A Guide to Drapery Trim, Tassels and Fringe Types PLUS Next Steps

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Complete Your Draperies with Trim

When you are planning for new draperies, you will notice that an expert interior designer adds some type of trim to draperies for a finished appearance. Without any type of trim at all, draperies do not stand out and they don't have much personality of their own in your home.

A Guide to Drapery Trim, Tassels and Fringe Types

You have a huge variety of trim types to choose from and coordinate them with your drapery fabric.Trims of all types are embellishments used to enhance your drapes, throw pillows, furniture upholstery and other window treatments of all types. Adding a certain trim to your drapes and then repeating it in a throw pillow or on furniture that you have upholstered in the same pattern can really tie in all the different elements in your home.

Ball Fringe

Ball fringe include several sub categories all in the same basic family. It consists of a strip of material with pom pom style ball tassel trims, wood tassels and beaded ball tassels, all of which are ball shaped. These will all give your draperies a designer touch with flair.

Bead Fringe

Bead fringe is often called fabulous or swanky. You can find this type of trim with long strands of beads or a mixture of beads and balls. They also come in intricate patterns with the balls and beads criss crossing over each other for a longer trim with a glamorous touch.

Border Tape

Border tape is generally about 2 inches wide and is used as a contrasting material when finishing the border of your drapes. It is often used on the bottom of a valance located at the top of a window for an embellishment. Border tape may also include an assortment of tassels hanging down from it. It can be a solid piece of fabric or it can have spaces in it created by having crossing pieces of fabric. Some homeowners prefer a thinner, 1-inch design in a geometrical shape to finish their drapes.

Box Pleated Ribbon or Tape

This type of trim is specially made to go on top of box-pleated drapes, which are considered very classic and classy all in one. The box pleated ribbon or tape is generally about 1 inch wide and it may be a solid fabric or it can have tassels on it. Generally, this type of trim is placed on the box pleats at the top of your drapes about 2 inches down from the very top.

Braid Trim

Braid trim is an ornamental trim with two finished edges and it is more formal than some of the other types of trim such as tassels. It's used for the edging around drapes, upholstery and decorative pillows to give any project a finished appearance. It can be made of leather braided together or may even have rosettes on it.

Brush Fringe

Brush fringe adds a whimsical finishing touch to draperies. It's considered playful and cute for a more causal decor in your home. It consists of a cut fringe that has a flat skirt made of thin yarns. The heading can be wider or narrower depending on the style you choose. You can choose from different lengths also, but the most popular lengths are 1 and 2 inches long. The longer style in 2 inches is often called chainette brush fringe.

Bullion Fringe and Corded Fringe

This type of fringe is generally 3 inches wide and has small braids for the fringe that hang downward. Most often bullion fringe is in variegated colors. If you choose the 4-inch wide version, it is most commonly in one solid color.

Buttons, Frogs and Rosettes

This category of trim gives your draperies a 3D affect because they add embellishments that are not flush with the fabric so that they stand out. It can include a round button shape covered in pleated fabric, a plain button that is not covered in material or a rose pattern of braided material. A frog is the design made by a knot that is horizontal made of at least two strands of material that looks like an overhand knot. These types of trim are not a strip of fabric, but are individual so you can add them in the areas you want them and place them as far or as close as you like.

Chair Ties

Chair ties are the formal name for drapery tiebacks. They are available in many styles with braided material or tassels being the most popular. These help you to provide a soft curve on each side of a window or they can be used to add an unique accent to your dining room chairs. For draperies to fall softly, the tiebacks can be placed either 1/3 down from the top of the window treatment or 1/3 upwards from the bottom of the window treatment.

Double Tassel Fringe

Double tassel fringe usually has an ornate and elegant border of a braid or flat trim with the addition of tassels handing down from it at two different levels to form a double row of tassels placed very close to each other.

Eyelash Fringe

Eyelash fringe is similar to a regular fringe but the cut fringe is very wispy and sparse so you can actually see the fabric behind it that it's attached to.


Gimp makes a great finishing touch to draperies. It's an elegant flat braided trim that is usually in variegated colors in a strip. If you choose a fancy gimp, it will have a rickrack design and is usually in one solid color. Another interesting design in gimp is the rope style with 4 or so ropes that are in a design that looks like a soft letter M in a continuous strip.

Key Tassel

The key tassel is an ornate trim in a tassel style with a series of balls, one on the top of each other banded around horizontally and then the tassel's fringes begin. The most popular key tassels are 2 inches long and they can be one single color or variegated colors.

Loop Fringe and Onion Fringe

Imagine a regular fringe strip with thicker cording that is not cut at the bottom but instead loops from the header to the bottom and back up continuously in a line. This is what loop fringe looks like. Onion fringe has cords hanging down with little round balls on the bottom that resemble pearl onions. Both of these types of fringe are available in solid and variegated colors.


Piping is also known as welt cord. It is a strip of fabric for finishing draperies and it can include a braid at the bottom in a variegated color to coordinate with the fabric backing. Piping also comes with a lip to have a flat area to sew it onto the fabric of your draperies.

Wooden Tassel Fringe

Wooden tassel fringe is often used as a finishing touch for a more casual window treatment. It includes a strip of fabric with various lengths of wooden tassels that hang downwards from the fabric.

I've Made My Choice, What's Next?

Once you select the main fabric for your drapes, you can follow this guide to get an idea of the embellishments and finishing touches that you want on your drapes. It is important to keep four tips in mind.

1. Choose a Color

You can decide to use the same fabric as the drapes to create a tieback, but you can also opt for an accent color or a patterned fabric with a solid accent. When pairing a patterned and solid fabric, pick a complementary hue from the patterned fabric. Embellish solid colors with a deeper shade, or if you are daring, an eye-catching contrasting color.

2. Check Workmanship on Tassels & Trimmings

You will find that tassels are available in a wide range of prices from $2 to $70. Hand-made items are often more expensive, but quality is a big factor in price as well. Look to see if the thread used is evenly dyed and consistently smooth in appearance. High-quality pieces should have no visible glue, loose threads or breaks in length.

3. Consider Scale and Proportion

Don’t accent powerful drapes with an insignificantly sized rosette, and don’t overwhelm cafe curtains with an oversized braid when a 1/2-inch border ribbon will do. Use trim to emphasize shape or to bring visual weight to the your window space.

4. Less Is More Ornamentation should reflect the style of the drapes and the room it decorates. Add flair slowly and precisely so that you do not overwhelm the drapes or the room. It’s an accent, not the focal point.

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