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Windowcovering Terminology


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Browse these words and definitions

Are you interested in learning more about windowcoverings?

Start with these terms and you'll soon know the difference between butterfly pleats and fan shades, festoons and cascades.

Here's a guide to windowcovering terms, from A to Z:


Apron: Window molding located below the window sill on a window frame.

Arched Valance: A valance treatment that is arched along the lower edge.

Austrian Shade: A fabric windowcovering with soft draping scallops which run the length of the shade. They move up and down by a series of cords threaded through rings.

Awning Windows: Windows which are hinged on top and swing outward to open. They are usually rectangular, and wider than they are long.


Balloon Shades: Fabric shades with deep inverted pleats that fall into airy, rounded poufs at the bottom.

Bay Window: A window area that extends outward from the main wall, forming an protrusion on the exteriof of the home.

Bias: This term refers to the grain in fabric. The bias grain runs diagonally at a 45 degree angle to the straight grain and tends to stretch when pulled.

Bishop's Sleeve Curtains: Extra long curtain panels that are cinched up gathered up and over the cinched area.

Box Pleats: Deep, inverted, tailored pleats which are flat on the right side of the drapery to create a classical boxy look.

Brighton Shades: Similar to balloon shades, but without the pleats, rings, and cords along the sides. This allows the sides to fall in relaxed tails. The center section is usually wider than the sides.

Butterfly Pleats : A pleat with two, rather than three, folds to distinguish it from the basic pinch pleat.


Cafe Curtains: A window treatment that covers only the bottom half of a window. A cafe rod is most often hung at the halfway point of the window, at sash level.

Cascades: Side panels, usually pleated, which flank swags. They can be long or short.

Casement Window: A casement window has two verical sections that crank open outward.

Casing: A tunnel of fabric created by stitching parallel seam on folded fabric. A curtain rod is threaded through the casing.

Cathedral Window: These windows are usually seen in rooms with cathedral ceilings. The top of the window follows the slope of the ceiling. Many times the sloped top of the window is left bare.

Combination Rods: Two or three drapery rods sharing one set of brackets. They are used when installing draperies with sheers, or to create any layered look.

Cornice: A decorative wooden, fabric, or foam header placed above a window to conceal drapery hardware.

Curtain: Usually unlined, a curtain is a panel of hemmed fabric hung from a rod at the top of a window. Panels can be floor length or end at the windowsill.


Draw Draperies: Draperies which hang from a traverse rod and can be drawn to open or closed over the window by means of a cording system. Double Fullness: Using fabric that is twice the measured width of the window. Double fullness creates a fuller look and that is more pleasing to view than skimpy fabric. Dowel: A round of unfinished wood that is available in many lengths and sizes. Dowels can be used as inexpensive curtain rods, and can be painted, stained, or fabric-covered, and finished with finials on each end. Draping: A technique of looping and securing fabric in graceful curves and folds.


Envelope Shades: Casual curtains attached to a mounting board and hung as a pair of flat panels. The bottom inside corners are pulled out and hooked onto the wall.


Facing: The strip of fabric that is sewn to the raw edge of a fabric and folded back to the wrong side.

Fan Shades: Arcs of fabric pulled together in the center by cords and rings fastened to the back of the shades. The arc, or fan, faces down. When lowered, the shade becomes a flat panel.

Fan Curtains: The same as the fan shade, but used on half circle windows with the fan facing up. A curved curtain rod is required to install fan curtains.

Festoon : see Swag.

Finial: A decorative piece attached to the ends of drapery rods. Usually made of wood or metal and can be many sizes and shapes.

Finish: Product applied to fabric as a protection against water marks and fading.

French Door : A door with with rectangular panes of glass extending the full length. Usually hung with a pair of doors in one frame, with both doors opening outward.

Fringe: A decorative trim sewn onto the edges and hems of curtain panels and rugs. Also often used to decorate pillows and lampshades.

Fullness: Refers to the width of the fabric in relation to the curtain rod. Most window treatments are two to three times fullness.

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