Window Shade and Treatment Glossary

There’s a ton of jargon and terminology in the window treatment industry, and we are here to help you make sense of it all. We’ve put together a list of words with definitions to help guide you through your window treatment purchasing journey. 

Aluminum Blinds: Lightweight horizontal blinds made out of aluminum.

Arch Window:  A window with a round portion and a flat portion. These shades are often referred to as “half-moons.”

Awning Windows:  These windows are hinged on the top and can swing outward. They are usually rectangular and are wider than they are tall. 

Back Tab: A back tap is a drapery style that is built with a hidden tab in the back to allow for installation on a curtain rod or pole.  Forms soft pleats when shirred onto a rod.

Balcony Skylight Shade: These are manual skylight shade systems that are designed by Comfortex that feature cellular honeycomb fabric. The tension is adjustable for optimal functionality and they are reinforced by retainer tracks that are on both sides of the shade. 

Banding: A banding is a contrasting strip of fabric that is sewn either along the inside or outside edge or inserted in several inches from the edge of window treatment. This particular piece enhances the look or adds a touch of color.

Bay Window: This window extends outward from the main wall; it forms a protrusion from the exterior wall. 

Blackout: This fabric is used for blocking out light completely. 

Blinds: These window treatments feature slats that can rotate to control the light. Typically, blinds are not considered an energy-efficient and insulating treatment. 

Board Mount: A board mount is where a top treatment or shade is stapled to a board.

Bow Window: A curved version of a bay window. 

Box Bracket: Box brackets are horizontal coverings are mounted using a box bracket, which mounts either to the inside of the window frame or outside the window. Once the box bracket is installed, the window covering will slide right in.

Bracket & Mounting Hardware: This hardware holds the shade within the window’s frame. Our brackets are made from metal and can be used for both inside and outside mount applications. 

Braided Ladder: Generally made of strong polyester, the braided ladder runs vertically through the slats. It helps control the raising, lowering, and tilting of the window covering.

Café curtains: The café curtains are straight curtains hung from rings that slide along a rod. They cover the lower portion of the window or the entire window. They are ideal to allow lots of sight into the room while keeping the lower part of the room (above a dining table, or in the bedroom) private.

Café Shutters: The café shutters are designed to provide full privacy on the bottom portion of the windows while leaving the top half clear and open to preserve your view to the outside.

Cascades: Cascades are a zigzag-shaped piece of fabric falling from the top of top treatment or drapery. Can also be called an ascot or jabot depending on the shape and pleat pattern used.

Casement Window: A window that uses a crank to open outward. 

Cell Size: This is the height of a cell (diamond shape), which will determine the appearance of the folds on the front of the shade. 

Center Support Bracket: The center support bracket is specially made for horizontal coverings that are too wide to adequately support the weight with only the two end brackets. 

Center Draw: Term utilized for draperies, vertical blinds, and vertical alternatives that open and close from the window’s center.

Child Safe: Cordless and Motorized shades are the only “child-safe” window treatments. We do include child-safe applications in our corded shades as well, however.  (See “Cord Cleat,” “Tensioner,” for example).

Clearance: This term refers to the depth available for an inside mounted window treatment. Most of the time, horizontal blinds need a greater clearance than a window shade. Door blinds normally have a small clearance and often require to use an outside mount.

Color Strip: A small strip of metal that acts as an insert in the headrail for cordless, cord loop, and motorized shades to match the color of the fabric. 

Control Length: The control length is how long the lift and tilt are, which is generally half the length of the window covering.

Energy Saving Side TracksA cellular shade sidetrack system comprised of side rails that block drafts to make the shade more energy efficient. The system also blocks light gaps, making the system easier to sleep with.

Cord Cleat: This device is used for most standard shades. It helps you wrap the cord around the device to keep it out of reach for children. 

Cord Tensioner: A shade that holds a cord loop tight against a window frame or wall. It helps the operation of the shade along with keeping pets and children from becoming entangled in a loop cord.

Cordless: A shade that has no exposed cords and does not rely on handling cords for raising and lowering.  This is the safest shade option you can have if you have young children. 

Cornice: A cornice is a flat top treatment utilize to hide window treatment hardware.

Cutout: A cutout provides a space in the window covering for an obstacle, like a door handle, a window crank, or even for crown molding. A cutout is mostly used for door coverings.

Decorative Hardware: Decorative accessories such as drapery hooks, tassels, cleats, and finials that add a finishing touch to draperies. 

Deductions: Fabric and rails will be cut narrower for inside mount and sidetrack shades. This is done so the whole unit can fit within the frame.  You do not need to take deductions from your own measurements - we take care of that in production. 

Double Cell: This is a dual honeycomb configuration that has two diamond-shaped cells or “chambers.” See the image below:

Drapery: Drapery adds style and prestige to your home while also providing functional light control and privacy. Panels hang vertically from hardware at the top to your desired window treatment length. Drapery is available in many different styles, fabrics, colors, and patterns. You can easily coordinate drapery to layer with any existing window treatments or simply use panels only.

Duofold:(see Top Down/Bottom Up)

End Cap: End caps are parts to cover the ends of the headrail and bottom rail. They are usually color-coordinated to match the window covering. 

Eyebrow Window: A Window often hinged at the bottom that has a semi-circular top.

Fascia: A small wooden or metal strip that’s mounted at the top of a window to hide hardware. It can also snap into a bracket system.

Faux Wood Blinds: Horizontal blinds made primarily of a wood grain-like composite material.

Finials: Finials are decorative hardware pieces attached to the end of a pole or rod. 

Flush Mount: A shade that’s secured within the window frame or trim (inside mount).  The shade does not protrude from the frame at all. 

French Door: A door that has rectangular panes of glass that extend the door’s full length. 

Grommets: Grommets are holes in the material that are reinforced by rings typically metal or plastic. They come in different sizes and shapes. 

Head Rail: The top metal bar that’s on a cellular shade. These dimensions will differ depending on the shade type.

Honeycomb: Describing the chambers in the shade. This is often referred to as a “cell.”

Hybrid Shade: A shade the uses two different shade types. For example, a combination of a roman shade and a cellular shade. 

Inside Mount: This is when you secure the shade to the inner part of a window’s frame. 

Jabots: Jabots are decorative pieces between swags used as decoration or to hide seams and are usually shaped like a tie, cone, or mini cascade. 

L-Brackets: L-Brackets are mostly used for outside mounting when it’s necessary to extend the headrail out from the wall. This provides enough clearance to properly mount and operate the window coverings.

Layering: Layering is combining two types of window treatments, usually a blind/shade with drapery which adds depth, dimension and richness to your space.  

Lift Options: The numerous types of ways that shade can be ordered. For instance, there’s cordless, motorized, top down bottom up, continuous cord loop and standard. 

Light Filtering: Fabric that allows light to pass through it without significant darkening.

Lining: Lining is a fabric that covers the backside of window treatment. 

Louvers: Louvers are the angled slats of a shutter that controls how much light goes through.

Mini-Blind:  A non-vertical window treatment that’s produced out of long, narrow, horizontal slats that are held together by string. 

Mins & Maxs: The smallest and largest shades can be manufactured and still operate. Shades produced outside of these parameters are considered out of specifications.  

Motorized: An automated shade that can be operated by a remote, wall switch, timer, or solar battery. 

Movable Arch Shade: A half-round shade that can be opened and closed, just like a fan. 

Opacity: Amount of light that comes through a window covering.

Outside Mount: A shade or window treatment that’s secured on the outside of the window frame. This lets the treatment hang over the window’s opening, rather than inside the frame.

Panel: A panel is one complete section of the fabric of a drapery or curtain

Panel Track Blinds: Panel track blinds are made out of a series of fabric panels that slide back and forth to give you maximal light control and privacy. These blinds are a modern and improved alternative to vertical blinds for covering large windows or sliding glass doors.

Plantation Shutter: A plantation shutter is a shutter that has wider louvers that allow more light to enter into the room.  

Pleated Sheet:   A shade fabric type that’s shaped like a zigzag when you look at it from the side. These shades differ slightly from cellular shades because they don’t have chambers.

Projection: Projection is the distance between the wall and the front of the mounting bracket. This will determine if the window covering will clear the window frame during operation. 

Railroading: Using a fabric horizontally rather than vertically.  It is generally used in roller shades to get a wider shade than the natural fabric width.

Roller Shades: These shades are vinyl and are attached to a tube. Roller shades can be motorized and may also come with spring rollers.

Roman Shades: Shades that are drawn up from the bottom. They create horizontal folds when raised and they lay flat when they cover the window. 

R-Value: A measurement of thermal resistance that’s used within the building community. This translates to insulating value. 

Sheer Shades: Sheer shades are an elegant window covering. These popular window treatments feature two sheer fabric facings over soft fabric vanes. When vanes are open, diffused light is let inside, but, your view to the outside is preserved. When they are closed, however, room-darkening styles of sheer shades will completely block out light.

Shoji Panels: These window treatments are mostly used in Japanese decorating. They can also be used as room dividers, doors, and window coverings. These screens are made of wood or bamboo with a translucent rice paper, which is porous and easily allows light into the room. It can be also used as a folding screen. The Shoji panels consist of several frames or panels, which are often connected by hinges or by other means.

Shades: A treatment type that’s a continuous piece of fabric. Other treatments use slats. 

Shutters: Hinged panels that typically cover the exteriors of a home. They can be both fixed and moveable. 

Side Mount:  When you secure a shade at the end opposed to the top of the headrail. Side mount brackets are optional with most Symphony Shades. 

Sidetracks: A cellular shade system comprised of side rails that block the drafts at the side of the shade. 

Single Cell: A honeycomb configuration of one layer of cells.

Skylight: A window that’s mounted inside a roof. They are horizontal or angled. 

Smoothy Cord Loop & Continuous Cord Loop: This is a cord that has been fused into a circle. It acts like a bicycle chain for continuous hand over hand operation.  It applies to our Smoothy and Omnirise Continuous Cord Shades.

Solar Shade: a shade that’s designed to cut down on sun and heat gain. They are very similar to roller shades. 

Starburst Arch Shade: A cellular shade that’s half-moon shaped and features fabric so the pleats fan out as they radiate from the center. 

Stationary Arch Shade: A half-round shade that’s in a fixed position so that it always covers up the arch window. This shade cannot be opened.  

Template: Paper that gives you the exact dimensions of an irregular window such as a trapezoid or half-round arch window. These types of shades are usually purchased from a local dealer.

Tension Rod: Also called spring rods, a tension rod is a piece of hardware that allows you to hang window curtains that don’t involve installing any hardware on the walls. 

Tieback: A tieback is a decorative strip of fabric that holds draperies back from the window.

Trapezoid Window: A window that’s neither rectangle nor square but it isn’t round on any side.

Top Down Bottom Up: This type of shade is also known as Duofold. It can be raised up to either from the bottom of the top and is available in the standard cord, continuous cord, and cordless options! 

Upgrades: Options and add-ons for your shades. An example of this is cordless and top-down bottom-up. 

Valance: A short type of drapery, decorative board mounted at the top of the window to hide the hardware and the frame. 

Vanes: Vanes are the panels that hang from a vertical blind headrail.

Venetian Blinds: These blinds are made up of either wooden or metal slats; they are attached to cloth tape and are maneuvered by the cord on a pulley system. 

Verticals: These are popular for sliders or large windows. They rotate to close and may be stacked to the sides. These used to be made up of fabrics but now are produced using a variety of other materials. 

Virtuoso Fabric: ½” single-cell fabric produced by Comfortex. This fabric is available in blackout and light filtering types.

Window Quilt: A window treatment that incorporates quilted fabric on a roller. These window treatments have a track system.

Wand: A wand operates the tilt function of a blind and is typically placed on the left side of the blind.

Wood Blinds: Horizontal blinds made up of wood. They can be painted or stained. 


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