Many new homeowners find themselves with the dilemma of what to do with all the window treatments that were left behind by the previous owner of the home. You’ll often encounter funky-looking valances over dusty, old blinds.
Do you keep those window treatments, or should you throw them out? Oftentimes, those window treatments were installed over a decade ago, making many people incorrectly jump to the conclusion that if they are to repeat the same design of valances and blinds again, somehow it will look dated.
(You don’t assume that cars are dated because you happen to see one that’s 20 years old, so you shouldn’t immediately dismiss the blind and valance design combo, either.)
Instead, you should update it. Here’s how it’s done in 2019 and beyond.
Valances with Venetian Blinds
Most homes will have Venetian blinds. This is just a blind that has horizontal slats that rotate to adjust for light and privacy. They’re basically the opposite of vertical blinds. The slats on Venetian blinds are generally thought of as being thicker and larger than mini blinds and micro blinds. They’re often made of hard wood or PVC plastic slats. Most Venetian blinds are inside-mounted, so you’ll be able to use virtually any type of valance as an outside-mount.
(Inside and outside mount refers to whether a window treatment is installed in between the studs of the window frame or outside of it on the wall.) Let’s take a look at some examples of how these blinds can be combined with valances.
In this eat-in kitchen, each window section was treated separately. As you can see, the heavy wood furniture and sharp lines of the blinds and window casing could make the space rather uninviting and cold. To break up those sharp edges, an arched shape was introduced in the valance, with each section being separated by a bell. The floral fabric makes the room a bit more feminine without being overwhelming.
Here, the aim was to create a modern living room in black and white. The vertical stripes on the faux shade valance juxtapose the horizontal slats on the Venetian blind, while creating the illusion of height in a room that only has 8-foot ceilings.
Continuing on with the black and white color combination for valances, it’s best to just stick with white blinds. It keeps the room modern and clean, especially if you have gray walls like this bedroom does.
The fabric colors on this London valance and the neutral wall color here were contrasted by white window trim and a white Venetian blind to keep the design clean.
Valances with Mini and Micro Blinds
Mini and micro blinds have slats that are about a 1/2 or 1-inch thick. They’re almost unnoticeable and very lightweight – great if you want the focus to be on the valance.
This valance was installed near the ceiling to add height to the room. Bold trim like this indigo blue tassel fringe is a great way to put focus on a valance and its unique shape. But because this window was right next to a reading nook, it was necessary to add a mind blind for privacy as well.
Speaking of shape on a valance, here’s another custom valance that was constructed in an arched shape.
Blinds are a must for bedrooms, especially when the window is right next to the bed like we see here. The room has a monochromatic design theme, using mostly light gray and white. While the mini blind was white to continue this, the pointed valance was made using a gold and black fabric to make the room more interesting.
This floral valance was installed on curtain holdbacks. Banding in olive green was added to its bottom hem for interest.
Here’s a similar idea. Although this valance is actually made with several layers rather than just having banding at the bottom. This valance could’ve also done well with a darker colored blind that coordinates with the fabric, not just a blind in white.
The fringe on this valance has acrylic beads in a vibrant red. This will surely look beautiful when natural light comes through the slats of the micro blind seen here. Even though mini blinds are lightweight and simple, they can still work with heavy valances. Take a look at the two examples below. Both of these valances were board-mounted and used plenty of fabric. Each valance weighed over 7 pounds, yet the lightweight mini blind still worked together with it.
A box pleat valance with woven upholstery fabric.
A board-mounted valance made with a French country fabric.
Here, the client wanted both style and privacy in her breakfast area. She also opted for window treatments that were over 110 inches wide for her 78-inch wide sliding door to make the door appear larger. Since the draperies were more than wide enough to give her privacy during the night, she simply used some mini blinds to help her control for light and privacy during the day while she’s cooking in the kitchen.
Valances with Plantation Shutters
Hopefully, I’ve shown you some ideas to help you choose the right valance and blind for your own home. I’d like to show you a few more examples, but this time using plantation shutters. Plantation shutters can be quite heavy, so I recommend choosing a valance that’s going to contrast that with some soft, feminine lines.
This dining room window treatment is the perfect way to break up the harsh lines of plantation shutters, with its softly arching shape and playful tassel fringe. It also helps to have a whimsical toile design on the fabric.
Out of all the rooms in your home, it’s probably the bathroom that needs a valance and blinds the most. Why? The blind provides the needed privacy, especially when the window is above the bathtub like it is in this example. Valances are also necessary to break up the cold, uninviting stone surfaces in the rest of the space.
What About Valances with Cellular Blinds, Roller Shades and Everything Else?
If you’d like to combine other types of blinds with valances, it’s no different than the examples you’ve seen above. There are no specific “trends” to follow – what matters is what suits your home and your needs. Take a look at the example below. The client came to us complaining about all the light that was coming through her two-story living room windows. We framed her windows using this asymmetrical valance and extra wide drapery.
She then used a blind made of fabric for the top window that would constantly keep the light filtered. The bottom window, on the other hand, has a motorized roller shade to make everyday adjustments with just the push of a button. As you can see, window treatments can be made to meet any need.
Although they’re not technically blinds, woven wood and bamboo shades can also be used with valances. It’s best to pick a fabric that coordinates with the shades. The two tab top valances below were made with red and yellow home decor fabrics, which worked out great with the colors of the shade.
Can You Use Valances with Vertical Blinds?
Full disclaimer here – I personally am not a big fan of vertical blinds, at least the cheap, plastic ones that are so common. They’re just so dated in my opinion that it would be a shame to use a valance with a vertical blind, at least in my own home. But don’t let my opinion deter you. You can still combine the two, although it would be best to choose a valance that’s as modern and as simple as possible.
There are also updated versions of vertical blinds, where the panels use modern, natural materials and are moved by motorization. Also, take a look at some examples of modern valances that may work in this case.