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Tips and Advice

Striped valances curtains hung with clip rings

Curtains Terminology

The Vermont Country Store offers a large selection of curtains that are easy to layer or mix and match to create a variety of different looks.

Curtain Panels

Portico Pleat Grommet Top Curtain Panels

Curtain panels are designed to cover at least the full length of a window. Typically mounted above and slightly outside the window frame, panel length curtains offer the most coverage and have the most impact on your room's aesthetic.

Grommet Top
Featuring a series of rings along the top of the curtain panels, grommet top curtains fall into gentle folds. Grommet top curtains are extremely easy to add to almost any curtain rod, and slide along the rod much more smoothly than other styles.
Rod Pocket
Also known as pole top curtains, rod pocket tops are a classic way to hang curtains. With this style, a casing may be sewn on to the back of the curtain, or the hem at the top of the curtain is sewn in such a way as to create a pocket for the curtain rod to slip through. Rod pocket curtains hide the curtain rod they hang from.
Tab Top
Featuring an exposed loop of fabric at the top of the curtain, tab top styled curtains are a great way to show off a decorative curtain rod. This style of curtain hangs with a gentle fold, similar to a grommet top.
Pinch Pleat
Pinch pleat style curtains add an extra level of detail. Typically, this style of curtains features pleats or gatherings along the top hem, causing the curtain fabric to hang in tighter, more structured folds that relax slightly as you move down the length of the curtain. Pinch pleat curtains are hung using either pin hooks that pierce the fabric behind the pleat, or using clip rings. Hanging with pin hooks can be time consuming and will hide your curtain rod. Clip rings are easy to attach and allow you to show off a decorative curtain rod.

Valances and Swags

Valances and swags, sometimes referred to as "window toppers," are designed to cover just the top of a window. Often thought of as a finishing touch, swags and valances can be layered over curtain panels or curtain tiers. They also look great over blinds, and even on their own. These styles come in a variety of different types.

Hatfield Rod Pocket Curtain Panel and Scalloped Valance
Tailored Valances
Classic panel with clean, straight lines
Scalloped Valances
Classic panel with soft, scalloped hem
Pleated Valances
Tailored panel with added top pleats
Layered Valance:
Two layered panels of the same fabric
Tie-Up Valance
Decorative panel with accent or adjustable ties
Bradford Valance
Two fabric panels layered for contrast
Swag
Two piece top panel with longer, fluttery sides

How to Measure Valances and Swags

Measure from the top of the curtain rod to where you would like the valance or swag to end.
Remember: the rod pocket measurement is included in the length.

Tier Curtains

White Wide Ruffle Tier Curtain with coordinating valance

Similar to valances and swags, tier style curtains are designed to cover only part of the window. Typically the curtain rod is mounted at the middle of the window height, and the tier curtain falls from there to the window sill. This style of curtain looks lovely on its own, but also works well paired with a valance to provide privacy without completely covering the window.

How to Measure Tier Curtains

Hang the curtain rod across the middle of the window.
For length, measure from the top of the curtain rod to the windowsill.
For width, order panels that are 1 1/1 to double the width of the window area.

For more easy tips on how to measure different styles of curtains, plus a free downloadable worksheet, visit our How to Measure Curtains page:

Essex Check Valances paired with Essex Toile Tier Curtains