Ideas for Pelmets

Updated July 20, 2017

A pelmet, often called a lambrequin or catonniere, is a flat expanse of stiffened fabric hung from a wooden shelf above a window and returning to the wall on either side to conceal the drapery and curtain tops and any exposed drapery hardware. It can also extend down either side of the window as far as the sill or the floor. The flat surface of the pelmet makes it excellent for displaying the continuity of a fabric pattern that is lost to the eye when gathered in matching draperies that hang below.

The Crown Molding Pelmet

In a room with a crown moulding where the wall meets the ceiling, the moulding can be mitred at a 90-degree angles to extend out onto the ceiling the desired number of inches at one side of a window, mitred again to continue on the ceiling in front of the window and then mitred to return to the wall on the other side, creating a horizontal frame to receive the pelmet board. Thus framed, this makes the pelmet, and the treatment hanging below it, "marry" to the architecture of the room. This is especially desirable in period rooms with elaborate crown mouldings and creates striking, and often heavily ornate, ceiling-to-floor window treatments.

The Pelmet With Side Panels

A pelmet with side panels not only covers the top of the window, but also falls on either side as far as the sill to frame the sides of the window completely. Also called a lambrequin, it can be used effectively with floor-length drapery treatments. However, it is often used alone, in less formal applications, to frame sill length blinds or roman shades.

The Quilted Pelmet

Rather than using buckram to stiffen a patterned fabric, the pattern can be outline-quilted to highlight the motif, and the batting employed in the quilting process gives the pelmet the desired stability to maintain its shaping. This is especially advantageous for displaying floral motifs that lose continuity of detail when gathered in the folds of the matching side panels that hang below.

The Floor-Length Pelmet

A Pelmet can be made with side panels, or "legs", that extend all the way to the floor. Often called a catonniere, the floor-length pelmet, like the sill-length lambrequin, can be used with draperies, but is often used alone to frame a French door.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Interior Designer Michael Foley began writing in 1964 and has been publishing informative design-related articles since becoming "Redbook Magazine's" Home Furnishings Editor. He wrote for CBS Television and "The Herald" in New York and his writing has appeared in "Architectural Digest," "Palm Beach Life" magazine and the "Palm Beach Post." Foley studied at Niagara University and the New York School of Interior Design.