Top Off The Look: Pelmets, Cornice Boards And Valances

Draperies, curtains, pelmets, cornice boards and valances can be looked upon as the  finishing accessory that pulls the look of a space together- much the way a pair of earrings or a singular gold cuff bracelet sets a fashion ensemble into style.

scalloped valanceTraditional Home

Draperies and curtains ( you say tomato, I say tomahto applies here) cover much more than windows- they make an open and shut case for adding pattern, texture, height, balance, and color to the space.  Pelmets, cornice boards and valances complement draperies and curtains while providing a stylish alternative for covering and concealing the sins of install mistakes, measurement mishaps and drapery hardware.

pelmetHouse Beautiful

Wood (i.e. plywood) is usually the material of  choice for the construction of cornice boards.  Cornice board shapes and styles range from box to scalloped which can be painted or covered with drapery fabric or upholstery.

decorative wooden cornice19th Century Louis XV Cache Rideaux Wooden Cornice

An architectural pediment has the decorative ability to be not only a focal point, but a cornice board of decorative distinction with minor modifications.

decorative pelmet pedimentAugustusBrandt Antiques

pediment

Decorative times have changed.  There is a breaking with the rule of perceived formality traditionally that is associated with the cornice board. As with most home decor and home furnishings, materials, design, form, construction, molding, upholstery, and embellishments can be dressed up or dressed down to reflect and the balance of the space and the desired look.

pelmets,cornice boards and valances

Dave the Builder and I saved our newlywed nickles and dimes up for custom drapes.  When we listed our house for sale I reserved the drapes. Those lined little darlings were coming with us regardless of  any measurement restrictions!  The window measurements of the space in the new house didn’t overly concern me.  Plan B was in the woodworks.  Dave the Builder built scalloped cornice boards using ½” plywood.  He covered the forms with batting, measured and cut the fabric, and stretched and stapled it in place.

fabric trim

While the glue gun heated up I measured and cut the finishing trim. Decorative upholstery trim is my go-to solution for beautifully embellishing and beautifully hiding a defective seam or less than perfect corner fold.

custom cornice board

For the DIY project minded, DIY Network has an excellent step by step guide to making a basic wooden cornice board here.   This is a smart option, the BCL Drapery Hardware Marion Custom Moulding Curtain Rod Cornice comes complete with decorative cornice and built-in curtain rod.

valanceTraditional Home

Valances and cornices share the common trait of purpose and position. Intended as a decorative option for concealing drapery hardware, a valance is made of fabric that runs the top length of the curtain or drape. Popular styles range from the casual loose and free flowing treatment, traditionally tailored, the structured balloon, ruffled, or scalloped design, pinch pleated, tied and tasseled, or a simple straight finished piece shirred on the rod.

valance window treatmentTraditional Home

Pelmets, cornice boards, and valances remain popular decorative choices to top off  and complete the total look of window treatments.

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