Are you wondering what the difference between valances and cornices are? Or, are you in the dark about what these terms even mean? 🤔
These types of window treatments aren’t necessarily the first chapter in Window Treatments 101 — in fact, they’re just now making a comeback. But they’re so worth looking into! With these top treatments, you can instantly add a bit of decoration that uniquely caters to your home decor.
A Little History on Valances and Cornices
Both valances and cornices have been around forever. Okay, maybe not forever, but for hundreds of years!
Both types of window treatments were exceedingly popular in 16th century Europe. During this time period, opulence was everything. Therefore, they liked it where they could see it — in their homes, clothing, and adornments. For those who had the means, it was not uncommon to deck out living spaces with carefully selected decoration. We like to think of interior design as a somewhat modern term; however, home decorating was valued just as much then as it is now!
Drapery and top window treatments are the most decorative of all window treatments. In the early days of valances and cornices, functionality was not the point of these installations. It was all about creating a look that would make The Joneses jealous. Due to this style-above-all-else mentality, it’s no wonder that these attractive additions experienced a resurgence in popularity during the Victorian era.
With that being said, selecting these treatments for your windows doesn’t make you as snobby as say, Medieval royalty. It just means you have good taste.
These days, there are all kinds of variations on both valances and cornices, ranging in style from minimalist to baroque, and everywhere in between.
What are Valances?
Essentially, valances are the softer of the two treatments. They’re typically made of draped fabric, creating a luxurious look at the top of your windows. Valances are meant to be installed on top of existing window treatments, mainly because their function is purely aesthetic.
There are plenty of differences within the category of valances as well. Because these treatments use fabric, the way in which they’re draped can vary dramatically. Go for Kingston valances if you want to achieve an opulent look that’s reminiscent of the Victorian era. Or, if you’re a no-frills kind of person, Box pleats always create a strong look. These are just a couple of the many pleat styles that can be displayed in valances.
What are Cornices?
Next up, cornices! Okay, so they’re not too different than valances. Like the aforementioned option, these treatments cover the top part of your windows. Because of this, they’re also quite effective at hiding unsightly hardware and smoothing out the overall look of your windows.
Cornices are commonly called “the crown jewels of the window.” Fancy! Typically made of wood or other stiff materials, these treatments often give off a more structured look than their softer counterparts.
Just because they’re not drapery doesn’t mean they have to be drab!
You can absolutely achieve a sleek and modern look with cornices; however, these decorative add-ons come in unique designs as well. Why not try out a decorative Lambrequin option? Even the name is fun!
What’s the Difference?
There’s really one main difference to keep in mind; the material used. Remember, this element doesn’t only affect the way these treatments look — the material will also play a part in the installation, protection, durability, and other considerations.
You are now a Top Treatment Pro.
There you have it — you’re now a pro at understanding top treatments! It can be a toss-up between valances and cornices; both options offer plenty of benefits. But whichever selection you choose, we’re sure they’ll look pretty dang great. Who doesn’t like an added dose of decoration in their home?
Valances, cornices, and beyond
If there’s anything at all you’re still scratching your head about, Window Dressed Up is happy to clear up any concerns. Valances, cornices, and beyond — we’ve got you covered! Our interior window stylists know all about the ins and outs of window treatments, and can help you make the perfect selection for your home. Whenever a question strikes, just give us a call! We have answers.