Blog Post

How to Speak Like a Window Treatment Professional

February 20, 2018 / Category: Drapes and Curtains, Style, Window Treatments

how to speak like a window treatment professional


How to speak like a window treatment professional

As a window treatment professional, I see that when I talk to customers, sometimes they have a puzzled look on their face. To help you make an informed decision and speak like a pro, I am continuing my series on Window Lingo.

Here’s a quick infographic summarizing of all the terms. Scroll down for more details and pictures. I’ve included photos of my work unless I noted it was from another source.

how to speak like a window treatment professional

Swags and Jabots

Swags and jabots provide a formal and elegant look to any room. They make a strong focal point and command your attention when you walk into a place.

Swags are made of fabric that is pleated at each end and is draped down the center to form a bottom curve. There are different styles of swag shapes, but all have pleated fabric and a curve.

A jabot (there is a word you don’t use every day) can also be called tails, or a cascade. A jabot is a folded piece of fabric that falls from the top of at either side of the draperies in a zig-zag configuration.

swags and jabots

Which Length Works For Your Room?


Draperies or curtains that hang just a little bit up off the floor. Just as the name implies, the fabric naturally hovers over the floor. This length is perfect for high traffic areas, and they are easier to maintain and stay cleaner than other lengths.

hovering drapes


Puddling occurs when extra fabric forms a “puddle” of material on the floor. It is a luxurious effect, the more fabric, the more lavish the look. Historically, the puddle originated by the wealthiest consumers.  Fabric was an expensive commodity and one could show off their wealth just by having extra fabric lay on the floor!

puddling drapes


Draperies or curtains that hang just a little too long past the finished floor length. The fabric bends or folds slightly when it hits the floor. A break is created by fabricating the draperies or curtains just three inches too long.  A break adds a bit of sophistication to the room.


Add Contrast With These Elements

Contrast top and bottom

Add elegance or interest to drapery panels with contrasting bands of fabric at the top or bottom.  Use a contrasting top or bottom to pick up another component of the room. Maybe use a piece of furniture or pillows.

curtains drapes contrast top contrast bottom

Leading Edge

A leading edge is an additional contrasting fabric element sewn onto the sides of the curtain or draperies. Use a leading edge to pick up another component of the room, such as a piece of furniture or pillows.

curtains or drapes leading edge


Tiebacks hold the curtains or draperies away from the center of the window. Tiebacks can be simple or elegant. The options are endless. Here’s a pretty example of the use of flowers as a tieback.

curtains drapes tiebacks


Tiebacks can also “tie -up.”  In this room, my client used these gorgeous tassels for an elegant and dramatic look.

Window Valances or Toppers

Finally, there are two types of toppers; valances, and cornices which can be used to add color and style to any room. Toppers can be fun and whimsical or elegant and tailored. A window treatment professional can help you decide which works best the top of your window.

Valances and Cornices

Valances are a short drapery panel that only sits on the top of the window and has a soft appearance. They can be used to hide hardware hanging a curtain or shade.

Cornices are a hard-top treatment with a fabric covered board and no loose material hanging at the bottom. They can also be used to hide hardware hanging a curtain or shade.

valances cornices

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