Combining Hard and Soft Window Treatments

May 29th • 4 min read
Combining Hard and Soft Window Treatments
Combining Hard and Soft Window Treatments Combining Hard and Soft Window Treatments

Window treatments are generally broken into two categories: Hard and Soft treatments. Hard window treatments (wood/synthetic) include blinds, shutters, shades, and cornices. Soft window treatments (fabrics) include Roman shades, curtains, draperies, sheers, and valances. Hard and soft window treatments can be used individually, or they can be combined to create an attention-getting layered look with greater functionality.

These are the top reasons to layer window treatments:


cornice board

While a single window treatment can look great on its own, layering treatments will add more dimension and visual appeal. Adding draperies to a window with shades, for instance, will add softness. A valance or cornice (aka top Treatments) can add a pop of color or an interesting pattern that you might not otherwise achieve with a Shade/ Drapery/Curtain alone.

There are some aesthetic features that can only be accomplished with a certain treatment. Drapes (outside mounted), for example, need to be used if you’d like your windows to appear wider. Roman shades can make a window look taller. Layered together, they add great height and dynamic presence to a room.

Light Control

Different treatments provide different variations of light control. Layering different treatments allows you to unlock more light control options. A sheer woven wood shade or sheer curtains with functioning drapery panels, for instance, would provide both light-filtering and room darkening options.


blinds to darken room

There are several types of window coverings that can help darken a room but to achieve the best blackout conditions you will need to layer different treatments as well as overlap the window edges. Lined drapes and shades are a successful combination. Perhaps our favorite is a project that combines Plantation Shutters and blackout lined drapes. Or, you could combine blackout lined shades with outside mounted lined draperies or curtains for preferred effect.

Energy Efficiency

drapes banner

Up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling benefits can be lost through its windows. Well-constructed window coverings will actually enhance the energy efficiency of your home. When you double up on treatments, not only do you get more light control options and the aesthetic benefits, (to say nothing about privacy) you’ll also find that your home operates more efficiently. Motorized shades combined with drapes will have your energy bill shrinking.

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Hide Headrails

While many window treatments have functional headrails or traverse rods that look fine, many people prefer that they remain hidden. A beautiful set of drapery panels on a gorgeous drapery rod will steal the attention away from this. Preferably, a decorative cornice or valance will completely hide a headrail and add a striking impact to the window. Remember, not only are you trying to hide the ugly rod but you’re are hopefully framing a beautiful view!


When combining window treatments, it’s important to work with a professional who knows which ones work well together and how to position them correctly for the greatest appeal. Installation is always key, especially when layering treatments together. Custom Window Fashions would love to help you find the right combination of window treatments for your home. Contact us today for a complimentary (FREE) design consultation and to get started on your project. 407-970-6900.

Mary Nolan
WFCP Master

Every home has the potential to inspire

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See what our valued and satisfied clients have to say.