Window valances come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re tired of the basic, rectangular valance that everyone seems to have, then you may wish to consider a shaped window valance for your own window. But do you know what all the different shapes that are possible are? If not, take a look at the examples below. These are some common valance shapes that you may come across as you start shopping for your own window valance. Before I go into more detail, here is a quick summary of the styles:
- the wide arch shape
- rod pocket valances
- board-mounted valances
- the soft arch shape with a center bell
- the intricately scalloped shape
- the repeating scoop shape
- the M shape.
- the wide arch shape
The Wide Arch Shape
Arches aren’t just for architectural details when a home is being built. If you’re trying to emulate the beauty of an arched window but only have a rectangular, standard 40-inch window, then consider an arched window valance. These valances are often flat and because of that, are also a great way to display a unique fabric design.
These types of valances are typically available in widths up to about 50 inches, although it’s important to remember that the wider the valance becomes, the more shallow its arched shape becomes. (There definitely is a point at which the arch shape loses its effect, but there are other design tricks that can be used, which you’ll learn about with the examples that are to follow). These valances can either be simple rod pocket valances or they can be heavy, board-mounted valances, so let’s take a look at some examples.
Rod Pocket Valances
These rod pocket valances have a simple arched shape that spans across the entire width of the valance. The arched shape is best maintained when the valance is about 35 to 48 inches wide and about 17 to 24 inches long, excluding trim.
The arched shape can even be more dramatic with a similar shape. This one is the Parisian valance. It works especially well when the window has a thick window frame or other unique woodwork around it.
Patterns that can be centered right above the arch are another idea to consider. Here, a bird pattern inside a medallion print was centered, but it’s important to remember that the valance needs to be long enough with some larger patterns.
The beauty about these simple valances is that they take up very little space. They work great on adjacent windows, like these two windows that were part of a reading area in a living room. The curtain rods can also be joined using elbow brackets to help valances fit nearby windows.
Consider adding unique tassel trim to the bottom hem of an arched valance. Many of our customers choose vibrant, contrasting colors for the trim. Acrylic bead fringe also looks beautiful when the sunlight hits the back of the valance (the beads look like colored raindrops).
These rod pocket valances can also be taken a step further by introducing trumpets on each side of the valance. Most of our clients pick a solid contrasting color for the inside lining of each trumpet and then carry over this same color to the trim of the valance. But how do you choose a contrasting fabric? It’s best to pick a unique color from the main fabric, and then to continue that same color throughout.
But when the main fabric is a solid like this burgundy red fabric, you may pick almost any other color that’s complementary to the color. Burgundy red and gold are a classic combination – you just can’t go wrong with this one. Here, an old gold was used for the trumpets, in addition to a matching 4-inch tassel trim.
Flat valances can sometimes be at the mercy of the width of the home decor fabric used, which usually is only 54 inches wide. Rather than introduce an ugly seam to the arched valance, the trumpet can be added in between each section. This way, the arched valance can be made as wide as it needs to be and can easily fit double and triple windows.
Arched valances don’t always have to have a rod pocket. Some can be mounted on a wood board, too.
Board-mounted valances tend to have long cascades, or jabots on each side. Here, a center section was made in an arched shape.
Jabots can be interpreted in many ways. Sometimes, they’re just a bit longer than the rest of the valance. This extra wide valance has a soft arch center, with short jabots finishing it off on each side. Plantation shutters were used as an additional treatment under the valance.
The simple arched valance gains an extra level of dimension when it’s made into a board-mounted valance. You’ll typically see kick pleats on each corner of the valance and the valance will wrap around the board towards the wall, giving it that nice, finished off “boxed” look.
In fact, additional inverted pleats can be added to an arched valance beyond just the corners of the board. The board of this red and gold valance was made much wider than the window. So by combining the valance with extra wide silk draperies, the window is made to appear almost twice as wide as it really is. Notice also how the board was also mounted right underneath the ceiling to add to the appearance of size of the window.
Some board-mounted valances go a step further by not just having a dust board on top, but actually being made of an entire wood box. These valances we commonly refer to as cornices, or cornice valances. They work especially well when combined with draperies as was the cornice in the example above, although the valance is more than substantial enough to be hung alone on a window.
The Soft Arch Shape with a Center Bell
You’ve seen the idea of introducing trumpets (or bells) in between flat sections on a valance. Sometimes, the arched shape can span across several of these flat sections.
The bells can be made in a completely different fabric. In the tab top valance above, the center bell and mini jabots on each side of the valance were made in a maize linen, while the flat sections were made in a red and yellow damask floral fabric.
Not all valances need to be hung on a curtain rod or wooden drapery pole. You can also hang some valances using holdbacks. This allows the valance to be raised in the center. Here, too, we see a center bell, while the bottom of the valance assumes an arched shape.
The same style was completely transformed just by choosing another fabric. The valance was also outlined with banding in red and white country check fabric.
The Intricately Scalloped Shape
Some flat valances have an intricate shape. This takes some skill, so make sure you’re using a reputable workroom, or else the valance won’t come out smooth and without wrinkles or mistakes. It’s also best to keep stitches to a minimum here – the valance will require lining to achieve this. Notice the amount of detail required on this scalloped valance. This is our Julia valance.
The same style of valance can be used to center a prominent fabric print. Here, we centered a romantic French country toile medallion (Richloom’s Fragonard). The scalloped bottom hem is also a great opportunity to introduce some unique beaded trim to this kind of valance.
Go for bold colors with bold, oversized patterns that can be visible. This valance is a smaller version of the scalloped valance and was made for a 24-inch window.
It’s especially unique when the scalloped shape follows the actual pattern of the fabric. We followed the lines of the medallion pattern to carve out the pattern for this bird toile valance.
Don’t forget – just like the simple arched valances, these scalloped valances can be double-layered, too. Use a contrasting solid like this olive green was used to create the best effect.
To create even more depth on these kinds of valances, you may wish to add some acrylic beaded trim. The red trim here was 3-1/2 inches long.
This tapestry fabric with rooster embroidery added drama to the window with its black color. A light gold tassel fringe was used to draw the eye to the scalloped bottom of the window treatment.
The same valance style can be combined with draperies. Flat rod pocket valances like this take up very little space and some of them can be hung underneath a drapery like this one was.
If the valance appears too simple, consider adding a tassel to any pointed tips.
The Repeating Scoop Shape
You may also come across valances that have repeating half circle scoops. Because of their whimsical appearance, you may find this style in children’s rooms and nurseries. But, it can also become a sophisticated valance for the other rooms in the house, as long as the right fabrics are chosen.
A three-scoop valance was hung on a rod pocket. The same shape was repeated in the cordless slatted Roman shade, which was made in a playful toile fabric that was perfect for a boy’s nursery.
The same, identical style becomes a luxurious living room valance just by choosing a different fabric (Waverly Byzance). Silk draperies were added to complete the overall window treatment.
Some scoops form naturally just by the way that the valance is sewn. Here, by pulling the shirred tape that runs along the entire back of the valance, the valance assumes a scooped shape.
The cuff top valance is an interesting valance. By turning the top of the valance over, scalloped cuffs are revealed. And just adjusting the valance to fit the window and pushing each of the cuffs closer, the bottom of the valance also naturally forms into scoops.
When inverted box pleats are introduced in between each of the scoops, the valance all of a sudden becomes a heavy, board-mounted valance that uses a generous amount of fabric.
The same valance style, in a blue fabric, with pumpkin orange silk draperies. Even though the window was only 40 inches wide, the valance was made 52 inches wide to help make the window appear larger than it really is.
Many people don’t realize it, but repeating swags actually form repeating scoops. You’ll often see this in Empire valances. This valance was a board mount.
The Empire valance can also be hung on a drapery rod. Instead of being attached to a wooden board, the valance can have a tab top.
The M Shape
This valance literally looks like the letter “M.” These valances are often rod pocket valances are very popular because they tend to be one of the most budget-friendly shaped valances that are available at custom workroom quality.
An M-shaped valance in a traditional pink and brown floral stripe sateen fabric.
If you’re wondering how this valance is hung and why you can’t see any hardware, it’s because this valance wraps around the brackets of the curtain rod. It typically comes in a 3-inch rod pocket valance, which is hung on a flat, 2-1/2 inch continental curtain rod.
Of course, there is not a single way to interpret the M-shaped valance. Here, a single swag was anchored by large bells and short, gathered jabots. This valance had a 3-inch rod pocket and was also hung on a continental rod. I hope I’ve helped you understand the different shaped valances that you may come across.