curtains in living room

What’s the difference between a swag, valance and other curtain “words” ?

Differences in curtains that are placed at the top of windows.

Balloon Valances – A valance with a fabric sewn in a tubular form. The pocket can be stuffed with tissue paper etc. providing a pouf look.


Jabots – Narrow fabric sidepieces. Jabots can be tailored, pleated or ruffled. A valance between jabots can be straight or crescent shaped. (A 3 piece jabot set would include 2 side pieces and 1 center valance.)

Swags – Long sidepieces that hang from the top of the window. Can be used alone or combined with tiers or panels. Swags can be all one piece with a small attached valance in center or two seperate long sidepieces.

Valances – Decorative fabric top treatment used alone or with other window treatments such as tiers, panels or mini blinds.

Window Scarf – Rectangular fabric panel that can be draped over a decorative rod or scarf holder.

Differences in curtains that are placed at the top of a window and cover entire window.

  1. Curtain Panels – Curtain panels can be lined or unlined. A curtain panel is a panel of hemmed fabric that is hung from a rod from the top of the window. It can be floor length or end at or below window sill.
  2. Priscillas – Rod pocket curtains with an attached ruffled edge along the bottom and inside edges.
  3. Rod Pocket Drapes – Assorted lengths, usually formal, drapery panels shirred along a pole or rod and often tied back.
  4. Sheers – A drapery panel made of sheer or translucent fabric, Can be used alone or used underneath an outer drapery.
  5. Differences in curtains that are placed at the middle of a window and cover the bottom half of window.
  6. Cafe curtains – A window treatment that covers only the bottom half of a window. A cafe rod is most ofter hung at the halfway point of a window.
  7. Tiers – Fabric panels that cover the bottom half of a window. They can be ruffled or tailored.

Different ways to hang a window scarf.

The key to hanging a window scarf is to have fun with it. Experiment with it. There is no right or wrong way to hang a window scarf. Use a window scarf to decorate to your personal taste.











How long should curtains or draperies be?

  • Generally, the longer the curtains, the more dignified and formal the look will be. Shorter lengths usually suggest a casual and informal mood.
  • Dressy or casual, curtain lengths add to the mood of any room.
  • In formal or dressy rooms, curtains should just touch the floor like these stylish Top Down Bottom up shades.
  • A romantic room deserves elegant, extra-long curtains that pool or puddle on the floor.
  • Curtains to the window sill look great in a kitchen.
  • Never hang curtains of any length near a stove!
  • Dens or family rooms look dignified with curtains that reach the floor.

More common curtain terminology.

  • Tab top drapes – Panels designed to hang by looping fabric “tabs” at the top of the drape over decorative rods.
  • Tie top curtains – Curtains with fabric loops, tabs at the top edge or “header”. They are threaded through poles or rods.
  • Tab top curtains – can be constructed with less fullness than tape headed curtains saving on the amount of fabric required.
  • Tier and valance set – usually include 2 tiers and one valance.
  • Tier and swag set – usually include 2 tiers and a swag.

Which curtain rod should I use with my curtains?

Most curtains and window treatments require only one curtain rod. To achieve a particular look or appearance, some curtains and window treatments may require using a double curtain rod set up. The type of curtain rod you need may be one of a few different kinds…

The information below should help you decide which curtain rod or pole you should use with the curtains you decide on.

Curtains and Window Treatments made with a Standard Size Rod Pocket, either 1 1/4 inch or 1 1/2 inch Rod Pocket – Requires the use of a standard size aluminum – metal curtain rod, or a 3/4 inch decorative iron, metal or wood rod. These are the most commonly used curtain rods.

These curtain rods are approximately 3/4 inch wide and are sold in most department stores. Just make sure the rod or dowel is 3/4 inch in diameter or less. This can apply to some 3 Piece Curtain Sets, Tiers, Valances, Swags, Ruffled Priscilla’s, and Panel Curtains.

What should I use to hang the curtains on?

Well, Let’s start by explaining the different words associated with hanging curtains.

  • Cafe rod – A small, round decorative rod which comes in white, brass, or woodgrain finish, used to mount café curtains that do not have a rod pocket. Café rods are meant to be seen and add an additional decorative touch to the curtain treatment.
  • Combination rod – combine multiple rods on one bracket.
  • Continental rod – A flat rod designed to fit a 2½” rod pocket.
  • Conventional rod – Is usually used for items with a 1½” rod pocket. A clear rod can be used instead of a conventional rod if your window coverings are lightweight sheer or lace, and you don’t want the rod to show through.
  • End bracket – The two supporting metal grips which hold a drapery rod to the wall or ceiling and control the amount of projection.
  • Finials – Finials are the decorative fixing at the end of the poles. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some simple, some complex, from the traditional fleur de lys, and arrowhead to the fruity pomegranate and pineapple, and back to nature with acorns, scallop shells, along with the simple colonial turned wood balls.
  • Pin on hook – A metal pin to fasten draperies to a rod; it pins into drapery pleat and hooks to traverse carrier or café rod.
  • Poles or Rods – Poles or rods are available in many different materials – timber, brass, wrought iron, bamboo, powder coated steel, and painted timber. They sometimes have coordinating rings that fix to the hooks on the heading of the curtains. Curtain Rods or Poles are a simple and effective way to add decoration to your windows.
  • Sash rod – A small rod, either decorative or plain, usually mounted inside a window frame on the sash.
  • Sconces – are used to hold scarves and are typically mounted just outside your window. A scarf is threaded through the holes within the sconce and draped decoratively.
  • Tension rod – A simpler style of rod is a tension rod which gets positioned between the window frame, and is held there by a spring tension system.
  • Wooden pole rods – Wooden pole rods are available in different diameters and lengths.


Here are some options for hanging your window treatments. Below is just a sample. The options are numerous.

  • Place a curtain over a blind.
  • Hang draw draperies over blinds or a shade.
  • Hang draperies alone on a decorative pole.
  • Place a swag, valance or jabot above curtain panels.
  • Top a blind or shade with just a swag, valance or set of jabots.
  • Top any or all of these window treatments with a cornice or valance.

Help! My windows are ugly!

Fortunately, curtains can help hide those ugly windows!

Window too short? Attaching rods just below the ceiling molding and hanging long, to-the-floor curtains make the window look longer and more elegant.

Window awkwardly long? Add a deep cornice or valance above draperies with a bold horizontal pattern.

Window too narrow? Extend curtain rods beyond the window and hang draperies so that they barely cover the frame, leaving as much glass exposed as possible, all of which makes a narrow window seem wider.

Window too wide? A huge window wall can overpower a room. Break up the space by hanging several panels across the window. They can hang straight, or be tied back in pairs. If draperies must be drawn for privacy, let the panels hang straight and rig drawstrings so that the panels close as though they are separate pairs of draperies.

How to measure your window for curtains.

4 easy steps to measure your window!
Step One

First you need to decide what kind of curtains you want. Do you want floor length formal drapes, informal tab-tops or café curtains.

Step Two

Next you need to decide where the curtain rod will go. A good place for the rod would be about 6 inches above the window frame. But you might want to place it higher or lower depending upon the look you are trying to achieve.

Step Three

Decide how much coverage you want. Curtains usually extend about 6 inches above the window frame, 2 to 3 inches on each side, and 2 to 3 inches on the bottom.

Step Four

Use a tape measure to measure from where the curtain rod is or will be to the desired bottom point of the curtain, and measure from side to side. Multiply the side-to-side measurement by 1 1/2 or 2 to allow for proper fullness of curtains.

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