Blind & Shade Glossary

Unsure of some of the terms used by the industry? Here's a useful resource for common window treatment terms and definitions.

A

Aluminum Blinds:

Horizontal aluminum blinds are made out of 6-gauge to 9-gauge aluminum, with the 9-gauge being the sturdiest and more expensive product. Also called "mini blinds," "macro blinds," or "micro blinds".

B

Basswood:

A hardwood tree, typically grown in North America or China. Basswood is a high quality wood due to its resistance to warping.

Blackout:

Blackout fabrics and liners, blocks up to 99% of outside light. Blackout is the best choice for bedrooms, children's rooms, and media rooms. Also called "blockout."

Blockout:

See "Blackout."

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.

Brackets:

Installation parts that are mounted on the window frame or wall used to attach and install the headrail of a window treatment.

C

Café Mount Shutters:

Shutters that cover only the bottom portion of the window; generally the bottom half.

Cellular Shade:

Fabric shades that use air pockets to maximize energy efficiency; insulating against heat, cold, and sound. Also called "honeycomb shades."

Cloth Tapes:

Vertical strips of fabric, usually one to 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. Available on many wood, faux wood and 2" mini blinds, cloth tapes improve light control and privacy while adding a decorative accent.

Continuous Cord Loop:

A window treatment mechanism that uses a pulley system to rotate a clutch that raises or lowers a shade. The looped cord stays at the same length regardless of the position of the shade.

Controls:

The mechanisms used to raise, lower and tilt a window treatment. Controls are usually cords or wands. When ordering a product, you will be asked to specify on which side you would like the controls to be placed. Please note: all 1" blinds come with wand control for the tilt, since the headrail size does not allow a cord.

Cord Cleats:

Used to prevent the cords of a window covering from pooling on the floor or window sill. Cord cleats are a safe solution to keep dangerous, dangling cords out of reach of children and pets. Available for inside or outside mount applications.

Cordless:

A window treatment mechanism that eliminates the lift cord for effortless raising and lowering of blinds and shades by pushing or pulling the bottom rail. Provides a less cluttered look and is a safe alternative for households with small children and pets.

D

Divider Rail:

Divider rails add both beauty and strength to shutter panels. With a divider rail in place the separate sections of louvers operate independently of each other. The default placement for the divider rail is in the center of the panel; however you can off center it.

Double Cell:

A type of cellular shade construction that offers increased insulation by using two layers of cellular fabric.

E

Edge Binding/Banding:

A decorative fabric accent around the sides and bottom of a woven wood shade. Available in both solid and decorative patterns to complement your home décor and provide a truly finished look.

Extension Brackets:

For installations requiring additional space between the blind and the mounting surface, so that the blind will clear obstructions such as window cranks or trim. Available for outside mount applications only.

F

Flush Mount (Product Depth):

Depth required to mount blind so that it is fully recessed inside the window frame and no portion of the blind protrudes from the window frame.

H

Headrail:

The hardware at the top of the window treatment that contains the mechanical operational parts.

Height:

Refers to the vertical measurement of the blind. **Note: Each product has a unique minimum and maximum height, which may vary based on selected options. For measuring instructions, click here.

Hold-Down Brackets:

Hold-down brackets prevent blinds from swaying. Recommended for doors and in windows subject to wind exposure. Brackets must be unfastened from wall/door before shade can be raised. Available for outside mount applications only.

Honeycomb Shade:

see "Cellular Shade."

I

Inserts:

The fabric that is inserted into a groover of a fabric vertical.

Inside Mount:

A type of installation that refers to hanging a window treatment inside the window frame, so that it is recessed with the window.

L

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.

Length:

See "Height."

Lift:

The control, usually a cord, which raises and lowers the blinds or shades. Special lifting mechanisms are available including cordless, continuous cord, top down/bottom up, and motorization.

Light Control:

The ability to control the amount of incoming light. Blinds or shutters that use slats or louvers provide the best light control. Shades with a Top Down/Bottom Up option also have the ability to control light.

Light Filtering:

A shade that allows light in while the product is fully lowered. The more opaque a fabric is, the less light will be filtered into the room. Darker-colored fabrics will filter out more light than lighter-colored fabrics.

Liner Options:

Light Filtering Privacy Liner: A light-filtering privacy liner applied to the back of the shade providing additional privacy. Room Darkening Privacy Liner: A room-darkening privacy liner applied to the back of the shade providing maximum privacy.

Louver:

An integral part of a shutter that is used to control the amount of light that goes through, similar to the slats of a blind. Louvers are available in 2 ˝" and 3 ˝" sizes.

M

Max Square Feet:

The maximum area (width times height) the blind or shade may be in feet. For measuring instructions, click here.

Minimum Mounting Depth:

Depth required to mount blind inside the window frame. ***Note: A portion of the blind may protrude from the window frame.

Motorization:

Battery or AC powered option for raising or tilting blinds and shades. Motorized tilt options rotate the slats of a horizontal shade open or closed for light and privacy control at the touch of a button. Motorized lift options raise or lower the entire shade. Motorization offers convenience and ease of operation for almost any window application and is especially useful for hard to reach or large windows.

Mount:

Mount refers to whether the blind will be mounted within the window frame (inside mount) or on the wall surrounding the window (outside mount).

Multiple blinds on one headrail:

Large blinds can be difficult to raise and lower. Breaking a large blind into two or more smaller ones makes it much easier to operate, and will extend the life of the lifting mechanism. Because the blinds share a single headrail, the window will still have a unified appearance. Please note: there will be a small gap (about 1/2", but will vary by product) between each of the segments of the blind to prevent them from rubbing together.

N

Natural Shades/Natural Woven Shades:

Roman style shades made of natural material such as wood, fibers, bamboo, and grasses.

O

Opaque:

A non-reflective surface that blocks up to 99% of outside light. Opaque is the best choice for bedrooms, children's rooms, and media rooms.

Outside Mount:

A type of installation that refers to hanging a window treatment on the wall surrounding the window, so that the window treatment overlaps slightly with the wall.

P

Pleated Shades:

Shades made of single layers of crisp, evenly spaced pleated fabric. They are a less expensive alternative to cellular shades, but provide less insulation.

Privacy:

Refers to how much of a view is blocked when the window treatment is fully closed. Sheer fabrics do not provide any degree of privacy, while blackout fabrics would be considered fully private.

Projection Brackets:

see "Extension Brackets".

R

Ramin Wood:

A less expensive hardwood than basswood, ramin wood is used for many value priced wood blinds.

Remote Control:

When a motorized lift or tilt option is selected, a remote control is necessary to operate the blind. One remote control will operate multiple blinds; if ordering more than one motorized blind, you can choose to order only one remote control for all of the blinds in a room.

Returns:

The two "side" pieces of a valance that connect the front (main) part of the valance to the wall. Valance returns are only used on outside mounts.

Reverse Roll:

Roller shade option where the fabric rolls off the front of the shade, preventing the backside of the fabric from being seen and creating a more streamlined look.

Roller Shade:

A shade made of vinyl or fabric that is attached to a cylindrical roller.

Routeless:

Optional slat design for horizontal blinds such as wood, faux wood, and mini blinds, in which the cord holes through the slats are offset. This provides increased privacy and light control, tighter closure, and a sleeker look.

Room Darkening:

Decreases the amount of light passing through a shade to darken a room. For bedrooms or media rooms where light is a major concern, consider installing the blackout shade using an outside mount. Keep in mind that there is no window treatment that can completely black out a room, but it can reduce up to 99% of the light from passing through.

S

Satellite Eye:

Used on motorized blinds only. The satellite eye is a tiny sensor that detects the remote control. You will be asked to specify on which side you want it located. If there is more than one motorized blind in a single room the receiver eye for each blind should be positioned on opposite sides of the blinds for independent control.

Semi-Opaque:

Fabric that provides moderate light control, allowing images and shapes to be seen, but not details.

Shutters:

A paneled window treatment that uses louvers for light control. The elliptical shape of the louvers maximizes the light controlling aspect and acts as an excellent insulator when closed.

Slats:

An integral part of a horizontal blind that is used to control the amount of light that goes through.

Spacer Blocks:

Used to add an extra 1/2" or 1" of depth to the headrail. Spacer blocks are usually used to avoid obstructions such as molding around a window. Available for outside mount applications only.

Specialty Options:

Special features that offer an alternative to standard lifting controls, add extra light control, or alter the decorative appearance of the blind or shade.

Stack (or stacking, stackback)

Stack refers to the area on the wall where window treatments rest when they are opened and the window is exposed.

For vertical blinds, stacking refers to the direction in which the blind opens. The most common types are left stack and right stack. If you order a left stack, the slats will be drawn to the left side of the window when fully opened. For a right stack, the vanes will be drawn to the right. Other choices include split stack, in which the blinds open from the middle, with half of the vanes stacking on the left and half on the right; and center stack in which the blinds open from both sides and stack in the middle of the window.

For horizontal blinds, "stacking height" refers to how much area the product will cover when the blind or shade is drawn fully open. The smaller the stack height, the greater the view to the outside.

Swivel Bracket:

Special brackets used only for cellular shades. Swivel brackets are used to ease installation when a window does not have enough depth to accommodate traditional mounting brackets.

T

Tapes:

Vertical strips of fabric, usually one to 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. Available on many wood, faux wood and 2" mini blinds, cloth tapes improve light control and privacy while adding a decorative accent.

Tilt:

The position (and mechanism, if applicable) of the control that tilts the slats of the blind open and closed. It is usually most convenient to have the tilt control and the lift control on opposite sides of the blind

Top Down:

A shade option that opens from the top down instead from the bottom up. When completely open, the fabric stacks at the bottom of the window.

Top Down/Bottom Up:

A versatile shade option that opens from the top down and from the bottom up. Uses a set of lift cords to open either from the top down or from the bottom up, or both at the same time. This option is very good for protecting your privacy while still allowing light in.

Triple Cell:

A type of cellular shade construction that offers superior insulation by using three layers of cellular fabric.

Two or more blinds on one headrail:

Large blinds can be difficult to raise and lower. Breaking a large blind into two or more smaller ones makes it much easier to operate, and will extend the life of the lifting mechanism. Because the blinds share a single headrail, the window will still have a unified appearance. Please note: there will be a small gap (about 1/2", but will vary by product) between each of the segments of the blind to prevent them from rubbing together.

V

Valance:

The decorative piece used as a finishing touch to hide the headrail of a window treatment. The valance material typically matches the material of the product.

Valance Returns:

The two "side" pieces of a valance that connect the front (main) part of the valance to the wall. Valance returns are only used on outside mounts.

Vertical Blinds:

An ideal window treatment for patio doors and wide expansive windows. The vanes work as excellent insulators under light and extreme temperatures.

W

Wall Mount:

A standard type of installation for verticals, in which the headrail is mounted on the wall surrounding the door or window.

Width:

Refers to the horizontal measurement of the blind in inches. **Note: Each product has a unique minimum and maximum width, which may vary based on selected options. For measuring instructions, click here.