Blinds & Shade Diagram
Headrail:
The hardware on the very top of the window treatment where the tracks are located. To a great extent, the headrail's quality determines the window treatment's durability.
Valance:
Covers the headrail from the outside, and generally matches the color of the window treatment. Valances can be made of fabric, wood, aluminum, or vinyl.
Controls:
The mechanisms that allow you to lift the window treatment up or tilt the slats of a blind. Two common types of controls are the lift and the tilt. The lift lets you pull the blind up, and the tilt lets you angle the slats to let more or less light in. You will usually be asked which side of the window treatment you want the controls on. Sometimes there will be a choice about the type of control as well. For example, if you are ordering a wood blind, you can sometimes use either a wand (a long plastic cylinder that you twist) or a cord (a string that you pull on) to control the tilt.
Slats:
The strips of wood, vinyl, aluminum, etc, that make up the blind. If you are ordering vertical blinds or shutters, you might see them referred to as louvers (which is derived from the French word for "to open").
Groovers:
A special hardware option used only with fabric vertical blinds. Groovers are long plastic sleeves that fabric slides into, giving the fabric more support. When you are ordering fabric verticals, you can either have the fabric hanging freely by itself (with weights sewn in the bottoms to keep them straight), or you can use groovers.
Ladders:
Thin cords that are threaded through each slat that hold a blind together. In some cases, you may be able to substitute a cloth tape for a ladder.
Tapes:
Strips of fabric, usually one or two inches wide that are used to hold a blind together. Tapes are not threaded through the slats like ladders; when the blinds are closed, the tapes will run straight down the front surface. Tapes are very popular on wood blinds and two-inch aluminum blinds.
Bottom Rail:
A heavy horizontal piece of hardware that anchors your window covering on the bottom. Bottom rails are usually color-coordinated to match the rest of the window covering. The bottom rail weighs the window covering down and keeps it hanging straight.
That's it for the basics. If you run into any other confusing terms, check out our Blind & Shade Glossary.