“Soft window treatments” are defined as being purely decorative in nature. The one
exception is functional draperies which open and close to cover your entire window(s) or
sliding glass doors. There is a small selection of 'ready-made' draperies which can be
purchased at specialty or department stores, however, they are generally single panel
draperies generally sold in three (3) standard lengths; these are good for small windows
or decorative purposes only. In order to obtain functional opening and closing draperies,
you almost always need to custom order in the length and width of your window or doors.
These types of fully lined-draperies are the one exception of a soft window treatment being
Soft window treatments can 'finish' a room by adding aesthetic warmth, infusion of color and pigment, texture, patterns in fabric, coordination for the room and sound absorption.Examples of soft window treatments would include: Lined drapery side panels (whether they are plain panels with rod pockets, or pinch pleat panels or have trims or other interesting add-ons to introduce an interesting focal point to the room); Swags; Cascades, etc.
These types of ‘treatments’ are decorative only and provide no functionality, as described above. Their job is to frame a window and its view much like a regular frame, they frame around the picture or painting to enhance the artwork it surrounds. A good soft window treatment will not cover glass, or obstruct the view, it's job is to enhance the room. Even functional draperies should be able to fully open and expose the glass and the view beyond the window to let in light and retain the enjoyment of the view outside the home.
Read about Hard Window Treatments here