Sometimes window treatments need an extra dose of pizazz. With basic blinds, shades, or drapes, you may want to add something that makes them pop or helps them pull the room together. This is where valances come in. A valance is a short decorative element that affixes to the top of a window, typically along with another treatment such as blinds, shades, or drapes. Made of fabric, wood, or metal, valances cover the hardware at the head of window treatments and can add a bit of flair to otherwise subdued window coverings.
So why would you want a valance? Though they aren’t a necessity for window coverings, they do offer a few nice benefits. Firstly, they make windows look taller and rooms look bigger by drawing the eye upward and making it seem as though the window begins at the top of the valance (which is usually positioned slightly higher than the window’s true top). Secondly, they can add a stylish element to windows that have more simple window treatments. This lets homeowners add a touch of color or a contrasting note to make windows more glamorous, without having to commit to bold or busy window treatment fabrics.
There are two primary types of valances. One is the classic valance, also referred to as a top treatment, which looks like a short drapery hung from a rod to cover the top section of the window or window treatment. The other type of valance is called a fascia and is more like a headrail made with wood or metal and often wrapped in fabric, depending on style preferences. Beyond those categories, valances come in a lot of different styles and can be hung in many different ways, and they range in aesthetic from super traditional to clean and modern.
If you are looking for a traditional or formal accent to add to your windows, there are several different valance styles that fit the bill. Here are a few of the most popular options:
Scalloped: On scalloped valances, the fabric is cut in rounded edges.
Balloon: Balloon valances are made with lots of luxurious fabric draped and gathered together at different points.
Ascot: Ascot valances have fabric that is cut to come in three points.
Gathered: The fabric of fathered valances is cut wide and bunched at the top for a slight ruffled effect.
Roll-up: Also called a stagecoach valance, this type features a piece of fabric rolled up horizontally and typically held together with two ties. Often, this type of valance will have contrasting colors on each side of the fabric that both show when rolled up.
Valances don’t have to give off a traditional vibe. For those whose home is more modern, there are several sleek and fresh valances to choose from.
Tailored: Tailored valances feature simple, short rectangular pieces of fabric hung like drapes.
Fascia: Fascias are box-like headrails made of hard materials like wood or metal. Often they are wrapped in fabric to match coordinating window treatments or add an accent to the room.
Box pleated: Box-pleated valances have rectangular fabric sections that are lightly gathered at several points to make a gentle pleat. This detail adds elegance to the valance without looking old-fashioned.
Faux Roman shades: Faux Roman shades are pretty much as they sound: though they don’t function as true shades, they mimic the window treatment with several layers of pleated fabric.
Scarf valance: A scarf valance is a simple but elegant window accent with a piece of fabric draped around a curtain rod like a scarf, with tails hanging down on each side.
Though some home dwellers outfit windows with only a valance, we would not recommend this; the feature is best paired with other treatments for full window coverage and light control. Valances can work with any number of window treatments, but they are especially suited to roller shades, vertical and horizontal blinds and wood blinds, and simple or sheer drapes. In all cases, it’s important to have a high-quality valance made in a way that won’t interfere with the opening and closing of the window treatment they’re paired with.
To learn more about valances and how they might work with your windows, schedule a free consultation with one of Stoneside’s design experts.