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Custom valances have been around since the renaissance era and they are still in style today. A designer valance can add softness and beauty to most any area of your home. Make your space cozier with a window covering that has stood the test of time.

Valance noun | va·lance | Pronounced ˈva-lən(t)s

Origin – Uncertain. Probably from Anglo-Norman valaunce, valence, from valer meaning “go down, let down”. Also, taken from Old French – avalier “
to descend, go-down.”

A valance can be more simply defined as a short drapery used as a decorative heading. As if it weren’t confusing enough, custom valances are also referred to as top treatments, cornices, swags, mock-Romans, and toppers. As Steve Jobs once said “People don’t always know what they want until you show it to them.” Often showing pictures of many styles, in a variety of patterns and colors in different room settings, help in selecting the right valance.

Coordinate Custom Valances with Drapery Fabrics

The bottom line is – to finish a room, sometimes a “top” fabric treatment can be used and provide just the right amount of fabric, color, softness, texture, and depth to a window or even sliding door. Depending on the style or décor in a room, more or less fabric can be used. For a more modern look, a cornice board, typically a three-sided box (top, front, and sides) wrapped in dacron for softness and covered in a fabric will do the trick. If a tailored look is desired, a flat valance with inverted or kick pleats in contrasting fabric and decorative tape or banding can also work. For a slightly more transitional look, a mock Roman (think stationary Roman shade) can cover as much or as little of the window and it’s also great way to really showcase a gorgeous print. For those more traditional, a version of a swag adds more fabric with jabots or tails that help to soften a window even further as shown below.

Accentuate Windows with Fabric Valances

Determining how high, wide, and long to make a valance depends on the size of the window and room. Other considerations about light and where they can be mounted are important. Valances can be attached to a wood board (that’s hidden) or a decorative rod that adds to the overall aesthetic value of the treatment. Decorative valances can complement or contrast other decorative accessories. Certain fabrics really accentuate a window or design accent.

From the simplest design, where the fabric may be the star, to the more complex look when a solid or tone on tone pattern is best, valances are very popular and have staying power. Window valances are created appropriately to the scale and proportion of a window and room. They can be the perfect finishing touch to a room setting or décor and will be enjoyed for many years! It’s a tried-and-true window treatment that never seems to go out of style.