curtains.

Due to the ever increasing popularity, there are so many types and styles of curtains, drapes and blinds out there. This makes it a very daunting task to choose the ones that suit your windows best.

Apart from the many types and styles of window treatments, the terms associated with window treatments makes it even more confusing to purchase. It follows that, if you are to buy the bright window treatments for your house, you have to understand the various terms. In this article we have compiled the various terms associated with window treatments and their definitions so it will be easier for you to choose the best window treatment center.

Basic Terms

Basic terms are the terms used to describe the different types of window treatments. These terms also describe the basic components of window treatments or the parts used in their description. Below are the basic terms that you need to know;


Blinds are window treatments that are made of vertical or horizontal slats that are kept in place by a cord, string or fabric tape. Blinds are usually made from plastic; they can also be made of metal, wood or heavy fabric.


These are not to be confused with draperies, a drape is a word used to describe the way a garment or fabric hangs from a window.


A curtain is an unlined stationary window covering that hangs on a window with the purpose of blocking light or obscuring light from entering. Usually, curtains are hung over windows using a decorative pole or using a curtain rod. To allow some light to enter the room, curtains are held back using tiebacks or holdbacks. Curtains can be made using lightweight sheer or semi sheer fabric.


Draperies are window treatments that are either stationary or mobile that are mounted on either side of the window. The materials used in making draperies are heavier than those used to make curtains. For the purpose of blocking light, draperies are lined and used with decorative or non-decorative rods. Draperies come in a variety of hanging styles and they are made from boucle, chenille, damask, suede, velvet and brocade.

To give draperies a formal look, they are stretched from the floor to the ceiling. They are commonly used in the living room, master bedroom, and dining room. Draperies are a bit expensive due to the high quality fabric, the fact that they are lined and the way they drape.


When it comes to window treatments, a hand is a word used to describe the actual feel of a fabric and the way it drapes. For instance, a soft hand is a fabric that is soft to the touch and drapes easily.


Just like its name suggests, a shade is a word used to refer to opaque window coverings that can be adjusted to partially or fully cover the window. They can be blinds, roller shades, pleated shades or other opaque window coverings.


A sheer is a finely woven fabric that is made of lightweight and translucent material that is used to obscure a view while allowing light. They can be used with draperies to create a layered look.

Rod Pocket Curtains

They are also known as draperies or pole top curtain. They have a horizontal sleeve that is stitched across the top. This is horizontal sleeve opens to allow a curtain rod or a decorative rod to slip through. They are then arranged in a way to create a soft and gathered look.

Styles for every Window

The fun in choosing window styling doesn’t stop at deciding whether to go for shades, curtains, blinds, or a combination. This is because each of the above unique treatments comes in lots of styles going from classic to cozy, traditional to modern, formal to casual, etc. you can also base on the intensity of light you want to go through. The terms below will help you choose the style of your suit by explaining the variety styles available.

Ascot valance

This has as a triangular top and used in between matching panels. To finish its look, a double rod is used. On the inside rod are the panels and on the outside rod are usually 3 ascots. On a single rod between the panels, an ascot can be inserted.


Blackouts are coated or lined window panels. The heavyweight fabric used to make it is designed that no light or heat passes through maintaining the artificially controlled air temperatures inside. They also serve to block some of the exterior noise.

Blouson/balloon valance

Is a sewn pocket-like straight-across valance and filled with tissue paper to give it a full, puffy look. For a tailored look, it can be left unstuffed.

Café curtains

Also termed as kitchen tiers or tiered curtains. They are straight, short and cover only one half of the window, the lower. The café curtains are combined with some kind of top treatment.

Cellular shade

They are pleated, multi-layered shades made of distinctively known honeycomb’ fabric. This construction design enables it to trap air thus providing world class window insulation.

Crescent valance

Has a shape of the half moon, made of a linen look’ fabric. Normally used as window panel top treatment or with jabots.

Grommet-top curtains

Grommets are rings either made of rubber, plastic or metal used as reinforcements in fabric holes. Instead of hanging the window treatments using rod pockets, grommet curtains and draperies employs the use of grommets’ or eyelets’ in which threading of a decorative curtain rod is possible.

Insert valance

Normally short in width. Used in between panels or swags.


This term refers to a drapery or a single curtain. Two panels are usually required for conventional window treatment.

Pinch pleats

It is a three-fold with a pleat stitched at a formal drapery panel top. The draperies hung on traverse rods using hooks going into the pleat back.

Roller shade/roll-up shade

Are made up of flat fabric, either vinyl or plastic rolling onto a cylinder. The cylinder is spring loaded with roller shades while with the case of roll-up shades, it is drawn up with strings or cords. The latter can also be made from wood.

Roman shade

The Roman shade is made of fabric which creates a flat, tailored look at the window. The classic one features a face fabric forming pleats when the shade is raised and are formed by cord threaded rings stitched on the fabric’s back. This facilitates the up and down movement of the jaw.


Swag is a top treatment used for window decoration. It features a soft and curving semicircle with fabric on both sides hanging. For highly decorated top treatment, multiple swags are used and longer ones can serve as window embellishment. Any fabric, trimmed with lace, fringe or tassels can be used to make swags.

Tab-top curtains

These curtains are fixed in a hanging manner from tabs that are attached by method of sewing on their top side. A pole of decorative purposes is then threaded through the sewn tabs. The end result is a covering of the window that falls perfectly straight.


These define panels that have straight lines which hang downwards in a straight manner from the rod


Draperies that are thermal-backed have a coating of the material that has the insulating layer on its backside to prevent entry of light, sound, heat and drafts. These draperies perform similar to those that have separate linings that act as an insulating layer. For usual draperies the thermal linings can be acquired separately.

Tie tops

Curtains and draperies that are tie- tops have these ribbons fitted across their top which are used for tying these panels to rods and thus bringing out a casual look.


These are decorative treatments for windows that stretch over the top side of the window.

Material world

Blinds, curtains and draperies occur in various materials that depending on what look you are aiming at may lighten up or add weight to a room.

The popular materials for draperies and curtains plus their advantages


It is of lightweight and has the feel of wool with the upper hand of its machine wash-ability, wrinkle-resistance and it’s not fading on exposing it to sunlight. Caring for its window treatments is easy.


This is a fabric that is made by weaving or knitting of novelty yarn. This creates a rough, knotted and looped textured surface


This is a comfortably soft and textured fabric whose main feature is its thick pile. Is mainly made out of cotton or wool but in some cases can be made from rayon, acrylic or olefin.


Its fabric is made from linen, silk, wool, synthetic fibers or cotton. They come in designs such as leaves, fruits, flowers and animal figures.


It’s a lightweight fabric that is decorated with holes that are small and embroidered usually of flower patterns.


It’s a fabric made of cotton or a blend of cotton/polyester. It’s with a small scale design of checkerboard with white squares alternating with colored squares.


Its woven in a web-like pattern combined with various embroidery types. It’s an ornamental fabric too


It’s a fabric that is flat woven made from plant flax fibers. Linen has a crisp texture and is smooth and strong. Linen is often blended with silk, cotton and other natural fibers.


It dries fast, is wrinkle resistant, machine washable and takes dye well. It’s also blended with cotton and synthetic fibers.


It’s a semi-synthetic fiber that is versatile and with a shiny finish.


Has great draping qualities and a lustrous appearance. It’s a natural fiber.


Sueded fabrics are designed to resemble leathers look and feel with their napped finish. These fabrics include silk, cotton and synthetic fibers.


It’s made from polyester, rayon, cotton or silk. It’s a lightweight and semi-sheer fabric

Embellishing to create interest


Fabric pieces are embroidered in a needle work technique onto a fabric on the background to bring up a design.

Basket weave

This is a textured weaving design technique resembling what is used in basket making

Box pleat

These are stitched double pleats that are evenly spaced. A box is created by having fabric folded on the under and on both sides.


Some fibers in a fabric are destroyed by a weak acid or salt creating a silhouette pattern


These are decorative stitches meant to style up a base fabric. They include eyelet, cross stitch, chain stitch and crewel


This weave creates a complicated pattern that is woven using multiple levels. An example is the damask weave


This is an intricate jacquard woven fabric that has an embossed appearance

Slub or slubbed fabric

These are small bumps within a fabric woven to make a random texture

Hanging nuts and bolts


This is attached to a window frame or wall that supports the drapery or curtain rod. in brackets that are wall mounted, metallic or metallic screws are used to offer additional support and stability to the rod

Café rod

It’s a slim metallic or plastic rod used for hanging curtains that are light weight

Center draw

These are rods that open from the center and close from the center

Clip rings

These are small metallic, plastic or wooden rings used for hanging draperies and curtains. Clips are attached onto the panels whereas the rings move smoothly along the curtain rod.

Drapery hooks

On the back of pleats on pinch pleated draperies is where these hooks are inserted. They then get threaded onto carriers on the traverse rod.


This is an end piece that is used to cap ends of curtain rods or draperies holdbacks top. Its also a decorative piece that comes in different shapes such as balls and flowers.


Theses almost serve the same purpose as that of fabric tiebacks. They are mounted on window sides and are made of wood, resin, metal or even plastic. They have different shapes and design.

Tension rod

These are spring loaded adjustable curtain rods mounted between two walls or on the inner side of a window frame. Most are telescopic rods that have rubber tips for anchorage.


These are slim fabric strips that fix draperies to the windows side. They are mostly made of same fabric as that of the window panel. Some are trimmed with flanges for decorative purposes

Traverse rod

These are hidden drapery rods that let panels or valances transverse across a window. They are hung on pins threaded onto carriers on the rods inner side.

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