If you’ve ever been inside a well-decorated showhome, you’ll notice that there’s nothing out of the box about it. Everything is custom-made, including the window treatments like valances.
Inspired by how beautiful everything in the showhome was, you come back to your own home and wonder where you should start. You know you can’t find those valances at your local chain retail store, so where should you go (other than buying a sewing machine and doing it yourself)? Well, for window treatments you’ll have to work with an interior designer who either has an in-house sewing workroom or works closely with an independent workroom.
You can also go directly to a workroom yourself. This can save you money, but you’ll also have to come prepared with a rough idea of what you’re looking for. Whichever way you choose, here are a few tips to consider, as well as examples to inspire you. That way, you’ll turn your own home into a showhome with that special, unique valance that no one else in your neighborhood has!
Make It a Board-Mount Valance
A black and white toile valance with black bullion trim.
There’s nothing that exudes more luxury on a window than a board-mounted window treatment. A valance that’s mounted on a board is heavy, tailored, and has a certain depth that can’t be achieved with standard rod pocket valances. Consider deeply pleated swags mounted on a board. It’s a classic design choice that won’t go out of style.
The swags will fall from the top of the board, creating a waterfall effect. You can find more board-mounted valances here. Check out each style for some photo inspiration.
Don’t Forget to Dress the Small Windows in the Small Rooms
Faux shade valances hung with a rod pocket.
A showhome is meant to tell a story as people walk through it. Not only does this require a unique valance to create that “wow” effect, but it requires completion. You’ve (hopefully) never seen a half-way finished museum showcase or exhibit, so your home needs to be fully decorated if it is to look like a showhome.
Don’t forget the small nooks in your home and their small windows. Make sure to dress the laundry room, powder room, and guest bedroom windows, no matter how small the room or window is. Designers commonly dress these kinds of windows with faux shade valances, or other simple, flat valance styles. Here are some faux Roman shade styles to inspire you.
A faux shade valance on a narrow kitchen window. The window is barely 24 inches wide.
Work From a Fabric Collection
Color family, using a blue and white color palette.
The secret to a well-decorated home is consistency. Put together about 2 or 3 color choices or patterns and then continue using them in the entire room. When your guests see that you’ve deliberately chosen a fabric for your window valance to coordinate with the upholstery and pillows, they’ll realize that it’s a custom-made, unique valance that no one else has.
How do you go about this?
You can always visit your local fabric store and gather your own fabric samples that you can put together once you get home. Some fabric manufacturers also conveniently create fabric collections when they do their designs, so you can just use those combinations. We’ve coordinated our fabrics will Sherwin Williams paint colors to inspire you, so that’s another resource to inspire you as well.
Pick a Fabric Design That Must Be Centered
A board-mounted French country valance.
Another way to get that custom look is to choose a fabric pattern that must be centered on the valance. This can only be achieved by a workroom that does handmade work with attention to detail. So if you’d like to get away from mass-produced valances, go to your local home decor fabric store and pick out a fabric with a large pattern.
Pick a prominent medallion design like the rooster print above. For a more modern look, pick oversized geometric patterns. Is there a point where the geometric lines converge and can it be centered on the valance?
A modern valance in royal blue. Notice how the geometric floral design is deliberately centered.
A tribal ikat design in gold is centered on the same style of valance.
Consider Hanging Your Valance Using Medallions
Pleated silk drape hung on wrought iron medallions.
You’re bound to come across window treatments hanging from medallions in a professionally decorated home, sooner or later. These are most often draperies, but valances can be hung from medallions, too. Combine a unique valance style with a unique way to hang it and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Some valance styles can be made with the center medallion raised, creating a unique, arched shape.
A cuff top valance hung from wooden medallions by using long fabric ties.
Use a Generous Amount of Fabric
A dupioni silk balloon valance in a powder room.
Besides the flat styles, most custom-made valances require a lot of fabric and volume. Put a custom-made balloon valance next to an inexpensive, storebought balloon valance and you’ll notice the difference. If you’ll be buying the fabric for the project yourself, don’t try to cut corners. Custom valances require a certain amount of yardage. Anything less and you won’t get the quality your home deserves.
Finish It All Off With Trimmings
An arched, flat valance with red onion ball trim.
If you’d like a unique valance, you have to think contrary to how window treatments are mass produced. In other words, what can you do to make that valance work only in your own home? Sure, a black and white fabric may work in many homes, but by adding a vibrant red tassel trim, the valance may just become too special to work in any other home but yours!
So unless your neighbors go and copy your entire room design first, the valance won’t work for them. Not only that, but there are endless ways to combine fabric and trim. By hand-selecting what you like, you’re creating a design that’s uniquely yours.
The red and green in the fabric are brought out by using a multi-color tassel trim in the same colors.