Jan 07

Window Coverings A-Z

When you’re in the market for window coverings, knowing some basic terms will make your shopping process be a whole lot easier.Let’s go through some common terms from A to Z:

Aluminum – The common material used to make mini blinds.

Bamboo Shades – See Woven Woods.

Basswood - A popular type of wood with a smooth finish, used to make wooden blinds.

Blackout Lining – A layer of neutral colored opaque material used to line window coverings such as pleated shadesand woven woods.  It helps block out light and provides a neutral appearance from the outside.

Bottom Rail – The bottom part of a shade or blind.

Brackets – Mounting supports for blinds and shades.


Carriers - The small mechanisms that attach the vanes to the headrail on a vertical blind.

Cord Lock – Mechanism of a shade or blind that allows the product to stop at any given point when it’s lifted or lowered.

Cornice - A decorative structure with a flat surface, mounted above a window that’s used to hide curtain rods or window covering headrails.

Dust Resistant Finish – Available on some aluminum slats; reduces static electricity, actually inhibits dust and air bound pollen from collecting.

Honeycomb Shade – Cellular-style fabric shade available in a variety of colors and styles that provides superior insulation and energy-efficiency.

Ladder – The strings on a blind used to support the slats.

Mini Blind – An aluminum blind with 1” size slats.

Opaque – Term used to describe a product that lets NO light filter through it.

Pleated Shade – A shade that is a single layer fabric, which when lowered folds like an accordion.

Recess - The window niche in which a window is fitted (inside box of a window frame created by the jamb).

Return – The part of a valance that goes from the front of the valance back to the wall.

Roller Shade – A vinyl or fabric shade, operated by a spring mechanism or clutch system, that rolls up onto a tube

above the window.

R-Value – Measures resistance to heat flow. The Higher the $-Value, the more insulation the product provides.

Safety Tassel – A tassel attached to blind cords which will separate under pressure to help protect children and pets from injury and reduce the risk of choking. It easily snaps together again.

Slats – Flat pieces of material in a horizontal blind that tilt open and closed; usually aluminum, wood, or vinyl.

Sound Absorption – Measures the amount of reflected sound absorbed by the window treatment. The higher the number, the more sound is absorbed.

Stack or Stacking Space – The amount of space the window treatment occupies when opened to its full extent.

Summer Shading Coefficient – Measures amount of heat passing through a covered window versus a bare window. The lower the number, the less heat is transferred.

Tapes – Strip of fabric adhered to ladders of horizontal blinds that are used as a decorative element.

Tilter – The mechanism of a horizontal blind, which causes the slats to tilt up and down.

Translucent - Term used to describe any product that lets SOME light filter though.


Traverse – To draw across. A vertical blind that opens across a window by means of the hardware on which it’s hung.

Valance – A horizontal structure that is positioned across the top of window coverings, generally to cover the headrail and operating mechanism.

Vertical Blind - A blind with vanes that hang in a vertical orientation and are made of either vinyl, fabric, or fabric inserted into vinyl.

Wall-to-Wall – A term used for designing the window treatment to hang tightly between to walls.

Warp – The undesirable curvature in blind slat and louver material.

Width – The measurement of a wall, window, or blind that designates the distance from the left side to the right side; width measure always comes before length measure when ordering.

Wood Blinds – Horizontal blinds with slats made of wood.

Woven Wood – Fabric made of narrow slats of natural or panted wood, bamboo, or reeds, woven together

with jute or yarn.

Yardage – Lengths of material that are measured by the yard.

Zigzag – A fabric pattern featuring a back and forth weave– The undesirable curvature in blind slat and louver material.