We get it. Valances are an accept piece, they’re not supposed to take away from the beauty of your lake view or your new kitchen cabinets.
But to be honest, every time a customer asks us if they can do a 10-inch long valance, we cringe a little bit on the inside.
If given a choice between two lengths, it’s always better to get the longer length. Always.
And here’s why.
It Keeps You Away From Buyer’s Remorse
We’ve never had a customer come back to us and say, “I wish I had bought a shorter valance.”
But guess what we do get – those that wish they had bought it longer. Since the work is already done, there’s little we can do since we’re not in the business of alterations.
Unless the customer wants to re-order everything again, the best thing they can do is buy some trims to add to the bottom of the valance to give it the appearance of extra length.
You Don’t Realize How High a Designer Valance Is Supposed to Hang on a Wall
Most people have been conditioned to hang a valance right over the window trim, thanks to curtain pictures they see on packaging of Walmart, JCPenney, or Target products.
But if you’re getting a made to order valance, understand that that’s not what you’re getting. You’re not getting what’s on the package of that mass-produced valance you saw in the JCPenney store. You’re getting a designer-grade product, so you’ll have to hang your valance like designers do.
If you look at any outside-mounted valance found in the HGTV or Better Homes and Gardens magazines, you’ll notice one thing if you look close enough. Most valances hang right underneath the crown molding or just a few inches below.
As an example, this board-mounted valance below was 21 inches long in the center, including the fringe. The side jabots were 36 inches long each. Even over a busy sliding glass door and even in a room with only 8-foot ceilings, the valance was still 21 inches long.
Why? Because it was custom-made and hangs high on the wall.
With outside-mounted custom valances, it’s perfectly normal for the valance to cover more of the wall than the actual window panes themselves.
And that oftentimes means that a valance ends up being much longer than you thought it would be. You can find more on that topic in this post.
The Fabric Pattern Ends Up Being Larger Than You Thought
Designer fabrics come in all sort of patterns. If you choose a solid color or a small-scale pattern, you may have more liberty to choose a shorter valance.
But if you’ve chosen a large floral, toile, or medallion pattern, it’s always best to go with a longer length to be on the safe side and make sure the pattern doesn’t get cut off.
For example, the faux shade valance below was 18 inches long and had just enough length to feature the larger centered medallion pattern.
The same valance style in brown, at 32 inches long, features the medallion more prominently thanks to its longer length.
That’s why we always recommend getting fabric samples first. Not only does this help you compare the fabric colors in your room, but it also gives you an idea of the size of the pattern.
It Takes a Certain Amount of Fabric to Form a Valance Shape
It’s not easy to “jam” a lot of valance features into a valance that’s only 10 or 12 inches long.
If your valance has swags, for example, it needs a certain amount of length to be realistic.
Our tailed balloon valances, for example, require a minimum 22-inch length (measured from top to tip of tails).
Anything shorter than that and it’s impossible for the tails to form like they do in our pictures.
Or take our relaxed balloons for example. The minimum length is the short length, which is about 15 to 16 inches long at the deepest form. Anything shorter than that and the relaxed swag in the center simply won’t form, especially when choosing narrow widths.
So when shopping for your next custom valance, be mindful of all those tips and make sure you’re listening to the drapery workroom you commission. There’s years of experience behind our trade, and most of us will be able to tell you from experience just how short they’ll be able to realistically make your custom valance.
Next, read how far down your window to hang a valance.