A shade is a soft fabric panel that is attached to a rod or frame at the upper edge. Sold individually, shades come in a wide range of lengths, widths, colors, and materials, and are sized to fit within the window frame, unlike drapes or curtains that hang below the sill. To let in light or see outside, you need to raise the shade, using either a cord, roller, or lifting mechanism. As the shade lifts, it either bunches or rolls around a rod, depending on the style of the shade.
While blinds lift up and down with a cord or lifting mechanism like shades do, they differ in that blinds are not a solid length of fabric, but rather, are made of wood, bamboo, aluminum, or vinyl slats (also called louvers) that tilt open to let in light, or close for privacy.
A valance is a piece of fabric that hangs across the top of a window to hide other window treatment’s hardware, and add softness, color, and pattern. A simple valance is the most basic and casual treatment; it’s normally just a slip of fabric attached to the rod with clip rings or a rod pocket.
Swags are pieces of fabric loosely slung and draped over a decorative rod, or wound over a tieback at each corner of a window frame to add a little style and romance to your room. There are many different ways to hang swags, but one of the most common is a simple swag. In this look, the swag drapes in the middle like a valance; the ends, either cut into diagonals or simply hemmed, softly hang down on each side of the window.