The difference between a cornice and a valance is in how a cornice is constructed. Unlike a valance, which is soft and flowy, a cornice is hard. That’s because a cornice is created by upholstering fabric over an ornamental box, usually made of wood, without leaving any fabric loosely hanging. A cornice can also be made by covering the box with wallpaper or painting it.
Like a valance, you could also opt to use a cornice by itself to add a little something extra to a window.
If you’d like a top treatment that offers less structure than a valance or cornice, then a swag’s for you. You can weave a swag loosely around a rod or drape it from tieback to tieback, either of which adds a soft feel to a room.
While you can certainly use a swag alone (especially if you’d like to showcase your window hardware), you can also pair a swag with blinds or shades.