Hanging Valances, Curtains and Drapes on Different kinds of Windows

Different Options for hanging Valances, Curtains and Drapes that I Hope Inspire

In response to a lot of interest and comments made on my May 3, 2011 post titled The Right Way to Hang Curtains and drapes (click here to read), I came up with some ideas that might further inspire you. My May 3, 2011 post covered mounting drapery rods and stack back. This post is more of a pictorial showing a number of different windows and possible ways of dressing them.

Illustrations 1 and 1A show a pair of double hung windows with a radiator under them. A pair (or two) of stationary drapes are hung on each side of the windows to frame them. A valance is hung close to the ceiling to cover the window frame and to give the illusion of height. Sheers are placed behind the valance and just go to above the top of the radiator. Roller shades could be mounted behind the sheers for privacy and light control.

Illustrations 2 and 2A show a window positioned to the left of an entry door. Double Left Side patio pull traverse rods are used for a sheer under curtain and top drape.

Some ideas for draping a Large Window

Illustrations 3 and 3A through 3E show a large window with triple transoms. Illustration 3A shows a decorative rod hung up close to the ceiling above the window. 3B shows a decorative rod that is hung across the top of the decorative molding that runs above the three lower windows. 3C shows scarfing fabric swagged up and across the outside edges of the molding surrounding the window.

Hanging Drapes and Valances

Illustration 3D shows three swag valances mounted inside the window molding. 3E shows scarfing fabric formed into rosettes and hung downward between the windows. To provide privacy and light control for window treatments, 3C, 3D, and 3E a bottom up and top down honey comb shade, fabric roller shade, roman shade, etc could be used.

Illustrations 4 and 4A depict how dissimilar windows are tied together by similar window treatments. Drapes and Balloon Valances are used on the large window and Balloon Valances are used above the smaller windows.

Swags and Jabots, Cornice Boxes, and Lambricans

Illustration 4 B shows windows topped by swags and jabots. This kind of window topping treatment could also be substituted for the balloon valances in illustration 4A.

Illustration 5 shows a cornice box. Cornice Boxes have a top, two sides and front; and are made of light weight wood, covered with upholstery batting and then fabric covered. They are held above a window with L shaped brackets mounted on the wall.

Illustrations 6A and 6B show two different styles of Lambricans. Lambricans are constructed of wood like  cornice boxes, but extend around 3 sides of a window or door. They are most often seen upholstered, but some are hand painted with designs.

Draping a corner window, Different ways to drape tall windows by a fireplace

Illustration 7 shows a pair of casement windows that form the corner of a room. Left and Right Patio Pull Traverse Rods move drapery fabric backward, exposing the windows.

Illustrations 8A through 8D show 4 possible ways of draping windows, in this case, next to a fireplace. 8A depicts a drapery panel pulled (left) away from the fireplace. 8B illustrates how two different pieces / colors of scarfing fabric are draped and braided on a decorative rod. Illustration 8C shows how a swag and jabot are mounted just below the top of an arched topped window. ( Notice how together the fabric swag and arched window form a round shape). 8D shows scarfing fabric tucked with florist wire and secured alongside the window frame with small WireBrads. Honey comb shades, fabric covered roller shades, Roman shades, etc would all be used along with the decorative window treatments to provide light and privacy control.

Draping that LARGE Great Room Window

Illustration 9 shows how stationary drapes are hung along side a modern version of a Palladium Window. The non-moving swags and drapery panels are mounted alongside the windows on decorative rods to soften the look.

Illustration 10 depicts 3 double hung windows topped by 3 transom windows. Swagging fabric could be draped from the top edge of the molding around the windows on decorative metal pull backs or knobs, or rosette forming hooks. The fabric hangs down from the top of the window to cover the top of the molding above the 3 windows below. I think this works because the scarfing fabric brings your eye up to the top of the window, but it also brings your eye downward as it forms the bottoms of the swags. This kind of decorative treatment adds softness to this architectural feature without adding visual weight.

I hope these visuals have spurred your imagination and given you some ideas on how to dress the windows in your house. They are just a starting point, it is all about what your mind’s eye can envision for your home. Now that I have shown your some possibilities, look through better decorating magazines and see what the professionals are doing. You will see in the magazines a lot of what I have covered here in this post.

Companion Posts
The Right way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011,
Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating on Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012,
Looking at the Different Sizes of Patterns used on Wallpaper and Fabric 3-20-2012,
Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper Patterns 4-13-2012
Pick (Use) Four colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011.

(Arranging Furniture)
Arranging Living Room Furniture, so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
Arranging Furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging Furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room 9-29-2012,
When Buying Living Room Furniture, FORGET the Loveseat, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
Arranging Furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot Long Living Room 2-5-2014,
It’s Easy to Arrange Furniture in a Square Living Room, Some Ideas that will Inspire You 11-29-2013

Matching the Right Shape End Table with a Table Lamp 1-12-2014,
The Right Height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Hanging Curtains and Drapes, Interior Decorating Principles. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Hanging Valances, Curtains and Drapes on Different kinds of Windows

  1. Karen Johnson says:

    Thanks for the effort! I really found both articles helpful. Again — thanks!

  2. Is it proper tp hang vertical @ bay window? measurement 91 width 52 lenght. not to the floor but, above radiator cover.

    • Hi there Marie, Like illustration 1A for this post, have the vertical blinds go to just above the radiator cover. You never want to block heating devices. Paint the radiator cover the exact same color as the verticals blinds so they all flows together as one, versus being two different elements. Good luck with your project, I hope my comment helps, not seeing your window ;-}

  3. MWTrautman says:

    I have windows with transoms and like the open look…. have had only blinds at these windows as I have enough privacy in the back. I now have decided they need some color but I only want to put up a valence. Is the valence hung above or below the transom? Thanks for your help.

    • Hi there MWT, Not seeing your space I have a small project for you. Take a sturdy yard stick and fold a towel over it to mimic a valance on a rod. Have someone go up on a ladder and hold the yard stick with towel over your transom to see how it looks to you, then under it. At that moment you will know which option you like. Good Luck and thanks for commenting;-}

  4. Jaime says:

    I have a couple questions about double rods…
    I am working with a client who dislikes drapery to project more than 3 1/3 o4 4″ from the wall. She wants to use black-out drapery panels with sheers behind them , so I need a double rod. I am having a hard time finding double rods that don’t extend more than 4″, so I am having custom brackets made. What is the ideal distance between the wall and the first rod? Distance between two rods of outermost will have rings ( ring diameter 1.5″) ?

    • Jaime says:

      Sorry that is suppose to read ” 3.5″ to 4″ from the wall”

    • Hi there Jamie, I wrote the posts on curtain and drapery hanging to help out the do it yourself, every day person, like my sister, neighbors and friends. I don’t know where you are going to get the rod for your “I want it only this way” client. When rods are manufactured for the public, they most likely are made to work in most situations, with most kinds of drapery fabrics. Wanting something that is out of the norm, it might not work in the end. Thinking about, can you put a tension rod, or some kind of stationary rod behind the black out panels, and mount the sheer panels on them; even if they don’t move, they will work to provide privacy control a bit and not take up much space? That’s the best I can offer, good luck with the client and project.

  5. Sandy Reynolds says:

    Hi, I live in a 1950’s house and have windows with 5″ boards around them. My ceilings are 9 feet tall. Where do I put the curtain rod bracket? On the wood board or on the plaster wall outside the
    wood board?

    • Hi there Sandy, sorry to have taken soo long to replied, but I’m overwhelmed with projects and events at this time. It’s hard for me to even get on the computer, forget putting up an article. Not knowing how wide your window is, I feel you will be mounting your rod out onto the wall, not on the 5 inch molding. When you open your curtain/drapes you will only want to open them up to, and not expose the vertical moldings running along your window. Good luck with your project ;-]

  6. Jenni says:

    I have a three windows in a bay like setting in my kitchen. There is a foa ceiling 15 inches above those windows. On the connecting wall there is a Sliding Glass Patio Door with a Transom. The top of the Transom is the same height as the foa ceiling in the bay area. However the actual ceiling for both the patio door and bay window area is two feet higher than the foa ceiling and top of transom.
    I was thinking of hanging fabric roman shades at the top of the foa ceiling for each window in the bay area. Then same fabric drapes at the sides of the Patio Door. How high should I hang the drapes? I’d like to go about 12 inches higher than the top of the transom to take advantage of the ceiling height, but I don’t want it to look awkward with the two heights.

    • Hi there Jenni, not seeing your space, but trying to draw what you described on a piece of paper, this is what I’ve come up with. Instead of hanging the Roman shades on the edges of the woodwork that surrounds the three windows in the bay window area, hand them right from the top of the ceiling in the bay window area. That will give the illusion the windows are even taller. On the Sliding glass door with transom, hand the drapes there at the top of the transom so the top of the bay window drapes and drapes by the window with transom are at the same level. If you can, hand a long narrow picture, a collection of plates, some kind of horizontal format wall sculpture, etc over the window treatments in both places to draw the eye upward. By putting something above the bay window and over the sliding glass patio door, you will be stacking elements vertically which will draw the eye upward. Look at these posts I’ve written, they might help you. Interior Decorating is All about EQUAL Balance and It’s Easy to Decorate a Room with a tall Ceiling. Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but my blog is about inspiring people, and hopefully getting them thinking about things, so they can then do their own thing. Thanks for the comment, and I hope things work out for you ;-}

  7. Melissa says:

    Thank you for providing this site. It’s been extremely helpful. I’ve been lookingf for this kind of help forever. Again thank you .

  8. how far below a window ledge should a curtain hang if u don’t want to take it to the floor

  9. Karen says:

    HI Fred! I’m trying to figure out how far beyond the window my rods should extend. I’m working with a corner window that’s really uneven, 5 ft 1 inch on the left side of the corner, and 15 inches on the right. I don’t want the curtains to seem out of balance, even though the window width varies greatly. I used to have blinds before the remodel, but I want to switch to drapery. It’s street facing so I’ll be using curtains that provide privacy. Any suggestions?

    • Hi there Karen, You never said how wide your window was, just the amount of wall space you have, if I read your comment right. I would say, match the color of your curtains to the color of your walls exactly, so the curtains blend into the walls, versus being a focal point. The eye will look across the wall and window space, and not differentiate the different wall elements.

      • Karen says:

        thank you for your reply! I’m sorry, I should have been more clear: the windows meet in the corner, the width of window A is 5 feet 1 inch, the width of window B is 15 inches; they are both 4 feet 4 inches high, with Mission style trim. One big window, and one small window. I have plenty of wall space beyond the windows, but I’m not sure how to measure how far the rod should extend on each side. Should I get curtains that are equal width for each side, even though it will be more fabric than I need for window B, so that the curtains are equal width when stacked? Should I just give up and have blinds again?

      • Hi there Karen, after trying to make a quick sketch on a piece of paper of what I think your windows possibly look like, I think you should mount a bottom up-top down honeycomb styled shade in the window areas for privacy control. Next I think, (not seeing your room) that you should mount a decorative rod above the big window and the small one, and have the two rods meet each other in the corner, so they look like one (if you can do that), or have finials touching each other in the corner of the room. As for stack back, have it set for about 18 inches out on the left side of the big window and 18 inches to the right of the small window. Buy four pairs of drapery panels and hand two to the left of the big window and two to the right of the small window just to have fabric framing your window. They will not ever open or close, just stay in place. The fabric will not be overpowering but add softness to your room. I hope what I’ve come up will work for you. Best of luck with your decorating project ;-}

      • Karen says:

        Thank you so much, Fred, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your guidance and support. This sounds like a great solution, and I can go forward with confidence!

  10. Eriel Ashurov says:

    Hi, I have a living room that have had two curtains hosted on a rail that closed overlapping each other to seperate the room from the corridor. Then that broke, and i purchased a curtain rod, but was hit with a dilemma that i cant overlap the curtains anylonger, so i wanted to figure out a way to overlap the two curtains whilst using a rod. The length of the space on the prior rail was 90″. I was thinking of using two rods (one for each curtain, and having them overlap in the middle with some sort of center double bracket, but i cant find a center double bracket that achieves an overlap, all i can find is just a double bracket thats straight. May anyone please suggest anything on my dilemma?

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