Fringe trims typically start at 1-inch lengths, although those are usually the scalloped, less detailed ones. Most can go up to 6 inches – those are usually your chunky bullion fringes, or fringes with elaborate tassels or crystal beads. However, for most custom valances, fringe trims that are between 1-1/2 and 4 inches long are most commonly used.
But what kind of length should you choose for your custom valance project?
At least in our experience, it boils down to two things:
- how long is the fringe relative to the valance length,
- and how elaborate is the valance style?
In this post, we’ll discuss those two important factors and why they matter.
How Long Is the Fringe In Relation to the Valance Length?
Fringe trims should be accent pieces to a valance.
A fringe trim that’s 4 inches long simply has no business being added to a short 12-inch valance. It belongs on a longer valance that’s at least 21 inches long or so.
It’s all about proportions. Our recommendations are as follows (the length of the valance is measured at its SHORTEST point):
- 1 to 1-1/2-inch fringe trims are best for valances at least 10 inches long,
- 1-1/2- to 2-inch fringe trims are best for valances at least 13 inches long,
- 2-1/2-inch fringe trims are best for valances at least 15 inches long,
- 3-inch fringe trims are best for valances at least 18 inches long,
- 3-1/2-inch fringe trims are best for valances at least 20 inches long,
- and 4-inch fringe trims and longer are best left for heavier, more elaborate valances at least 22 inches long.
Now, those are our opinions only, from our past 20 years sewing window treatments. These are not set rules but should be an important factor when making your decision.
How Elaborate Is the Valance?
The next thing is to consider is the style of the valance.
If your valance is simple and just has a straight hem across, then your fringe trim will carry even more weight (both literally and figuratively) compared to the rest of the valance.
For example, for our faux Roman shade valances (which have a straight bottom hem), we rarely recommend our 3-1/2-inch long fringes to our customers unless the valance is at least 21 inches long.
The valance pictured below was 24 inches long before adding the 3-3/4-inch fringe.
The fringe is proportional to the valance length in this case but imagine a 3-3/4 inch fringe on a simple valance like this had the valance only been 16 inches long. It would’ve been much more overbearing and taken away from the beautiful Jacobean floral pattern of the fabric.
For this simple faux shade valance in a 16-inch length, a fringe that’s about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches would have been more proportional and appropriate.
The key question to ask is whether your valance has a straight hem across its bottom. If it does, the valance will need to have quite some length before adding fringe trims that are 2-1/2 inches or longer.
But if the valance has swags, a relaxed center swag, or even more elaborate sections like bells or jabots, then you’ll be able to pick longer fringe trims if you wish.
That’s because those valances typically use more fabric, and have more volume and weight to offset the fringe trim.
For example, even though the relaxed Roman valance below is only 18 inches long, the 2-1/2-inch tassel fringe in French blue doesn’t overwhelm it. That’s because the valance creates a balloon swag in the middle and has enough volume and weight to compete with the fringe as the focal point. In other words, both the valance and trim are balanced in this case.
In fact, any valance with a shaped or relaxed bottom hem will typically do well with trims up to 3-1/2 inches long. Like this shaped valance, for example, which is 20 inches long and has a 3-1/2-inch fringe trim in a creamy white.
Fringe trims that are 4 inches or longer are typically best left for extra long valances and even more elaborate valances that not only have a single shaped hem piece (like the valance above), but have additional sections like center bells or long jabots. Our board-mounted Empire and Bellamy valances are perfect examples of that.
In conclusion, the selection of fringe trims should be relative to the valance style and length chosen.
Here are a few more resources we discussed above: