What are "Cornices" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 30-May-2024 ( ago)
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Textile Cornices: An Elegant Frame to Interior Artistry

The Aesthetic Appeal of Cornices in the Textile Industry


Cornices, a salient component in the sphere of textile-based interior design, have left indelible marks on aesthetics and functionality. This discourse aims to expound on the story of cornices, examining its history, the variety of types, meticulous handling, notable international manufacturers, and diverse applications. It is an exploration into the enduring relevance of cornices in the dynamic landscape of the textile world.

The History and Origin of Cornices in Textiles

Tracing its roots back to ancient Greek and Roman architecture, the cornice, meaning 'ledge' in Italian, was originally a horizontal decorative molding crowning buildings. Over time, this architectural element made its way into interiors, including in the form of textile cornices. The transition of cornices to textiles became popular in the late 17th century, especially in Europe, as a decorative and practical window treatment. These fabric-covered cornices added elegance to drapery arrangements and were especially prominent in grand households and institutions.

Types of Cornices

  • Fabric-Covered Cornices: These are the most common type, offering the ability to match or contrast with the drapes or other interior elements.
  • Upholstered Cornices: These add a plush, opulent touch to interiors and are often used in luxury settings.
  • Padded Cornices: These are typically fabric-covered cornices with padding added for depth and dimensionality.

Tips for Handling Cornices

  • Avoid exposure to excessive sunlight to prevent fading and degradation of the fabric.
  • Regularly dust and vacuum to keep the fabric looking fresh and clean.
  • If necessary, professional cleaning is recommended to prevent damage to the fabric and construction.

Profiles of Major International Manufacturers or Users

  • The Shade Store: Renowned for their high-quality window treatments, The Shade Store provides custom-made cornices in a variety of fabrics and designs, catering to a diverse clientele.
  • Smith & Noble: Specialising in custom window treatments, Smith & Noble offers a selection of cornices in various styles, from simple to ornate.
  • Rowley Company: As a leading supplier in the window treatment industry, Rowley Company provides a range of cornice kits and supplies, enabling customers to create their own custom designs.
  • Lutron: Known for their smart home solutions, Lutron also provides elegant fabric cornices as part of their shading solutions, merging technology and aesthetics.
  • Hunter Douglas: As a major player in the window treatments industry, Hunter Douglas offers custom cornices in a range of fabrics and styles, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of their window coverings.

Applications of Cornices in Textiles

  • Window Treatments: Cornices are commonly used to add a finished look to window treatments, hiding hardware and adding a decorative touch.
  • Interior Decoration: Apart from windows, cornices can also be used to accentuate doorways, beds, and art pieces, adding a sense of grandeur and opulence.
  • Architectural Enhancement: Cornices can be used to highlight architectural features of a room, enhancing its visual appeal.


From their architectural roots to their current applications in textile design, cornices have seamlessly blended form and function, carving out an integral role in the world of interior design. Their enduring appeal is a testament to their versatility and the aesthetic depth they contribute. Not merely decorative elements, cornices hold a functional role in enhancing the overall appeal of window treatments and the architectural finesse of a space. With an array of styles, they cater to diverse aesthetic preferences, serving as an essential element in creating harmonious and appealing interiors. As the evolution of textiles continues to shape our spaces, the humble cornice stands as a reminder of the profound impact of textile application in our lived environments. In the constant interplay of tradition and innovation, the cornice remains a relevant and resonant thread in the vibrant tapestry of textile design.

The molding across the top edge of casework, sometimes called cornice molding or crown molding.
A decorative framework at the top of a window casing.

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