Cornices, valences, and swags are window treatments that often enhance existing window coverings such as drapes, shades or blinds. All three window additions sit on top and or to the side of existing coverings and add color, texture, and depth to the arrangement. These three window additions embellish drapes, blinds and shades much as drapes blind and shades add interest to a bare window.

Cornices stand out from valences and swags by their solid framed structure, which comes out from the wall like a shallow rectangular box and sits over the top of the window and or window treatment The underlying cover, be they drapes shades, or blinds dramatically drop down from behind the cornice. Cornices may be made of wood or metal and may be covered by fabric. The possibilities for matching cornice color to existing window dressings and or the room décor is nearly endless and makes for interesting design challenges.

Window valences are cloth material that drapes over the top of the existing curtain, shade or blind. They can be chosen to blend with the underlying covering, or to contrast in a harmonious.

and interesting way. They can be created to mesh harmoniously with the room décor. Like cornices, valences can hide ugly curtain rails, thereby softening the upper border of the window. Custom valences can be cut to any dimension, with virtually unlimited selection of fabric, color, pattern, trim choices, large or small pleats, if any, and style (swag, jabots, trumpets, etc.) Valences may sit straight across the window or appear in varied shapes in the both the upper and lower border. Possibilities include a or swag like, diagonal, They might be of one uniform color or multiple patterned as for example, one pattern for the valance, and an alternate color for the pleats. Balloon valences are so full that they create round “poufs” that are pushed into the room by the walls or window. Banner valences are formed of triangularly shaped fabric segments that overlap. A bell is a section of a valence that stands out as a triangular cone. When a valance consists of multiple fabrics, the face fabric is the one that stands out the most and predominates. A grommet is a punched out hole surrounding by a supporting ring, as are seen in shower curtains. They are found at the top of some valences, which hand down from the curtain rod rather than cover it. A jabot is the side tail of a valence that hangs down on either side of the window. Jabots may also drop down from the center part of the curtain usually between swags.

Swags, valences and cornices both shape and crown windows and window treatments adding beauty and distinction to the existing decorations and the room decor. Their presence takes the window covering out of the category of the utilitarian and mundane and transports it to the realm of the beautiful and artistic. They increase the treatment’s depth by using layering, texture, and contrast, adding whole additional realms of possibilities to window decoration planning.

Resource: To create and install high quality cornices, valances, and swags in the greater New York area contact Royal Window Treatments; 180 Lexington Ave, 2nd Fl New York, New York 10016; (212) 473-1111; http://royaldecorators.com