Wondering what a return on a valance is? A return on a window valance is the space between the face of the valance and the wall that the valance covers. In other words, it’s how deep a valance that fully wraps towards the wall is. When measuring, note that each valance will have two returns since it must wrap towards the wall on both sides.
But how exactly do you pick the right return for a valance?
Measuring Example of a Return of a Valance
Let’s take a look at this shaped valance. The window is 40 inches wide, including the trim. When measuring for the width of this type of valance, you’ll need to consider two factors besides just the width of the window.
Allowance (How Much Wider the Rod Is Than the Valance)
An allowance is simply how much wider a valance needs to be on each side, times two. Here, we wanted a small allowance of just 1 inch on one side. Small allowances like this aren’t unusual since many slightly gathered valances like this one flare out a little bit at the bottom. To make a valance look tailored, a snug fit like this is necessary. Adding up the allowances (1 inch on each side) to the 40-inch window width makes the front-facing part of the valance 42 inches.
Return (How Deep the Valance is From the Wall)
A return is how many inches the valance will wrap from the face towards the wall on each side. In other words, a return is a measurement of how deep a valance is from the wall. Before even considering a return, you’ll need to make sure your valance is created using a return in the first place. You’ll also have to make sure you have a curtain rod with brackets that are adjustable to the size of the return.
The black and yellow shaped valance above is actually created with a return in mind. The diagram below refers to it as a clearance, but it’s also called a return.
Combined with the proper hardware, which in this case is a continental rod, this valance was installed with a 4-inch deep return on each side. Adding the returns (4 inches x 2) to the front-facing width of 42 inches means that the final width of the valance on the rod is 50 inches. That’s exactly how wide the shaped valances are when we’re finished sewing them in our workroom. (This is the continental rod we recommend to our clients.)
What Should the Depth of the Return on a Valance Be If I Have Draperies?
It’s important to distinguish between draperies and curtains. Curtains tend to be light-weight and can fit underneath almost any outside-mounted valance. But if you have heavy draperies, then they will take up some space, especially if they’re lined and interlined. If this is the case, then the valance should ideally have a return of 5 inches or more on each side to be able to clear the draperies underneath.
More Valances That Have a Return
Not all valances have a return. Some are simply front-facing. Here are a few examples of valances that have a return. The return was either facilitated by a continental rod or a wooden board-mount with an exact depth.