Understanding Window Treatments Terms

Cornices, jabots, swags and more

If you're shopping for window treatments, chances are you're going to encounter some terms you're not familiar with. The world of window treatments is filled with precise terminology, so to ensure you're considering all your options, it's a good idea to brush up on these terms before you make a final decision.

Your Window Treatment Glossary

Here is a list of potentially unfamiliar words you're likely to encounter as you shop for window treatments. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; rather it contains terms you may not know which you're likely to encounter during your search for suitable window treatments.

  • Blackout: These are heavyweight fabrics which are designed to shut out light, provide added window insulation, or both
  • Chenille: A textured fabric which is especially soft and luxurious to the touch
  • Cornices: This is a catch-all architectural term used to describe any decorative element which hangs over a window or roof
  • Eyelet: These are small holes which can be used to thread the window treatment through a rod
  • Finial: This is a decorative accessory which is added to the end of a curtain rod
  • Gingham: This is a type of cotton or blended cotton/polyester fabric which features a checkerboard-style design
  • Panel: You'll hear this term used in reference to a single piece of drapery
  • Pitch pleat: Seen in formal draperies, pitch pleats are stitched decorative elements with a threefold orientation sewn into the tops of curtains, creating pleated individual lengths of fabric
  • Swags: These are also known as jabots, and they are purely decorative window treatments which hang over top of the window; typically, they are oriented in a semicircular arrangement over top of the window, with sashes or lengths of fabric extending down the sides
  • Thermal backing: These treatments have a special layer of insulation on the side which faces the window, inhibiting heat transfer
  • Voile: This is a type of semi-sheer fabric, usually made of cotton, rayon, polyester, silk, or some combination thereof

Knowing these terms will help you shop with confidence and make a more informed choice. However, if you're uncertain about something, you should always ask a customer service representative to clarify it for you before finalizing a purchase.