How do you choose? Several factors go into making this decision.

1. Light Control and Privacy

Panels are decorative, framing the window beautifully. But because they do not close, a blind or shade would need to be added to control light or add privacy. In this case, stationary panels will cover light or privacy gaps that may exist on the sides of the undertreatment.

Traversing draperies close over the window, providing excellent privacy and light control. Different effects can be created based on your choice of drapery lining. A translucent lining will filter the light and cut glare whereas a blackout lining will darken the room.

2. Climate Control

Heat is drawn to cold. Heat can build up during the summer when the sun streams through your windows, and heat escapes in the winter through the glass. If this is a concern, traversing draperies are a better choice for climate control. Because these draperies fully close and you have lining options, heat transfer can be reduced to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

3. Budget

If your client loves a certain drapery fabric but there are budget concerns, consider side panels. They use less fabric, making them more economical.

If light control or privacy are needed, however, an undertreatment will be required. Remember to add all costs together and then compare to traversing drapery in the same fabric for an accurate estimate.

4. Stackback

Stackback is the amount of space taken up by the fabric on the sides of the window when the draperies are open. Traversing drapery typically stacks to approximately one-third of its full width. For example, drapery that is 99″ wide when closed will take up about 33″ of space when pulled open.

If you don’t have the space to stack the drapery where you want it, then stationary side panels are a great alternative because they remain at the width you specify.

5. Drapery Header Style

There are recommended applications for every drapery header style.

If you use a style that is recommended for stationary side panels as traversing drapery, there are consequences. The header may include pleats or folds that do not stack when the draperies are pulled open. The draperies may require significant hand dressing each time they are repositioned.

The chart below outlines the recommended application for each drapery header style. Following the recommendations will yield the best results. If you decide to use a Stationary style as a traversing drapery, be sure you understand the implications and manage your client’s expectations.