Curtains Valances Styles: Comprehensive Guide to Dressing Your Windows Creatively

Dive into this article because it delivers a comprehensive guide to different curtain valance styles that might reshape your living space drastically.

decorative window valances

Key takeaways:

  • Rod Pocket Valances: Pocket slides over rod, gathered look.
  • Tab Top Valances: Loops hang from rod, casual aesthetic.
  • M-Shaped Valances: Dipped design, formal decor.
  • Straight Valances: Clean horizontal edge, modern interiors.
  • Balloon and London Valances: Soft, romantic appearance.

Understanding Different Valance Styles

understanding different valance styles

Rod Pocket Valances are characterized by a pocket that slides over the curtain rod, offering a gathered look.

Tab Top Valances feature loops of fabric that hang from the rod, providing a casual, laid-back aesthetic.

M-Shaped Valances boast a distinctive dipped design, like the letter “M,” which suits formal decors.

Straight Valances are the epitome of simplicity with a clean horizontal edge that aligns perfectly with modern interiors.

Balloon and London Valances offer a softer, fuller appearance with billows of fabric that create a romantic atmosphere.

Board-Mounted Valances present a structured appearance, with the fabric attached to a rigid board, tailored for a polished finish.

Rod Pocket Valances

rod pocket valances

Rod pocket valances boast a sewn-in pocket that slips effortlessly onto the curtain rod, making installation straightforward. They drape elegantly, creating a casual or semi-formal appearance suitable for various settings.

The gathered fabric provides a soft, ruffled edge atop windows, enhancing the room’s warmth and coziness. Ideal for concealing hardware, these valances introduce a clean, finished look without the need for additional clips or rings. They accommodate rods of varying thicknesses and can be adjusted for window width by scrunching more or less fabric on the rod.

Furthermore, by simply moving the valance up or down, you can alter the window’s visible glass area, offering a customizable level of privacy and light control.

Tab Top Valances

Tab top valances boast a series of fabric loops or tabs along the top edge that slide onto the curtain rod, creating a casual, laid-back aesthetic. These valances allow for a decorative piece of the rod to be visible, offering an additional design element to the room. They’re an excellent choice for spaces where you want to combine functionality with a hint of decorative flair.

When opting for this style, consider:

  • The spacing and size of the tabs, as this will affect the draping of the fabric.
  • The curtain rod’s style and finish, as it will be partially exposed and contribute to the overall look.
  • The fabric weight, since heavier fabrics may not hang as gracefully from the tabs.
  • Mixing and matching materials or colors between the valance and the panels underneath for a coordinated yet diverse decor approach.

Tab top valances work well in settings where ease of movement is preferred, as they slide easily along the rod, making them practical for frequently used spaces.

M-Shaped Valances

M-shaped valances, also known as swag valances, offer an elegant touch to windows with their distinctive dips and curves. These valances have a graceful, waving edge resembling the letter “M,” which adds visual interest and a formal look to your space.

Key points about M-shaped valances:

  • 1. Versatility: Suitable for a variety of settings, from living rooms to formal dining areas, they can complement both traditional and contemporary decor styles.
  • 2. Customizable Widths: They can be custom-fitted to any window size, ensuring a perfect, tailored appearance.
  • 3. Layering: Ideal for layering over blinds, shades, or drapery, M-shaped valances can add depth and warmth to window treatments.
  • 4. Fabric Choices: Works well with stiffer fabrics that hold shape to maintain the crisp lines of the “M” pattern.
  • 5. Decorative Hardware: Often paired with ornamental rods and finials to spotlight the valance’s swoops and tails.

These valances can provide a focal point for your room and are a sophisticated way to hide hardware and window treatment mechanisms while enhancing the overall aesthetic of your window dressing.

Straight Valances

Straight valances are a timeless option, offering a clean and uncluttered look to windows. This style hangs flat across the window, delivering a tailored appearance perfect for a variety of decor settings, from the modern to the classic. They typically have a straight bottom edge but can feature slight variations, such as being squared or having soft, rounded corners for different aesthetic appeals.

Consider the following when incorporating straight valances into your home:

  • Length: Ideal for those who prefer minimalism, their length can be short, skimming just below the window sill, or extended for a more dramatic effect.
  • Fabric Choices: Lightweight fabrics can impart a breezy feel, while heavier materials provide structure and can enhance insulation.
  • Versatility: They’re easily adaptable, fitting into kitchens, bedrooms, and living spaces alike.
  • Layering: This style can be used alone for a simple statement or layered over blinds or shades for added depth and privacy.

The simplicity of straight valances embraces functionality without sacrificing style, making them an enduring choice for window treatments.

Balloon and London Valances

Balloon valances billow out in a poufy, rounded appearance, creating a soft, romantic look. They are usually made with lightweight or sheer fabrics that can easily gather and poof. These valances work well in bedrooms or any space where a touch of elegance is desired.

London valances present a tailored aesthetic with a flat section in the middle and gentle folds at the sides. They offer a traditional yet relaxed vibe, making them suitable for living areas and kitchens. London designs work best with heavier fabrics that hold the shape of the folds.

Both styles are versatile and can be adjusted for fullness depending on the desired effect. The use of patterned fabrics can add visual interest, while solids tend to emphasize shape and structure. Consider the mood and functionality of the room when selecting between these valance types.

Board-Mounted Valances

Board-mounted valances offer a structured look due to their rigid backing. Typically wrapped around a wooden frame, these valances maintain a crisp shape and can support a variety of fabrics and designs. They’re ideal for showcasing bold patterns or intricate designs that require a firm hold to drape correctly.

Installation is straightforward: the wooden frame is usually mounted onto the wall or window frame with brackets, lending durability and stability to the window treatment. Cleaning is often as simple as vacuuming or dusting, given the stability of the board.

Adding trims can enhance the elegance of these valances, with options such as braiding, beading, or fringing.

Types of Patterns and Fabrics for Valances

Selecting the right pattern and fabric for valances can dramatically influence the mood and style of a room. Here are some options to consider:

1. Animals/Animal Print Valances: Ideal for a nursery or a whimsical theme, they can add playfulness to the space.

2. Check/Plaid Valances: Perfect for adding a cozy, country feel to a kitchen or living area; plaid works well in traditional and rustic interiors.

3. Contemporary Valances: Look for geometric or abstract prints to complement modern decors; these should have clean lines and minimalistic designs.

4. Floral/Leaf Valances: Suitable for creating a soft, romantic vibe or a garden-like atmosphere, floral patterns can brighten up a room.

5. Solid Colors Valances: For those seeking a more understated elegance, solid colors can blend with or provide contrast to the existing decor, emphasizing simplicity and cohesion.

  • Sheer fabrics: Allow natural light to filter through while offering a delicate, airy look.
  • Cotton: A versatile option that offers durability and ease of cleaning, suitable for casual or formal settings.
  • Velvet: Brings lushness and a touch of luxury, absorbing sound and blocking light more effectively.
  • Silk: Adds a sophisticated and elegant touch, though it requires more careful handling and maintenance.

When choosing patterns and fabrics, consider factors like the amount of natural light, the desired privacy level, and the existing color scheme of the space.

Animals/Animal Print Valances

Incorporating animal or animal print valances adds a dynamic and playful element to a room. They can serve as an eye-catching focal point or complement a nature-themed decor.

Choose prints that mimic the textures and patterns of animal fur, such as zebra stripes or leopard spots, for an exotic touch. For a more subtle approach, opt for designs featuring silhouettes of birds, foxes, or other fauna.

It’s important to balance the boldness of animal prints with neutral tones in the room, ensuring the valance enhances rather than overwhelms the space. These are particularly suitable for casual settings or children’s rooms, where a sense of fun and creativity is often encouraged.

When selecting curtains with animal prints, consider the scale of the print in relation to the size of the window and room to maintain a harmonious decor.

Check/Plaid Valances

Check and plaid patterns provide a classic and cozy feel to any room. They are particularly fitting for spaces with a rustic or country-inspired decor.

When selecting a check or plaid valance, consider:

  • Scale of the pattern: Larger checks can create a bold statement, while smaller plaids offer a more subtle texture to your window treatment.
  • Color harmony: Align the valance colors with the room’s palette to maintain a cohesive look.
  • Fabric weight: Heavier fabrics like wool or tweed amplify the rustic aesthetic, whereas lighter materials such as cotton keep it casual and airy.
  • Layering: Combining these valances with solid-colored drapes can add depth and interest to your windows.
  • Seasonal versatility: Plaids can be seasonal, with darker, richer tones suited for winter and lighter checks fitting for summer decors.

Contemporary Valances

Contemporary valances embrace minimalism and clean lines, often featuring geometric shapes or simple patterns that complement modern decor. These valances may use bold colors or neutral shades, depending on the intended impact in the room. Lightweight fabrics like cotton or polyester blends are typical for a breezy feel, which allows for soft light filtration without overbearing the space.

When selecting a contemporary valance, consider:

  • The color palette of your room to ensure the valance enhances the existing decor rather than clashing with it.
  • The scale of any patterns; larger prints can make a statement, while smaller ones tend to blend more seamlessly.
  • Hardware choices, as these valances pair well with sleek, metallic curtain rods for a complete modern look.
  • The simplicity of the valance design to avoid visual clutter, especially in rooms with other strong design elements.

Opt for a valance that mirrors the architectural features of your space for a cohesive aesthetic.

Floral/Leaf Valances

Floral and leaf patterns introduce a touch of nature into your space, evoking a serene and inviting atmosphere. These motifs are particularly suitable for rooms that could benefit from a vibrant yet graceful aesthetic, such as living areas and bedrooms.

When selecting floral or leaf valances:

  • Consider Scale: Larger patterns can create a focal point, while smaller prints contribute to a more subtle, textured look.
  • Color Palette Match: Align the colors within the valance with those of the room to ensure a cohesive design.
  • Seasonal Flexibility: Spring and summer months pair well with brighter, more vivid floral designs, while autumn calls for warmer tones and leaf patterns.
  • Balance with Solids: If your room already has patterned elements, balance the visual weight with solid colors in other parts of the room, such as the furniture or rugs.

By integrating these elements thoughtfully, floral and leaf valances can beautifully complement and enhance your interior decor.

Solid Colors Valances

Solid color valances offer versatility and a timeless appeal, making them ideal for an array of interior designs. They serve as a perfect anchor in a space with busy patterns or can add a pop of color to a more neutral palette.

  • Elegance in Simplicity: A single-color fabric brings a clean, uncluttered look, enhancing the window’s architectural lines without overwhelming the space.
  • Color Blocking Technique: Use them to introduce color blocking in a room, pairing with contrasting wall colors or furnishings to create a modern aesthetic.
  • Creating Harmony: Coordinate with existing decor to create a cohesive look; match the valance color with accents in the room like pillows, throws, or art.
  • Mood Setting: Different hues set different moods; lighter shades can make a room feel airy and bigger, while darker tones create a cozy, intimate ambiance.
  • Layering Opportunity: They act as a foundational element for layering, allowing for the addition of sheer curtains or heavier drapes without visual chaos.

By choosing solid colors, you allow for flexibility in your decor, the ability to change out accent pieces without needing to replace the valances, thereby offering a sustainable and cost-effective window treatment option.

Matching Valances With Interior Decor

Selecting the right valance can pull together the look of a room with ease. When integrating valances into your interior decor, consider the following points:

  • Ensure the valance color complements other textiles in the room, such as upholstery and rugs, to create a cohesive appearance.
  • Patterned valances can add visual interest to a space with solid-color furniture, while solid valances can balance out a room with patterned wallpaper or furnishings.
  • For a sophisticated look, opt for a valance in a fabric that echoes materials found elsewhere in the room, like silk or velvet.
  • Tailor the style of the valance to match the room’s aesthetic — a sleek, straight valance suits modern decor, while a more elaborate, ruffled valance fits with traditional design.
  • Consider the desired effect of the valance on the room’s mood; light, airy fabrics offer a casual and open feel, while heavier materials can provide a sense of luxury and formality.

Making Valances Standalone

Opting for bold patterns or vibrant colors can turn a valance into a statement piece. When a strong design is chosen, less is more below—consider a minimalist approach for the rest of the window dressing.

Structured materials sustain a valance’s shape for a crisp, elegant look without additional layers. Choose stiffer fabrics like brocades or upholstery fabric to maintain a clean line and silhouette.

Contrast is vital when setting valances apart. Pair with neutral walls or window frames to let the valance’s color or pattern pop, creating a focal point in the room.

Integrate architectural features by using valances to highlight or mimic lines and shapes within the space. This approach draws the eye upward and can enhance the room’s perceived height.

Coordinating With Wallpaper Patterns

Selecting a valance that complements your wallpaper can transform a room, creating visual harmony. Here are some key points to consider when matching valances with wallpaper patterns:

  • Pattern Scale: Balance large-scale wallpaper designs with simpler valance styles to avoid overwhelming the space. Conversely, intricate valance patterns can add interest to walls with subtle wallpaper motifs.
  • Color Coordination: Choose valances in colors that echo a hue from the wallpaper. This can enhance the overall color palette and create a cohesive look.
  • Contrasting Textures: Mix textures for depth, pairing a smooth wallpaper finish with a textured valance fabric like linen or velvet.
  • Thematic Consistency: Align the theme of your wallpaper with the valance. A floral wallpaper, for instance, pairs well with a valance featuring botanical elements.
  • Balance and Proportion: Ensure the valance width and fullness are in proportion to the room’s size and ceiling height, establishing a balanced aesthetic.

Framing Walls With Valances

Valances create a focal point around windows by framing them with soft fabric, drawing the eye upward and adding height to a room.

They work particularly well in spaces with high ceilings, making the walls seem more filled and the room cozier.

Valances also allow for a seamless transition between the window and wall, especially when using a fabric that complements the wall color.

For a harmonious aesthetic, try extending the valance beyond the window frame, which visually expands the window size and enhances the room’s proportions.

In smaller rooms or those with lower ceilings, a lighter fabric or a shorter valance can maintain spatial balance without overwhelming the wall space.

Consider the room’s existing decor when choosing the right style and fabric, ensuring the valance not only frames the wall but also ties together the overall design theme.

Adding Plaid for Rustic Charm

Incorporating plaid valances into a room’s design introduces a timeless rustic aesthetic that can create a cozy, warm, and inviting environment. Here are some key considerations:

  • Select a plaid pattern with colors that complement the room’s existing color palette to ensure coherence in your design.
  • Pair plaid valances with solid-colored drapes or blinds to balance the busyness of the pattern and to keep the focus on the charm of the plaid.
  • Consider the scale of the plaid pattern – larger plaids can make a bold statement, while smaller plaids can serve as a subtle nod to rustic charm.
  • For a more traditional rustic look, choose plaid fabrics with a heavier texture, such as wool or flannel.
  • Enhance the countryside vibe by choosing accessories and hardware in natural materials like wood or wrought iron when installing the valances.

These pointers will enhance the space’s rustic appeal through the strategic use of plaid valances, without overwhelming your decor.

Softening Rooms With Valances

Valances add an element of softness and warmth to any room by creating a harmonious transition between the hard lines of window frames and the rest of the space. Here are key points to understand how valances can help soften a room’s decor:

  • Material Choice: Opt for light, flowing fabrics like cotton, linen, or sheers, which naturally drape in gentle folds, contributing to a relaxed ambiance.
  • Color Palette: Select valances in soft pastels or neutral tones to promote a serene atmosphere.
  • Layering: Pair valances with sheer curtains underneath for a delicate, airy effect that diffuses light softly into the room.
  • Pattern Subtlety: If choosing patterned valances, lean towards designs with subtle, muted prints to maintain a tranquil environment.
  • Scallop and Arch Designs: Curved lines, such as those in scallop-edged or arched valances, introduce fluidity and break up the rigidity of straight lines in furniture or walls.
  • Pleating Styles: Consider soft pleats that fall gently, rather than crisp, sharp ones, to ensure the valance enhances the room’s coziness.

Implementing these design principles with valances can transform a stark space into a comforting retreat.

Valance Installation and Maintenance

Installing a valance is a straightforward process that greatly depends on the valance style and curtain hardware. Typically, you’ll need a rod or a mounting board, along with necessary fasteners like screws or wall anchors.

For rod pocket and tab top valances, slide them onto the rod and adjust for evenness. Ensure the rod is securely fastened to the wall brackets to avoid sagging. For board-mounted valances, attach the board to the wall first, then fix the valance onto the board using hook-and-loop tape or fabric staples.

When it comes to maintenance, most valances require minimal effort. Dust regularly with a soft brush attachment on your vacuum to prevent buildup. For fabric valances, check the cleaning instructions; many are machine washable on a gentle cycle, while others may require dry cleaning. If your valance is prone to wrinkles, a handheld steamer can work wonders.

Lastly, for longevity, keep valances away from direct sunlight as much as possible to prevent fading. Rotate them occasionally if sunlight exposure is unavoidable. These simple steps will keep your valances looking fresh and well-maintained.


Are valances still in style 2023?

Yes, valances continue to be in style in 2023, particularly when they adhere to modern design trends.

Can a valance look modern?

Yes, a valance can look modern, especially when it features clean lines and minimal fabric, creating a contemporary aesthetic.

What is a scalloped valance?

A scalloped valance is a type of soft valance with a fabric design featuring a cutout pattern along the edge, resulting in a wavy, scalloped appearance.

What are effective ways to install a box pleated valance?

Effective ways to install a box pleated valance include measuring the window correctly, securing a mount track to the wall, fastening the valance to the track, and ensuring the pleats fall evenly.

How can one combine a valance with shutters for a modern appearance?

Combining a valance with shutters for a modern appearance can be achieved by installing a sleek, minimalist valance in a neutral tone above wooden shutters, maintaining clean lines and balanced proportions.

Are there specific fabrics recommended for an ascot valance?

Yes, heavier fabrics such as silk, velvet, or brocade are usually recommended for an ascot valance due to their ability to create beautiful drapes and hold shape.