Window Blinds & Curtains Glossary

Acorn - Decorative and functional pulls fitted to the end of the cords on a blind.

Allowance - This is the deduction we make so that the blind will fit inside the window recess and operate correctly, with a manufacturing tolerance of approximately 5-10mm.

Aluminium Venetian Blinds - Venetian blinds consist of horizontal, overlapping slats. The slats are suspended from a head rail and supported by ladder tapes. The slats can be tilted to control the light and also lowered or raised to any desired height. Components include - aluminium headrail, aluminium bottom rail, aluminium slats with stove enamelled paint finishes, polyester ladder tape with cross ladders to support the slat and also control the tilt angle of the blind, polyester lift cord, clear acrylic control rod (wand) to adjust the angle of the slatting, cord locking mechanism to secure the lift cord with the blind in the raised position.

Anti-Glare Roller Blinds - These blinds are made of a transparent solar film fitted to an aluminium roller tube with a chain ball side operator. The solar film is constructed from thin layers of polyester that can be either clear or dyed to various colours and degrees of darkness to produce the anti-glare qualities of the film.

Austrian Blinds - Generally made from lightweight curtain fabrics with cords attached at the back that pull the blind up from the bottom to give a ruched appearance.

Awnings - Are external blinds and were traditionally used on shops, restaurants and hotels and on some domestic properties. Over recent years the construction of awnings has been updated by the use of modern materials and fabrics, which has made them more popular amongst home owners. The two main types of awnings are folding arm awnings and continental or dutch blinds.

Bamboo Blinds - See pinoleum blinds.

Basswood - Is a wood which comes from Linden trees. This is a popular wood for wooden venetian blinds, due to its lightweight nature, uniform grain and ability to absorb the coloured stains used to give the colour and finish to the blind.

Bay Window Blinds - Blinds particularly suitable for bay windows or bow windows tend to be ones that will reduce the gap there is in-between the blinds once they have been fitted. Roller blinds and verticals blinds tend to have the largest gap, depending of course on how wide the mullions of the windows are. The blinds that fit the closest together and therefore give you the smallest gap tend to be aluminium venetians and wooden venetians. Pleated blinds and roman blinds also fit quite close to one another, just bear in mind that with roman blinds you do have the thickness of the panels when ruched up to think about. One of the easiest solutions for bay or bow windows if you don't like the idea of multiple blinds is a curved vertical blind, this is because instead of having three or five separate blinds, depending on how many segments the bay has, you have just one blind following the curve of the bay.

Blackout Blinds - Blackout blinds are generally roller blinds but all of our roman blinds and also many vertical blind fabrics are also available as a black out. The material used has a coating on the rear which prevents light from penetrating the fabric. Ideally suited to bedrooms or in applications where the amount of light entering a room needs to be dramatically reduced, for example in offices where audio visual presentations take place or in a home cinema room.

Block Out Blinds - See blackout blinds above, just a different term used to describe the same type of blind.

Blind Size - This refers to the finished size of the blind when manufactured. Usually when the blind is made to the size specified by the customer without any allowance being made. This is usually specified when the blind is to be fitted outside the recess, or when the customer has made their own allowance for any obstructions that may interfere with the free movement of the blind.

Bobble Chain - This is the chain used at the bottom of the vertical blind slats, louvers or vanes to keep them evenly spaced, and stop them becoming tangled when being operated.

Bottom Rail - Is the horizontal piece of wood or aluminium that anchors the blind at the bottom. Mainly on aluminium and wood venetians. They are colour matched and are present to give weight to the bottom of the blind to keep it hanging straight and help it move up and down easily and smoothly.

Bottom Weight - These are the plastic weights that are placed in the bottom pocket of the slat on a vertical louvre blind. They are used to stabilise the vanes and keep them hanging straight.

Brackets - These are the fittings used to mount the blind to the wall or window frame. There are two main types of fixing brackets, one is a head fix or top fix bracket used to fix the blind into the lintel. The other is a face fix bracket which is used to attach the blind to the wall or window frame. Some blinds, such as rollers and wood venetians have a universal bracket, which means the same bracket can be used to either head fix or face the blind.

Braid - Is a decorative trim traditionally used on the scallop of roller blinds. Recently though more funky and designer roller blind braids have become available allowing the customer to design a very unique blind. The modern trend in roller blinds is to have a straight run of braid across the bottom of the blind instead of the more traditional scallop. This gives the roller blind a much more contemporary look. Check out our beautiful range of designer roller blind braids in the rollers section.

Bunch - This is how the slats or vanes on a vertical louvre blind stack or 'bunch' up when the blind is opened. There are three options, you can have the louvres stack on the left or the right hand side of the blind, or they can be split from the middle with half the slats going to the left and half the slats going to the right, similar to the way a pair of curtains draw.

Cafe Rod / Bar - This a metal or wooden rod that fits at the bottom of certain scallops on roller blinds. Usually with a decorative finial on each end of the rod.

Carriages / Trucks - These are carriers or trucks that run inside the aluminium head rail of a vertical louvre blind and incorporate a rotatable hook from which the fabric slats hang.

Cassette Blinds - Cassette blinds are roller blinds that run in side channels. The fabric can be locked precisely in any position which makes them ideal for use in skylights or velux windows. Particularly useful in applications where a complete blackout or block out of the light entering a room is required, for example in bedrooms, home cinema or theatre rooms and in office's where audio visual presentations take place.

Ceiling Mount - This is where the blind is fixed or mounted to the ceiling or lintel by means of a head fix or top fix bracket.

Cheap Blinds - See ready made blinds.

Children's Blinds - These are usually blackout roller blinds used to reduce the amount of light in a kid's bedroom, or baby's nursery.

Conservatory Roof Blinds - These are bespoke made to measure blinds that are manufactured to fit the many different shapes you find in a conservatory, sun room, orangery or garden room. They come in many forms, the most commonly used being pleated blinds, but bamboo blinds and roman and roller style blinds are also used. The main function of conservatory roof blinds is to soften the sometimes stark look a conservatory can have and to protect the occupant and their furnishings from the harsh rays and heat of the sun. They are also very effective at retaining the heat during the winter months.

Control Chain - This is the chain that is used on roller blinds to lower and raise the blind and on vertical blinds to rotate the vanes or slats.

Controls - These are the mechanisms used to lower, raise and tilt a window blind or shade. There are a few different types depending on the blind. They include cords, plastic chains, metal chains and wands. On certain blinds and shades they can be specified as which side they are to be placed on.

Cord Cleat - These are used to prevent the cords of a window covering or shade from sitting on the floor or window sill. Cord cleats are a traditional and safe solution to keep the control cords out of the reach of children and pets. They are generally used on roman shades but can be used on other types of blinds and shades as well.

Cord Lock - Mechanism that is used to lock Venetian, Roman, Bamboo, Pleated, Austrian and Festoon blinds in the raised position by trapping the cords.

Curtains - Also referred to as drapes or drapery. They are made from soft material or fabric and are used as a decorative method to block or obscure the light entering a room. Curtains come in a wide variety of shapes, materials, sheers, fabrics, colours and patterns and with a choice of headings and lined with standard lining, bump interlining or blackout lining. Available to buy in ready made sizes or custom made to measure sizes. They are a very elegant and practical window treatment or covering.

Curtain Poles - Are used as a decorative method of hanging curtains and drapes. They come in many different varieties and styles including steel, silver, chrome, wrought iron, black metal, brass and wood and in several different diameters. Supplied with colour matched curtain rings and finials, with co-ordinating holdback or tiebacks available if required.

Curtain Tracks / Rails - Another method for hanging curtains and drapes. They are available as either a metal or plastic corded or uncorded track or rail and come supplied with gliders for attaching the curtain hooks to. Particularly good as a low cost method for fitting curtains, or in a bay window where they can be bent to fit the shape of the bay.

Dim Out Blinds - Similar to blackout blinds except they partially reduce or cut down the amount of light passing through the fabric rather than completely blocking it out.

Discount Blinds - See ready made blinds.

Dual Control - Dual controls are generally used on venetian blinds. There is usually one set of cords to raise and lower the blinds and either a cord or plastic rod to tilt and adjust the angle of the horizontal slats. They can either be both on the same side of the blind or one on the left and one on the right of the blind.

Drop - This is the vertical measurement from the top of the blind or curtain to the floor or window sill.

Environmentally Friendly Blinds - Here at English Blinds we are constantly striving to improve our performance in environmentally friendly practices, not only with the manufacturing process and sourcing of environmentally friendly materials and components but also with distribution issues. As a company English blinds are committed to working towards appropriate international standards in order to further reduce any impact on the environment.

Exact Size - See blind size.

Extended Brackets - These are for installations where the blind or shade has to be frame mounted, but because of obstructions such as window handles the blind needs to be extended out from the window to clear the obstructions in order to move up and down freely.

Fabric - There are many different types of fabrics used in the manufacture of blinds, shades, drapes and curtains. Soft fabrics are generally used for curtains and romans. Stiffened fabrics are used for rollers and verticals. There are also flame retardant fabrics, water resistant and waterproof fabrics, pvc and vinyl fabrics, translucent or opaque fabrics and blackout fabrics. The fabric used in a particular blind or shade depends on the application and where it is to be used.

Face Fix - This is when the blind or shade is fixed to the window frame or onto a baton outside the recess, using a face fix bracket.

Faux Wood Blinds - These are blinds that are made to look like and imitate wood without actually being made from real wood.

Festoon Blinds - Are more like gathered curtains. They are gathered across their width and form flounces when raised, and have gathers down their length when fully lowered.

Hangers - These are the plastic inserts that are placed inside the top pocket of a vertical blind that enable the slat to be hung onto the head rail. It is also sometimes used to refer to the actual slats or vanes of a vertical blind. These are the long rectangular strips of treated fabric which hand vertically from the headrail to make up a vertical blind.

Headrail - Refers to the rigid (usually aluminium) hardware at the top of venetian and vertical blinds in which either the carriers move along or where the mechanical operational parts are.

Height - This refers to the vertical measurement of the blind or curtain. Also referred to as the drop, each type of product has its own unique minimum and maximum height or drop.

Hold Down Brackets - Small brackets that can be fixed to the bottom rail of a wooden or aluminium venetian blind in order to attach it to a window sill or the bottom of a door to prevent the bottom of the blind from moving about.

Inside Mount - Refers to when a window treatment or dressing is fitted inside the window frame, so that it is recessed within the window.

Jacquard - Jacquard fabrics are intricately woven designs. The name comes from Joseph Marie Jacquard who invented the jacquard mechanical loom in 1801. These woven designs are most commonly used in vertical blind and roller blind fabrics.

Ladder cords - The polyester cords that are threaded through the slats of a venetian blind and used to raise and lower the blind.

Ladder tapes - Woven cotton or polyester tape in 13mm, 25mm and 38mm widths with cross ladders that run vertically down the blind to support the slat and control the tilt of the slat, and also give a more decorative finish to the blind.

Length - See height.

Lift Cords - These are the cords that are used to raise and lower a blind.

Light Control - All styles of window shades provide a means of light control but in varying degrees. From roll up and roll down fabric and bamboo blinds to blinds that tilt and rotate, there is something to suit every application. Probably the best blinds for controlling the light are blinds that use horizontal slats (venetian) or vertical louvres (verts) due to their ability to tilt or rotate, and therefore allowing greater control over the amount of light entering a room.

Light Filtering - From practically see through voiles to complete blackout fabrics the amount of light a fabric will filter depends on the weave, whether it has a special backing or coating and to a lesser extent the colour.

Lining - Is most commonly used at the back of roman blinds and curtains to give it body and provide protection. There is standard lining and blackout lining, which gives better light control and privacy.

London Blinds - These are really a cross between a roman and an Austrian blind. The fullness at the top of the blind is created with pleats instead of gathers. The blind is raised and lowered with cords behind the blind but gives a softer effect than the straight folds of a roman.

Louvre - Refers to the vertical strips, slats or vanes of material that hang from a vertical blind.

Luxaflex - Suppliers of accessories, components and blinds to the trade.

Made to Measure Blinds - These are blinds that are manufactured to specific measurements for a perfect fit at the window. Also known as custom made and bespoke blinds.

Material - See fabric.

Measurements - See our how to measure section.

Metal Venetian Blinds - See aluminium venetian blinds.

Mono Control - Refers to blinds that have a cord or rod that both raises and lowers the blind and tilts the slats.

Mount - Refers to where the blind will be installed, either inside the window recess (inside mount) or outside the window recess (outside mount).

Opaque - This is a fabric or material that is neither transparent nor translucent. This is a good choice for rooms where a greater amount of light control is required such as a bedroom or nursery.

Outside Mount - Or outside the window recess. This is where the window shade or curtains are fitted onto the wall on a baton above the window recess.

Panel Blinds - Panel blinds are like a vertical blind with very large louvers. They are ideal for larger windows, patio doors and make very practical and stunning room dividers. They do not rotate like a vertical blind you just simply slide the panels to the required position. A very elegant blind.

Perfect Fit Blinds - Perfect fit is a blind system developed by Louvolite window blind systems which allows certain types of blinds (normally pleated blinds and venetian blinds) to be fitted without the need for drilling holes. They work particularly well with tilt and turn windows, on a door or in a conservatory, sunroom, orangery or garden room.

Perforated - Refers to the perforated aluminium slats of a venetian blind that provides sun-screening protection without eliminating the external view.

Pinoleum Blinds - Or french pinoleum blinds (also referred to as woven wood or bamboo blinds) were originally manufactured in Paris by Ballauff ™ and were first imported to the UK in the early 19th century. They are made from small wood veneers, timber reeds, natural bamboo hard grasses, sea grasses and jute layered together horizontally and joined by vertical threads. The resulting weave is not only flexible and strong but a great way to gently filter the light. They also have excellent solar properties. The natural beauty of pinoleum blinds makes them an ideal choice for a contemporary interior. Available in a roller blind (roll-up) style and also a roman blind style. They are particularly well suited to conservatories.

Pleated Blinds - A pleated blind is a width of permanently pleated material which is attached to a headrail and a bottom rail. It operates in a concertina fashion to open or close, or raise or lower the blind. They come in two varieties, free hanging - which is operated using a cord lock. The other is a skylight style - which is constantly tensioned, allowing the fabric to be moved along its length of travel without the need for hanging cords. This makes them ideal for conservatory roofs as they can be manufactured to fit into almost any kind of shape. The fabrics are available in two pleat depths, 20mm and 25mm and many have coatings to improve their solar and optical performance.

PVC Blinds - These are blinds made from PVC or vinyl opaque fabrics. Due to the nature of the fabric they make ideal blinds for the bathroom or kitchen as they are generally waterproof or at least water resistant and so very easy to keep clean. Some fabrics are also mould resistant.

Privacy - This describes the amount of privacy a particular blind, curtain or fabric offers. For example a blackout or dim out fabric will offer a lot more privacy at the window than a net curtain or a sheer or lace fabric.

Ready Made Blinds - These are blinds that are made to set widths and drops eg. 3ft wide x 3ft drop. You just select the nearest size to fit your window. A cheap alternative to made to measure blinds, but if a perfect fit is required the blind will have to be trimmed or cut to size. Sometimes referred to as cut and trim or diy blinds.

Recess Size - When fitting a blind inside a window recess this is the manufacturing allowance we make to the width of the blind to ensure the blind moves freely when being raised or lowered.

Roller Blinds - Blinds made from PVC, Vinyl, patterned, blackout, printed, plain fabric or material rolled round a wood or aluminium tubular roller. They can be raised or lowered using a side control or a more traditional spring operation. Available with either a flat bottom or a wide range of scallop and braid designs.

Roller Shades - As above.

Roman Blinds - Roman blinds are a very elegant and stylish blind. These are usually made using curtain material. They form flat panels when dropped, and even horizontal folds when they are raised via cords that run up the back of the blind.

Scallop - Decorative, shaped finish at the bottom of a roller blind.

Sheer - A fabric that gently filters the light rather than blocking it out.

Skylight Blinds - Window blinds specifically designed to fit inside a skylight or velux window. Most common types are roller blinds and pleated blinds.

Slats - Refers to the vertical slats or louvres that hang on a vertical blind, or the horizontal slats or louvers that you find in either an aluminium, wood effect or wooden venetian blind. Wood blinds are also sometimes referred to as slatted horizontal blinds.

Side Fix - When a blind is fitted into the sides of a recess as opposed to fitting it vertically to the ceiling or lintel or into the window frame.

Sidewinder Control - Is a roller blind control mechanism that uses a plastic or metal bobble chain to raise or lower the blind.

Stack - See bunch.

Spring Operation - This refers to the more traditional method of operating a roller blind. Using a blind pull that is attached to the blinds bottom bar you raise or lower the blind by using the tension in the spring that is located in the roller tube at the top of the blind.

Swivel Bracket - These are fixing brackets used to fit venetian blinds and roman blinds. The bracket hooks into the headrail of the blind and then using the swivel locking arm you push it into the closed position to secure the blind. They can be used to either top (ceiling) fix or face (window frame) fix the blind.

Tapes - See ladder tapes.

Tilt Wand Control - A method of rotating the louvres (vertical blinds) or slats (venetian blinds) by means of a wand control.

Top Fix - This is where the blind is fixed to the lintel or ceiling.

Valance - The decorative top piece used as a finishing touch to hide the headrail of a window treatment.

Vanes - The vertical strips of fabric that make up a vertical blind.

Velux Blinds -These are window blinds that are specifically manufactured for velux skylight roof windows.

Venetian Blinds - See aluminium venetian blinds.

Vertical Blinds - Consist of a rigid aluminium headrail from which vertical strips or louvres of stiffened fabric hang. The louvres can be rotated allowing great control over the sunlight. They work particularly well in wide windows, conservatories and on patio doors.

Vertical Blind Replacement - This is a service we offer for you to buy just replacement slats or louvres rather than a complete new blind. A cost effective way to give a new look to your windows. Contact us for details.

Vertical Wooden Blinds - Similar to a standard vertical blind but instead of using fabric for the vertical vanes, strips of wood are used.

Vinyl Blinds - Blinds manufactured from vinyl or pvc opaque fabrics. Water resistant and sometimes mould resistant making them ideal for moist and humid environments such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Wall Mount - This is where the blind or curtains are mounted on the wall surrounding the door or window.

Wand - This is a detachable rotating plastic rod that is connected to the tilt mechanism of a venetian blind which allows the horizontal slats to be tilted open or closed.

Width - This is the horizontal measurement of the blind or curtains. See our how to measure section.

Window Treatments - Whether you are looking for design or decorating ideas, or just want to give a room in your home a makeover there are plenty of options to consider, including curtains, drapes and all types of made to measure window blinds.

Wood Blinds - See wooden venetian blinds below.

Wooden Venetian Blinds - Also referred to as timber slatted blinds or horizontal slat blinds, are one of the earliest forms of window coverings that were developed from the timber shutters that were used to cover window openings before the advent of glass. The form we see them in today dates back to the 18th century and is really the original venetian blind. As wood is a natural material it is subject to warping and movement, so timbers used in the manufacture of wooden blinds have to use timbers that are stable in narrow strips. The wood has to be dried to a moisture content of between 6% and 8% to sustain stability and reduce the occurrence of warping to a minimum. The timbers most commonly used are red cedar and basswood. They are available in a number of slat widths, the most common being 25mm (1 inch), 35mm (1.5 inch) and 50mm (2 inches). They are a very practical and timeless design of window covering that complement most styles of interior decor.

Wood-weave Blinds - See pinoleum blinds.

Woven Wood Blinds - See pinoleum blinds.