The Beginner’s Guide to Window Shades

 Big  sunny windows installed in the house

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.

Blinds

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.

Shutters

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.

Curtains

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.

Draperies

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.

Shades

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.

Sash curtain

Any sheer material hung close to the window glass. Usually hung from spring tension rods or sash rods mounted inside the window casing.

Valance

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.

Cornice box

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.

Finial

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.

Swag

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.

Classic Pleats

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!

What People Say About Us
svg image
Rating
4.8
svg image
Rating
4.6
svg image
Rating
4.7
Leslee A
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image

"From scheduling our appointment to meeting with our designer, Bernadette, and the installer, Alfredo, we were met with professionalism and comforted in knowing we were dealing with people who knew what they were doing. Arrival times were well within the two-hour window. Bernadette shared her knowledge and expertise to help us choose the window treatments that best fit our needs and budget. We are so pleased with the final result and look forward to covering the rest of the window in our home."

Mike M
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image

"My wife and I recently moved and were in the market for new shades for our bathroom , living room and kitchen . We didn't really have a set vision so it was unbelievable when our designer Karen went through all the possibilities and showed us what would work well with the setup . Karen was not only very professional , she was personable and super knowledgeable about the products. I wish I could have her design the rest of our house ! Great product , great designer, great experience!"

Victoria S
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image

"I would like to say that Galaxy Draperies was the best choice we've made. We recently purchased a new home and wanted to thank Bernadette for the amazing service she provided. I was referred to her by my sister, which also happened to purchase through you guys. Not only did Bernadette make me feel comfortable but it felt like I was working with family."

Kathy S
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image

"Ordered Roman Shades for five windows. Designer who came to our home was nice and professional, Roman Shades arrived on time, the installation was handled by their installer who called and asked if he could come by earlier than our appointment, which was great. He was friendly, professional and did a great job! Highly recommend this company."

Amy R
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image
svg image

"I had a great experience with Galaxy. The designer presented me with several options and was very helpful in designing my window treatments. The installers were very professional, courteous, and careful! I will definitely use them in the future!"

View All Reviews