Fabric Window Treatments
Learn how to tell the difference between different fabric window treatments and find the right ones for your space.
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Fabric offers a wealth of opportunities for enhancing your home decor — especially your windows. Whether you like the simple look of straight-lined shades or the more traditional style of a swag and jabot, take a look at all of your options and decide what works best for your home.
Curtains vs. Draperies
Ready-made curtain panels are the norm in home stores. Usually hung from clip rings, tab-tops or a rod pocket casing, they’re available in different lengths and widths to fit a variety of window sizes. Unlined and lightweight, they're the alternative to formal custom-made draperies, which are usually lined, pleated and constructed to fit the exact dimensions of a window. If draperies are not attached to the rod with rings, they are usually hung on traverse rods, allowing the panels to be opened and closed with a cord that hangs behind the fabric.
- A traditional Roman shade provides a clean, classic look for any interior design. There are many different versions of this popular shade, including the most traditional look of a flat panel that creates soft folds when raised and one with overlapping folds that are visible when lowered. Not only are these shades available in a variety of fabrics, they come in a multitude of natural materials, like bamboo, various grasses and reed.
These decorative pieces are used in combination with other elements to complement a formal design.
- A scarf is a long piece of fabric, usually wrapped or arranged on a pole, thread through sconces at the corners to frame the perimeter of a window.
A valance is essentially a short curtain placed at the top of a window to conceal drapery hardware. (A cornice performs the same service only it's made of wood.) If it's not needed to hide hardware, it can be used alone as a singular treatment for visual interest when privacy is not an issue. Used in combination with other shades, panels or drapes, it provides the finishing touch to a formal window dressing. Valances can be made to look like shortened versions of some shades (balloon, London) or as simple fabric rectangles with different headings. Two other traditional valances include a cloud, which looks like a shorter version of an Austrian shade, and a pouf, which utilizes a rod inserted at the bottom to create the billowy pouf.
Depending on the style and formality of your design, you’ll want to choose a window covering with the appropriate top construction.
- Pleated headings consist of the following:
- A pencil pleat heading is tightly gathered at the top of the drape and resembles a row of pencils when pulled together.