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Curtain Terminology

Drapes vs curtains—is there any real difference between the two? What is a rod pocket, and is it better than hanging a curtain from grommet rings or fabric tabs? These are some common questions for designers on the hunt for the perfect window treatment. Brush up on this dictionary of quick curtain terms, and you'll be much better equipped to find a look that works for your space.

Back Tabs on Curtains
Back Tabs
Fabric loops for a curtain rod located on the reverse of a curtain panel near the top.

Blackout Curtain Panel
A feature of a curtain panel where outside light is blocked from entering the room, so long as the panel is drawn.

Sheer Curtain Panels
A length of fabric usually constructed from a lighter material that is used to decorate and cover a window; a curtain may or may not be lined.

Traditional Drapes

A length of fabric usually constructed from a heavier material that is used to decorate and cover a window; this type of window treatment is always lined.

Drawing Wand on Curtain

Drawing Wand
A clear stick with a handle that attaches to a panel on either side; it is used to draw a curtain closed.

Finial on a Curtain Rod
The decorative spheres, leaves, cylinders, and other formations that adorn either side of a curtain rod.

Grommets on a Curtain Panel
The metal rings at the top of a curtain panel through which a curtain rod is inserted for hanging.

Holdback HookHoldback Post
A metal hook or a post attached to the wall that allows you to cinch or hold your curtains to both sides of the window.

Hook-and-Loop Fasteners
Hook-and-Loop Fasteners
A pair of fabric tabs that adhere together when a plastic sheet covered with tiny loops is pressed to another plastic sheet covered with tiny hooks. This holds the curtain around the curtain rod.

Microfiber Fabric
A closely-woven polyester fabric that is durable and lightweight, creating perfect drapability on a window.

Rod Pocket Curtain

Rod Pocket
The fabric sleeve at the top of a curtain panel through which a curtain rod is inserted for hanging.

Sash Curtain Rod
Sash Curtain Rod
A thin curtain rod ideal for hanging a lightweight curtain (like a sheer or lace) close to the glass on a casement window or door.

Selvedge on Lace Curtain
An edge on a lace curtain that prevents the threads from unraveling.

Slubbed Fabric
The nubby texture of a fabric that adds character with varying striations of color.

Support Bracket
Support Bracket (Mounting Bracket)
A flat, metal support that is screwed into a window frame or wall; a hook projecting from the top holds one end of the curtain rod. Typically, two support brackets are included with a curtain rod.

Fabric Tab Tops
Tab Tops
The fabric loops at the top of a curtain panel through which a curtain rod is inserted for hanging.

Tailored Edges on a Curtain Panel
Tailored Edges
The crisp, straight edges that finish the bottom of a curtain panel.

Telescoping Rod
Telescoping Rod
A rod within a curtain rod that can extend out or retract in depending on the width needed for your window.

A strip of matching fabric that is used to cinch a curtain panel to the side; these are usually included with curtain pairs.

Utility Curtain Rod
Utility Curtain Rod
A wide, flat curtain rod that projects outward from the window frame; it's ideal for hanging heavier curtains or valances.

Wrap Around Curtain Rod
Wrap Around Curtain Rod
A curtain rod that projects out and curves around the window; it's ideal for blocking out light and drafts.