Board-mounted valances are on the high-end side of the spectrum when it comes to window treatments, which is why you’ll need to commission a custom workroom to get one for your own home.
Board-mounted valances definitely aren’t something that you’ll be able to pick up at the shelves of your local department store.
But what is a board mounted valance anyway? Simply put, it’s a custom valance that hangs from a lumber board rather than from a curtain rod. The board is wrapped in lining or the same fabric as the valance, and then the valance is stapled onto the board. Board-mounted valances can be quite heavy and require sturdy brackets, screws and anchors to stay on a wall.
Let’s take a look at this style of valance and what makes it so special.
Popular Features of a Board-Mounted Valance
There are many reasons why designers and homeowners prefer board-mounted valances. In fact, the majority of the valances you see pictured in popular home design magazines are board mounts!
Here are just a few reasons why board-mounted valances are a favorite choice:
- The depth of the board naturally creates a projection and adds heaviness to the overall window treatment. This also means that the valance wraps nicely around the sides and frames the window nicely.
- No rod pocket stitches, or unnecessary bunching up of the fabric on a curtain rod.
- By stapling a valance on a board, pleated swags and cascades come out looking better.
- Pleated swags have no rod pocket, but rather, appear to come up from behind the board (this creates a waterfall effect).
- Sometimes the extra cost of a board mount can come out less expensive than some of the expensive hardware that the window requires.
Side view of a board-mounted valance, showing its full pleats on the side.
Next, let’s take a look at some ideas for your own board-mounted valance.
Valances with Swags
As I mentioned, the beauty of board-mounted valances is that you don’t have to deal with rod pockets and their stitches.
This allows the fabric to drape freely from the top of the window treatment, especially when it comes to deep swags.
Pleated Empire swags in black and white toile fabric. This valance has standard sized side cascades…
…although extra long cascades are used for tall windows.
Valances with Pleats
If you were to add up the valance styles found in design magazines, the board-mounted valance with inverted box pleats would probably be the most commonly found.
But why is this style so popular with interior designers and in showhomes?
By using inverted box pleats, the rest of the valance can be made with flat sections. This gives it a modern, clean look, while the pleats still use enough fabric to give the valance the proper weight and substance.
A scalloped valance with inverted box pleats over a kitchen sink. The fabric used here was an embroidered faux silk in red and gold. The bottom of the valance was accented with ball fringe, while the contrast fabric for the pleats was a gold plaid.
The same style of valance was continued on in the adjacent dining area, this time on a 70-inch wide sliding glass door. Extra wide drapes were made to match and to provide privacy at night.
Beyond inverted box pleats, you may come across valances with knife pleats. In this style, the pleats are stacking up on top of each other. A side-swept matching drapery is always a good addition to a valance like this.
Besides box pleats and knife pleats, a board-mounted valance can have the same pleats that a drapery has. This example is made with Euro pleats, but it may also be made with pinch pleats or goblet pleats.
Balloon Valances and Relaxed Faux Shades
Balloon valances are also popular as board mounts, for the same reasons as mentioned for the swags.
Here we see inverted box pleats again on a silk balloon valance. The valance was made a bit longer and covered about half of the window to provide some privacy in a street-facing powder room.
Board-mounted balloon valances can be made into sections. This allows a bay window to be fitted properly. Even though there are three boards in the back of this valance, the front of the treatment is one continuous valance.
Balloon valances can also be inside-mounted. Here, the board usually has less depth so that it can fit into the frame of the window.
Cornices are board-mounted valances by default. Only here, there isn’t just one dust board on top. Rather, the valance is made with a full wood box that’s then upholstered and wrapped in the main fabric.
A purple silk cornice with matching drapes in a living room.
How Deep Does the Board Need to Be On a Valance?
One common question I often receive is how deep a board needs to be.
If you’re taking on a board-mounted valance as a DIY project, one thing you’ll have to be mindful of is how deep the actual lumber board is versus what the label says. If you go to the Home Depot and buy a 6-inch deep board, chances are, it’s closer to 5-1/2 inches once you actually measure it.
By the time you wrap the board in lining or fabric and staple the valance, it will come out to a depth of about 5-3/4 inches. Maybe in some rare instances you may actually get it to a 6-inch depth, depending on the thickness of the fabric and valance style.
But that’s only if this is a DIY project.
If you’re buying a custom valance to be made for you, here are my recommendations:
- Simple, flat valances like faux Roman shades:
- 2- to 4-inch depth if outside-mounted.
- For inside mounts, they need to be slightly less than the window casing depth.
- 3-1/2 to 4-1/2-inch depth if hung alone. More depth is possible with extra tall ceilings and rooms.
- If you’ll be layering draperies under the valance, the depth of the valance board must be at least 5-1/2 inches in order to have enough space for the drapes.