Window Valances Guide

window valance
A valance is a short treatment across the top of a window that acts as a border to the decoration on the window area. Generally, we think of valances being made of fabric however, other materials such as wood, tile, etc. are also used. While curtains or shades cover the main part of the window area, valances across the top tend to “finish off” the decoration and add interest or luxury to the window treatment.

Many Varieties of Valances

There are almost as many varieties of valances for windows as there are styles of decorating and they can be used in any room. Some prefer country or simple styles and may choose fabrics such as cotton or homespun. For a more formal style, the valance window treatments may be constructed of rich textures, laces, or satins. Valances can fit in any décor and the design is only limited by the creator’s ingenuity.

Selecting Window Valances

Generally, the valance is placed at the top of the window treatment and may either blend with the fabric of the curtains or be a contrast to it. The actual window treatment may be fabric, vertical or mini blinds, honeycomb shades, bamboo, or almost any other material one may desire. When choosing a valance to complement the treatment, one must think about the style you are hoping to achieve.

While some valances are very simple such as fabric pleated onto a rod, others are very elaborate. If you are purchasing your valances from a ready-made department you will find many different designs offered. There are filmy scarves or sheers to drape gracefully across the top of the window, as well as swags of sheer or opaque materials. The blouson and waterfall styles drape down. Then there is the ascot style, which looks much like the ascot men used to wear with their jackets.

Window Valance Ideas

Some window valance styles are layered with different fabrics on top of one another, as with the Peek-a-boo style offered by Waverly which allows a different fabric to peek through behind the ruffled edges. If your window style is more formal or tailored, you may want to search for something less frilly. Tab top valances provide a sophisticated look but in a much more conservative manner. Some valances have grommets across the top and a rod is run through the grommets. This adds interest to the window but in a more tailored and contemporary manner.

Valances and Spaces

One consideration is what room the valance is to be used in. Kitchens, bedrooms, and nurseries are often less formal than living rooms, dining rooms, or dens. Just as you choose fabric for your upholstery or window coverings, you will need to make the valances fit with the décor. Sometimes, the valance is designed to contrast with the window treatment but more often it is either the same fabric with added detail or a fabric specifically designed to blend with the window treatment.

While the valance can add great finishing detail to a window treatment, it can also be jarring if the valance does not work with the treatment. For example, if one had pink bunny rabbits in the fabric on a window and decided to put an English hunting print on the valance, it most certainly would contradict the design. However, the children’s print with a nice fabric valance in a complementary color might be very nice indeed. Designing is an art and valances are one of the tools of the artist.

Do It Yourself
diy window valance
We have been talking about fabric valances, but it is also possible to construct a valance from a nicely finished piece of wood, or by covering a wooden valance with beautiful fabric or other materials. You can easily construct such a valance yourself, as well as make many of the fabric valances. Directions are available in both fabric stores and online.

Popular Choice

One of the most famous designers and producers of valances is the Waverly Company. Waverly window valances are offered in many stores and can be found easily online. They offer a large variety of styles and fabrics and you may order just the fabric to construct your own valance if you wish.
If you want to make your windows look professionally done, one of the most effective methods is to finish off the window treatment with a valance. It need not be expensive and can move your room from ordinary to exceptional.

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