How to make curtains, curtains design, curtain needs, curtain styles

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Valances, Cornices, Swags and that Built-in Look

Valances, Cornices, Swags and that Built-in Look
Valances, Cornices, Swags and that Built-in Look
Today when a smooth, unified look is one of the things we expect from a good room, built-in bookcases, desks, and even furniture, are designed to suit it. We attempt to make furnishings seem so natural to the room that they are actually part of its architecture. Curtains and draperies help to achieve this smooth-flowing atmosphere, and when they too appear to be built in, the feeling is enhanced. Cornices and valances go a long way towards uniting the drapery with the wall, relating the window to the rest of the room.

They not only conceal the mechanics of the drapery operation, the rods and hooks, and the window frame itself (which is apt to be anything but ornamental in an older house or apartment), but they unite two or more windows, making them seem one large unit, and they can be used decoratively to echo a color or wallpaper or fabric pattern in the room. As they are, in a way, part of the architecture of the room, they must be used judiciously.

You can actually use your wall paper to cover a wood or metal cornice or valance board, or you can cover the boards with a correlated drapery material. Many firms are now producing wallpapers and fabrics in exact duplicates, and some fabric houses have groups of three correlated fabrics so that you can match your valance and drapery in complementary colors and weaves.

Other ideas include mounting a group of small framed prints or photographs on your valance; using stripes on a bias to match vertically striped draperies; using the expensive fabric you could not afford for draperies in your valances; covering them with the new wallpapers that simulate marble, brick, etc. If you make a hobby of finishing woods, you might give an interesting wood finish to a plain pine cornice.

You can buy unpainted hardwood cornices and valance boards at the hardware counter of the drapery section of your department store. Some stores even have assembled cornices with traverse rods installed.

If you buy a ready-made cornice, it is safest to get an adjustable one.

Valances, Cornices, Swags and that Built-in Look
Valances, Cornices, Swags and that Built-in Look
Just to make things clear, valances, cornices and swags are variations of the same thing, the top finish of the window. A valance may be either hard or soft, depending on whether it hangs from a wooden board or not. When it is a curving piece of material with draped ends it is a swag, and when a swag is held at either corner by rings it is a festoon. A cornice is  usually a valance of straight rectangular shape with the board parallel to the window whereas the valance board is at right angles to the window like a shelf. Valances are often used to make a tall window seem shorter, and to make a high ceiling lower. Swags provide color contrast and interest to draperies without headings.

If you or your husband is at all handy with carpentry tools, it is simple enough to make your own cornice, however, since you need only nail together three boards, each about % inch thick. The two side boards will be about 6 inches long, the front board the width you wish the cornice to be. If you want to make your cornice adjustable, take 3 boards for the front piece, and nail them together with the center one on top, and overlapping the other two. To make the cornice shorter, increase the amount of overlapping. Decrease it to make it longer, pulling out the nails. Cornice brackets for attaching the cornice, or valance, to the wall, may be bought in hardware stores and many stores carry them. One part of the bracket plate is attached to the wall; the other to the cornice, and a screw fits through holes in each.  

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