Picking the right kind of valance for your room is important, but what’s equally important is how you hang it. You can pick the most luxurious fabric and trimmings for your valance, but it will all be pointless if you hang the valance incorrectly.
So how high should you hang your valance? If you have 8-foot ceilings, the valance should be installed close to the ceiling. This translates to 1 to 2 inches below the ceiling line or crown molding. You’ll have more freedom to hang the valance as you desire in a room with higher ceilings, but it’s best to still hang it high. With 9- or 10-foot ceilings, the valance should hang at least halfway between the top of the window and ceiling.
Let’s break this recommendation down and simplify it.
Why We Want Our Valances to Hang High
Valances need to frame the window, not cover its view. They need to be complementary to the window, not work against it. If your room only has an 8-foot ceiling, then a valance needs to be complementary to the ceiling as well and make up for its flaws.
It should draw your eye up so that the room appears taller than it really is, not make you feel claustrophobic in the room. In this kind of room, a valance should look like the illustration on the right rather than like the one on the left.
The examples below show how a valance should look in a room with a standard 8-foot ceiling.
In these examples, the window itself doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling, but it appears that way thanks to the way the valance was installed. Let’s break this down further with an illustrated example.
Recommendation for 8-Foot Ceilings
Here, the 8-foot ceiling required that the valance be installed as high as possible. The valance was installed right underneath the crown molding, exposing only about 1 inch of the gray wall right above the top of the valance board. The valance itself was 19 inches long and covered just enough of the top of the window frame to create the illusion of height. This is why it’s so important for a valance to be long enough.
If you buy a short 15-inch long valance, you’ll have a hard time replicating this recommendation. But what if you have a higher ceiling?
Recommendation for 9-Foot Ceilings and Higher
With a 9-foot ceiling, installing the valance near the ceiling is less of an issue. If your valance is installed halfway between the window and crown molding in this case, it will still hang high enough and create the illusion of height to the room.
If you have a long valance, by all means take advantage of its length and install it as high as possible. But the solution below is also the right way to hang the valance.
Hopefully, these illustrations have helped you determine exactly where on the wall you should install your valance. Consider these as recommendations coming from the professional side of the window treatment industry only – they’re not exact rules.
Lastly, here are a few more tips that can help you adjust this recommendation to better suit your home and overall design.
Align Your Valances and Draperies
It’s increasingly popular nowadays to combine valances and draperies, but on separate windows. Typically, valances are used for narrow or standard windows, while draperies are used for extra wide windows or rows of French doors.
If this is the case, you’ll want to hang all your window treatments at the same height to stay consistent, even if they’re hung on windows on the opposite side of the room.
This faux shade valance was installed to match the height of the draperies on the adjacent wall.
Don’t Cover Transom Windows Unless You Really Want To
Transom windows are a positive feature of a room. You shouldn’t cover them unless you really want to or there’s a thick separation between the two windows that you’d like to cover. But otherwise, follow the same rules from above, treating the transom window as part of the rest of the window. Remember, you want a valance to draw your eye up and create the illusion of height in a room whenever possible.
The swags on this dining room window were hung well above the transom windows.
Install Kitchen Valances That Go Over Your Sink A Few Inches Lower
If you plan on hanging a valance directly over a kitchen sink, you’ll want to install it a few inches lower than the illustrations recommended above. It should look similar to the examples below.
As you can see, we’re only talking about two to four inches here. Don’t take this recommendation too far and block the kitchen window. If the drop of the valance is starting to intrude on the bottom half of the kitchen window, you’ve gone too far and installed the valance too low.
You might be asking, why do these few inches matter? It’s for aesthetic reasons. You’ll be looking up at the valance while washing the dishes. The last thing you want is to see the window frame from this angle.
Hanging the valance just a few inches lower will help solve this problem. Follow this same recommendation for other windows that you’ll frequently look at from below. Windows next to toilets and bathtubs and windows right over sofas and beds fall under this category.
Take Functionality Into Consideration
Your valance shouldn’t make it hard to open a window or door if you have to do this frequently. Install it high enough so that you can swing a door or window open without any problems, like the faux shade valance below.
Custom valances can be installed over sliding doors without being annoyingly obstructive. The gold fringe on the drop of the valance in the above example is exactly 6 feet and 1 inch from the floor. This is more than enough to let the homeowners walk through the door without any problems.