Come To Terms With Windows

Rest assured that you’ll get the look you want by becoming familiar with these window treatment terms before you shop.


Back tabs:  A series of tabs on the reverse side of the window panels that create uniform folds to an ordinary flat panel covering. A decorative rod threaded through the tabs creates a transitional look.

French pleat: A loose, three-fold stitched pleat that fans out at the top of a drapery. French pleats are used to add fullness to a more classic style window.

Grommet: A metal, plastic or rubber ring used to reinforce a hole in the fabric. A rod is threaded through a series of grommets for a contemporary look.

Panel: A single curtain or drapery. A conventional window treatment requires two panels. Additional panels added to each side of a window will create fullness.

Pinch pleat: The reverse of a French pleat—this type is cinched at the top of the pleat and fanned out at the bottom for a traditional look.

Rod pocket: A stitched pocket at the top of a curtain panel, which allows you to slide it onto a rod where it is gathered or shirred to the fullness you want.

Roman shades: A tailored fabric window covering that is drawn up from the bottom by hidden cords and rings to create soft, horizontal folds. A roman shade is flat when lowered and covers the window glass or casing completely.

Swag: One or more pieces of fabric draped over a rod, typically used at the top of a window treatment in combination with side panels.

Tab-top curtains: Curtains with fabric bands attached to the top that a rod threads through. Similarly, back-tab curtains have hidden tabs that create subtle pleats.

Valance: A window dressing that covers the top of the window and sometimes hides drapery hardware. It can be used on its own or layered over curtains, shades or blinds.

Window scarf: A long strip of fabric casually draped over a pole or rod at the top of a window like a valance.