Glossary of Window Treatment Terms

Adding new window treatments is one of the easier and more cost-effective ways to give a room a whole new look. However, with so many types and styles of window shades and blinds to choose from, it can be a confusing task. To make things more confusing, there are myriad unfamiliar terms used to describe and classify the different types and styles. Also, many window treatments are referred to by multiple different names!

Blindster offers the lowest everyday prices for window treatments, online or phone help to help you with your choice, and online information like this Glossary of Window Treatment Terms to help you better understand your choices.


Aluminum Blinds

- sometimes referred to as mini-blinds (1" slat) or macro-blinds (2" slat) and blind slats are made of curved aluminum. Aluminum blinds are lightweight and very affordable. Also, see Venetian blinds in glossary. Learn more about aluminum blinds.

Bamboo Shades

, also known as woven wood shades, are - horizontal shades produced from natural wood, bamboo and man-made materials in a variety of textures, patterns and finishes. Learn more about woven wood shades.


- the premier wood used to manufacture blinds because it is light in weight and has a lovely wood grain. Learn more about the Characteristics of Basswood Wooden Blinds.

Blackout Liner

- an option available on some fabric or wood shades to eliminate incoming light and provide maximum privacy

Blackout Shades

- eliminates 100% of incoming light; a popular choice for bedrooms and media rooms.


- refers to the thicker material at the bottom of a blind or shade which secures the cords that run through the blind slats or shade fabric and provides stability so the product will hang evenly

Box bracket

- refers to the box-style installation bracket used for most horizontal blinds.

Braided cord ladders

- the braided polyester cord that runs through the slats of a horizontal blind to aid with the tilting of the slats and the raising and lowering of the blind.

Cellular Shades

- also referred to as "honeycomb" shades because of the way the shade fabric is fused to form the pleats or cells. Cellular shades are available in both light-filtering and blackout fabrics and provide superior insulation. Learn more about cellular shades.

Center Support Bracket

- a bracket supplied when a horizontal blind is ordered at a width that will require more support than the right and left end brackets provide


- the available depth for installing a blind or shade within the window opening or recessed area

Cloth Tape

- a decorative option offered on some 2" horizontal blinds which replaces the standard ladder cords with a 1 1/2" cotton tape

Common Valance

- one continuous valance that will cover two or more blinds

Continuous Loop Lift Cord

- a looped cord and clutch mechanism option used for raising and lowering horizontal shades; recommended for windows greater than 72" wide.

Control Location

- refers to the placement of the controls that operate a blind or shade


- refers to the mechanisms used to operate blinds or shades such as raising or lowering or opening and closing. Controls may consist of cords, wands or chains depending on the type of product.

Cord Cleat

- is the apparatus that will help get excess cord out of the way when a shade is raised

Cord Equalizer

- the part or housing that joins the lift cords that extend from the headrail of a horizontal blind or shade and prevents tangling of the cords to assure smooth operation of the unit

Cord Lock

- the mechanism that will lock a blind or shade at the desired height when raising or lowering it

Cord Tilt

- the cord that controls the tilting or opening and closing of the slats on horizontal blinds or the vanes on vertical blinds


- an option available for blinds that will be installed in a window that has tile or molding obstruction or on doors with knobs or lever handles that need to be accommodated


- amount of flat space available within the recessed area of a window opening for installing blinds or shades

End Caps

- used to close off the ends of bottom-rails or headrails on some blinds or shades

Factory Deduction

- refers to the standard deduction a factory takes on inside mount products to allow space for the installation hardware and smooth operation of the product within the window opening

Faux Wood

- man-made PVC material that provides the look of wood blinds at a lower cost. Faux wood materials are treated with UV inhibitors so they resist warping, clean easily and are well-suited for even hot or humid climates. Faux wood blinds are 20-30% heavier than wood blinds. Learn more about faux wood blinds.


- the metal or wood housing located at the very top of a blind or shade and contains the mechanisms or operating parts of the product


- the length or measurement from top to bottom of a window opening or mounting surface


- an option available on fabric roman shades that gives a soft drape to the fabric panels. Learn more aboutroman shade fold styles.

Hold-down Brackets

- brackets that secure a blind or shade to the mounting surface at the bottom; hold down brackets are most often used on doors where the blinds or shades will not be raised or lowered often

Honeycomb Shades

- another name for cellular shades which have a "honeycomb" appearance due to the way the fabric is fused to form the cells. Learn more about honeycomb shades.

Horizontal Blinds

- blinds that are constructed of slats that run left to right horizontally

Inside Mount

- refers to a blind or shade that will be installed within the recessed area of a window opening

Ladder cords

- the cords that separate and support the individual slats on a blind

Ladder spacing

- the distance between the ladder cords


- term used to refer to a bracket used to extend the mounting brackets from the mounting surface or to attach valance side returns to the front piece of the valance

Lift Cord

- refers to the control cord used to raise and lower a blind or shade


- fabric that allows some light to filter through; semi-opaque


- a term that is also used to refer to the individual vanes or slats on a vertical blind

Matchstick Shades

- another term used for natural wood or woven wood shades. Learn more about matchstick shades.


- usually refers to 1" aluminum blinds. Learn more about mini-blinds.

Motorized Tilt

- an option available on some blinds where a battery-powered motor opens and closes the blind slats and operation is activated by using a remote control

Mount type

- refers to whether a window covering will be installed within a window opening (inside mount) or on the wall surface or trim outside the window opening or on the surface of a door (outside mount)


- metal, wood or vinyl frame strips that separate sections of window glass

Multiple blinds

on one headrail - two or three separate blinds that are mounted on the same headrail; this option is designed for windows where two or three windows share a common opening

One-way Stack

- vertical blind vanes stack up on the same side where the controls are located


- refers to fabric that eliminates incoming light; example: blackout shades

Outside Mount

- refers to blinds or shades that will be installed outside the window opening to a wall surface, trim molding, or doors; also called a surface mount

Pleated Shades

- made from a single layer of fabric that has been pleated with evenly spaced horizontal pleats. Learn more about pleated shades.

PVC Backing

- an option offered on fabric vertical blinds where the fabric vanes are inserted into a vinyl sleeve to provide additional light control and privacy


- side pieces of an outside mount valance that cover the mounting hardware or ends of the headrail

Reverse Roll

- an option offered on roller shades where the fabric is attached to the roller so that it rolls off the front of the roller further from the window glass; standard roll is where the fabric rolls from the back of the roller closest to the window glass.

Reverse Stack

- vertical blind vanes stack up on the side that is opposite from the location of the controls

Roller Shade

- straight piece of vinyl or fabric attached to a roller that raises or lowers by a spring mechanism or a continuous loop lift cord clutch mechanism. Learn more about roller shades.

Roman shade

- shades made of fabric panels or natural woven wood materials that raise and lower in roman-style folds. Learn more about roman shades.

Route holes

- holes that are machine punched into the slats of horizontal blinds for the ladder cords to run through


- option offered on horizontal blinds where the slats have no route holes and the ladder cords are held in place by small notches at the back of the slat instead; provides additional light control and privacy


- fabric that allows light to filter through but still provides privacy


- pieces of wood, faux wood or aluminum that are strung together to produce a horizontal blind. Learn more about slat sizes used in wooden blinds.

Solar Shades

, also called solar screen shades and solar roller shades, our solar shade fabrics are a PVC-coated fiberglass material that allows visibility but reduces heat, glare, and UV rays which can cause damage to carpet and home furnishings. Learn more about solar shades.


- a part used behind a mounting bracket to bring it out from the mounting surface enough to clear molding or trim when doing an outside mount installation

Split stack

- a vertical blind opens from the center like draperies and half of the vanes stack up on the left and half stack up on the right when the vertical is opened

Spring roller mechanism

- the spring mechanism inserted into the roller of a roller shade to allow the shade to be raised and lowered by grasping the hem of the shade; no lift cord is necessary

Stack size

- refers to the amount of space a product will occupy when horizontal blinds or shades are fully raised or vertical blinds are opened and stacked

Standard Roll

- roller shade fabric rolls off the back of the roller closest to the window glass

Tape edge

- optional decorative tapes that can be applied to the outer edges of woven wood shades for color accent


- the decorative part that covers the knot at the ends of the cords that control the operation of blinds and shades

3 on 1 headrail

- three individual blinds that share a common headrail but operate with separate lift and tilt controls; used when three windows share the same opening

Tile or molding cut-out

- refers to a blind or shade that needs to have notches or edges cut out to 1) accommodate trim or molding that extends into a window opening or 2) doors with knobs or lever handles that overlap the glass area

Tilt mechanism

- the wand or cords used to control the opening and closing of the slats on a horizontal blind


- option offered on shades that allows the shade to be lowered from the top while still keeping the rest of the window covered to maintain privacy; shade fabric can also be lifted from the bottom like a standard lift mechanism or lowered from the top and lifted from the bottom at the same time to cover just a portion of the window if desired. Learn more about Top-down/Bottom-up lift options.

2 on 1 headrail

- option offered on many products where two separate blinds or shades share a common headrail but operate individually with separate controls; ideal for applications where two windows share the same large opening


- the decorative trim piece that covers metal headrail on a blind

Valance clip

- the part that is used to attach the decorative valance to the headrail of a blind

Valance returns

- the side pieces on an outside mount valance that cover the mounting brackets or ends of the headrail


- the term used to refer to the vertical louvers or slats on a vertical blind

Venetian Blinds

- In 1794, window blinds, called Venetian blinds, made of narrow, lightweight horizontal wood slats were developed. Today, the terms Venetian blinds and mini blinds are often used interchangeably for horizontal slat blinds. However, it is probably more common for them to be referred to simply as miniblinds, with no reference to "Venetian." Depending on whom you speak to, or what company you deal with, the term "Venetian" may not even be found. If used, it could refer to aluminum, PVC or wood horizontal slat mini blinds. Where a distinction is made, it is usually to refer to mini blinds that are 2 inches wide (or wider). While barely mentioned by most window covering companies, it is among the most frequently searched for terms for window blinds. Blindster offers this as a historical perspective and explanation of the varied ways you will find this common window treatment term used.

Vertical Blinds

- refers to a blind where the vanes or slats hang from top to bottom vertically rather than left to right like a horizontal blind; vanes rotate to control light and privacy and stack when opened. Learn more about vertical blinds.

Wand Tilt

- the vertical rod or wand used to control the opening, tilting, and closing of the slats on a blind


- refers to left to right measurement of a window opening or mounting surface

Wood Blinds

- blinds manufactured with slats and valances made from premium basswood or imported hardwoods; wood blinds are lightweight and provide more insulation than blinds made from man-made materials or metal. Learn more about wood blinds.

Woven Wood Shades

- also known as bamboo shades, are horizontal shades produced from natural wood, bamboo and man-made materials in a variety of textures, patterns and finishes. Learn more about woven wood shades.

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