All About Window Treatment Hardware All About Window Treatment Hardware

You know you need window treatments - also known as curtains by anyone who hasn't bought a house yet. However, every time you go shopping you feel as if you've entered another country because you are unable to speak the language. Let that bother you no longer. Here's a list of some of the more common words and phrases used to talk about window treatment hardware (you know, the stuff that is used to hang the curtains over the window).

Bay window rods are rods that can be custom-bent or sized to the depth of the angled bay window panes.

Brackets are the supports that hold the curtain rod. They can be plain or highly ornate in style and are usually sold with the rods. When hanging rods longer than five feet, a center bracket is recommended.

Café rods are basic rods with no cording or opening mechanism. Instead, they hold simple shirred panels or curtains hanging from rings. They rod is adjustable with visible finials and decorative brackets. They are usually available in 1/2 inch widths for lighter panels and 3/4 inch widths for heavier panels.

Canopy rods suspend gathered or draped fabric away from the wall similar to the way an awning would. They can be used as a projecting valance over a roller shade or headboard. Canopy rods are usually L-shaped and have decorative end caps.

Decorative rods, also known as decorator rods or decorative traverse rods, operate exactly like traverse rods but have rings instead of carriers. The draperies are suspended below the rod, which allows the rod to be seen instead of being concealed. They can be used with all types of drapery panels as well as with some blouson valances and scarf valances, and may have matching holdbacks.

Drapery pins or hooks fasten to each drapery pleat and hook the drapery to the rod through the traverse carrier. They are a necessary for any traverse rod and come in slip-on and pin-on varieties.

Finials are the decorative pieces that attach to the end of a curtain rod. They can be purchased with the rod or bought separately and come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, motifs, and finishes.

Holdbacks are "hooks" that can be used to hold back the curtains away from the window. Decorative holdbacks are used simply by tucking the curtain into the hook and can be used to anchor swags and scarves. Other holdbacks will use tassels or some type of tieback to hold the curtain to the hook.

Lock-seam rods are the most familiar type of rod. They are adjustable and are usually made out of white metal, although a variety of various metallic finishes are available (but not necessary given that these rods are usually concealed). One piece is inserted into the other before it is snapped onto brackets. The rod will then project outward from the window anywhere from 1 1/4 to 6 inches. They can come in single, double, and triple rods. Those with deeper projections, which allow them to be used over other treatments, are usually called valance rods.

Rings can be used both on curtain rods, where the rings clip directly on to the fabric and hang from the rod, and on decorator traverse rods, where the drapery is hooked to the rings with drapery pins. The rings prevent the draperies from hiding the rods.

Sash rods, or spring tension rods, are used in French doors, sidelights, or casement windows to hold sash or hourglass curtains. The rod has no returns and attaches directly to the window or door trim. A spring mechanism keeps the curtains neatly secure within the window frame. They are available with a swivel end for easy access to the window.

Sconces can be used as rod holders, swag holders or scarf holders. They are usually larger than swag or scarf holders with a hole in the middle that is hidden when viewed from the front.

Swag or Scarf holders are brackets that hold back drapery fabric (called swags or scarves) to reveal the window or under treatment. Some are decorative while others are hidden by the fabric.

Swing rods, also called window cranes, are short arms that swing outward on a hinge. Meant to hold lightweight fabrics, they're ideal for small windows or doors that open inward.

Traverse-and-valance rods combine a traverse and a valence rod on one bracket. Because both treatments hang on one bracket, there is no versatility for the height of the valance in relation to the height of the top of the drapery.

Traverse rods have rods that contain carriers with holes to suspend classic pleated draperies. Draperies are attached with hooks. They can be drawn open or closed using cord controls that pull them along a track. The rod is only visible when the draperies are opened, if it is not concealed by a top treatment such as a valence. Traverse rods can be one-way or two-way. A one-way traverse rod moves the panel in one direction. These are usually used over sliding glass doors or on windows that meet in a corner. A two-way traverse rod, or split draw, moves the panels from the center of the window to the ends. Custom traverse rods for odd shaped windows can be specially ordered from most drapery suppliers.

Valance rods are lock-seam rods with a deep return (the depth between the wall and rod) which allows them to suspend over other window treatments such as draw draperies or shirred panels.

Wide curtain rods, sometimes called continental rods or wide pocket rods, have a broad, flat face for shirred treatments. They are usually available in width up to 4-1/2 inches and can be used in bay windows with the use of a special corner bracket.

Wire rods have a length of wire instead of a pole. They are only recommended for lightweight fabrics. The curtain is attached to the wire with decorative clips.

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