Decorative treatments

Fundamentals of Art and Design 3(1+2)


Decorative treatments

Decorative treatments for curtains and draperies are used to add element of elegance, dignity, formal variety, design, color, and pattern and thus beautify the interior. They are swags and jabots valances, pelmets, and ornamental rods.

Swags & Jabots

Traditionally, swags and jabots are found on more formal window treatments; the choice of fabric and the method of hanging or draping the fabric make the swag/jabot combination suitable for any window. Refer to Fig.9.9, swags and Jabots are explained as follows.

A swag is a piece of fabric that drapes over a decorative rod or is pleated onto a mounting board that spans across the top of a window.

A simple type of valances consists of length of pliable material carried across the top of one or more windows, passed through festoon rings or holders of plastic, wood or metal, possibly tied in a knot and allowed to hang down to whatever length is desired. Swags may be used alone or with blinds, shades, curtains or draperies. It is suitable more for formal window treatments.

Jabots can be separate fabric pieces or simply the opposite ends of the swag that fall down along the sides of the window in soft folds or pleats. The term jabot refers to a short section of fabric that falls in soft folds at the outside of a window treatment. They may be pleated or draped lengths of fabrics that hang down the side of the window.


As the top parts of the window treatments are often unattractive in appearance, they are sometimes concealed by means of valances. A fabric valance may consist of gathered or pleated ruffle (Refer Fig 9.10) or shaped piece stiffened.

Valances are the most versatile window dressings; Valances vary in length and shape and are used alone or over the top of shades, curtains, drapes or even mini blinds. A valance is hung across the top of a window, often covering curtain hardware. A valance can be pleated, gathered or draped from a rod or it can be stapled to a mounting board or a shaped piece stiffened with back rum may be used.

Curves seam best suited to period rooms. Straight lines are used with contemporary settings. To the basic frame work, tassels, braid and ball-fringe can be added.


A basic valance is a straight or shaped, short fabric panel that can be stapled flat to a mounting board or sewn with a rod pocket opening. (See the upper treatment in figure.

A scarf valance usually consists of a 6- to 8-yard length of fabric draped over a decorative rod, which hangs over a sconce or is held with special swag holders. A scarf valance is often used as top treatment with shades, draperies or curtains.


A pelmets is a length of stiffened fabric which is hung above the curtains to conceal the curtain track and help balance the proportions of the window. It can be simply or elaborately shaped and is attached to a pelmet board.

Ornamental rod:

Ornamental rod is used for full length draperies and looks good. Therefore, they serve as a substitute for a valance. A large variety of rods made out of material such as wood, metal and plastics are available in the market at varied prices. It is important to plan the window treatment carefully and to choose the fixtures that are most suitable for the desired effect. Traverse rods allow easy flow while drawing curtains and draperies across the window. On a two way draw rod, the curtains will meet at the center.

Last modified: Saturday, 18 February 2012, 7:01 AM