Valances can come in all shapes and sizes. But is there such a thing as a standard size of a window valance? If you’re shopping for ready-made valances, the most common standard size you’ll likely come across is a 50-inch wide valance. If you’re hiring a custom workroom, you can specify any size. We offer valances between 18 and 189 inches wide on our site.
Why 50 Inches?
Home decor fabrics are usually printed 54 wide on a roll. By the time the seams are taken in, the maximum width possible will be about 50 inches unless a seam or additional fabric sections are introduced. So, if shopping for ready-made valances, you’ll often come across a 50-inch wide valance. The M-shaped valance is the most popular.
By the time the valance wraps around the curtain rod brackets on each side, it ends up fitting a window about 34 to 42 inches wide. It would be a flat valance on a 40- or 42-inch window, while it would be slightly gathered on smaller windows. The curtain rod brackets should be between 3 and 5 inches deep on each side.
A 50-inch shaped valance on a 40-inch window. Check out more like this.
You may also come across straight, gathered valances. Those are also commonly 50 inches wide. But keep in mind that a single 50-inch valance panel can only give you so much coverage.
A gathered valance like this needs about 2 to 2.5 times the fullness if lining and real home decor fabrics are used. So, a 50-inch wide valance realistically will cover a width of only about 20 to 25 inches. Lightweight fabrics and unlined valances will require 3 to 3.5 times the fullness. Consider asking the workroom to fuse the fabric for you and to pattern-match the seams, or buy several valances and try to hide the side hems between them as best as possible.
Example showing how wide a gathered, lined valance needs to be to fit a 40-inch window.
For reference, this is how the top header should look for a gathered rod pocket with a natural ruffle top:
A blue and yellow toile fabric with a 3-inch rod pocket and 3-inch header above it. Hung on 1-3/8-inch diameter curtain rod.
What About Custom-Size Valances?
Obviously, when going the custom route, there is no such thing as a standard valance size. But generally speaking, a valance should end up hanging about half an inch to 2 inches beyond each side of the window in its final form. So, a 40-inch window should be covered by 41 to 44 inches of the valance above it. This is the finished, adjusted width that’s only facing the front. It does not include any other factors like brackets or other hardware.
Usually, a modern, flat valance (like a faux shade) will need to just barely cover the window frame (add an extra 1/2 to 1 inch on each side of the window). Some more elaborate valances like swags and jabots will require to be slightly wider (add an extra 1-1/2 to 2 inches on each side of the window) There are exceptions to this rule, of course, so make sure to ask your workroom consultant for more detailed measuring help.
Faux shade valance. Start shopping more faux Roman shade styles and customize them for your window.
Jabot and swag valance.