A Design Guide To Window Treatment Valances

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Valances are decorative mini-curtains that drape across the top of a curtain rod. Unlike full sized curtains, valences hang down only a short distance, and are designed purely for aesthetic appeal, rather than privacy or light blackage. Their basic function is simply to cover the curtain rod and add a decorative, often dramatic flair to windows. 

Valance designs can be as simple or as elaborate you want, and should be appropriately styled for the theme of the room you place them in. While most home interiors with valances are formal and traditionally styled, adjusting the fabric, color and pattern of your valance will create the perfect match for your home's style. When selecting a valance, consider the following:

What color best compliments the surrounding room?

  • Stick to neutral colors for formal, traditional rooms. Try gold, silver, white, tan, ligght brown or light green.
  • Bright colors look best in casual and relaxed rooms. Try bright blue, green, yellow, red or purple for a fun look.
  • Dark, dramatic colors work well in modern styled, or ornate, formal rooms. Try black, deep red and deep purple.

What material best fits the theme of the home?

  • Shiny material often adds falir to the window treatment, but can appear overbearing in an otherwise casually styled room. Try simple cotton for relaxed settings, and keep the satin to formal dining rooms and living rooms. 
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What patterns flatter the surrounding room?

  • If you choose a valance with a patterned fabric, ensure that the pattern is not too busy or overwhelming, and depicts images, symbols or patterns that compliment the existing theme of the room. Plain, unpatterned valances are a safe way to ensure they won't clash with other fabrics in the room. 

Valances are available at many retailers, including:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond 
  • Dillard's 
  • Neiman Marcus 
  • Victoria Linen 
  • R. Hopkins and Company. 

They can also be found at discount stores like Target and Walmart. All of the above mentioned companies offer a wide variety of energy-efficient, custom-made window treatments. Another option is to order your window treatments online. These days, even Amazon sells window treatments, allowing you to shop for valances from the comfort of your own home. 

Window valances can cost as little as five dollars, depending on the size, quality and store you purchase them at, but may range up to about 50 dollars and upward. Of course, if you are determined to have the very best and willing to pay for it, you can get valances of the finest quality.

Valances and Other Window Treatments

Window treatments are categorized into two basic types - hard and soft. This distinction is made on the basis of the rigidity of the material used to treat the window and its texture. To interior decorators, a window treatment can include a variety of elements.

Soft window treatments include:

  • Curtains
  • Draperies
  • Sheer curtains
  • Valances

Hard treatments include:

  • Blinds
  • Shutters
  • Cloth screens
  • Roller shades

Decorative window valances are a great way to dress up your windows with more than curtains. Hide the curtain rod and add depth and flair to your window treatments by selecting an appropriately colored, styled and patterned valance to match the room around it. 

Last Updated: January 20, 2012
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