Terms to Learn When Shopping for Custom Curtains

Custom-made curtains can be a good choice for overly large or overly small windows, or if your taste in decor is a bit eclectic, and you can't find curtains on store shelves that appeal to you. If you do decide to have custom curtains made, it's good to know some terminology used for window dressing, as this can help your curtain maker create something that is perfect for your needs. Note some of those curtain-related terms here, so you'll be better able to tell a curtain maker the best style for every room of your home.


An apron is a piece of moulding that is placed below the windowsill, usually to add style and weight to the window. If a window has a very tall apron, you may need a longer curtain length so that it looks complementary and fits the overall size of the window frame itself.

Balloon shades

These curtains actually hang in one piece from the rod, and open by having the bottom scrunch up, rather than having panels that get pushed to each side. As the bottom of the shades moves up, it billows and creates a balloon look that adds depth to the window treatments.


A cornice is a box that is placed at the tops of curtains, to cover the curtain rod and hardware. The cornice can be covered with the same fabric as the curtains, or it might be made of exposed wood. It can also be left square or given a curved, rounded edge, according to your own taste and style.


Fullness refers to the width of curtain panels according to the width of the windows. Single panels that are just as wide as the windows have what is called single fullness, and these will lay flat when closed. Double fullness and triple fullness, as the names imply, are curtains that are two and three times as wide as the windows; these will not lay flat when closed but will dip and curve. This offers volume to the curtains that you might prefer more than standard single fullness panels.


This refers to how far away from the windows the curtain rod will sit. You may need a larger or deeper projection for thick or layered curtains, so that they don't bunch up against the wall and seem crowded. At the same time, a deep projection for thin panels may seem out of place, and may allow in more light than you expect, even if the curtains are closed.