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Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific industry, and the window treatment business is no exception.

To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when purchasing window coverings and related products, Coast Window Fashions has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your window treatment needs effectively.

Inside mount and outside mount
An inside and outside mount does not mean installing a window covering treatment inside or outside the house or building. These terms pertain to whether or not a treatment is mounted inside or outside a window recess or opening.

Repair or restoration
Repairing a blind or shade does not mean restoring it to new condition. Repairs refers to fixing a product back to operational condition, not to new condition.

Drapery rod or drapery pole
A drapery rod does not necessarily mean a drapery pole. A drapery rod and a drapery pole are not the same thing. This is a minor distinction and we only apply the proper nomenclature to distinguish between rod and pole when it becomes necessary to. A drapery rod tends to be traversing, meaning that it has a channel for carriers to glide or roll the drapery into position. A pole is usually cylindrical without a channel, and the drapery hangs on the pole either by cloth tabs, rings or grommets.

Curtain and drapery
A curtain is a type of drapery that for the most part is light in material weight (like a sheer fabric) and hangs in the same position (drawn closed or stacked back). Drapery usually refers to a heavier fabric treatment that traverses open and closed as desired.

Drawing and stacking a drapery
As it pertains to traversing draperies, to draw a drapery is to move the drapery to cover the window, and to stack the drapery is to move the drapery to uncover the window. Draw and stack both refer to the direction in which the drapery is moved and rod or pole position the drapery is moved to.

Horizontal and vertical blinds
A horizontal blind tends to have slats across the blind and is raised and or lowered (vertically) into position, whereas vertical blinds have vanes that hang down vertically, and the vanes are moved horizontally (side to side).

Valance and cornice
A valance for a drapery tends to be a loose hanging fabric that hangs along the top of a drapery treatment to give it a refined look. It’s hemmed and finished looking (it’s not handkerchief or towel). A cornice or cornice box is a rigid treatment, usually wooden and either painted, stained or covered with fabric (upholstered).

Blackout and room darkening
Blackout pertains to fabric materials being opaque. Room darkening pertains to the purpose for which the opaque material or fabric is used. We often say blackout drapery, but it is more accurate to state that is a blackout lined drapery for room darkening purposes.

Pleated draperies
The pleat is a fold that is sewn into the top of the drapery, which in turn establishes a fold all the way down the fabric and (once creased) gives the drapery a regulated fluted look. Pleats make a drapery hang like a Roman column.

Ripplefold means to establish a pleated drapery look without pleats and the creased cloth look. It has the look of a soft roman column. Ripplefold is a more modern look but requires a greater gathered stack than pleated draperies and often requires more dressing out (training the drapery to hang properly) than traditional pleating.

Hard and soft window covering
Hard window covering refers to shutters, shades and blinds, whereas soft window coverings means draperies, curtains, and roman shades.

Roman shades
Roman shades are fabric shades that have horizontal pleating, for a regular folding as the shade is raised and lowered. A roman shade will not hang like a roman column because the pleats are horizontally not vertically aligned. Not all roman shades have horizontal pleats sewn into the fabric. Austrian, Cloud or Balloon roman shades are less pleated and more gathered for a more rustic or organic or softer look.

Pleated shades or honeycomb shades
A pleated shade is a shade with a single set of pleats running horizontally, so that the shade pleats together as the shade is raised. A honeycomb shade has a double set of pleats (back to back pleats) forming honeycomb cells. A honeycomb shade has the refined quality of concealing the lift cords that are routed through the shade between the head rail and bottom rail.

Head and bottom rail
The top portion of a blind or shade (that raises and lowers into position) is called the head rail, and the rail on the bottom is the bottom rail. Usually the working parts of the blind or shade is in the head rail, and the label identifying the brand is located on the bottom rail (facing downward).

If you’re looking for information on window treatments, reach out to the experts at Coast Window Fashions. We serve clients across Templeton, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Oceano, Santa Maria, California. Window coverings are our main business and we know everything there is to these products, their uses, installation, and repairs. As an independent business, we don’t represent brand names first and hope that the brand offers a consistent quality product all the time. We make sure to test the quality of all the products that we provide to ensure quality and 100% satisfaction.

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