Drapery treatments simplified

I bet when you've admired the drapery treatments you've seen in a book or magazine you've wondered, "There are so many different ones! How on earth will I choose one for my own window?"

Yes, there are a lot! And then there are the variations on each one. Followed by all the accessories you could add... But fear not. You can make your decisions much more easily when you separate draperies into categories.


Drapery treatments from simple to complex

Curtain styles

Your curtains will hang straight down from a supporting rod or track. But if you want to make them special you can do so by the use of tie backs, hold backs, borders, rolled edges, tassel fringes ... and so on. So even if you use a rod or pole, you can still have wonderful drapery over your window.

Rods and poles

Poles are a great way to add character to your window in a simple way.

Using rods (narrow diameter such as wrought iron) or poles (often wood, thicker than rods) are the easiest ways to obtain really great window treatments.

For a simple effect use a plain rod or pole. Examples would be a thin brushed steel or iron rod. For an elaborate effect use a thicker wood pole. These can be painted in all sorts of finishes, or stained to keep their natural finish. They also come in a twisted rope form, and fluted or other attractive finishes.

Then there are the finials you can use. (Finials are the blob bits which fit on the ends.) These can be simple ball finials, acorn or pineapple finials, or a host of other designs.

Cornice Box (Pelmet)

A cornice box 'frames' the window in a stylish way.

Upholstered cornice boxes give a great finish to a treatment. They can be straight ones, or shaped. They can be left plain or embellished with borders, trims, ropes and more.

If you want a formal yet straightforward treatment, this is one option you should consider. And they're not difficult to make! I'll show you the best methods.


Top Valance

Valances can be shaped as well as straight. They can provide a softer effect than a cornice.

This gives a softer look than a cornice. But like cornices they can be shaped. They can have all the different heading designs which are used for the tops of curtains. The base can have trims and fringes added as well.

Valances are very useful if you prefer softness over the rigid structure of a cornice. They are often used in bedrooms, but I use them anywhere, as long as the fabric and design suit the room.


Swags and cascades (tails)

Swag treatments are the most sophisticated, but well within the ability of anyone to make.

To make simple swags many people think all you have to do is get a long piece of fabric and drape it around a pole. Actually, all you'll get is a mess! There's more to it than meets the eye.

These are the most complex top treatments, but it's well within anyone's ability to make them.

The number of variations is vast, and I'll give you some guidelines so you can select the best finish for your window.



These are the basic components of drapery treatments.

  1. It's best to decide first which type you'd like to use for your window.
  2. When you've made that decision, then you can start to think about the particular style, shape and accessories you'd like to include.

By making your decisions one step at a time you'll be able to select a treatment which suits both your window and you.

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