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Window Treatments - 101

Window treatments can be quite complex and confusing. Between measuring properly, selecting the style, picking just the right fabric, fabricating, finding the right hardware, and installing well - th...

Window treatments can be quite complex and confusing. Between measuring properly, selecting the style, picking just the right fabric, fabricating, finding the right hardware, and installing well - they can be quite a challenge. And what about returns, clearances, projections, deductions, etc - I'm sure I'm losing you just about now. Even though the individual styles and designs can be complicated, at their basic the window treatments can be broken down and explained simply.

There are two basic categories of window treatments: hard (usually made out of hard materials) and soft (made out of fabric). Within each category, there are several styles of products. So here we go, without commentary or application - just facts.

Category-hard: style-blind. We are all familiar with this product - aren't we? Many actually mistakenly use this term for many other types of window treatments. In essence, a blind is comprised of horizontal or vertical slats that can be moved on the window (up, down, or across) and tilted for privacy and light control. They come in different sizes, with variety of lift systems, in several materials, and in multitude of colors.

Category-hard: style-shade. A shade is a type of treatment that can only be raised and lowered. It cannot be tilted. The most well-known example of this style is a honeycomb shade (also referred to as cellular or cell shade). Another well-known (but not very popular nowadays) example is a roller shade. On the other hand, a very popular covering, roman shade is similar to their "cousins" in the way it operates, but has a completely different look. It is also a bridge between hard and soft categories, as many roman shades are actually constructed in fabric. Just like the blinds, shades can further be distinguished by the lift system, material, size, and of course, color.

Category-hard: style-shutters. Shutters are blind-like treatments which are enhanced with a frame on all sides and are installed onto the entire window (versus just the top, as in the case of a blind or a shade). The main differentiators among shutters are the size of the slat, material, and color.

Category-soft: style-drapery and curtain. These terms are also erroneously used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Both are long streams of fabric. Drapery is always pleated and is usually meant to open and close (traverse). Curtain is gathered (shirred) and is meant to be stationary. There is a concept of fullness associated with both styles - standard for drapery is 2.5 times full and for curtain is 3 times full. The numbers stand for the multiplier of finished width. For example, if the finished (gathered and dressed) width of the curtain is 18", then the flat width of the fabric must be 54".

Category-soft: style-valance. Valance is the treatment that's meant to add color and texture at the top of the window. There is a huge variety of looks in this style that is probably deserving of a separate article (hhmm, brainstorm!).

Category-soft: style-cornice. Cornice is an upholstered box-like structure. Batting is applied to pad the wood before the decorative fabric is stretched over it. In addition to the fabricScience Articles, the variety and interest is achieved through different shapes carved along the bottom edge.

So here you have it. These are your very basic facts - Window Treatments 101. You've just passed!

Article Tags: Window Treatments

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Vita Vygovska, Owner of V2K Window Décor and More, a full-service custom window treatment company, will transform your ordinary window to extraordinary with professionalism from beginning to end. To set an appointment or receive your free Special Report: Top 10 Know How's on Custom Window Treatments plus the 'Curtain Call' ezine, visit .

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