An often overlooked feature for drapery panels is the drapery return. It is not uncommon that designers and purchasing agents will have some confusion around this term. Though, in theory, it is rather straight forward and even overlooked due to its simplicity. A clear grasp on the terms meaning and usage will help assure the design also has the function of light fastness.
Drapery Returns are simply extra fabric on the end of a drapery treatment that turns the corner from the hardware and ‘returns’ to the wall. Drapery returns should exist on the end of all drapery treatments, opposite of the traversing direction. These returns are made in different widths depending upon the distance a treatment is from the wall which is usually dependent upon the number of treatments. For more information check out our blog ‘How much Space Needs to Exist Between Drapery Treatments?’.
Do notice that we have spoken of returns as if they are assumed, and they are most of the time, but you should always follow up with the drapery manufacturer as the drapery return is essential to block light leakage on the side of windows. There are a few different times where returns are not used. These include on treatments that are spanning wall to wall (sometimes a small return is used and only on the treatment closest to the room), and never on the traverse side of a panel. Returns are also not to be assumed on stationary side panels although they are commonly specified that way so that the drapery has a clean finished look on the sides.
Although drapery returns are common place it is still always a good idea to include them on drapery specifications to ensure your design comes off because they cannot be added after the fact.