The Beginner’s Guide to Window Shades
Finding the right window treatments for your home can often feel overwhelming. Navigating the terms associated with the window treatment industry can be even more confusing. To help you, we’ve created a window treatment guide defining some of the most used terms to get you one step closer to your dream home.
What Are Window Treatments?
Window treatments are decorative coverings for windows. They come in various styles, colors, sizes, and operating mechanisms, from drapes to blinds and shutters—and they can be motorized and customized in myriad ways. Window treatments enhance the aesthetic of your interior design and give you control over how much light and heat enters your home.
A window treatment style consisting of vertical or horizontal slats is often composed of wood, metal, plastic, or vinyl. Blinds are held together and controlled by a cord, allowing for easy control and adjustment of light.
Similar to blinds, shutters are composed of horizontal, wooden slats. Shutters differ from blinds in that they contain a centrally placed wooden bar that unifies the slats, allowing for easy light control. Additionally, shutters are attached to a window by hinges to allow the shutters to open away from the window to allow for optimum amounts of light.
Fabric Window Treatments and Accessories
Fabric window treatments are highly customizable and can create an air of elegance in your home. There are a variety of sizes, opacities, styles, and complementary hardware to help you achieve the vibe you’re going for in your space.
A lightweight window treatment style that consists of fabric hung by a rod, attached by tiebacks or holdbacks. Curtains are frequently unlined, stationary window coverings made from sheer fabrics for a decorative touch.
A dynamic window treatment style composed of fabrics often more substantial than those used for curtains and are often fixed on either side of a window, mounted on decorative rods by tiebacks, rings, or other drapery attachments. Draperies, mobile or stationary, allow for a wide range of light and temperature control based on the insulation capabilities of the fabric used for the window treatment.
A fabric window treatment that can be controlled (raised or lowered) via a cording system. The term shade is often used in a more general sense and may refer to blinds, opaque window treatments, and or roman shades and the like.
Any sheer material hung close to the window glass. Usually hung from spring tension rods or sash rods mounted inside the window casing.
A horizontal decorative fabric treatment used at the top of draperies to screen hardware and cords. Window valances can be installed alone or paired with other window treatments to create an air of elegance and sophistication.
A shallow, box-like structure, usually made of wood, fastened across the top of a window to conceal the drapery hardware. Generally, cornice boxes are covered in fabric that blends with the rest of the window treatment.
A decorative end piece on café rods or decorative traverse rods (also referred to as ‘pole ends’). They come in myriad shapes, colors, styles, and sizes, allowing you to achieve the desired aesthetic. Finials can complement the appearance of different fabrics, woods, and hardware finishes.
A section of draped fabric above a window. A swag is similar to a valance, but the fabric used for swags is longer, wider, and has less structure, offering an airier vibe.
A fold of cloth sewn into place to create fullness. Pleated window treatments are classic options that are used frequently in traditional interior design.
Terms defined from:
Randall, Charles. The Encyclopedia of Window Fashions: 1000 decorating ideas for Windows, Bedding, and Accessories. Orange: 1997. Print.
Window Treatment Hardware
While your focus might be the color and texture of your fabric window treatments or the size and style of your shutters, the hardware you choose is essential to creating the aesthetic you have in mind. Hardware options for window treatments, such as curtain rods, curtain rings, tiebacks, and finials, come in various shapes and myriad polishes, finishes, woods, and metals. Make sure your choices complement each other well and mesh with the rest of your interior design.
Reach Out to Galaxy Draperies
Are these terms making your head spin? Want window treatments made easy? Galaxy Draperies is here to help you with every step of the window treatment selection process, and with our outstanding selection of everything from luxury draperies to awnings, we’re sure to find the perfect combination for your home!