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The Differences Between Valances and Cornices

Cellular Shades

When you buy drapes, you want them to be a feature piece to the entire room. You want people to look at them and think that they really bring the theme or visual style of the whole space together. Whether the drapes are heavy and thick, with bright colors, or lighter and built for a smaller space, this type of window treatment is always meant to attract attention to itself and the surrounding area. What are drapes though? And how do they connect with cornices and valances? Drapes are a style of window treatment that can be differentiated by three points. Point one, drapes always hang from the top of the window or door they are placed in front of. The swathes of cloth or fabric hangs from one of the short edges down to either the floor, or the bottom of the window. Point two, drapes can be moved freely along a rod that is placed over the window. This is how you open and close drapes, rather than fiddling with a string like with blinds or pulling the window dressing up and down like with shades. The final point is that drapes are different from curtains because they have a back lining, which curtains do not. This lining is sewn on, and can be thick enough to block out all light, or thin enough to only give the drape a bit of stiffness and structure.

Valances and cornices are an optional addition that can be added to drapes, to change how the window looks, as well as give the space some depth. The main purpose for these top treatments are to hide unsightly or ungainly pieces of the window treatment, like the rod, or the occasional vertical blind mechanisms. Valances are made from either wood, faux or real, or fabric. They are mostly decorative, adding color and patterns to a space while covering other parts of the window treatment. These decorations can be audacious and full of color and life, or more sophisticated, with darker hues and waving lines that add to the ambiance of the room. Cornices on the other hand are made not from fabric or wood, but both, a wooden box like a valance covered in fabric so that they have a soft blocky appearance. Cornices are bold and large, perfect to show off complex and beautiful patterns in the fabric because they are usually the largest feature at that height in the room. Where a fabric valance looks like it is hanging over the window, cornices jut out from the window straight forward, and no not droop.

So whether you want a set of cornices for your bedroom drapes, or a set of valances to cover the mechanisms of your living fabric blinds, there are options to choose from that come in every imaginable color, style, and pattern. So that when the time comes for guests and family to come over and enjoy a small gathering or get-together, everyone will see the work that has been put into your home and think ‘Wow, that really pops!’