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Glossary of curtain pole terms

Do you ever feel like professionals or tradesmen are sometimes talking in some kind of secret code that only they can understand? Do you have or need curtain poles for eyelet curtains or pleated curtains? And what's the difference? There are lots of components and accessories involved in dressing windows and fitting curtain poles, curtain tracks and blinds. So if you find some of the terminology confusing or you are searching for something specific related to installing curtains, curtain poles, blinds, tracks, or anything related to window dressing, then you might just find what you’re looking for here in our terminology and jargon translator, which we affectionately like to call our Curtain Code Cracker.

Eyelet Pole

Here at Terry’s fabrics we have over 40 years' experience in fabrics, curtains, tracks, poles, blinds and installation. We pride ourselves on our knowledge and expertise and are always willing to share useful advice and help with our customers where we can; and although we know what we’re talking about, we understand that some of the terminology, phrases, lingo or jargon that we use every day in our specialist trade, are often alien and confusing to others. Our Curtain Code Cracker aims to help you decipher and understand some of the many words and sometimes unusual terminology associated with fabrics, curtains, curtain poles and window dressing in general, that you may be baffled by!

Curtain Code Cracker – for - Curtain Poles

  • Curtain pole - A cylindrical bar or rod of hollow, tubular, metal or solid wood, supported by brackets, from which curtains are suspended.
  • Curtain rod – Another name for a curtain pole.
  • Cafe rod – A cafe rod is a bit like a curtain pole but in miniature. A narrow curtain rod with very small and discreet brackets used for hanging half drop cafe curtains inside a window recess or for lightweight, sheer curtains or nets.
  • Tension rod – A slim, adjustable length curtain rod which does not require any hardware to install. The rod is designed to fit under tension inside a window recess without the need for screw fixings or brackets and the tension is achieved by springs which are loaded into the capped ends of the rods. Made from tubular steel or plastic, with rubber end caps for grip and an internal spring to create tension inside a window recess. Tension rods are ideal for lightweight curtains and sheer fabrics. Tension rods are very easy to remove and re-install for cleaning and maintenance purposes. Tension rods are available in a white or in the same finish as brass curtain poles.
  • Net rod – A slim, adjustable flat or oval rod which is suspended on lightweight, screw-in or stick-on hooks, for hanging sheer fabrics or net curtains. Net rods are cylindrical, oval or almost flat and are again designed to take lightweight voile panels, sheer curtains or decorative nets which stay still rather than being opened or closed frequently. These rods have a drilled hole at either end which are slotted onto small angle screws which are fixed into the inside recess of the window or directly into the window frame.
  • Bracket – A support which holds a metal or wood curtain pole in place. Metal brackets are usually angle brackets and wooden brackets are usually turned as decorative, circular bracket.

White Pole Bracket

  • Bosses – Decorative, round, fittings with a stem, resembling a mushroom, used to hold back the front edge of a curtain – also called Ombras.
  • Rings – Circular metal or wooden rings with an eyelet hook eye, which slide onto a curtain pole as a method of suspending curtains from.
  • Joining splice - A short piece of semi-tubular metal used to join two sections of metal curtain pole together.
  • Finial - A decorative ornament used at each end of a curtain pole which adds aesthetic value and acts as an end-stop to prevent the curtain rings or curtains themselves from sliding off the end of the pole.
  • Ombre – See Bosses.
  • Hold Back – A curved metal arm with a decorative shape or finial used as an alternative to tie-backs, to hold back the front edge of a curtain.
  • Tie Back – A decorative soft strap made from curtain fabric or satin rope, used to hold and tie back curtains in the open position.
  • Tie Back Hook – Small decorative hooks fixed to the wall at the back edge of a curtain to hook a tie-back on to.
  • Curtain Hooks – A small plastic or metal hook used to attach curtains with gathered headings to curtain pole rings.
  • Stack-Back area – The area of wall space to either side of a window recess where curtains hang when they are in the open position.
  • Pole Width – The full length of curtain pole from one end to the other, between but not including the finials.
  • Curtain drop – The finished measurement from the very top edge of a curtain to the bottom of the hem.
  • Pelmet – A rigid board or box usually made from lightweight ply wood or stiffened buckram, slightly padded and covered in fabric; which covers the curtain track and curtain header tape at the top of curtains, above a window.
  • Valance – A short, soft gathered skirt which covers the curtain track and heading tape at the top of curtains, above a window.
  • Grub screw – A small and discreet threaded screw used to secure metal curtain poles into their brackets.
  • Allen Key – A small, shaped metal rod used specifically for tightening grub screws
  • Pencil pleat Heading – A pre-manufactured curtain tape heading threaded with 3 to 4 rows of cords, which gather the heading into slim, upright pleats approximately the width of a pencil. Standard pencil pleat tape is usually 3” deep but is available in 6” and 9” depths too.
  • Pinch Pleat heading – Traditionally lightly stiffened, hand-tailored, heading using a series of three slim vertical pleats pinched together at the bottom to make a fan shaped detail. Pinch pleat heading is also available
  • Eyelet Heading – A series of metal rings or grommets which are punched into the top edge of a curtain heading, allowing it to be threaded directly onto a curtain pole without the need for heading tape or curtain hooks. Also known as grommet, eyelet curtains or ring top heading.

Gold Eyelet Pole

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